Monday, February 28, 2011

Springish...and Tornados are in the Air

It is springish here in the south. And with fluctuating temps come severe weather. Every year there are straightline winds and tornados and crazy things like that happening. Thursday night I was teaching and let my class go a few minutes early (we had only taken 1 short 10 minute break). As soon as I got in my car I heard there was a tornado warning. As soon as I got home there was a huge lightening flash and it started to pour. Had I let class out on time I would have been driving at the same time as the storm was making a path near my house.

As I drove the kids to school on Friday we were amazed by some of the trees down and some of the destruction. We are so thankful that no one was injured. I had my camera on me and stopped for just a couple of photos.

Hubs went and helped out a friend who had a tree on his house on Friday morning.
We have more storms tonight and tomorrow. I love a good storm but I am not a fan of the severe ones.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Birthdays, Birthdays

Are you a big birthday party planner? I love birthdays and everything about them. Each year we have tried to do something special for the kids. This post is just basically a list so I can remember what we did each year. I do not see posts on each of them in my archives and I want to remember them.
1: Duck party at our house. We had lots of friends from church and their little ones. Made a duck cake.
2: Small party with Grandma and Papa at Chuck E Cheese. Little Man had just been born so we kept it small. Got the cake at Chuck E Cheese
3: Princess party at the Pampered Palace. Made a My Little Pony Cake.
4: Got her ears pierced/ Combined party with Little Man at The Bounce Factory. Got a Madagascar Cupcake Cake from Publix.
5: Build a Bear Workshop. Got a Build A Bear cake from Publix.
6: Come as your favorite character. Made 3 different kinds of cupcakes.
7: Chuck E Cheese. Made a checkerboard Webkinz Wheel of Wow Cake.
8: WipeOut/Sleepover. Made a 3 layer obstacle Course Cake.

Little Man
1: Spiderman. Got a Spiderman Cake from Publix.
2: Combined party with Munchkin at The Bounce Factory (Madagascar theme) Cupcake Cake
3: Shrek the Third. Shrek the Third Cake from Publix.
4: ChickFilA. Speed Racer Cake from Publix.
5: Spiderman at the park. Cake from Publix.
6: Minute to Win It. Made a clock cake.

A few I made cakes for and a few I got cakes from Publix. Each one has been special though. :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

{TWD} Chocolate Oatmeal Drops

 Well, it is about time! I have been sick or injured for the last few months, or have had a sick kiddo and have not felt like baking or cooking. But, I feel like I may be getting my baking mojo back!

Thursday I had a week 5 class to teach. I always take something in that I have baked and needed something quick. So, I baked another Swedish Visiting Cake.
 Once my class was over though I ran and picked up my kiddos from school, ran home and whipped up these chocolate Oatmeal Drops and ran back to work to teach another class. Hubs walked in not long after these came out of the oven and asked if they were "corn poop cookies". Yes sometimes he is a 12 year old. And I love him even more for it. Because, if you can't be silly with your hubs of 13 years who can you be silly with?
 These were super easy to throw together and they didn't require vanilla, which I was still out of. My students loved these and so did my kiddos. The are rich and chocolaty and have a hint of cinnamon in them. If you would like the recipe make sure to visit Caroline and Clair at Bake with Us.  Check back next week for Chocolate Pots De Creme! :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

{FFWD} Short Ribs is Red Wine and Port

Once upon a time there was a girl who was not a drinker. The girl did not even own a corkscrew because really, there was no reason. She also lived in the south where it was a sin to drink and wine was not even sold in grocery stores.

The girl went on a trip to another state that had wine in grocery stores. She saw a corkscrew on clearance and bought it. She knew that since she had started cooking French food there would come a time when she would have to open a bottle of wine. (The first time she tried to use a corn cob knob and while a good effort was not  successful)

The girl was so excited when the recipe for Short Ribs in Red Wine and Port was chosen because she was finally able to break open the cozy plastic package that held the corkscrew hostage. The bottle of Crane Lake sat innocently enough on the counter but turned out to be a silent foe for the girl.

No matter how she tried all the girl managed to do with the corkscrew was shred the cork. She finally decided that she just needed to push the cork down into the bottle of wine. All was going well until the seal broke and fragrant red wine exploded all over her kitchen. It would not be an exaggeration to say that there was wine everywhere. Even though she knew she had an intensive cleanup job ahead she was proud of herself for successfully opening a bottle of wine...even if the cork went in and even if she did smell like a wino when she went to pick up her kids from school
The girl was also thanking her lucky stars that the port did not have a cork. She had discovered that the recipe she was making took quite a long time to make. However, the results were fantastic. Her children both ate every bite on their plates with a minimum of whining and her husband commented on how delicious the house smelled when he came home from work.

Her husband also really liked the Gremata that adorned the top of the short ribs. It was made out of Clementine zest, garlic and cilantro. It gave the recipe a nice citrus taste. He also commented on how the ribs were so soft but had the nice tasty crust on the outside from the broiler. It made the girl feel good that a recipe of that caliber had been enjoyed by her entire family.

Once she finished wiping her mouth and then washing the wine out of her hair she went to check on how all of her other friends at French Fridays with Dorie had done with the short ribs. She decided that she would make this again sometime in the future and hoped that her friends liked it as much as she did.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

{TWD} Toasted Almond Scones

So, this morning I discovered I am out of vanilla...again. My counters have been covered with Girl Scout cookies the last couple of weeks and I am teaching 4 classes this month. Excuses, excuses you say, I am sure these scones are absolutely fantastic and you should have moved the girl scout cookies for clear counters for baking!

Instead of Scones this morning, Swedish Visiting Cake was on the agenda. It is week 5 of my class and I told my students I would bring a dessert. This cake is so fast and easy, my other 2 classes ending this week may be getting it as well. Like I said, out of vanilla. There is a bit of a difference in flavor but not much. It is still delicious. I made an extra this morning for my family for breakfast.

Anyway, have a fabulous day and check out how the actual scones turned out on the LYL.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What is on Your Nightstand?

About a month ago I ran across a Jennifer's blog Cooking for Comfort. She is part of Tuesdays with Dorie and has a segment on her blog called 52 in 52. She is reading 52 books in the year. A book a week? That does not seem too difficult. However, I need some suggestions. Since January 1st I have read:

Uglies by Scott Westerfield (Yes, I realize half of these are in the teen section...don't judge..  ;)  )
I Was Told There's Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
The Tenth Circle by Jodi Piccoult
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Vanishing Acts by Jodi Piccoult
Lemony Snicket: The Reptile Room (previewing for Munchkin)
Bobby Flay Throwdown Cookbook

I am in the middle of:
Lost in NashVegas by Rachel Hauck

Checked out from the library:
Fallen by Lauren Kate (actually I have to replace this one as my dog ate it)
Torment by Lauren Kate
The Fallen 1 and The Fallen 2 by Tom Sniegoski
Pretties and Specials by Scott Westerfield
The Ultimate Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Requested from the library:
Awakened by P.C. Cast (the newest book in the House of Night series. I read the first 7 books in the series in 2 weeks in December)
Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman
Radical by David Platt

What else should I add to my list? What is something that you have read that you just could not put down? I am considering the Outlander series and several other but would like your input. Fire away!

Diagnose Me


Migraine (behind right eye, diagnosed with cluster migraines at age 7, they came back last spring but have been gone for months)
Shaky hands
Slight nausea
99.5 temp
Sore neck (possibly sore from sleeping in the recliner the other night when I gave in to crispy onion strings on my burger too late at night and had terrible acid reflux)

Before Christmas I had strep twice, in January I had a mild case of the flu and some sinus stuff. These are the most recent symptoms from the last few days. Your turn. What do you think I have?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Donut Man

Hubs and I went to Azusa Pacific University in California. My freshman year I lived in Adams Hall and  I remember vividly my first trip to Donut Man. My resident advisor piled me and my roommates and our neighbors into her car and hauled us out in the middle of the night. You would think a tiny donut shop on the side the road might be insignificant but it became the source of many fun memories. When I was a Student Orientation Leader hubs (boyfriend at the time) and I piled my little group into the back of his blue Volvo station wagon and dragged them to Donut Man in the middle of the night. When I saw a blurb about Donut Man in Food Network magazine I was so excited. My little donut shop seemed to have hit the big time. (It is kind of the same feeling I get when I see Ryan Seacrest on American Idol. We used to listen to him on Star 98.7 in SoCal and it's like a little piece of him belongs to me. That might seem weird but I wonder how many others in SoCal feel the same way. He was ours before he was America's.)

One of the donuts they are famous for (aside from the Tiger Tails that hubs loves) are Strawberry Donuts. Just think about sinking your teeth into sweet, fresh, ripe California strawberries along with a delicious Donut Man donut. It is one of my favorite desserts ever!

In that vein, you have to understand that I have been seeing updates on Facebook for a couple of weeks about Strawberry Donuts!

On Friday hubs said there might be a package at the house but he wanted me to wait to open it until he got home. The package was from my brother in law and I thought maybe it was Sees candy. How surprised do you think I was when I opened that box and there was a container with several Strawberry Donuts and a couple of Tiger Tails!!!!! I was beside myself! That was the sweetest, most thoughtful gift my sweet hubby could have gotten me. Not only did he understand that I love the donuts and had been seeing updates about them, but that they hold sentimental memories for me as well. It has been really cold here the last few weeks so these donuts were a taste of California sunshine in the midst of winter.
Thank you to my hubby for making my Valentine's weekend very special. And, thank you to my brother in law and sister in law who shipped them to me. :) I appreciate your part in making my weekend special! :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cone Head

This is Bean. Bean is almost 13 years old. Hubs and I got her when we got permission from our landlord to be able to have a cat. She was the runt of the litter and I got her for free in front of Vons grocery store. She was so tiny she fit in my extra tiny purse. When we moved across the country, she moved with us. I am not sure how neurotic she was before the move but she got a little crazier after the move.

Bean is an indoor only cat and has had an allergy that has popped up over the last few years. Every fall she gets really itchy and scratches out her hair around her tail. We take her in and get a steroid shot and she gets better. A couple of days ago I noticed a red spot on her leg. I had to figure out when I could get her to the vet and today was the winner. The hot spot had gotten a lot worse and another one appeared on her other front leg.

When we left the vet poor Bean was hooked up with shaved legs, 2 shots, an antibiotic powder covering her legs, a flea med to put on tonight, a medicated shampoo and a lotion to put on each day. She is not happy right now. She tried to climb the stairs but got stuck. She can't get in any of her normal hiding spots and will have to get used to eating and drinking with the cone. It is pretty much the saddest thing I have seen in my house in quite awhile. Even with all of the stuff we had to bring home I am thankful that it is a hot spot and that there is a treatment for it. I am glad we were bringing her home tonight and not with news of something dreadfully wrong with her. The vet said you could tell she is an older kitty because she has some plaque on her teeth but her heart and lungs sound great and she is otherwise healthy. I was glad to hear that. I am not ready for life without Bean yet.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow

Feb 2003 there was a snow storm predicted. In the morning there was no snow and there were kids at schools in the area stuck at school until 7 or 8pm because of the onset of snow. This year they heeded the warning and let school out 2 hours early. The snow started around 3 pm and is still coming down. We got about 3 inches at our house.

The dog escaped, the kid chased the dog, the dog made yellow snow and then came back home.

Tonight we had a friend of a friend get stuck about 10 minutes from our house. Bobby put the chains on our car (that we have had since before we got married 13 years ago) that we have used only one other time, and rescued said friend of a friend. He is a really nice guy and gets to sleep in the bed with the Star Wars comforter. :) He is from across the pond and my daughter immediately made fun of him. She wasn't intending to but I didn't tell her he had an accent so she thought he said his name was pizza. Kill me now....

We are now just hanging out watching the news and staying warm. :) Stay safe out there!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Big Football Game XLV - Cupcakes

 As you very well know (unless you live under a rock) tomorrow is the biggest NFL game of the year. I am conflicted about who to root for as I have good friends who are serious fans of each team. I lived just outside of Wisconsin when I was a little girl (which by the way, the photos I am seeing on the news of snow in Chicago is how I remember Zion, Ill.) and I am not sure if our friends that live there would forgive me for cheering for the Steelers.
 Of course, our drummer recently moved back to Pittsburgh so I may have to cheer for them. But who knows, I am not a huge football fan so I really don't care which team wins. My children want Green Bay to win because their logo is the same shape as Georgia. They even cut out several Green Bay logos and taped them on the wall above the TV (for those of you that are Steelers fans, coming to our house tomorrow my kids might make make fun of you).

Silly kids. My favorite part of the Superbowl is seeing all of the commercials. I typically hate commercials but I love how creative companies can get. It irritates me though when a company pays that amount of money to run their lame commercial that has been playing for months. The other part of the Superbowl I love is the part where we get to hang out with friends.

Since we are having friends over tomorrow I have been a basket case trying to get things cleaned up. I am in a constant state of CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) so I get to about 11 PM the night before people come over and wonder why I am doing this to myself again but it is all worth it when we get to open our home and share it with others.

In preparation for tomorrows big day I made  the cupcakes above. I just used a basic Chocolate Cupcake recipe and a basic Vanilla Cupcake recipe. The frosting is a basic buttercream tinted with yellow food coloring. My sweet husband make a stencil for me for the Green Bay cupcakes. I think they turned out pretty well. He has been a busy guy today too! He installed a bathroom door, installed curtain rods and drew a picture of Chris Johnson  (yes I realize he is on the Titans but he is Little Mans favorite player) for the kids to play pin the football on the player. I will post a photo of that gem when it is completely finished. :)

After church tomorrow I am making Pigs in a Blanket and 2 kinds of chili. I think it will be a really fun day and can't wait to spend it with my family and friends. :) Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

{TWD} Great Grains Muffins

Today is Tuesday and I feel Terrific....oh wait, it is actually Wednesday and I have a head cold. I am not trying to be a whiner, and I don't feel that bad so at least I can get my post up today. :) I did make these yesterday I just didn't get my post up due to teaching and sick kiddos.
This is what happens when you are in a hurry to get your muffins in the oven.
A big thank you to Christine of Happy Tummy for choosing Great Grains Muffins for this weeks Tuesdays with Dorie. She made a few changes to make them a bit healthier and hers look fantastic.
These muffins were very quick and easy to throw together. I had everything from maple syrup and oats, to yellow cornmeal and buttermilk on hand so I didn't even have to head to the store. They were pretty versatile too. I think the recipe called for raisins but I had dried apples and put those in instead.
As far as a grade for these:
Little Man gave them a thumbs up and ate 4.
Munchkin gave them a thumbs down just because she doesn't like cooked apples, otherwise I think she would have liked them.

Hubs didn't give a grade but said he liked them and would eat them again.
I really liked them but the butter in them gave me serious heartburn. A stop at Walgreen's for some Tums helped with that though. :)
There are a few left over and Little Man thinks he is going to polish them off. If you get a chance check out the LYL to see how all of the other TWD bakers did with these this week!