Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

From my little pumpkin to yours!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Favorites

So, here is the thing that I love so much that I started this weekly series, b/c I felt too silly to write a post devoted to it otherwise!!

My Keychain!!!

Okay, I realize that it is not necessarily "normal" for a person to have what can only be labeled as true love for something as silly as a keychain, but I really do love it.

To help shed some light on why I like it so much, here is a contrast:

My Purse

I have what you might call "boy Scout syndrome" being that I feel the need to be prepared for everything. That is why I have my huge "mom purse" --it really does have anything I could possibly need: medicine, wipes, q-tips and band aids, a bit of makeup, coupon & receipt organizers, a mini lysol spray bottle, day planner, and who knows what else!

My keychain, on the other hand, has everything that I actually need: chapstick, a fingernail clipper, a mini bottle of hand sanitizer, mini cards for store memberships, and a card holder for my driver's liscense, credit cards, & insurance cards--oh, and keys ;) (the only thing that could make it better is to have a way to attach my cell phone!)

When I want to run somewhere without lugging my huge heavy purse, I can just leave it in the car and know that I have everything I need! And I know that I'm never going to get caught driving without my liscense, proof of insurance, or money to get gas b/c it's attached to my car keys!

What about you? Do you have any tools that you depend on?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh NO!!

So I totally forgot to do the Daring Bakers assignment!! Or, more accurately, I forgot that today was the due date. I was planning to do them this weekend. boo. I still want to try my hand at french macaroons, but don't know when I'll make it happen. They are just so lovely...

If you are interested in how they are made be sure to check out the challenge hostess (Ami)'s site and Helen of Tartlette seems to be the unanimous blog queen when it comes to the art of macaroon making.

TWD: Cherry fudge brownie torte

This week's TWD assignment was chosen by April of Short + Rose

I was really excited about this one, #1 because I have not had luck making brownies from scratch, and even though these are not normal brownies, I found a great new recipe; and #2 I LOVE the brownie/cherry combo!

I halved the recipe b/c I knew that this is one that hubs wouldn't be into. I thought it came out very delicious, and the mousse on top had a white-chocolate flavor to me, even though the main ingredients were marscapone, cream cheese, & cream. I didn't have any kirsch, so I used some rum that I had on hand from making tiramisu previously, and I was not able to flambe the rum-soaked cherries--most of the alcohol had evaporated before I was able to make it over w/my skewer and get it lit!

I forgot to take it to work today, but I'm gonna take the rest to the office tomorrow so that I don't have this decadent torte sitting in the fridge calling my name! (I did exercise today though! yay me!)

And b/c I can't resist, here is a very sad bulldog b/c her parents had to go back to work after a super fun weekend

she kinda melts into the couch

Thanks for the pick April, and if anyone wants the recipe, be sure to check out her blog or buy Dorie's book (b/c it's super fabulous)

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I have had lots of dreams about spiders lately (and by lately, I mean since I got sick in 2007, but increasingly more frequent).

Now I'm not scared of spiders in real life at all. I am the "bug killer" in my house--while hubs runs shrieking from them (truly not much of an exaggeration at all) I calmly grab something with which to smush them and calm my husband. I even picked up a black widow earlier this year (not really on purpose though...)

But I'm very confused about the spiders in my dreams. They have been a source of sleep walking and sleep talking apparently. The first incident that I've ever had when I've gotten out of bed in my sleep was very shortly after I got epstein barr in '07. I woke up and I was standing on my tip-toes in the corner of my bedroom whimpering about the spiders. weird. Then later that year I had another dream where I was trying to step over spiders, and ended up stepping (or falling) right into a pile of junk including a mirror and hubs' fan, and then crawling back into bed before completely waking up and realizing that I was in pain!! More recently I have crawled across the floor and woken up by the loveseat in our bedroom trying to kill spiders on the floor, and one time I jumped out of bed and fell back into my nightstand...

Come to think of it...I'm not the only one affected by this--hubs had a sleep-crouching incident where I woke up to him crouching on the floor in front of the bathroom muttering about spiders...

And then there was last night...I didn't get out of bed this time, but I sat straight up--I remember the dream well...I was lying in my bed and all these spiders started streaming from the corner of the room and then I realized that there were brown recluse spiders in the bed, so I felt that I needed to get up and wake up my husband and kill the spiders. Apparently I screamed out loud and woke hubs up and I was beginning to come out of my sleeping stupor and was trying to explain to him what I was doing (trying to kill the spiders of course!). Well, I must not have been coherent b/c he yelled "SARAH" very loudly which made me want to cry. He said he was just trying to wake me up b/c I was trembling and mumbling incoherently. weird. And as far as I can recollect, I have not taken my sleeping meds on any of the nights that these incidents have happened, so it shouldn't be a side effect.

I wonder why this is becomming a recurring thing in my dreams? And they always seem to be coming out of the corner on my side of the bed...

Know what made me remember this and prompted me to write this post? This super cute themed post from Bakerella! lol. (those are definitely not the spiders in my dreams btw...or I would eat them up!)

Hopefully there will be no spiders in my dreams tonight...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Favorites!

I've decided to start a new series every Friday where I will post about one of my favorite things!

So this post is going to be about....Fridays!!!

Friday is a favorite for most people, being the end of the average working week, but it is especially wonderful for me.

When I got sick w/CFS & fibromyalgia in 2007 I was allowed to drop my work schedule to 4 days a week (which is the same schedule that everyone else in my office already had) and have Fridays off for rest. The schedule really helped me to be able to make it through a normal week without having my symptoms flare up too much, even though I normally start feeling sick by Thursday afternoon. I still get sick during the week sometimes--especially considering how many germs I am constantly exposed to working ina Pediatric doctor's office...but the three day weekend really allows me to recouperate and not be so drained that I can't do anything else during the weekends (like clean!).

I generally spend a good amount of Friday sleeping to be honest. My body is really tired and achy after a crazy work week, and then after that I tend to schedule doctor appointments and occasionally get to spend some time with friends b/c hubs is always filming games on Friday nights.

I am so thankful to have a job that allows flexibility with my schedule and I truly appreciate my favorite day of the week!

What is your favorite day?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the day I should have stayed in bed, or how God can change your perspective

No TWD this week, though Erin's pick of the Sweet potato biscuits looked quite yummy--I even bought an extra sweet potato this week, but oh was not in the cards for me...

Do you ever have one of those days when, from the second you hit the alarm clock, you know that it is not going to be a good day? Well, that is definitely the way that today started off! First off, I'm sick. Apparently trying to push through my yuck-ness and clean on Sunday was a bad choice, and it left me in bed on Monday. I woke up this morning in pain, but didn't want to let work keep piling up so I dragged myself groggily into the shower. After slogging through my morning routine (and taking a quick break to snuggle Butch), I got into the car to finally head to work. As I was backing out of the garage and driveway I heard a huge crash and my car jolted to a stop: I had run into the cement barrier that allows the drainage pipe to run under the driveway.

And then my car was tilted.

I got out to see that I had completely blown my back passenger-side tire. I called the office, debating over coming in late or just calling in altogether, and was told by one of our receptionists that two of the other front staff had already called in that day.

I went in the house, told hubs what happened, and sat on the bed and cried while he went out to look at the car and call my dad for help (my dad is definitely a mister-fix-it; hubs, not so much, but they trade handyman services for computer help). Well, dad is in North Carolina at a conference, so we left the poor little car in the driveway and hubs drove me to work.

I struggle w/depression, and this has definitely been one of those times (I got into a funk a few days ago, but of course this morning brought everything to a head). I have been feeling all "woe is me" lately...sad b/c of the lack of time that hubs and I have been able to spend together due to his work schedule, tired of feeling sick, frustrated about re-gaining some weight I had lost, and just all around mopey. Then I've been having nightmares about all the crazyness that has been happening at the office where I work. I have been grumpy w/hubs when we are together--you know those times when you are just determined to be miserable, even if nothing is really wrong? It's been one of those times.

So hubs was driving me to work, and instead of being thankful for the extra time that we had together, I was just sitting there pouting like Eeyore w/a grey cloud hanging over my head (even when he made a joke that Butch had purposefully pushed my car into the concrete w/her magical bulldog mind powers b/c she wanted me to stay home to cuddle). I got to the office, and though everything went smoothly for being short staffed, I was cranky. When hubs said that he didn't think he could bring me lunch b/c he had to go out of town to a client, I was crabby while I ate the leftover sandwich in the work refridgerator. When my throat started hurting more and the sinus pressure got bad, I just fussed about how I would rather be in bed. I even mentally prepared to write this post and show pictures of how I had hurt my poor little car and how my day was so awful.
And then, when it was finally 5:00 and time to go, hubs called and told me that he was here so I went out the door....and there was my car!! He had taken time out of his day to go buy a tire iron & jack, he had replaced my tire, driven it (still low on air) to Walmart to get it aired up and fixed (they couldn't really fix it b/c apparently I "broke the wheel," not bent the hubcap), and even walked to the mall so he could have something to eat and take care of my car at the same time--and then got a ride from his mom so that he could drop my car at work and then go back home so he could surprise me!

And just like that, my attitude changed. I realized that while I had been moping and complaining and feeling like my husband doesn't love me, I was just completely self-centered. When I grumbled about the sandwich I had for lunch, I should have been thankful that there was still something left over from the catered lunch the day before so that I could have something (free!) to eat! When I was upset about this bad luck w/my car, I should have been grateful that in nearly 10 years of driving that car (which is a 1989!!) this is the most damage that I have ever done to it, and it was all done in the safety of my own driveway! I should be grateful that we even have stable jobs, and that hubs' freelance business is also going so well, and thankful for the free time I have to do things like blog and bake for no reason except that I love doing it.

Now, I'm not trying to be all jolly-Pollyanna--I always want to be real and honest and sometimes life isn't happy, but I just feel grateful. God has blessed us in so many ways that I take forgranted.

My car is still not totally fixed. Hubs still loves sports more than I would like. My job is still crazy. I am still "pleasantly plump"-er than I would like. And my throat still hurts like crap, but perspective can change a lot!

funny story--so apparently when hubs asked them to fix the hubcap which was actually the wheel (which Walmart does not carry replacements for, by the way) they told him to go to a junkyard to try to find one. Hubs called his dad for advice, and his dad apparently had the same thing happent to him once. So....what did he do??? When asked what he did to replace the broken wheel, my father-in-law replied "I got a new car."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

finally accomplished something!

For the past several weeks (okay, really just always) I have been super lazy on the weekends. I always go into it w/great intentions and goals, and then I waste my time away looking at blogs or reading magazines, or just cuddling in my chair w/ butchy! The few times that I actually accomplish things, I usually don't start until 9:00 on Sunday night so I don't have time to do much of anything (as in this post when I only got the front seat of the car cleaned). Well, even though I started this morning feeling pretty miserable (for some reason, now that hubs' allergies have cleared up, mine have hit me in full force) I dedicated myself to finally accomplishing some things! I have been putting off emptying and disinfecting the cat litter box for too long, so that was one of my first tasks, followed by lining the box w/some sifting liners to make that job easier in the future! I also re-organized the laundry room and got together a box of stuff to take to my favorite consignment shop. I really cleaned the kitchen well and washed all the slipcovers and linens, and I watched two movies that were my favorites as a child: Thumbelina & Alice in Wonderland! I also made a dent in my magazine pile and got a lot of recipes logged. I am feeling pretty good about it!

But I still have a TON of things that need to be done. I'm going to post them here in the hope that it will help keep me accountable:

- I need to deep-clean our master bathroom which I am always lazy about b/c no one goes in there but us.
-The spare room has gotten out of control again, so I really have to get to work in there
-The formal living room floor needs a deep cleaning. I have been working on it bit by bit, but it just takes a lot out of me!!
-At some point (who knows when) I need to go through my magazines that I have been keeping forever, and clip out the articles I want and get rid of the rest. I'm thinking I'll get some new thick binders w/sheet protectors to make it easier
-Um, the master bedroom is also a wreck, and I need to go through the clothes that we have kept forever.
-I have a dresser in the garage that desperately needs to be painted when we have the warm front come in next week! Otherwise it will hang out in the garage until spring!

Okay...those are the pressing things that must get done...oh, and sometime I need to clean out the back of my car too!

Now does anyone have some tips on keeping things neat after they are cleaned?

Saturday, October 17, 2009


hubs has returned to our bed!!!

but apparently he came in at 2:30 and I was already asleep...

TWD remixed: Allspice Crumb muffin pudding

After a week in which I baked full recipes of both the TWD allspice muffins & the MSC pumpkin patch cupcakes, I was up to my ears is spiced goodies! This is not a good thing for a lady who is trying to make better choices with my eating habits. I gave away a LOT of the cupcakes, but there were still 4 lonely allspice muffins that had gone kinda stale.

As I have mentioned before, I HATE waste, so just tossing the muffins in the trash was not an option for me. I was lying in bed this morning at the very early time of 8:30 (for me, on a saturday morning, that is VERY early) pondering the muffins. And then it hit me--use them in a bread pudding!!

I adore bread puddings and have a go-to holiday recipe for eggnog bread pudding that I created using my homemade sourdough bread (I will share that later this season). It is oh-so-yummy, and I remembered what a wonderful breakfast it makes on cold mornings! Well, it's 40 degrees outside, and 60 in my house b/c we have not turned on the heat, so I popped out of bed to make a muffin pudding!

a steaming bowl of comfort pudding :)

It came out of the oven warm and bubbly and crisp on top and I must admit that I had seconds!

And here is the (kinda) recipe, I kinda just threw it together, so I'm approximating:

4 muffins (a few days old) from Dorie's Allspice Crumb Muffin recipe (found here) cut into cubes
(I realize that this is not a real "ingredient" for people to have on hand so you could really substitute any kind of stale cinnamon swirl bread, brioche, whatever. Just add some allspice to get the full effect)
approx. 1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.

Butter a 1 quart baking dish and fill with muffin cubes and walnuts.

Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over the bread/nut mixture. Lightly press down the bread cubes with the back of a spoon to make sure that all the bread is covered with the liquid mixture. Leave on the counter for 30 minutes to allow bread to soak up liquid.

Preheat oven to 350', then bake the pudding for 1 hour.

I think it's yummiest right out of the oven!

And for your viewing enjoyment, here is a cold weather bulldog:

sporting the colors of her favorite team: UK

Thursday, October 15, 2009

MSC: Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

For this month's Martha Stewart's Cupcakes Club, Kim from What the Whisk chose the Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes from page 236 of Martha's Cupcakes book.

I made the full recipe even though I probably should have cut it in half considering that I still had some muffins left over f/m the TWD post this week.

I honestly had planned to make the marzipan pumpkins that are displayed in the book, but I wasn't able to make it to the Hobby Lobby in time for it (and even if I had, I definitely wouldn't have made them for every single cupcake! I settled for some cute little pumpkin Wilton cupcake wrappers that I already had on hand.

I thought these were really good...but maybe a tad dry. I used 1 cup of fresh pumpkin that I had recently put up and about 1/2 cup of canned. I also forgot to rotate the pans half way through...For some reason, the cupcakes that were on the top rack had crinkly tops, while the bottom ones were nicely rounded.

left= top rack, right=bottom

I took 2 dozen to work and came home empty-handed, so I think they were a hit!

Funny story: My co-worker Crystal doesn't like cream cheese icing (or anything w/cream cheese really...I know, she's crazy!) so I frosted 3 of them with some homemade buttercream that I had on hand from hubs' birthday. I sprinkled a little dash of pumpkin pie spice on the top of those to distinguish them as "Crystal's" cupcakes. Well one of our new (and very sweet) nurses went in to get a cupcake while I wasn't in my office to let her know that they were "special." Crystal found out about it and spent the rest of the day introducing the nurse to people as the "cupcake thief."

Another interesting thing...Butchy LOVES pumpkin. Everytime that I cook and puree one she can't wait to lick the bowl and utensils (but really...she's like that about most everything...). I ate one after dinner tonight and she kept sniffing the wrapper and trying to get to them on the cake plate. Well, of course I had to capture her cute longing

don't worry...she got close but didn't get any.

Thanks for a great pick Kim!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TWD: Allspice Crumb Muffins

These muffins were super easy and yummy yummy yummy!! A perfect treat for these days that are finally feeling like fall :)

I had honestly not really given these much of a thought. After another CRAZY day at the office I was debating on what to do with my evening, especially since hubs would be gone once again filming a game (and for those of you who may be wondering...we have not had our first frost yet, so he's still sleeping in the other room. boo on him).

These past few months of baking (and eating) have done bad things to my waistline, so once again I am actually making a concentrated effort to eat better and get some exercise in. So I came home from work and immediately took Butch outside for a walk. We stopped to chat w/our neighbor across the street (yes...Butchy talks too) and while we were talking she (Butch, not the neighbor who is a man) squatted and pooped right in his yard!!!! I was so embarrassed. He said it was no big deal and not to bother picking it up, but when our conversation later turned to food I decided that these muffins would make a nice "I'm sorry that my bulldog pooped in your yard" gift. (Also, he said that I look like I've lost weight..and considering that I've gained 5 pounds, that definitely deserves a thank you!--plus it gets some muffins out of my house)

right before going into the oven

The muffins were super quick and easy to throw together. You basically have 3 steps: make the crumb topping, mix the dry ingredients, and mix the wet ingredients (okay...maybe a few more steps: you have to mix the dry and wet ingredients together, fill the muffin cups and top them w/the crumb topping). I didn't have whole milk on hand, so I mixed equal parts heavy cream and non-fat milk together...not sure if it really works right, but they came out fine! I might have over mixed the batter a little bit b/c I kept finding huge bits of dry ingredients that needed to be incorporated, but again, it did not seem to cause any problems.

right out of the oven

Much thanks to Kayte for choosing this perfect fall recipe! Be sure to head over to her blog: Grandma's Kitchen Table for the recipe, and, as always, check out the TWD blogroll to see how everyone else did!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

let's clear something up.

for my 75th(!!) blog post, I would like to clear a little something up. I have been told by many people that I seem older than I am, and that's just fine with me...I have always felt much older than I am and my poor broken body definitely pushes me more in that direction...but I am 25 people!! And look what I got in the mail yesterday:

let's zoom in a bit to be sure you get the target audience of this magazine:

and the rear view:

oh wait...we have age ranges here too...maybe at least thirties would be included?


I guess it's better than last year when I got that advertisement for "final expense life insurance" (you cover your funeral expenses and such) but still... does subscribing to southern living and cooking magazines and collecting dishes officially make me over 40? boo. I haven't even gotten to try to have kids yet!

In happier news, it is officially fall (I know that it really was a few weeks ago, but it's feeling like it now!) and I have baked and pureed my first batch of pumpkin for the year! yay!

Well, I had planned a longer and more fun post for this weekend, but I have too much cleaning to do so we'll have to try again later. Have a great week...and don't forget to act your age!! ;)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

TWD...or not

Fun fact about Sarah: I HATE pudding. I know, I know, I said I'm not picky--and I'm really not-- but something about pudding's texture grosses me out. I am the same way about yogurt. They literally make me gag. Something about the thick globbiness of it. blech. I like bread pudding...I think I just need to be able to kinda chew it...

So when I saw that the TWD assignment for this week was a homemade split-level pudding, I said "no thank you!" From what I've read from others, the pudding is great (if you like pudding) but I was not going to spend time and ingredients on something that I didn't plan to eat--especially when I have cake and brownies left over from hubs' birthday this week! I had planned to try out my idea for re-thinking the cottage cheese pufflets dough f/m a few weeks ago into mini tart shells, but I was just plain tired! Thanks anyway to Garrett of The Flavor of Vanilla--and visit his blog if you're interested in getting the recipe. Also be sure to check the Tuesdays with Dorie blog roll to see how everyone else did.

Now I'm going to be lazy. goodnight!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Nice girls don't let men kiss them until after they're engaged--they don't want the bloom rubbed off"

"Personally, I think I have too much bloom...maybe that's my problem"

-Esther (Judy Garland) & Rose Smith from Meet Me in St. Louis