Thursday, December 31, 2009


I forgot to mention the FREE webstream of IHOP's ONETHING '09 conference. Doh!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pressing on

Moving toward a new year is such a nice feeling. It feels good to look forward to the start of a new thing-even if it's just a new calendar!

Christmas is slowly disappearing around here. I took the decorations of the tree today. I'm going to let the lights and popcorn up until tomorrow or the next day. Mostly because I don't feel like dealing with the mess right now, but also because I have enjoyed having a REAL tree indoors. I never really cared for a Christmas tree before, but now that we've gotten a real one, I don't see how I could ever go back to a pre-lighted fake one! I have even reconciled the "religious implications" of it all. (I won't elaborate any further though)

I am even looking forward to picking up school again. We ended up taking a very long Christmas break. As in_the_whole_month_of_December!!! I know!!!! I can't believe I did it either!

I am so ready for things to be back to normal. I leave you with this:

"...but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus..." -Phil 3:12b,13

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day

Ahhhh...December 26th. The day when the presents have all been unwrapped, too much sugar is consumed, and children never change out of their pj's.

I hate it!

December 26th always, inevitably, lets me feeling low.

Most people are with their families, enjoying one another. I am home alone! I HATE being alone for such long stretches of time.

All in all though I can't complain. I woke up feeling just fine. Spent the day feeling content with our holiday. Even felt sorry the whole season is drawing to a close. Then i fell asleep for 2 hours.

One would think a nap is a good thing...They always make me feel crabby. I hate sleeping the day away like that. Especially when I wake up to an empty house and friends that are too busy to visit. There really is nothing constructive to do at 11 pm!

And now I will be up until wayyy after midnight. Ergh.

But really, the Holiday was NICE! (focus on the positive. FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE!)

Ahhh...breathing a little better.

See you next week. Until then, enjoy being with your families!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!

I'm busy gathering my cookie recipes. I'm looking for an Italian snowball cookie recipe. I haven't found one that looks exactly right yet. I found a few others that come close though. I'm also not sure which spice cookie to make. (maybe both?!) I'm also going to make a sugar free oatmeal cookie for a friend, but realized that I don't have any old-fashioned oats. I was hoping I wouldn't have to go to the store!

Soft Gingersnaps
* 1 1/2 cups butter (no substitutes), softened
* 2 cups sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup molasses
* 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* Additional sugar

1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and nutmeg; gradually add to creamed mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
2. Roll into 1-in. balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-12 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks.

Molasses Sugar Cookies
* 1 1/2 cups shortening
* 2 cups white sugar
* 1/2 cup molasses
* 2 eggs
* 4 cups all-purpose flour
* 4 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon salt

1. Melt the shortening in a large pan on the stove, and cool.
2. Add sugar, eggs, and molasses, beat well.
3. In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients together and add to the pan. Mix well and chill 3 hours or overnight.
4. Form into walnut-size balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 8-10 minutes.
6. Store in an airtight container to keep from getting overly crisp. If they do lose their softness, an easy way to restore it is to place one slice of fresh bread in the container with the cookies for a couple of hours or overnight and they will be soft again!

Walnut Balls
* 1 cup(s) (2 sticks) butter (no substitutions), softened
* 6 tablespoon(s) granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
* 2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
* 1/8 teaspoon(s) salt
* 1 bag(s) (8-ounce) walnuts, chopped
* 1 1/4 cup(s) confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla until creamy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in flour and salt just until blended, occasionally scraping bowl. Stir in walnuts.
2. Shape dough by rounded measuring teaspoons into 1-inch balls. Place balls, 1 inch apart, on ungreased large cookie sheet. Bake cookies 13 to 15 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned.
3. Place confectioners' sugar in pie plate. While cookies are hot, with metal spatula, transfer 4 or 5 cookies at a time to pie plate with confectioners' sugar. Gently turn cookies with fork to generously coat with sugar. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
4. Repeat with remaining dough and confectioners' sugar. Store cookies in tightly covered container at room temperature up to 1 week or in freezer up to 3 months. Dust with additional confectioners' sugar before serving if you like.

Mexican Wedding Cookies
You'll just have to click over to the link.

Italian Snowball Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

½ cup confectioners' sugar plus more for rolling cookies

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

½ cup finally chopped nuts (almond, walnuts or pecans all work fine)

2 cups sifted all purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla and almond extract until well combined. Add chopped nuts and mix well. Stir in the flour and salt until a firm dough is formed. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until set but not browned, 10 - 12 minutes. Try not to overcook these! Cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes and then roll in the confectioners' sugar.

Eggnog To try

I'm still working on gathering the recipes I want to try. This is another one I've had my eye on! I love eggnog, but store bought is just waaaayyy too high in sugar. This one looks good!

Keeper of the Home's Eggnog Recipe
6 beaten egg yolks (free range is best)

2 1/4 cups whole milk (raw, if available)

1/3 cup unrefined sugar, like Rapadura or Sucanat (I bet Coconut/Palm sugar would also work, though I haven't tried it)

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup whipping cream (avoid ultra-pasteurized)

2 Tbsp unrefined sugar, or 1 Tbsp honey, or a few drops or maybe 1/2 packet of Stevia (just enough to add a touch of sweetness)

Ground nutmeg

(Note: You may want to begin the recipe the day before you want the egg nog- it's an easy recipe, but does need time to chill properly)

1) In a medium pot, mix the egg yolks, milk and the 1/3 cup sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture just coats a metal spoon (see photo). Remove from heat. Place pot in a sink or bowl of ice water and stir for 2 minutes to cool mixture off a little. Stir in vanilla. Cover and chill for 4-24 hours.

2) When you're ready to serve:
Beat the whipping cream and 2 Tbsp of sugar (or sugar alternative) until soft peaks form.

3) Transfer the chilled egg/milk/sugar mixture to a punch bowl. Fold in the whipped cream. Serve immediately. Sprinkle each serving with nutmeg. If you find it a little too thick or too sweet, simply stir in a bit of milk to thin it out.


Hmmm...decisions. I may make Recipe #1 and add a little lemon zest to it. Yum! Recipe #2 sounds good as well!

Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins
Makes 12 regular size muffins
Print recipe only here.

1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint blueberries, rinsed and patted dry
1 teaspoon sugar for blueberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon for blueberries

Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-mold regular size muffin pan with paper muffins cups.

Using a hand mixer, cream butter, sugar, and salt until soft. Add eggs, and mix until light and fluffy. Mix the flour and baking powder together, and stir into the batter, alternating with the milk. Stir in the vanilla. Mix until just incorporated.

This is my mom's tip, and it works beautifully: In a small bowl, sprinkle blueberries with 1 teaspoon each sugar and cinnamon. Gently toss until well coated. Fold into the batter. Spoon batter into the 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops are light gold and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing each muffin and placing on a wire rack to cool.

Blueberry Maple Muffins (w/ oatmeal and streusel )
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1 over ripe banana (mashed)
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1 egg
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup flour
pinch cinnamon
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1. Mix the brown sugar, maple syrup, yogurt, banana, butter, egg and rolled oats in a bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes.
2. Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients along with the blueberries until just mixed.
4. Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin pan.
5. Mix the pecans, flour, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter until they form crumbs.
6. Spoon some of the streusel onto the muffins.
7. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for about 20 minutes.

Christmas Menu Planning

I'm typing it up here so I don't have to print. Maybe it will be helpful to someone else. (recipes follow)


Quiche Lorraine (prebake)
Blueberry...? (Muffins maybe.)
Sparkling Juice
Coffee or Tea

Evening Feast
Peking Duck
Sweet Potato casserole
Collard greens
Fuzhou Noodles OR Mac-n-Cheese (made w/ Dreamfields Penne)

Cookies, ice cream/ root beer Floats

Quiche Lorraine
Refrigerated Pie Crust (or make your own...but why bother?)

4 large eggs
2 cups whipping cream or half-and-half
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled (1/2 cup)
1/2-1 whole red bell pepper depending on taste (chopped, and excess moisture squeezed through paper towel)
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (4 oz)
4 Tbsp chopped green onion or chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
grape tomatoes divided in half (for garnish)

Heat oven to 425. Line pie pan or quiche pan with pie crusts. Cover entire crust with double layer of foil. Bake 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake additional 2-4 minutes until pastry begins to brown and set.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs, cream, salt and pepper together.

When crust is ready add bacon, bell pepper, cheese, onions to the pastry. Pour egg mixture over. Garnish with tomatoes and red pepper.

Reduce heat to 325 and bake 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted into center come out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Coming Soon....


I just went through some of my archives. I found a few posts that I simply luv. Since I have been in a bloggy drought for quite a while, I've decided to re-run some of the posts. Maybe I will recapture some of the bloggy mojo.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hair really is a great insultator!

Oh, I know you are wondering....What is she talking about?

Well isn't it obvious? Haircuts!

I have had long, long hair for the past 4 or so years. Hair long enough to sit on. Last year I cut it up to my hips to help it look healthier. Today I snapped. I whacked my hair off, y'all!

My had been bothering me for the past few weeks. I'm not sure if it was because I had switched shampoos or the age of the hair just starting to show but every time I tried to wash or brush or touch my hair I found it to be tangled and knotty. So today, I just decided it was time to let it go.

Whack! I new year, a new me.

One problem. My back is now incredibly cold! Brrr!!!!

And for the record, my hair would probably still be considered by most as long. It's just short to those of us that are used to having it down past our wastes.

Pictures to come???

Thursday, December 17, 2009

7 days and counting

Do yall SEE the date on the calendar? I can hardly believe that we are so close to Christmas and another new year!!

I have gotten quite a bit accomplished this past week. We went and picked out our family's first live tree. Which was an adventure in itself! (maybe a future post??)
I finished up my Christmas shopping and completed a sewing project I wanted to do. I only have to wrap presents for The Girls. I feel so...accomplished!

With 7 days left until Christmas I find myself not having to hustle to the store and best of all worrying if what I want will be there when I finally arrive.

Now if only I had managed to have some Christmas money laid aside (like I usually do!) I would have more than a few nickles to rub together. Not to worry though. Everything is purchased, and I have no errands to run, so money (or a lack of it) should not be a problem! If worse comes to worse I can always take a bit out of savings to tide me over.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope to do some baking over the next week and enjoy reading some blogs. (maybe even do a baking post??)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Decking the halls with????

It's the most wonderful time of the year....

Sort of. I would say that I am in luv with the music that surrounds this season. I am also quite fond of cookies and eggnog (except this year) but other than that? Yeah. Not so much.

Okay, don't shoot me. I know I am probably considered weird because I don't go ga-ga over Christmas. There are no boughs of holly, no lights, tinsel or silver bells hangin' round my house.

I started the season well. Oh, yes I did. I felt very Christmasy about a week or 2 before Thanksgiving. I felt like singing Christmas songs and doing a little shopping.

So I started singing some songs, playing a few cd's...Then it happened. I went shopping.

That ruined it. Kinda sucked the Christmas joy right out of me. Why? Perhaps it is because things are over priced, or maybe junk or EVEN ...over priced junk. Or maybe it's because shopping reminds me that my once Little Girls are quickly growing up.

I'll never tell.

Here's hoping I'll soon be infected with a little holiday cheer. Otherwise, this may be a year without a Christmas.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Happy New Year?!

I sometimes pick the most unusual times to do things. For example, deciding to totally gut and clean my bedroom at midnight. So it probably wouldn't shock you that at the peak of Sweet Season, I have given up sugar.

I don't really know exactly what possessed me to start when I did, but I just woke up one day and decided that day would be the day I would start toward getting my health back. Other areas in my life have been going so well, and one of the few remaining obstacles to my complete "happiness heaven" was my health.

For 6 years I had ignored myself, hated myself, and even punished myself for other areas in my life being out of alignment. House messy? no problem-eat a few chips, that'll do it! Hubs acting crazy? No worries- a bowl of ice cream will "show" him!

I wasn't really fooling myself. Instead, I chose to turn a blind eye. However, on October 24th I woke up and said, "Today is the day."

I began my long journey back to health.

Since then I've shaved off 10 pounds. I still have multiples of 10 yet to lose, but I've made a start at least. I've started exercising (at least when my poor knees can stand it!) and I've changed the way my family eats. (again! LOL!)

The road back to health is long, with many twists and turns and potholes hidden therein, but I've determined to walk it! Let's just call it my New Year's Resolution-two months early!