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Showing posts from 2014

A peacock and a lady screaming?

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If you have never been around peacocks at night the title of this post must be confusing, or intriguing perhaps?
My favorite uncle and aunt lived on a large farm that covered an even larger hill (read mountainish) in Kentucky. I used to love to go,stay with them and explore the farm. I also loved tagging along with my older cousins. I had one I particular who fascinated me with her teenagerness. She had the most gorgeous long dark brown hair and was/is beautiful. I'm sure she hated having her little city-cousin following her all over the farm, but she never let me know if she felt this way. Even her name was exotic to me as it was her parent's names put together. This was before the days of it being a fashionable southern thing to do to give your kids a double name.
My anut and uncle had all tgoes of animals on the farm. Everything from cows to chickens to...yiu guessed it, peacocks. I'm not 100% sure how they ended up with peacocks on a farm in northern Kentucky. Things l…

Oh Christmas tree!

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Before having a child in the house I had one of those "perfect trees". You know the kind with the perfectly matched ornaments and draped just so. I had so much extra time on my hands (and a heavy dose of OCD) I even made my own large ornaments! Oh to have that kind of time again.....sigh

Now our tree looks different, I think better but the word different is a better descriptor as a nod to my former self. Now the tree has a mismash of ornaments, a lot of them homemade still. These are so much better than my old ones, these have things like 'Kindergarten 2009' and Merry Crissmass' on them. This year we even have a boat from a recent Cub Scout Raingutter Regata making an appearance. Our tree has become a visual journal of our lives together and apart.
There are also ornaments from the annual ornament party to bring back great memories and ornaments from special friends.
This year a friend made me an initial ornament that I am in love with! Not only is it personalize…

Deck those halls and everywhere else too!

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I love Christmas. I know that's not a particularly bold statement to make, but it's the truth when it comes to me. I love shopping throughout the year, yes I'm one of those people, and finding the perfect gift for someone. I try to keep a lookout throughout the year and buy when I see an item. Thei helps not only on the December sticker shock, but also relieves some of that Christmas stress.

Today I am thinking about decorating. How else can you change up a room and have it gone before you get tired of it? Yup, Christmas decorating!
I usually start in the days following Thanksgiving. I am a purist when it comes to the timing of decorating. Not until after Thanksgiving and always comes down before Jan 5th or so.
I also try to change things up every year. This year I finally got around to decorating the one area I have always wanted to, the light fixtures above the bar. I envisioned how the garland would look wrapped around the chains and the lights themselves. I threw in a …

Chicken chili - crockpot style!

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I love my crock pot, no maybe that's not a strong enough statement. What do you call the emotion you feel when you walk in the door after a long day away and you have food hot and ready just waiting for you? Oh yes, that emotion is indeed love!

So into the crockpot you will need:

3 frozen chicken breasts
3 cans northern beans (drained) or white beans in chili sauce
1 medium can green Chilis
1 - 14oz diced tomatoes or 1 can mild rotel tomatoes
1/3 cup chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 chopped white or yellow onion
32 oz chicken broth

Throw everything in the crockpot and cook for 6 hrs on high or 8 hours on low. When you get home, or about 5 hrs into the cooking, pull the chicken out and chop into small chunks. Return them into the soup and cook for 1-3 hrs more depending on temperature chosen. If you don't have that extra time, no worries. Chop,the chicken and return it to the soup just prior to serving.

Serve with crackers, a dollop of sour cr…

Quick spaghetti sauce, yup you heard right

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I used to be a jar sauce kind of gal when it came to spaghetti, until I made my own sauce. Now having spoiled myself for...myself I find it hard to ever go back!



Tonight's meal is a favorite in this house and so fabulously easy that it seems almost sinful.

Need:

1 can (or jar) of either crushed or whole tomatoes
Chopped red, yellow, and orange peppers
1/2 white or yellow onion
5-6 garlic cloves (or to taste, we LOVE garlic)
Fresh or dried basil (my favorite in the colder months is in the tube*)
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp fennel (if you like it that is)
1 lb turkey Italian sausage
- any veggies you have leftover be them tomatoes, carrots (not too many as it can sweeten the sauce), mushrooms, peppers...you name it and it can probably go in this sauce!)

Cook the Italian sausage throughly and add the fennel and chopped garlic cloves. Add the onions and peppers and let them simmer with the meat. When the veggies have cooked down a bit add the tomatoes. If I am using whole tomatoes that either…

Lazy burritos

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Day two recipe from the one day of prepping is what I refer to as Lazy Burritos with Guacamole. Lazy because I mix the refried beans straight into the taco meat. This way you can use it as taco or burrito filling.

You'll need:

1lb ground turkey 90/10
1/4 cup chili powder (or to taste, we like a lot!)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbs dried onion (or 1/2 white onion chopped if I have time)
1 can refried or black beans

Cook the first 6 ingredients together until fully browned and then add either a can of low-fat refried beans or a can of black beans - drained well.

Guacamole!

3 large, ripe avocados
1/2 purple onion finely chopped
Cilantro - big handful, roughly chopped
2 medium tomatoes
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp powdered garlic
1/2 lime, juiced

I am very hands on with this recipe, so wash your hands very well before proceeding! Scoop the avocados into a medium bowl and add the chopped onions, salt, and garlic powder. (If the kid isn't eating the guacamole I w…

A many meal kind of day

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Back when I worked full-time I would prep and/or cook all my food for the week ahead on Sundays. When my son was a baby this time also included making his baby food and freezing it into portions for the week.
Today I decided that we have been eating out far too much and the main reason is because I've gotten lazy. Lazy in that I not only had no food prepared, but no food in the house! So today I revisited an old habit and revisited some recipes I haven't made in a long while. This week's menu is:

Monday - easy chicken enchiladas
Tuesday - beef burritos with guacamole
Wednesday - spaghetti with garlic bread
Thursday - crockpot chicken chili

Although I made all these meals today, I will be adding the recipes as the week progresses. Tonight's recipe is for easy chicken enchiladas with sour cream/green chili sauce. My family does not like corn tortillas, well I should say that I am outvoted 2-1 on flour vs. corn tortillas!

Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream/Green Chili Sau…

Ornament Party & Traditions

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Nineteen years ago I started a girls only party in my 620 sq ft apartment. Somehow we all fit in there and had a blast. I remember having to open the windows and turn on the air conditioner because of all the...well...hot air! The party had a few rules associated with it. First you had to bring a wrapped Christmas ornament, one that you yourself might like, and also bring your favorite holiday food. There were probably 10-15 girls at that first party and we unknowingly started a tradition that lasts to this day.
The first party was held on a Thursday night because we were all single and didn't want to 'waste' a weekend night. That reason seems funny to us now, but just try to change the day of the party and there would be mutiny!
Since that first party I have moved countless times, (I was an apartment hopper) until finally settling into my first house post-marriage. We're on our second house and so much has changed, but the party remains the same.
The weather here in t…

The easiest & best fudge you will ever make!

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I have been making this fudge for quite some time and give out the recipe all the time. Anytime I do I feel guilty because it is insanely easy to make! (Even easier to eat, trust me)

You'll need:
3 cups of chocolate chips - I've used semi-sweet & dark, it's your preference 1 can condensed milk 4 tbsp butter - trust me, use real butter 1 tsp vanilla 1/4 tsp salt  Aluminum foil 8X8 pan
Line your 8X8 pan with foil and lightly spray it with a non-stick spray
Basic recipe:
Put 3 cups of chips, full can of condensed milk and 4 tbs butter cut into smaller chunks.  Microwave these 3 for 1 minute, no longer of the chocolate can scorch  Remove from microwave and stir like crazy until all ingredients are blended. Mix in 1 tsp of vanilla and 1/4 tsp salt. 
Pour this mixture into the lined pan and chill for 2 hours. After chilled turn the pan over, peel away the foil and cut the fudge into small portions. Trust me, this fudge is very rich and you do not want big brownie-sized piece…

Thanksgiving 2014

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Day Before Thanksgiving Haiku:
My shopping is done Kroger cannot lure me now Time for gluttony
I love Thanksgiving for so many reasons, but the biggest one is that I love to cook. I am not a good baker, but a savory cook? I hold my own.
This year's menu:
Chorizo cornbread stuffed turkey English peas (aka rich man peas*) Mashed potatoes/pan dripping gravy Yeast rolls Orange/Cranberry sauce Italian stuffed mushrooms
The recipe for the chorizo cornbread stuffing was one that started with a recipe I found online and over the years I have made it my own. The key is the chorizo. Never use chorizo bought at a chain grocery store...unless you're in Mexico! I go to an awesome little taqueria in a town close by and as a bonus I usually grab some of the best baked goods around. The other important thing I learned after sharing with my sister, is that chorizo is different. She lives in the NE and when she bought chorizo it was Portugese. The Portugese chorizo is more like a hard sausage i…

Downward slide to 50?

Random thoughts on the day of my birth, or would that be anniversary of my birth? Either way I didn't do any of the work, thanks mom!
I admit that I didn't know that being 46 would feel like this. I'm not sure what I thought it would 'feel' like, but I can assure you that when I was 18 I thought 46 would be all about early-bird specials and comfortable shoes. OK, one out of two as comfortable shoes do win the battle 99% of the time.
The beauty of aging is that the things that once were vitally important somehow faded away into things that truly are important.
I had a great conversation this morning with a dear friend about 'first world problems' and how we all need and have reality checks throughout our lives but don't always pay attention to them. This particular friend recently beat cancer. <I'll let that one sink in for my 18 yr old self because I bet she wouldn't have been able to wrap her head around a friend being that kind of sick.>

I'm sexy and I know it

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The perfect woman

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I have achieved many things in my life, but a few days ago I acheived Perfect Woman status...I lost my voice! Now please don't go all feminist on me, this is just a little joke. I'd say the same thing about the Perfect Man if *any* of the guys in my life lost their voices.

So this weekend I am 'going to ground' as they say. My guys are out camping and I am home with the pooches, some hot toddys, ranch bean soup, and NyQuil. Oh and my Roku for some serious TV watching.
Marathons they're called. I find that phrase to be very funny. We as a society have taken something as completely crazy healthy as a marathon and turned it into a way to describe sitting on the couch (or snuggled in bed), watching hours and hours of TV.  'Merica!

"What's Ranch bean soup?" you ask in what has to be a Yankee accent. Why am I being a geographist? It's only because I think that Ranch Bean Soup has to be unique to the south. Maybe I'm wrong as it has no Velveeta i…

The South and Snow

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I posted on FB today that my application to be a Southerner was revoked because it snowed and I only had a 1/2 a loaf of bread in the house. Only someone who lives in or has lived in the south could understand that there is an element of truth to in that statement. The truth comes in the fact that if you were not born a southerner...well you will just never really be one!
I myself am a geographic bastard because I am an Air Force brat. I was born in Oklahoma, but was only there for 2 months. My joke is that I saw everything there was to see and crawled out on my own. No offense to Oklahoma at all, I have had great times in OK, it just wasn't in the cards for me to stay long there or anywhere really. But now onto southerners...

Southerners have a love/hate relationship with snow. I came from the north where snow is just a part of winter. You deal with it the best you can, but you never let it hinder your day to day life. If it ever closes things down it's not so much snow as i…

Ironic Canner?

A friend and I went to a new coffee shop today and had our normal gal-talk thing going on. Today it so happened that I brought along a few items that I had canned and was now gifting/sharing with her. We started talking about how "in" canning is right now and I jokingly said that I was doing it ironically. OK, truth be told I also said I was going to grow a mustache ironically, but I think we all know that happens after 35 anyhow.  So then the Ironic Canner was born. I have a lot to say and not a lot of places to say them in. This just may be the spot after all!
So the coffee shop was Cafe Brunnelle and I have to say that I really enjoyed not only my company, but also my perfect temperature Tokyo Tea Latte. And the chocolate croissant wasn't too shabby either. 
I will discuss the canning aspect of me soon as I get more comfortable with this. I have been making a lot of flavored extracts and if we are friends you now know what you're probably getting for Christmas!