Thursday, November 30, 2006

Breaking News

Well, guess what? It didn't snow or ice or sleet or anything! Okay, it did thunderstorm and rain, but no freezing stuff. Arctic Blast, my ass. That's what they were calling it, Arctic Blast, with the dramatic music, special graphics and all. I'm probably going to get killed by a giant snowball or something some day because they cried wolf again and I didn't listen. Heh, death by snowball. At least it would make a good news story...

"Friends and family told Fox News they don't know why she didn't listen to all the warnings. We found her lifeless body outside under a giant snowball, dressed in shorts, a halter top, and flip-flops."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Run For Your Lives!

She's telling you how clean and fresh she is. Yes, I bathed her AND went to the grocery store. The other two are hiding for fear they are next.
I felt like I had to go to the store because we have a Blue Norther comin' in tonight: thunderstorms, freezing precipitation, snow, sleet, ice, bowling balls, cats & dogs, (don't step in a poodle) etc. You'd think the world was coming to an end with all the drama on the news. Every 15 minutes they break into TV programming with this dramatic, Phantom of the Opera, we're-all-going-to-die music, and give the weather report. This is what we've been hearing all day:
"It's freezing in Wichita Falls! The temperature dropped 30 degrees in five seconds! Now it's really cold and raining west of us! You Fort Worth people batten down the hatches, locate your children, and seal yourselves in your houses! Stock up on groceries, batteries, bottles of water, and first aid kits! No, it's not a terrorist attack. It's going to snow! Maybe."
People just plain panic around here when they think it might snow. Then they get in their cars and drive like maniacs and wonder why they are sitting in a ditch with their hair and a tooth stuck in the windshield. If I can thaw myself out and chip myself out of the ice that is going to take over the earth tonight, I'll talk at ya tomorrow.

Granny's Fresh Banana Cake

Fresh Banana Cake

Why don't I just call this a food blog and get it over with? I post more food pictures and recipes. I didn't mean for things to be this way, but whatevah. You get what you get.

This is my first attempt at making my Granny's famous banana cake. At first I didn't think I got the icing right, but it's starting to firm up and crystalize like it's supposed to. We'll see when I have a piece later this evening.

If I get really ambitious, I may enter this cake in the Texas State Fair next year. I always forget that you have to do that sometime in the summer, even though the fair isn't until September. Please stand by whilst I go look on their website for the date I have to do that and put it in my calendar. If I don't do it now, I'll forget.

Okay, I'm back. I have to check back in June for the information. I've got it on my calendar now so I won't forget. I printed out last year's rules and info just so I'd have an idea what to expect. The rules can't change that much from year to year.

What else is going on? Hmmm. Well, I've had two contractors come and bid on the painting job. Actually, I have one bid, and the other guy is coming back in the morning with his. I thought that faux painting jobs would be really expensive, but it's not too bad. It's definitely worth it to not have to buy all the stuff and break my back. Looks like it will be done before Christmas, whoever I go with.

I haven't had any work since the Monday before Thanksgiving. I'm loving it and luxuriating in all this free time. Then I have moments where I get paranoid and freak out thinking I've pissed all my regular people off and they all hate me, and that's why they're not calling. I get over those moments pretty quickly though. Being paranoid is hard work.

I think I'm going to go now and give Phoebe a bath. If I have any energy left when I'm done, I'll do one of the other dogs too. I've already baked a cake, had a meeting with a contractor, cleaned out my refrigerator AND my closet, and it's only 2:45! There's no sense in getting all crazy. Maybe I'll just go lay down.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Grits To Die For

Cheesy Grits
Store Brand Grits

Oh my Gee-od, these are good, y'all! You've got to try them. I got this recipe out of a recent issue of Southern Living Magazine. They're even better than I thought they'd be.
Cheesy Baked Grits
4 BIG servings

½ cup uncooked quick grits
8oz Velveeta, cubed
¼ cup butter
3 large eggs
2 tbsp milk
¼ tsp salt

Prepare ½ cup grits according to package directions; remove from heat and stir in cheese & butter until blended.

Whisk together eggs, milk, and salt. Gradually whisk about ¼ of hot grits mixture into egg mixture; add to the remaining hot grits mixture, whisking constantly. Spoon mixture into a small casserole dish sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 degrees 30-40 minutes or until set. Test with a knife. If it comes out clean, grits are ready.

This is half of the original recipe. You can double it easily to serve 8 people, use a 13 x 9 pan and bake 40-50 minutes. The recipe in the magazine said it reheats well. Leftovers, yum.

THIS SO GOOD!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Product Review: Eucerin Facial

I finally found a daily moisturizer for under my make-up that I really like. It's not greasy at all, and it has SPF 30. I paid about $8 at the drugstore. I had trouble finding this particular product. I got worried when they didn't have it at Target or Wal-Mart. Nearly everybody carried several different kinds of Eucerin lotions but not this one specifically for your face. I finally found it at Walgreen's Drugstore. When I find something I like, they usually stop making it. I guess I should go back and buy them all up. Nah. I'm such a product Ho, I'll probably find another one I want to try and fall in love with. Yes, I'm a product Ho. You've probably all figured that out by now.

I'm going shopping with my Mom today after lunch. She has a couple of specific things she's looking for that are on sale, plus, we have coupons for even more off. Did you know that Bed, Bath & Beyond will take those 20% off coupons they send out all the time even after they expire? They also will take up to 5 at a time, and will take their competitor's coupons too (Linens & Things is their competitor around here). Last time I was there, the lady that checked us out told me all of this. I wish I'd known sooner! I could have saved bunches on all those damn curtains.

Later.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wall Colors

I've been staring at these color pallets for two days trying to make up my mind about which color and technique to use in the "parlor" pictured below. I absolutely hate white walls. Most of the other walls in my house are a brown tone of one shade or another. These one won't be much different. We're rarely ever in this room, but it's the first thing you see when you walk in and look to the left so it's got to be purdy. Wall color is the one thing you can change that makes a dramatic difference in the look and feel of a room.
See that blue rocking chair in the far corner? That is the "Death Chair." It was named so because I have a great, great Aunt Essie who died in that chair. Sorry if you think that's gross or irreverent or inappropriate to name her chair that, but I don't. I'm going to have it reupolstered soon -- you guessed it -- in a brown print of some kind. The telephone hanging on the wall belonged to my grandfather. That was the phone they actually used way back when. My mom had it in her house for a long time, and then she gave it to me when Barnaby and I got married. There's normally lots of other stuff on those walls, but since I'm fixin' to paint, I'm not hanging anything back up. Oh, and those curtains will be hemmed and on a tension rod inside the window. They're not finished yet.
View from the opposite side of the room. These walls need color! Wait until you see the difference it makes. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Food

Turkey & Dressing Roll-Ups
Cranberries, Jellied & Fresh
Candied Sweet Taters

7 lbs of Mashed Potatoes
Mom got in the way
I can't believe I forgot to take pictures of the dessert. Oh well. Not pictured are the Deviled Eggs, Autumn Apple Salad, Pea Salad, Pumpkin Pies, Pecan Pie, Blueberry Dessert & a Pumpkin Roll. Also not pictured are the people. Not everyone wants to be an Internet star.

Thanksgiving 2006

Be Thankful
I had to steal this picture because I really like it. Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving with your family and friends.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Box Hos & Monkeys

I’m an empty box hoarder. I’m sitting here looking at two that I got in the mail this week. Any time I have an empty box, I CANNOT just throw it away. My thinking is that the box will be perfect to mail something in. People, I rarely ever mail a box of anything – maybe once or twice a year, if that. Barnaby always makes fun of me for saving so many boxes. He just convinced me not long ago to throw out a bunch that were stacked in the hall closet, in the extra bedroom closet, and in our master bedroom closet. There must have been 20 boxes just sitting there, the perfect size, perfect shape, perfect color, perfect perfect perfect! Now the process has started all over again, and I’m sure by the end of December I’ll have 12 more he’ll have to pry out of my possession and throw away. I’m afraid I’ll need to mail something and won’t have a box to put it in. Panic! Pandemonium! Where shall I ever find a cardboard box??? Gah! I’m stressed just thinking about it, even though I know it’s silly.
The Monkey Tattoo
Simple...I like it.
Speaking of simple...
Some things are so simple. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this on my own. I was reading one of the many magazines I read a few months back and came to a page that had tips from different readers about various things like house cleaning, organizing, et cetera. One of the tips someone submitted was to keep an empty laundry basket in the back seat or trunk of your car. When you go to the grocery store or wherever, throw all of your bags in the basket. When you get home, throw your purse in the basket and carry the whole thing in. Genius! See how simple that is? I went to the Dollar Store and bought a cheap basket and immediately started using it to carry everything in. I can’t believe how much I’ve appreciated that basket since keeping it in the car. After I empty it, I just sit it by the garage door and take it out the next time I leave. The other day I was waiting in line at the drive-through at Starbucks and started throwing all the trash into that empty basket in the back seat. Then I cleaned out my purse of all the trash, and even cleaned out the glove compartment. When I got home, I just grabbed the basket and emptied it into the trash. Try it! You’ll like it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Enough With the Candy

Peanut Butter Crunch Candy

I made the candy and, indeed, it has the taste and texture of a Butterfinger candy bar. It was really easy. I didn't have any molasses, so I used 2 tbsp of brown sugar. It didn't seem to mess anything up. Credit goes to: Cookie Madness. Here's the recipe:

Peanut Butter Crunch Candy

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons molasses
12 ounces of milk chocolate (or dark, your choice)
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Butter an 8 inch pan or line it with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar, water, corn syrup and molasses. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Place your deep fry thermometer in the pan. Cook the sugar mixture over medium heat until it reaches 310 degrees F. Do not stir.

While mixture cooks, place your peanut butter in a microwave-safe mixing bowl. Microwave peanut butter on high for 30 seconds and stir so that peanut butter is soft.

When sugar mixture hits 310 degrees (no sooner), pour the sugar mixture into the peanut butter mixture and stir until blended. Quickly pour into lined pan and spread out to edges. Let cool for about a minute, then score (do not cut all the way through) the candy into 1-inch or larger squares. Let cool completely. Melt chocolate in microwave and drizzle on top. Let dry and remove from pan to break apart.

A few pictures:

My Buddy, L.B.

A Rose (Well, Duh)
Baby Rose & Momma Rose in Our Yard

My Butt Dangler, L.B.
Spider House

The big dogs would not sit still for a good picture. Maybe I can get them another day.

There is No Title

What Thanksgiving Should Look Like

I'm going to get crackin' on my part of the Thanksgiving baking today. I'm going to make two pumpkin pies, jello salad and some peanut butter crunch candy. Supposedly this candy taste just like Butterfinger candy bars. I'll let you know if it's true and snap a photo or two. I'll make the turkey & dressing rolls tomorrow, and the candied sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving morning.

Work is slow this week so far -- thank goodness. I'm looking forward to four days off starting Thursday. Barnaby and I are planning to go play poker next Tuesday whether I have work or not. I'm looking forward to that too.

We're going to be in the high 70s the rest of the week. Seems like it's always warm on Thanksgiving around here. How are we supposed to get in a festive holiday mood when it's nearly 80 outside? I hate that.

I'm off to bake and take pictures to entertain you. That's right. I'm such a giver.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

It's Over

Jimmie Johnson
2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion

There's no one who would be a better Champion and representative of NASCAR. Now what am I gonna do on Sunday's until the end of February?? Guess I'll have to be productive now.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Goodies for Soldiers





My sister, Beanie, and my mom came over this morning and we made candy all morning and half the afternoon. My mom had already spent yesterday baking nine dozen cookies. We packed it all up and Beanie is shipping it to her friend, Lonnie, over in Iraq. He plans to share it, so we packed each type of candy and cookie in a separate snack-size baggie. There was three boxes of goodies! Here's what we sent:

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chewy Toffee Cookies
Almond Cookies
Chocolate Fudge
Chocolate Frosted Toffee
Puppy Chow Candy
Pecan Pralines
Peppermint Bark

It was great fun making all the candy. After my mom and Beanie left, I made some Skillet Fudge for Barnaby and me. He was all boo-boo lipped when he found out none of the candy we had made was staying here, so I made him some of his very own. I'm sure he'll end up taking whatever is left after the weekend to work. We'll be sick of it by then.

I have a monster headache right now, so I'm going to go nurse it with an ice pack and some Goody's Powder (Yuck!). I bet it was all that sugar. Ya think? I had to make sure it was fit to give!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Stuff

Jimmie Johnson

-----------------------------------------------------

I've been in the mood to bake everything and anything lately. I made some great toffee last weekend, and have a hankering to make some more candy. I'll give most of it away, and keep just a little here. Making it is the fun part. If anybody has any good candy recipes, please send them to me at this email address. Include your address and I'll send you a package of goodies in the mail. I'm assuming 10,000 people don't read this blog. I could be in trouble.

I made a Bacon Cheese Ball last night. I tried a little bit last night, and it was delicious. I found another recipe for a cheese ball with raspberry preserves. I can't wait to try that one. It sounds different and scrumptious. I'm trying out all these appetizer recipes because that's what we're doing for Christmas this year instead of a big dinner. Here's the recipe for the one I made last night.

Bacon Cheese Ball

1 lb bacon, cooked & crumbled
2-8oz packages cream cheese (light if you want)
2 green onions, chopped
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Mix all and form two balls. Refrigerate overnight. Roll in pecans before serving with crackers of your choice. Optional: I thought the balls (hee!) were too sticky, so I added 1 cup of shredded cheddar and it held together much better.

--------------------------------------------------

I'm doing laundry and working at the same time today. Sunday is the last NASCAR race of the season (wah), and I don't want to do laundry that day. I'm pulling for Jimmie Johnson, but I like all of the top five and wouldn't mind any of them winning it. Except Matt Kenseth is boring and has no personality so he's at the bottom of the list. Go Jimmie!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

No Tattoo Pic

The tattoo pictures will have to wait. I took some last night and they look gross because it hasn't had time to completely heal yet. The skin is all crackly looking and ick. Who wants to see THAT? More later...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More Windows

It's me again. I'm still screwing off and haven't done any work. The things I do for you people! Here are a view pictures for ya.
"Parlor" window with new lace curtains. My mom hemmed them and put a pocket in the bottom so I could insert them into the window on the top and bottom with tension rods. The flowery curtains on the sides are coming down. I just haven't taken the time to get a giant ladder in here to remove them. I hated those curtains from the day we moved in here. Barnaby is installing shades behind these curtains so you can't see in at night.

This is the 48 x 48 window in my kitchen. I'm still not completely happy with it. That's the third window treatment I've put up in the last month. I think it's the wallpaper that's bugging me. That's coming down eventually, and I'm going to paint some kind of faux texture in a brown shade. That curtain is hung too high right now because Barnaby installed the rod to suit the first curtains I put in there. He's going to move it down even with the shade behind it. I had a lace balloon shade behind the swags, but it just didn't look right.
That's all of the curtain pictures for now. Are you sick of windows yet? Shut up or I'll start blathering on about Philosophy products again.
My dad came by a couple of days ago and gave me this stuffed dog. Wasn't that sweet?!! I keep him on my desk so I can see him all day while I'm working. He's about a foot tall. I need to think of a name for him. Maybe I'll call him Harry.
Tomorrow I'll post a picture of Barnaby's new tattoo. It's really neat. Hint: He loves monkeys. What?! Did I give it away?

Mush Brain

I know, I know! I need to update more consistently. The thing is, nothing is going on except lots of work coming in (which is great), and when I do have down time, I just want to do nothing and relax. My brain is mush and I'm not very creative, Whatevah.

We had a "cold" front come in last night. (I told you nothing was happening.) The wind is howling out there and blowing 40 mph, and it's dark and cold...cold for here at least. Oooh, I just heard rain hitting my window. Love it!

I've gotta get to work. I may post again later. There's a possibility I'll be finished with work by noon if I get started now. I'm crossing my fingers that nothing else comes in today.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cupcakes & Hissy Fits

Who is smart and resourceful? Why, yes. It's me! I thought this was ingenious. But the more I think about it, it's just simple and doesn't take a brain scientist. (Hee, that's from a movie, but I don't remember which one. It's either brain scientist or rocket surgeon, but I don't remember that either! Gawd, I swear I have the beginnings of Alzheimer's. AND I'm pretty sure the medicine I'm taking has given me ADD after a year of taking it. I'm not kidding about that one. Ooooh, what is that shiny thing over there?!)

Anyway, as you can see, I'm making carrot cake cupcakes (or is it carrot cupcakes?) with cream cheese frosting. I've been craving carrot cake for awhile now. This way, I can just keep a few and give the rest away. People love getting homemade cupcakes. They're one of the things you don't have to count on Weight Watchers. They're made with a cake mix, but you don't use the instructions on the back and you add stuff to the mix, so I'm declaring them homemade.

I'm still obsessed with curtains and shades and windows. My mom took some that I bought the other day to hem them for me. I'm going over there (with cupcakes) to pick them up this afternoon. I went to Lowe's to buy some bamboo shades last night for one window, and they didn't have anybody available who knew how to trim them for me. "He just went to lunch." WHAT?! I wanted to throw a big ol' hissy fit but didn't have the energy, so I just left the GIANT box sitting in front of the customer service desk and walked out in a huff. The last time I threw a bitchy hissy fit there, the store manager gave me a $200 gift card. Yeah, it was a BIG BITCHY HISSY FIT! Anything to shut you up, lady! How embarassing for me. Whatever. They're idiots, and I walked out of there $200 richer, so I didn't care.

I've got to go. I'm having a work emergency. Gah!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Kirstie Is Fantastic

I don't care what anybody says, I think she looks great! And she is so cool for having the guts to do it. Love it! This episode airs on Oprah today.

Back later.







Friday, November 03, 2006

Beanie's Granola

A big shout out to my sista, Beanie, for this great granola recipe. Simple, easy, yummy. Here's the recipe:

Beanie's Granola

2 cups Old Fashioned Oats (not quick)
1 cup slivered almonds (4-oz bag)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine oats and almonds in a large bowl. Drizzle with honey and oil and combine well. Spread out on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake 15-20 minutes until browned. Add any dried fruit you prefer or nothing at all. Keeps several days in a covered container. Sprinkle on top of yogurt for breakfast, on your ice cream for dessert, or eat it right out of the container with a spoon like Miss Piggy.

Yesterday was my berfday. I'm 46. I've got nothin' else for ya. Later.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Book & A Product Review

Amy's book is out. It's a great book and very fun to read. I haven't finished reading mine yet. It's a big book that's packed full of stories, recipes, and fun stuff. Amy is crazy. Don't buy it at a bookstore though. I went to buy it at a bookstore and it was selling for $27.99. It's at Target for $19. I'm sure it's at Walmart and other places like that too for less than publisher's price.

Here's a little exerpt for you from the section about entertaining the grieving:

"We were in the bathtub and I felt a cyst on his good testicle. I insisted on taking him to the hospital even though he protested saying it was nothing. After a thorough exam, it turned out he was right. It was nothing. On the way home he was murdered. I'm not allowed to talk about the case, but I can say this: had I not forced him to go to the hospital, he'd still be alive today."

Great Stuff:
Jergens New Shea Butter Lotion & Cream
I got free samples of this stuff in the mail. They got me. I liked it so much I had to go buy some. The cream is great for your feet. We've got to stay soft ALL OVER, girls.