Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Peppermint Patty: [on the phone, to Marcy] Marcy, what book were we supposed to read during Thanksgiving Vacation?
Marcy: This is Christmas Vacation, Sir.
Peppermint Patty: Christmas Vacation? How can I read something during Christmas Vacation, when I didn't read what I was supposed to read during Thanksgiving Vacation?
Marcy: Duck, Sir. Easter is coming
-It's Christmas Time Again, Charlie Brown
Thursday, December 16, 2010
1½ cups skim milk powder
1 cup white sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
¾ cup non-dairy creamer
Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well. For a finer mix, combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix well. Add to small canning jars. Fill to the top. Seal with canning lids. Decorate as desired.
Store in an air tight container.
Directions for label (add to ribbon around jar or print out and use as a label on the jar)
Place 2 or 3 tablespoons in a mug and add boiling water or warm milk. Enjoy!
Decorate the jar lid with a circle of fabric or lace, tied on with ribbon or raffia.
"Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas."
Thursday, December 9, 2010
One of the things the husband and I do on a regular basis is veg out in front of the T.V. at night. Not exactly a recommended activity, but we are so pooped from the day it's the only way to keep our sanity. Because of all our wonderful viewing experience, we have quite a few shows and movies we've had a chance to see that made us wonder why they weren't more popular. Here are some of those shows:
1. Supernatural- A tv show about two brothers who travel from town to town searching for their father and seeking out mysteries that are weird or well, supernatural. Sort of like an X-Files but with siblings and easier to understand.
2. IP Man- A super awesome movie about Bruce Lee's trainer (which I didn't know until after I watched the movie) and how he made it through some very difficult times by sticking to his morals and using his seriously good martial arts abilities. A must see even if you don't like martial arts.
3. Jericho- An interesting show about what might happen if major cities were destroyed and most of the population was gone. The characters really make this show and the story line is quite plausible.
4. Survivors- A similar story line to Jericho, but a very smart British medical version. A bit liberal for my taste (no guns until late in the show, in the U.S we would have been armed to the teeth within an hour!) but understandable given it's Britian. Adds some medical drama to the already incredible story. Again, the actors really make this a good show.
5. The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn- Sidney Poitier is the star. What more do I have to say? That man can't make a bad movie! Very moving, grabs you in the beginning and pulls you in. You can't help but cheer for him.
6. The Jesse Stone series- Tom Selleck is the main character, a cop with a drinking problem who is hired in a small town. Tom Selleck really pulls off a great performance. Robert Parker wrote the series, one of my favorite authors. I really miss him.
7. Life on Mars- Set in the 1970's, it's about a present day cop that gets pulled into the past to a precinct in the 70's. He spends his time trying to figure out what happened to him, keeping himself out of trouble and solving crimes without letting anyone know where is from. Just fun to watch, remembering all the craziness of the 70's.
8. The Express- a story about racial inequality on and off the football field. Very well done, it's a tough but wonderful story that will stick with you for a long time.
9. Life- One of my favorite tv shows. To this day, I really don't get why they cancelled it. Excellent characters, interesting story line and funny too. It's about cop who gets wrongly accused of a crime, does time, then gets exonerated and gets rehired. He is quirky but lovable and the chemistry between him and his partner is strong. The music on the show is great too.
10. Band of Brothers and The Pacific- I know the Band of Brothers did well (one of the main characters is the lead in Life, the tv show) but I hardly heard anything about The Pacific. Both are fantastic and hard to forget.
11. Taking Chance- Kevin Bacon leads this movie and does an excellent job. It is a very still movie, no action except emotions, but it's unforgetable.
12. Moonlight- ok, it's a vampire show. Still, it was well done and fun to watch. Another one they cancelled and I can't figure out why.
13. Dark Angel- Jessica Alba before all the glamour. Great show, lots of action, a bit corny but it's worth it.
Friday, December 3, 2010
It feels like it's been forever since I've had time to blog. So much has happened since Thanksgiving. My sister had emergency surgery on Monday to have her gallbladder removed. She is doing much better, but it was quite a saga for her. Then I had to attend an all day seminar for credits for my license (National Certified Counselor/Licensed Counselor), see the doc for a checkup and we have company tonight. Whew! Since this all started, I've been wanting to share a new recipe I tried over Thanksgiving. I've been getting a little tired of the same old pumpkin pie so I tried this one instead. Just a little twist on the old favorite! It was really good. Pumpkin with just a hint of tangy sweetness. The above photo is courtesy of Betty Crocker. I never got a chance to take a picture of our pie. It was gone that quick!
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg (I used Egg Beaters)
1 9-inch pastry pie shell, unbaked
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs, slightly beaten (again, Egg Beaters)
1 cup evaporated milk (I used skim/fat free)
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and vanilla extract; beat until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 egg; spread mixture in the unbaked pastry shell.
Combine pumpkin, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Blend in the 2 beaten eggs and evaporated milk. Pour pumpkin mixture over cream cream cheese layer. Bake for about 65 minutes, or until set. Cool pumpkin pie thoroughly. Serve with whipped cream.
"I've learned there are three things you don't discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin."
-Linus from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
"....I can dream away a half-hour on the immortal flavor of those thick cheese cakes we used to have on a Saturday night."
-Mary Antin, 'The Promised Land' (1912)
Sunday, November 14, 2010
As Kurt listened to what the caller was saying to him, his expression changed to worry and strain. He mouthed the words, "What?!" and then said a few "Ok's" to the caller, said he call back in an hour and got off the phone. His first words were, "I don't believe this". Then he explained they wanted him to come down for another interview, an all day one this time, and meet the staff. They also wanted him to meet with the other candidate and compete with him during questioning. They explained that they couldn't decide on which candidate to pick so this was their solution. They named a day next week and said it was non negotiable.
So Kurt spent the next hour stressed trying to find a way to work around their demands. He was already scheduled with two important mandatory meetings at work that day plus he had his class to teach the night before. There were no direct or indirect flights to Roanoke and driving was out of the question since his class the night before didn't end until 9 pm. To add to the fun, Roanoke County refused to move his start date of mid December so if he did land the job, he would only be able to provide two weeks notice at his current job to make the Roanoke start date. That is just not something you do when you are a manager of an important social service program. Talk about burning your bridges.
We talked about the options, got upset about the options and finally decided the option was to call back and ask for another date for the interview. After another phone call back from Roanoke, Kurt was told that the administrator was not willing to compromise. It was over for real this time. No job, no moving. Kurt told them goodbye and that was it.
It was meant to be, nothing was going to change that. It was tough having hope again after I was just settling with the idea that it was done with before, but at least we knew now for sure what had happened.
Given the job situation, the economy, and the luck we've had so far getting calls on resumes we send (read: no calls at all!) I don't see us moving anytime soon. But hope springs eternal and that's what I've got now- hope. Like I tell my husband, and myself on bad days, it's not the end of the world. It's not like one of us is sick, our house burned down, or we have no jobs. It's just a dream I have. And though it may stay a dream the rest of my life, at least we tried. And to me, that counts for a lot.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
About three weeks ago, after sending an untold number of resumes over the last few years, my husband Kurt finally got the call. Roanoke County wanted to interview him for the Director of Social Services position they had available. I couldn't believe how great the job fit Kurt's experience. We both believed he had a great shot at the job.
After "the call" we went into big time prep mode. We looked up everything we could about the County, researched our butts off about everything and everyone and went over and over possible interview questions. After an intense phone interview and a series of written questions from the County in the first week, it was time for the face to face panel interview in Roanoke. By the time he left for the interview last Monday, Kurt was prepared. My stomach was in knots, not over how well I thought he would do (because I know him- he was prepared!) but how much of a shot he had at the job.
After the interview, Kurt called me on the way home. He was very happy with how it went, mostly because everyone seemed to love his answers during the interview and afterwards, the director of human resources told him he did a fantastic job. I couldn't believe it. Finally, a shot at going home. Raising my kids where I grew up. Man, I was on cloud nine.
Although the administration let us know there were more interviews and the competition was tough, they still gave us encouraging signs. Kurt heard a lot of "good answers", "thanks for being so quick with your response", "you did a great job with that problem" kinds of things. The immediate director seemed to really take to Kurt too. It all seemed to fall into place.
I started getting excited. It was really hard to not start planning our move. We got a little ahead of ourselves, but we also felt we wanted to be prepared in case he got the job. We looked up schools, apartments (for Kurt to stay in while we sold our house here), homes for sale, stores, gyms, and all the general information about Roanoke we could find. We loved everything we saw. Even the kids got into it when they saw the new Green Ridge Rec Center. What a cool place! I couldn't wait to take them.
Then last week, Kurt got a call saying they had more questions. After an hour and a half panel interview, we were perplexed at what more they could ask! But ok, it was a big decision they had to make. They asked a lot of questions that didn't make any sense. Then they started calling Kurt's references, asking odd questions about his faults. Things started looking bad. The final decision on the candidates was going to be this past Friday or Monday. They said would let Kurt know by then. As the days passed and no one called, we knew it was over. Not even a call to say, sorry we decided on someone else. Just nothing.
I got a little down in the dumps about the whole thing for the past few days. But I realized that in all the bad things that can happen to people, this one doesn't even register. So no hiding in bed with covers over my head. It's back to square one. Maybe someday I'll get back home, maybe not. Either way, it won't be the end of the world and it won't be for lack of trying. It was worth it just to know someone paid attention to one of the resumes my husband spends a good portion of his time every week filling out! Maybe someday someone will pay attention. All it takes is one time.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
For the icing, in a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, extract, salt, butter and 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Add remaining powdered sugar alternately with the cream until frosting is fluffy. Beat in food coloring.
"It is the destiny of mint to be crushed."
-Waverley Lewis Root
Thursday, October 21, 2010
From: Chocolate Lover's Cookbook for Dummies
"C is for cookie. That's good enough for me."
-Cookie Monster, Sesame Street
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all."
Friday, October 1, 2010
There are so many varieties of bar cookies that you could probably make a different one everyday and not run out of recipes for months! I love them cause they are so easy to make and fun to tweek to your own taste. They never fail to be chewy, crunchy and full of sweet goodness. These bar cookies have all of my favorite ingredients- peanut butter, chocolate and oats. And M&M's to boot! I used the minature instead of full size regular M&M's, but you can pick your favorite to add.
"Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are."
Monday, September 27, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists."
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
"Anybody who believes that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach flunked geography."
-Robert Byrne, quoted in 1,911 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, 1988
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Carl Fredricksen: Hey, let's play a game. It's called "see who can be quiet the longest."
Russell: Cool! My mom loves that game!
-from the movie "Up"
Friday, September 3, 2010
"When someone asks if you'd like cake or pie, why not say you want cake and pie?"
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
To vent some of the stress from our end of summer blast of fun, I baked cookies from a new recipe last night. Talk about your stress relievers; these cookies turned out better than I had hoped! I adapted them from a Martha Stewart recipe, changing some of the ingredients to what I had on hand. If you decide to try these (and I hope you do, they are to die for!), make sure you only bake them for the time recommended, just when they start to crack on the outside and are still soft. Store them in a sealed container and they will stay soft for 2 to 3 days.
Audrey: Do you sleep with your brother? Do you know how sick and twisted that is?
Ellen: Well, I'm sleeping with your father. Don't be so dramatic.
-Christmas Vacation (1989)
Friday, August 13, 2010
So, needless to say, with a houseful of company and school starting August 30th, I'm one crazy woman! If I get a chance to sit down, I'll attempt to blog. But I'm hoping that if I don't get a chance until school starts, I will at least have some great recipes to share. My brother loves to cook and I'm sure he has some good ones up his sleeve!
I'll still be reading everyone's blogs so I hope to at least stay in touch.
Enjoy the rest of summer! Soon, we'll all be talking about the fall foliage!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
"The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves."
-W. C. Fields
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
"Success is 99 percent failure”
-Soichiro Honda quotes (Japanese Honda Motor Company Founder, b.1906)
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Last night, when we were running around with errands and Karate classes, everyone was hungry for a snack. I usually let the kids forge for themselves, eating whatever they like. But I recently discovered how easy it is to throw together some really yummy snacks with a couple of tubes of cresent rolls and a few extra ingredients. Last night, I made pepperoni rolls and chocolate filled rolls. I had already made the chocolate rolls at the beginning of last year for an after school snack, but I'd never made the pepperoni rolls. As I suspected, it was so easy! I imagine you could come up with your own ideas of what would work as a filling. Ground beef/turkey, a little cheese and some taco seasoning would make great taco rolls. Juliened carrots and zucchini and some dressing would make a great veggie roll. The ideas are endless. Please share any ideas you might have. I'd love to hear them!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie with Pam and set aside.
Spread cresent dough out, separating the individual rolls. On each section of dough, place about 1 tablespoon of semi sweet chocolate and one tablespoon of white chocolate chips. Roll dough over chips, starting at the wider end. Tuck sides in to prevent chocolate from melting out. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until browned. Serve.
“I like vending machines, because snacks are better when they fall. If I buy a candy bar at the store, oftentimes I will drop it so that is achieves its maximum flavor potential.”
Thursday, July 22, 2010
2. Do you miss anyone right now? ---my brother in the Navy stationed at Gitmo
3. If you could move anywhere else, would you? ---oh, yeah!
4. If you could choose, what would your last meal be? ---I would eat at my favorite restaurant, Hyeholde, and include every dessert they have!
6. What was the last book you read? ---A Matter Of Class- Mary Balogh. Gotta get that romance in sometimes :)
7. What was the last movie you watched?---Green Zone. What a bad movie! The entire story was about Hollywood's liberal point of view about WMD's in Iraq. It would be nice if they would just stick to acting and not political agendas. We couldn't even finish the movie.
8. What was the last song you heard? ---I don't what it was. I was on hold so something like elevator music.
9. What's your dream vacation?---A week in Williamsburg, VA and a week at the beach. That was my honeymoon, actually!
11. Did you ever go to camp? --no
12. Have you ever been in love? --yes!
14. Where is your best friend?--- at work. He'll be home for dinner then off to teach school tonight.
16. Who is the biggest gossiper you know? ---some of my friends at my gym
17. What does your last text message say? ---I don't text too often (cheap phone) but probably something in response to my daughter asking to do something.
18. What are 3 things you've always wanted to do, that you still plan to accomplish? ---move back home to VA, own my own successful business, be there for my kids whenever they need me.
19. What is one thing you've learned from your parents? ---how not to parent.
20. What is one thing you hope to teach your own children? ---to put God first always in their lives, use their manners in all situations, treat others as you want to be treated. Ok that is three things, but they are all so important!
If you want to do this meme, just copy and paste then erase my answers and write your own. Let me know if you do, I'd like to see it!
Monday, July 19, 2010
Finding time to do anything with the kids home for the summer is tough. Don't get me wrong, I love having them home. But it is a challange some days (one I signed up for, so I shouldn't complain, I know!). Along with breaking up fights, getting house work done, outside activities and the "I'm bored" comments, getting time to bake is near impossible. But since all my raspberries came in this week, I really needed to do something with them and I was itching to bake again. I decided to make Chocolate Raspberry Brownies. Something simple yet fancy enough to be a bit challanging. Rich and moist, the kids love them and I'm happy!
-E. W. Howe
Monday, July 12, 2010
Basil is one of my favorite spices. You can use it in so many dishes, or you can just leave it plain, adding it to tomatoes, mozzarella, whatever. I have two basil plants in the garden and both have produced lots of basil this year, something I'm really pleased about. The last few years, the bugs got to my basil before I did and I was so disappointed! But this year, I've found myself looking for ways to use my basil and pesto won out as the quickest, tastest way to eat it. I made two batches already and I'm freezing it to keep it fresh, as it does go bad fast in the refrigerator. Tonight, I tossed whole wheat thin spaghetti with the pesto, added fresh twisted bread from a local bakery, and threw together a salad from the garden. All that healthy food helps me compensate for the big bowl of chocolate ice cream I plan to eat later!
In a food processor, combine basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and salt. Cover and process, adding the oil through the top until smooth. Stop processor and scrape down pesto as needed. Add more cheese and/or salt to taste.
"Why do I get pesto? Why do I think I'll like it? I keep trying to like it, like I have to like it. Everybody likes pesto. You walk into a restaurant, that's all you hear: pesto, pesto, pesto. Where was pesto ten years ago?"
-George Costanza, Seinfeld
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
While planning the meal for our picnic, my husband said he wanted to make the dessert. Huh? My husband make a dessert? I thought he was joking! He's cooked before but he's never been interested in making desserts. He said he is quite happy letting me do that duty (like it's a duty- Ha!). But this time, he said leave it all to him. Now, you can imagine that my curiosity was super high about what he was going to make, especially when he came back from the store with pineapple and Twinkies. He said he overheard some of his co-workers talking about this "Trash Cake" they made and he heard the ingredients and wanted to try it. So I stayed out of the way. The results were a cool, refreshing and very good dessert that I have to say was a great first effort we all enjoyed :)
In a 9 x 11 glass pan, line the Twinkies next to one another in rows, placing them as close as you can to completely fill the bottom. Spread the vanilla ice cream over the Twinkies out to the edges of the pan. Drain most of the juice from the pineapple then spread over the ice cream. Top with the Cool whip and cherries. Freeze until served.
"If it can't be fixed with duct tape or WD-40, it's a female problem."
Friday, July 2, 2010
"Growing up Southern is a priviledge, really. It's more than where you were born, it's an idea and a state of mind that seems imparted at birth. It's more than loving fried chicken, sweet tea, football and country music. It's being hospitable, devoted to front porches, magnolias, moon pies, and coca cola.....and each other. We don't become Southern, we are born that way."
Monday, June 28, 2010
"No self respectin' Southerner uses instant grits. I take pride in my grits."
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Chocolate Banana Cake
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 11 inch baking pan with Pam.
8 ozs of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small chunks (I used Ghirardelli chips)
Monday, June 21, 2010
"Cakes nourish much more than the body. They feed the soul."
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
"I don't think a really good pie can be made without a dozen or so children peeking over your shoulder as you stoop to look at it every little while."
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Over the years, Cleo would come to see us at night while we watched TV and she would sit on my chest and purr, just like in those first nights. She did funny things like trying to jump onto a window sill that was covered in plastic for the winter. That earned her the nickname, KittySplat. But she was most of all a very stoic, intelligent kitty who seemed very determined to be above it all and except for her love for us, dignified in all situations.
Cleo also seemed to defy odds with her health. The only time she was sick in her life, before now, was when she had a bladder infection. She started meowing at me one day and led me down to her litter box in the basement. She got in, tried to go to the bathroom, and looked at me when she couldn't, as if to say, "See, I can't go. Something is wrong." I took her to the vet and sure enough, she had an infection.
Cleo always loved outdoors. She was an indoor kitty, but would meow at us to be let out. Most of the time, I would let her go. Though I was scared she wouldn't come back, she always did. I think she just looked around, ate some grass and came back. Smart kitty. But in the last few months, I was too scared to let her go out without keeping an eye on her. She only asked a few times to go out anyway. I think she was too sick.
This past Sunday, my husband stayed home from church to deal with the weekend flooding in our basement from all the rain. He left the glass sliding doors open for the dogs to go out so he could work on the basement, never thinking that Cleo would go out. She spent most of her time sleeping in the other room. She had been acting strange all week and truth be told, we actually considered putting her down. We wanted to wait to see if she seemed to be in any distress. She had acted so strange when the rain came, putting herself underneath a leaking window, letting the rain hit her in the back. It was odd for a cat who always hated water.
She's gone. I can feel it in my bones. She would never do this normally. And she was too sick to go far. She is a smart kitty and knows how to come home. We've called her and the dogs have been barking, so she would hear us and know to come home. I can't stand the thought of her laying out there, by herself, dead. I could use the closure of a least having a body to mourn over. But knowing my smart kitty, she hid herself well in a small cozy place to rest her bones.
I think it's time to let go. Cleo, my wonderful baby kitty, rest well. We will always love you. I'll be seeing you in Heaven someday, where I know you've already taken over as queen of the animals. My smart kitty.
"Of all God's creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat."