Sunday, January 31, 2010

Resolution Check in--one month down

Well, we're through the first month of 2010, so it's time to evaluate my progress so far:

1. Improving my overall health. I've lost a total of four pounds this month. Not great, but not awful. Averaging 1 pound per week, but honestly the past two weeks have just been maintaining and it's because I've been inconsistent with my choices: good one day, bad the next. My feet are doing much better--as much as the cortisone shots KILL, they seem to help, so I may just have to suck it up and deal with the excruciating pain for a day or two to have a few weeks or more of being able to function "normally" (for me at least). Since my feet have been doing better, I have also been able to exercise a few times this week which is also a HUGE step forward. I'll make the sacrificing that I need to to keep this up! Now I need to just make better food choices.

2. Be a better steward of our money. Still doing good! I went to TJ Maxx on Saturday after finishing my month end work...I went in with the full intention of buying an enameled cast iron dutch oven (I think I need to buy one of these and intended to get it in order to fry the Pets De Nomme for Chocolate w/Francois...which I ended up not doing) Well, being such a nippy day I looked at some cuddly sweaters and found 3 that I wanted..for not too much money. I then went back to look at the cookware...and after much consideration I put everything back! woohoo! I've been doing really well and it makes me feel great!

3. Letting things go. No further progress, but I'm working on sorting through more. Clothes will be next!

4. Waste less time. Considering that I was sick much of the week and snowed in for the weekend, I wasted a lot of time. I could have accomplished more over the weekend but just did not.

5. Read books. I did get somewhat back into my nighttime reading schedule so that feels good. Still have not started reading any good "fun" books--I keep being tempted by books I have already read but trying to resist.

6. Organize/cleaning. I really worked on my kitchen this weekend and did a little more sorting through junk. I've got to get in gear though before my friends come to visit next weekend!

7. Spend more time w/hubs. Umm..well, he was gone most of the weekend but we had a blast playing in the snow and watching movies in our jammies today. Fun times!

8. Have time w/God daily. Did not do this everyday, but did more often than not. Still working on getting a good system down, but I have added worship music back into the mix since getting my ipod back, and I love that!

WEll, all in all I think the first month of 2010 was fairly successful, and keeping up w/my goals on here definitely helps me keep them in my mind! Have you kept up w/any of your New Year's resolutions?

Snow Day Treats!

I spent a good deal of this snowy weekend baking and mixing up some yummys so I thought I would share them and their recipes with you!

1.Snow Cream!!! This is a treat from my childhood--and from many others' from what I saw on facebook today! Not really a "recipe" just some general guidelines for a nice frosty creamy treat!
1. Gather a big bowl of snow (this enamelware snowflake bowl is perfect!)

2. Add 1 1/2 cup milk, 3/4 cup sugar, a few drops of vanilla, and a few drops
of your favorite food coloring (just please don't use yellow--ewww didn't your mama tell you not to eat yellow snow?!?)

3. Mix until creamy and all ingredients are incorporated

4. Yum!!! Keep it in the freezer and enjoy throughout the day :)

2. French Toast
I told hubs that I was going to make him homemade french bread...well, he misunderstood me and thought I said "French toast" and was craving it so that's what we had for brunch today.

Denny's Style French Toast


4 eggs
2/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
6 slices Texas Toast thick bread (I used 8 slices of my homemade sourdough)
3-5 Tbps. butter
toppings of choice

-Whisk together first 7 ingredients
-Heat a large skilled or griddle on medium high heat
-add 1 tbps butter to hot skillet to grease
-dip each slice of bread into batter for 30 minutes on each side
-let some batter drip off, then place in skillet
-cook each side 1.5-2 minutes until golden brown.
-re-grease skillet and repeat until all ingredients used up
-top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

I thought this was great. Hubs thought it was alright--I think he will not be happy with french toast unless I deep fry it. weirdo. He did eat it up though and is gonna finish it off tomorrow!

3. Rustic Italian Bread
from "The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book" via How to Eat a Cupcake

As with all yeasted breads, this requires time and patience. I made it with the "sponge" but apparently you can make it in the same day if you leave that out. I was really excited about this b/c I got to use my dough hook on my KitchenAid for the first time! (I usually just make my bread by hand). I thought that the instructions for rolling the bread into a log were kinda hard to understand, and i may have overworked my dough a bit b/c of that, it is still really good and a huge hit w/hubs!

This recipe requires a bit of patience—the sponge, which gives the bread flavor, must be made 11 to 27 hours before the dough is made. We find it makes the most sense to prepare the sponge (which requires just 5 minutes of hands-on work) the day before you want to bake the bread.

On the second day, remove the sponge from the refrigerator and begin step 2 at least 7 hours before you want to serve the bread. If you own two standing mixer bowls, in step 1 you can refrigerate the sponge in the bowl in which it was made. Use the second bowl to make the dough in step 2. Have ready a spray bottle filled with water for misting the loaves.
If you don't have time for a sponge, this loaf can be made the same day, but the flavor won't be as complex, and the crumb will be finer and more uniform (like sandwich bread).
Omit the sponge. When assembling the dough in step 2, increase the amount of bread flour to 5 cups, increase the water to 2 1/4 cups, and increase the yeast to 1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons).

2 cups (11 ounces) bread flour
1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast

3-3 1/2 cups (16 1/2 to 19 1/4 ounces) bread flour
1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees)
2 teaspoons salt

1. For the sponge: Stir all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the sponge has risen and fallen, at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.

2. For the dough: Combine 3 cups of the flour and the yeast in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed add the water and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

3. Remove the plastic wrap, add the sponge and salt, and knead the dough on medium-low speed until it is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. If after 4 minutes more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, and knead by hand to form a smooth round ball. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

5. Turn the dough in the bowl with a dough scraper or large rubber spatula. Gently lift and fold a third of the dough toward the center. Repeat with the opposite side of the dough. Finally, fold the dough in half, perpendicular to the first folds. The dough shape should be a rough square. Cover, let rise for 30 more minutes, then repeat the turning process. Cover and let rise until the dough has doubled in size, about 30 minutes longer.

6. Top a rimless (or inverted) baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter, press it into a 10-inch square without tearing it, and gently dimple it with your fingertips. Fold the top corners diagonally to the middle. Using your fingertips and starting at the top of the dough, pull the underside of the dough up over the top, stretching it considerably, and begin to roll the dough up into a rough log. With each roll, press the seam firmly to seal. Continue to do this, forming the dough into a taut log, 5 to 7 more times. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, seam side down, and gently tuck the ends into a taut loaf. Mist the loaf with vegetable oil spray, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size and the dough barely springs back when poked with a knuckle, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

7. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position, place a baking stone on the rack, and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Let the baking stone heat for at least 30 minutes (but no longer than 1 hour).

8. Cut three 1/2-inch deep diagonal slashes across the top of the dough and spray the loaf lightly with water. Carefully slide the loaf and parchment onto the hot baking stone. Bake the bread for 10 minutes. (i removed my parchment paper at this point b/c it was looking quite "toasted")

9. Rotate the bread, reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees, and continue to bake until the center of the loaf registers 210 degrees on an instant-read thermometer and the crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.

10. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack, discard the parchment, and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, before serving.

4. Homemade Graham Crackers, SUCCESS!
I won't re-type the whole recipe, you can find it in this post. Just use 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour and only bake for 12 minutes, not 24!! These are actually very easy--I made the whole thing in the food processor and beyond the chilling time there was nothing to it! Hubs loves them too, which was the whole point!

Well, I hope you enjoy these snowy day treats! We had a very fun morning playing in the snow, but poor Butchy was not having any of it!

We got her all dressed up in her coat and boots (notice the "fur" trim)

Then she refused to play! Hubs tried to make her by carrying her back to the snow but she just ran back to the deck.

Sad times. We realized that there isn't so much to do in the snow when you are grown up and don't have sleds!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Butch--the most famous bulldog in all the land!

Her second time as an LOLdog! (have i mentioned that she is special?)!)

Daring Bakers...and SNOW

Well, better late than never right? The first challenge I am able to do in months and I can't get it in time!

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and

I didn't get this made until the weekend due to stupid sick over the week. I did attempt the homemade graham crackers, but was unable to do the gluten-free version b/c I'm trying to save money and just cannot spend that much on special flours that I will not use more than once! well, the instructions for the graham crackers say to bake them for 25 minutes. At 12 minutes there was smoke coming from the oven and my bottom rack of grahams were burnt to a crisp! I ran them outside to the snow to cool them off (smart right?) and then by the time I got back in the top rack was burnt too! I am going to try them again today...just for 11 minutes! Not sure if the special flour have something to do with the bake time, but it seems that some of the other bakers had the same issue using AP flour. Lesson learned--next time read the message boards before baking!

extra-toasty grahams

Being from Kentucky I had never heard of or tried these little Canadian treats--they are quite simple to make though (sadly i had to use store-bought grahams b/c I didn't want to go through the process of making homemade again for this--i will make them this afternoon though for my hubs!). Other than using homemade grahams, the only substitutions I made were to use vanilla pudding mix instead of "Bird's custard powder" (not to be found in these here parts) and using pecans in the base instead of almonds (i had pecans in the freezer and we're in the middle of a snowstorm! I was not going out for almonds!).

putting some filling on the bottom layer

Like some other bakers have said, these are SUPER sweet. I didn't know what to do with them all (I did make a full recipe) and then I remembered my sweet neighbor across the street. We trade baked goods a lot and he came by yesterday afternoon and offered to salt our walks and driveway for us! So nice. Later when updating hubs on the snowfall (he had to drive out of town for a wedding...very sad about it) I looked out front and was confused that the road to the left of our house was getting a tiny bit of accumulation (this is at the very beginning of the storm) but in front of our driveway it was just wet! I looked the other way and noticed the same thing and it cracked me up--our neighbor had salted the road directly in front of our houses but nothing else!
not sure if you can tell in these pictures, but if you look at the road you can see where it becomes white w/snow. heehee.
Well, i figured that was deserving of another treat, so the rest of these bars will be heading over to his family this afternoon!
As I mentioned, we got a LOT of snow this weekend! I'm just sad that hubs is out of town and can't enjoy it with us (not to mention worried about his plans to make a 3 hour drive home tonight after 10 pm when the roads will probably re-freeze!)

last night butchy loved it and jumped for joy! heehee

today..well, it touches her belly and she is not happy about that.

kitty hates it--he keeps meowing to go outside but then won't move. it's like he expects it to be gone when he goes back out. he hasn't made it more than 3 feet out the door without turning right back around and coming in.

around 6 inches i think...which is a ton for Bowling Green Kentucky!

Nanaimo Bars & Graham wafers
Makes 8 x 8-inch square slab, about 24 reasonably-sized bars (or as many as you manage to slice into)

For the gluten-free graham wafers:
1 cup (138 g; 4.9 oz) sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour)
3/4 cup (100 g; 3.5 oz) tapioca starch/flour
1/2 cup (65 g; 2.3 oz) sorghum Flour
1 cup (200 g) (7.1 oz) packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp kosher salt
7 tbsp (100 g; 3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup honey, mild-flavored such as clover.
5 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Make the gluten-free graham wafers:
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in the butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.
In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.
Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
Bake for 25 minutes (12 if using all purpose flour), until browned and slightly firm to the touch, switching the shelves and rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Might take less, and the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. The ones that started on the bottom brown faster.
When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups of crumbs. Another way to do this is to place the crackers in a large ziplock bag, force all air out and smash

The graham wafer dough is very sticky. Make sure you are flouring (with sweet rice flour) well, or the dough will be difficult to remove from the surface you roll it out on. Also be sure to keep it cold. You do not want the butter to melt.

You can make the graham crackers with wheat, in this case replace the gluten-free flours (the tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, and sorghum flour) with 2 ½ cups plus 2 tbsp of all-purpose wheat flour, or wheat pastry flour. Watch the wheat-based graham wafers very closely in the oven, as they bake faster than the gluten-free ones, about only 12 minutes.

For the Nanaimo bars (adapted from

For the bottom layer:
1/2 cup (115 g; 4 oz) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (50 g; 1.8 oz) granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups (160 g; 5.6 oz) gluten free graham wafer crumbs (or just regular graham crumbs)
1/2 cup (55 g; 1.9 ounces) sliced almonds, lightly toasted (or ½ cup rice crispies for nut-free version)
1 cup (130 g; 4.5 ounces) unsweetened dry coconut, lightly toasted

For the middle layer:
1/2 cup (115 g; 4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder (such as Bird’s, or vanilla pudding mix)
2 cups (254 g; 8.9 oz) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp salt

For the top layer:
4 ounces (115 g) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons (28 g; 1 oz) unsalted butter

Make the bottom layer:
Line an 8 X 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, don’t grease the paper. Set aside.
Place the unsalted butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a large heatproof bowl set in a wide skillet of barely simmering water and stir frequently until the butter is melted; do not overheat. Gradually whisk in the egg and continue whisking until the mixture is thickened and reaches 160F (to remove a raw-egg issue). Remove from the heat. Stir in the crumbs, nuts (or rice crispies) and coconut. Press firmly into the prepared 8 x 8-inch square pan. Refrigerate while making the middle layer.

Make the middle layer:
In a large bowl, beat the butter, cream, custard powder (if using), icing sugar, pure vanilla extract, and salt together well until light in color. Spread over the bottom layer. Refrigerate while making the chocolate glaze.

Make the top layer:
Place all the ingredients in a small heatproof bowl set in a wide skillet of barely simmering water and stir frequently until the chocolate and butter are almost completely melted; do not overheat. Remove the glaze from the water bath and set aside to finish melting, stirring once or twice until perfectly smooth. Cool the glaze to 88-90 F. Once cool, pour over the middle layer, tilt the pan to spread the glaze. Chill thoroughly before slicing.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday favorites...

Okay...I'm gonna get some grief f/m my co-workers for this one...but i figured it is appropriate considering my lousy health this month (have i mentioned that i'm ready for january to be over?)

this week's "Friday favorite" is...

(aka Tylenol Cough & Sore Throat)

Here's the deal. I LOVE this stuff. Hubs got me some a long long time ago (when he was still just "boyfriend") when I was sick in the dorms. I really like the "cool burst" sensation--I think it's quite yummy!

It helps with all the problems I have and my pain and my throat. Good stuff. And the nighttime kind makes me sleep so much better when I'm sick!

Now, they say I need an intervention. It is true that I always have a bottle (daytime) in my desk at the office. And I offer it to my co-workers regularly (I just want them to feel better!). But I really only take it when I have a cough or sore throat--not just for fun! (though it is quite delicious in my opinion)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

No TWD for me

This girl (this one...right here)...she is sick. boo. slight fever, sore throat, and a body that feels like it was hit by a truck. maybe exercising was a bad choice last night?

I think i would have liked to Coco-Nana bread, but it was not meant to be...

head over to Steph's blog Obsessed with Baking to see the recipe

in the meantime, i will be under one of my knitted blankets cuddling my butchy and drinking some chai tea

Monday, January 25, 2010

dreams and college courses

I have mentioned some of this before but I have really weird dreams...a LOT. When I was in high school some of my should I say this...interesting friends told me that my dreams sounded like "acid trips" they had had. I've always talked in my sleep and occasionally moved around, but the sleep walking (or should i say sleep falling?) have been in the past year or two.

One thing that has been consistent--I seem to have a dream memory. Like a lot of people, I have recurring places--places that don't exist in real life but I visit them all the time in my dreams. I also have recurring themes and situations, and seem to remember and continue events that happened in dreams from previous nights

Since graduating from college I have had an extremely regular dream of being enrolled in classes that I somehow have forgotten to attend for the entire semester, and then it is finals week and I don't know anything that I was supposed to have learned! It is extremely stressful! Another weird thing is that these classes almost always take place in my high school, but are officially college courses (some with my real college professors, some with high school teachers). Ironically, the class I dream about missing most of all was my Metaphysics and Epistemology class that I took to complete my philosophy major--I think I dream about this b/c, even though I got an "A" in the class, I never really learned what those things mean! *shame*

Well, last night was the culmination of all those dreams--I dreamed that I was married and had the life I have now, but they had just informed me that my diploma had been revoked because I had incompletes in all the classes that I had missed. I was no longer considered a college graduate! I was so stressed out...trying to find substitute classes that I could complete that still fit into my work schedule. I had to find a new PE class that would work with my illnesses and was trying to get into swimming but it was only open during the middle of my workday, and was full of competitive swimmers...I was desperately looking for a 400 level philosophy class to complete for my minor without having to re-take Metaphysics. And then when I logged onto "Topnet" (the real online registry thing from my college) I saw how much all the classes would cost and realized that my scholarship would no longer be in effect! Oh dear it was stressful.

No real reason to share this...just thought I would put it out there! ;)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Butchy is famous!

So I'm a dork and posted a few of her pictures on that lol dog blog, and someone captioned it and it got picked! She is so special :) and you can see hubs' smooshed face too! heehee!

Giant cupcake cake, friends, and my trip to Nashville

This weekend I had the wonderful pleasure of visiting my very best friend to celebrate her daughter's first birthday! I cannot believe that this lovely little lady is already a year old...or that my friend is the mom of a toddler! (it is crazy enough that she has a child!)

Of course I made her cake, and what a special cake it was! I got to use my new giant cupcake pan that my mom got me for Christmas--it is similar to this wilton one, but is silicone. To make it especially festive I added a few tablespoons rainbow sprinkles to my favorite white cake recipe (mix them in with the dry ingredients to prevent them from sinking to the bottom) to make a homemade confetti cake!

the trimmed bottom layer before frosting

not so pretty before icing...but the shape is fun

iced with the birthday party color scheme

Some important things to note when using this kind of pan:
-Since it is an incredibly deep pan it is best to use a "low and slow" baking method. I baked the cake at 325 F for about 90 minutes (checking every ten or so minutes after an hour) before it was cooked through.
-I also over-filled the pan. Though the recipe I use is officially for cupcakes Martha gives instructions in the book on how to bake it as a two layer cake. I made the full recipe but probably could have gotten 4-6 regular cupcakes in addition to my giant here. (that would have been really cute...a momma cupcake w/her babies! ) I will probably only fill the pan's compartments 3/4 of the way full next time I use this pan.
-It was kinda scary to cut! We ended up just slicing it like a regular cake, but making the top and bottom halves distinct pieces (I don't know if that makes sense...but that's what we did :)
Everyone LOVED it and it was a super fun cupcake themed party!

The night before and morning of we decorated the house and it was so cute! My friend and her husband planned a Gorgeous setup with pictures and mementos all over the house so we could see highlights from her first year.

Happy birthday!!

Such a special day! And I finished a little hat for her while I was there and she looks so cute in it!

It was just wonderful to spend time with Jordan and being able to serve her by helping out with the party--she has done so many wonderful things for me over the years and has been a true friend through everything--it is rare to have someone so special after so very many years! We have stuck by each other and gone in and out of closeness, but are always able to pick right back up where we left off. I love you dearly Jordan!!

two of the most beautiful ladies I know :)
It was honestly hard leaving. I drove home on this rainy afternoon listening to melancholy music and thinking. I went to their church with them this morning and the pastor is another dear friend from my youth--the church and birthday party both had so many people that I know and love from Bowling Green where I live now, but they have moved on. It felt like I was just at home--but then I had to leave. So often after visiting friends I feel like my life picked up and moved but forgot to take me! I guess that is part of living in a college and "transitional" town. So many dear friends have now moved to the Nashville area or Louisville--I'm just kinda stuck in between.

Most of the time I am so thrilled with my life, but at times like this I realize that I am missing some of the deep and vulnerable relationships that I used to have. Moving where my friends live now would not make it like it used to be (I need to remember this) because we have all changed, and it seems that even my friends who all moved to the same town don't see each other that often! I just need to step out in faith and seek those types of relationships again. It is just hard after you give so much of yourself to people and get so used to them moving away. I have honestly shied away from the Bible studies and discipleship that I used to be involved in because I got so tired of having another group of friends pick up and move again--it is emotionally draining. But we are created to have community and fellowship so it's time for me to start seeking that again. Thanks to all of you--my bloggy buddies and "real-life" friends who keep up with all of my random thoughts and escapades and encourage and pray for me through it all. I guess this is another thing to add to the resolution list!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Resolution check-in, week 3

Well, let's just give me a big red fat F for failure this week! between starting the week w/all the foot and body pain, then being in a foul mood for I don't know what reason, I just did not do well. Well, my goal is to keep myself accountable, and this means being honest even when I fail, so here goes!

1. Improving my overall health. Well, I spent a lot of time doing emotional eating and laying in bed and being lazy and crabby. I didn't gain a full pound back, but I am a few ounces heavier than last week. :( I guess I did make progress by going to the podiatrist to see what can be done about my feet. Well, I am going to get back on track and hopefully will be doing better next week!

2. Be a better steward of my money. Thankfully still doing well here. Though i did some emotional eating, I did not do any impulse purchasing so that's good!

3. Letting things go> I have another box of stuff ready to go to Grandma's attic-woohoo!

4. Waste less time. Nope--I wasted lots of time :(

5. Read books. Nope, not that either

6. Organize/cleaning. No more progress here, but I do have dishes and laundry being done right now!

7. Spend more time w/the hubs. We had a good date night last Saturday and have spend some more time together. Yay!

8. Have time w/God daily. I have note been consistent with this either this week. I've read a few times, but not every night and not nearly enough or focused.

Okay--time to get back in gear!

How was your week?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

TWD: Chocolate Oatmeal Almost- Candy Bars

What a mouthful! (for the name and bar!) I haven't *really* tried these yet...but I did make them tonight and sampled a tiny square of the still-warm bars. They are now chilling in the fridge and getting ready to take to work (and to Holly) tomorrow morning!

From what I did try these are just lovely! A nice chewy cookie base with sweetness from the chocolate and a salty crunch from the peanuts. YUM!

Sorry the pictures are bad, but I haven't cut them yet and wanted to get my post up. Thanks to Lillian from Confectiona's Realm for this wonderful pick!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

twd...maybe tomorrow?

Well, I definitely want to make these oatmeal almost candy bar thingies that everyone is RAVING over but I do not have the right kind of these will have to wait till tomorrow evening. But I think hubs will like them so I definitely need to make these!

see you tomorrow!

btw...I am feeling better today. Still a little off, but the pain is better--thanks for the prayers and encouragement!

Monday, January 18, 2010

old lady feet

well, this will be kinda a downer post, but this is my blog so i'm allowed to whine! you've been warned. (oh, and there are feet pictures--eep!)

Today I went to the podiatrist for an extra extended visit for my plantar fasciitis. It was a pretty good experience overall, except I made the excruciatingly painful decision to go ahead and get a cortisone injection into my left foot. After all the pain I went through w/the right foot, I did eventually notice a difference and was actually able to walk on it with out pain. I figured that two days of crippling pain were a fair trade off for a few weeks of much less pain. I thought maybe that the injection with this doctor would be a little less painful since she specializes in this...but no. At least I was mostly prepared.

Other than the injection we did xrays of my feet which confirmed what I already knew (it's plantar fasciitis--woohoo!) and also showed that I have a bit of a heel spur...but that isn't the source of my pain she said. We talked about inserts and stretches...and then she fixed me up with these babies....

I call them my "foot corsets" sexy huh?

Bascially it's a few layers of ace bandages with a strap to hold it in place between my toes and pads that sit in my arches. I wear them every day, all day (except in the shower)...each set should last a week and they gave me two sets--enough to last me until my next visit in feb. 1st.

at least butch doesn't think i'm a loser!

Upon leaving the office I noticed that everyone else there was in the octogenerian age I really just 25? I had to go to work afterwards and was hobbling around any time that I had to walk. One of my co-workers has a crutch right now due to a knee injury and I was threatening to steal it. Then, to make matters worse my lower back strarted throbbing and I was getting shooting pains up and down my legs. Great. Looks like a fibro flare up in the midst of all this! Well, I'm sitting in my chair with my massage and heating pads on contemplating a very early bed time. meh. Okay...time to pull myself out of this funk b/c we all know that it could be much worse! Forgive my selfishness...

On a positive note, I made a key lime pie for one of the doctors' birthday today. I was really nervous b/c we always get his birthday pie from Red Lobster and it is his favorite. I love my key lime pie recipe, but I haven't tried the Red Lobster one so I didn't know how they would compare, and he had made a comment about how some key lime pies were too heavy and some were just glorified whipped cream...Well, he loved it so much he had extra (and this doc never gets seconds of dessert!) and he came and asked for my recipe! I felt very special and happy to make that for him :)

Now I guess I need to pry myself off this chair and get some orders baked for later this week. Just pray for me to have patience and a positive attitude in all this. I'm kinda bummed. It just gets me down that all my "conditions" are chronic/lifetime conditions and have no more than symptomatic treatment. Okay. I know. It could be much worse. Thanks for listening (reading?) anyway!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Resolution check-in, week 2

This week was not great for keeping up with any new schedules or habits b/c I had a stomach virus for the first half of the week...but here goes!

1. Improving my overall health. I didn't make great choices at the beginning of the week b/c I was just trying to eat anything that sounded okay, but I did lose 1.4 pounds bringing my total loss so far to 4.4 pounds. I wish it had been more, but still, every loss is a loss right? Also, I did exercise some this week for the first time in a while. I realized how terribly out of shape I am...yikes! But I'm making progress and that's what counts.

2. Be a better steward of my money. Still doing well! I did visit some of my favorite shops this week but I avoided most impulse buying--the only thing I got that wasn't a baking supply that I needed was a little set of 3 blue delphite saucers, for just $2. I'm still trying to avoid going out on my lunch break as much as possible, but the shopping that I did was while returning things and dropping off consignments.

3. Letting things go. I dropped off two HUGE boxes of junk to Grandma's Attic this week for consignment. Woohoo!!

4. Wast less time. Not so good on this one...I spent most of the week lounging around due to being sick, but I guess that's allowed...

5. Read books. Nope. Not this week. I did not stick w/my nighttime reading plan and I read mostly magazines. Boo.

6. Organize/cleaning. Not much more progress due to illness...

7. Spend more time w/hubs. Definitely did this one! We have been more intentional about time together and have been talking about some issues that I needed to discuss. Good times!

8. Have time with God daily. Did this about half the time. Since I didn't follow through w/my nightly reading plan a lot got dropped by the wayside. Time to get back on track!

Well, in general this week has been kinda a bust. I guess I need to work on not letting illness derail my goals, b/c I know these times will come up a lot for me!

How are you doing on your resolutions?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday favorites: movies from my childhood

In general I'm not a huge movie person--I mostly prefer to watch TV on DVD and I will seriously watch an entire series over a weekend, and will watch a series over and over.

But there are two main exceptions to this rule and those are the movie genres of kid movies and old musicals. So today, here are a few of my very favorite children's movies!

1. the Little Mermaid

This movie came out during that impressionable stage in my childhood where everything just seems like such a big deal! I think this was the first movie I ever saw in a movie theatre and I just adored it! I would sing the songs, pretend to be a mermaid in the bathtub, dream about meeting my own prince...oh it was wonderful... I still adore it, but now the dad stuff makes me cry every time! I get mad at her for being rebellious and cry when King Triton comes up from the sea at the wedding...sigh. It's just lovely.

2. An American Tale

I still remember the opening of the movie with all the snowflakes falling from the sky...and the music was gorgeous. The giant waves that turn into monsters when he gets washed away from the boat and the fish in the sea...this one made me cry too. What can I say? I have a tender heart ;) It's just wonderful.

3. The Land Before Time (first movie ONLY)

Again, one to make you cry!--we had to fast-forward through the part where his mom died..and then later when he thinks he sees her but it's just her could they even put that in a kid movie!?!? But I loved that there was a character with my name (though I didn't understand that her name was Cera, not Sarah), and I thought the tree stars looked so delicious!! Just a great story altogether...

4. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

A little different than the other movies, but I really did love this one! The "Toot Sweet" song in the candy factory, when the main characters dressed up like dolls for the evil king, and I LOVED the breakfast invention that the dad made! There were definitely some weirdo aspects of this movie though: the child-catcher who lured kids away with candy, the old men who had been tortured and stretched...eep. I loved all the songs though and the idea of a flying car! Amazing!

5. The Fox and the Hound

Okay...are we sensing a pattern here? I seem to love sad kid movies! I own this one now but honestly cannot watch it b/c it is so so sad! When I was in college I actually broke down and started crying during Bible study one night telling my girls about this movie and playing one of the songs for them. Oh dear. "When you're the Best of Friends..." I can't say any more or I will lose it!

6. Anastasia

This one came out when I was a little older (around 13) and I had already been interested in that story and had seen an old Ingrid Bergman movie about it. Well, I just LOVED this one. I had the soundtrack on CD, my friends and I went and saw it over and over at the $.99 theater, and we thought that Dimitri was the cutest animated character ever! I loved the "Once Upon a December" song too...Fun fact: when I spent a summer in Russia during college I got to go on a Romanov tour in the city of Ekaterinburg! We went to a Cathedral and Monastery dedicated to the family and saw the places where they were killed and buried. It was so interesting!

7. Aladdin

It was just freakin' awesome!!! Hilarious, suspensful, catchy songs, love story. LOVE!

8. Alice in Wonderland

Maybe I like it b/c I have such weird Wonderland-like dreams, but I always loved this one. Especially the "Golden Afternoon" scene with all the flowers.

In general, I love all Disney movies (up until Pocahontas that is...but not excluding Pixar--they're great) and I do try to get them all on DVD.

Honorable mentions: not really huge or great movies but I loved them none the less (and own them on DVD btw...)
the Swan Princess

What are some of your favorite children's movies?

MSC: Coconut Cupcakes

I'm baack!!

This is my first post since the holidays in one of my baking groups! And what a wonderful challenge to jump back in with! These were amazingly delicious.

I only made a fourth of the recipe for these reasons:
1. It is Friday and I do not work on Fridays and do not have big plans for this weekend, so there is no one to share them with (surprise! hubs doesn't eat coconut!)
2. I am trying to lose weight and did not want 20 cupcakes hanging out to tempt me!
3. Umm....I guess that's all

It was kinda tricky to divide this into a fourth of the recipe as there are two eggs and two egg whites and then more egg whites in the frosting, so you get into the division of eggs and I was kinda worried about that...Also, some of the conversions came up with things like 1/8 tsp plus 7 drops of vanilla extract...I just approximated... (btw...I used this handy-dandy recipe converter to come up with the measurements), but all was well, and most delicious!

The only change I made apart from cutting the recipe back was that I did not grind the shredded coconut in the food processor. I only used 2 tbsp of shredded coconut in the batter and my food processor is WAY to big to grind that up into a powder...or to even mess with for something this small! maybe I need a mini chopper... I kinda liked the bits of coconut in the cake though.

I was also kind of scared of the frosting--I have never done a seven minute frosting, though I have made meringues many times. I finally got to break in my candy thermometer! woohoo!!! I thought it was pretty easy--definitely more time consuming than a buttercream but not too bad, and it tastes somewhat like marshmallow....

I shared one of these with my mom when she came to visit tonight (she LOVES coconut cake--just do not add lemon curd to it or she will beat you up--seriously). She was only going to have a half of one but thought it was so wonderful that she ate a whole one...then my dad came in and even though he is not a big sweets person, he ate one too and loved it--so I sent two home with them. That means I will only have two (one tonight, one...maybe for breakfast? **mischievous grin**)

Thanks so much to Jennifer of Cinema Cupcakes for choosing this awesome recipe! We don't share the recipes in the MSC club, so go buy the book b/c it is beautiful enough to read cover to cover just for fun!

btw...don't you just love my blue plates! I think they look gorgeous w/the cupcakes :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

i'm sick and need to use up some veggies

...and, for some strange reason, i always crave eggs when i'm sick...put it all together and you get....

veggie quiche!!

so, in all honesty, this was not the best thing to eat with a stomach virus, but, for serious, all I want to eat when I'm sick (any kind of sick) is eggs. And I didn't want to make another omelette, and I knew the veggies in the crisper would go bad if I didn't use them soon, so, well, there you have it!

It is oh so simple:
-saute whatever veggies you have on hand in some butter or olive oil (use about 2 tbsp of fat) over medium heat until soft . I used mushrooms, red bell peppers, and onions, and then threw in some frozen spinach that I had thawed in the microwave. I also sprinkled in some kosher salt.

-roll out some pie dough using those dough scraps that have been hanging out in your fridge...or of course you can use a pre-made crust, or go crustless to save some calories...but when you're sick you don't feel like saving calories! **Note--I used some of my leftover go-to pie crust without thinking about the sugar in the was a bit too sweet for this dish, so maybe you don't just want to use your scraps...**

-whisk together 4 to 6 eggs (i used 4 b/c I was using a super small pie plate) and 1 to 1 3/4 cup milk or cream, or a combination. Also include some pepper and you could throw in whatever other spices sound nice...I think next time I will saute my veggies in some smoked paprika as well...

-Arrange your veggies over the bottom of your pie crust. Top with shredded cheese (I used the last of the walmart fiesta blend that was in my fridge...about 1/2--3/4 can use more or less.) Then pour egg/milk mixture over the top. I had a little too much so I scooped some of the veggies and cheese out and put it in a little ramekin and topped w/the remaining egg mixture.

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

This was a good little thing to eat while I was sick. It's yummy cold or reheated and it gets a bit of nutrients in! Of course, you can always make it more delicious with bacon or pancetta or something like that too...