Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Win Win

No, you are not seeing double.  We had two great wins the last couple days.  BYU creamed Oregon St. and Utah beat Cal Bears.  The MWC is making a good showing.  Wyoming won their bowl game.  Now Air Force needs to come through and TCU should finish off with a great win against BSU.  What a great football season.

It snowed all day today.  Just a really fine powder snow, but it put some volume on the ground.  Definitely feels like Christmas.  Today - Christmas Adam...tomorrow Christmas Eve.   Speaking of Christmas...I love getting Christmas cards in the mail.  Especially the home made ones and the photo cards of families.  I always wished for a big enough family to have cool pictures taken.  Ralph, Riley and me just doesn't cut it for a big family picture.  I don't think I could get Ralph to even pose for a little family picture.  We have gotten quite a few cards this year, they are taped up on the wall for all to see.  It is fun to sit back and look at them.  Thanks for the cards!

I still have a ton of things to get done so I will leave you, not with a recipe, but a really cute idea for neighbor treat gifts that I found on a blog that I frequent.   Aren't they cool looking.  I will definitely be doing this next year for office treats, easy neighbor goodies and they look so yummy! Unfrosted brownies, cut into triangles and garnished as trees. How fun is that?!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Carb Table

Yes, I meant Carb, not card. During the December month fellow team members sign up for a specific day to bring treats for everyone on our floor. Usually 6 to 8 people sign up on any given day. We have had all kinds of goodies. Healthy apples, oranges and veggie trays, home made candies, cookies, chips & salsa - etc. I think you get my point. The table has been nicknamed the CARB Table.

Today the carb table was loaded to the hilt. One thing that caught my eye was not only the seven layer bean dip which I love, but a can of Easy Cheese. You know…the stuff that squirts out of a can. I pride myself on being a cheese purist. I only eat the real stuff and none of this vegetable oil and milk stuff. Every once in a while I suffer a lapse in judgment and succumb to the Velveeta or in this case a can of Easy Cheese. I admit it…I love squirt cheese. I used to take it on road trips because it was convenient and not messy. So today, I have had my taste of squirt cheese and loved it. I probably won’t east processed cheese again for a long time. (ok maybe at the Super Bowl party – but not because I brought it to the party)

BYU plays in their Las Vegas Bowl game tonight. I wish them luck. They will need it against the Rodger boys. It should be a good game.

I have attempted to make home made caramels – not having the best of luck. Let me say that they do come out tasting great, but they are too firm. I want them to be softer, but not too soft. I don’t know if it is my candy thermometer or the pan I cooked them in, but they aren’t turning out. BOO! So instead of making them again…I will make my notes and try again next year.

Lot of things still to do – so I will sign off for now with a recipe I found on one of the many cooking blogs I frequent. The Open Pantry  These are easy and yummy – who can go wrong with cheese, bacon and tomato?

BBQ Bacon Wrapped Chicken Wraps

Chicken Tenders
Lettuce, torn and washed
Tomatoes, sliced
Red Onion, thinly sliced
Shredded Cheddar Cheese or Shredded Cheese Blend
BBQ Sauce
Tortilla's or favorite flavored wrap

1. Wrap each chicken tender in one strip of bacon. Cook over medium heat in a skillet until the bacon is crispy and the chicken is cooked through.
2. Mix 1 part mayo to 1/2 part BBQ sauce. Warm up tortillas and spread BBQ/Mayo sauce on each. Layer sauce, cheese, tomato slices, lettuce, red onion and then bacon wrapped chicken tenders on top of tortilla. (Two chicken tenders per wrap is plenty!) Drizzle with additional sauce if desired. Roll up and enjoy!

Ta Ta for now!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Plan, Plan, Plan

So I was talking with Ralph this morning about everything that was going on this morning and how crazy things are.  How I had taken on another assignment at work and all the things we needed to get done before Christmas.  He said I was just like a sparkler and I needed to take one step at a time.  OK - I get that.  The funny thing is I don't notice that I am doing anything different.  I guess he is just becoming more aware of things going on at home, now that he doesn't have to spend his time worrying about other "things".  It is good to have him around to help balance my "sparkler" personality. 

We have a couple of Christmas gifts yet to purchase, cleaning, packing, visiting, cooking and hopefully a trip to the temple...And only 3 days left.  Panic has set in!  Fortunately I have all day Thursday off of work.
Smiley from

One of my most favorite things to do is invite friends over for dinner.  I love to fix and entertain.  We have invited some friends of ours over for Christmas Eve dinner as well as Ralph's Mom.  I am excited.  We have finalized the menu.  Want to know what it is?  Course ya do!

Tomato soup made from our homegrown tomatoes with sauteed shimp in butter and saffron on top
Variety of cheeses with bread (Wish I had my brothers bread)
Pasta with light lemon cream sauce
Marinated flank steak
Vegetable -(not decided yet)
Trifle - chocolate cake with a white chocolate and peppermint mousse, chocolate custard, and fudge sauce

I love setting the table all "fancy" with my china and stuff.  It makes it feel so much more special.  I have the table favors to make, but I have the idea all done in my head.

With that - I am going to leave you with another recipe... I know it calls for strawberries, and it really isn't the season for them, but Costco has them year round!

Crunchy Romaine Salad
For the dressing:
½ cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 ½ tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp salt
Black pepper

For the salad:
8 cups torn romaine lettuce
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 11 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
½ cup fresh pomegranate seeds
½ cup sliced green onions
1 package ramen noodles
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
2 Tbls butter

To make the dressing, heat the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan until sugar is completely dissolved. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients, and set aside to cool.
Crush the dry ramen noodles into bite-sized pieces. In a frying pan, sauté the ramen noodles and chopped nuts in the butter. Stir constantly until the noodles are toasted and golden in color. Set aside to cool.
Assemble the salad by combining the lettuce, fruit, and onions in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing. Just prior to serving, stir in the toasted noodles and nuts. Stir the salad and serve immediately while the noodles are crunchy.

Ta Ta for now!
Smiley from

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sleepovers, Family parties and breadsticks

Smiley from
This weekend we had a sleepover with some of our neices and nephews.  It was oodles of fun.  We ate pizza Smiley from millan.netand watched Christmas Story and Polar Express.  Don't you just love Christmas story - Ralphy will always be a part of our holidays.  We then had milk and cookies before heading upstairs for story time and convincing a 2 1/2 year old that it was time to go bed, and that you don't need 5 glasses of water before bed.  Ralph read the Gift of the Magi and the Little Matchgirl to them.  At this point - I headed to bed and Ralph continued to talk to them with the lights out about his Mission at Christmas time.  He is so patient and we loved having the kids over.  Morning was fun too.  The kids used the stairway to play - We had deep sea diving to helicopters in the sky.  I braided hair and then we had Tamales and eggs for breakfast.  YUMMY!

We had the Curtis family party this last week as well.  It was a lot of fun catching up with members of the family we don't see very often.  We had a great soup dinner.  We had Santa come and talk with all the kids.  He had been prepped on the kids' background so that made it even more fun because they had no idea how Santa knew so much about them  Yes...I am a firm believer in perpetuating the myth of Santa!  We sang carols and exchanged gifts.  It was a nice relaxing evening.

Because of several requests I am going to share our breadstick recipe.  Ralph made them for the party because I had been at work all day.  He is such a good cook!  Here is the recipe

Best Breadsticks
1 TBL yeast (quick)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 TBL sugar
1 1/2 C warm to hot water (not too hot you don't want to kill your yeast)
3 1/2 C flour
1 cube butter - you can get by with 1/2, but they are not quite as good :)

Dissolve yeast, sugar and salt in water.  Add flour one cup at a  time kneading well.  (add enough flour that your dough is soft, but not sticky)  Let stand 10 minutes.  Melt butter on regular cookie sheet in oven.  Set oven at 375.  Roll or pat dough into large square.  Cut into strips.  Dip in butter, turn over and lay all strips in pan.  Sprinkle with any or all: 
Parmesan Cheese
Garlic Salt
Parsley Flakes
Sesame seeds

Let rise for 20 to 30 minutes in warm place.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes @375.
COOKS NOTE - I usually mix garlic powder and parsley with the butter before I roll the breadsticks in the mixture. 

Ta Ta for now!
Smiley from

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Safe Place

A rule of thumb I should always remember is never put something you need in a safe place so you can find it later.  I never find it later!  I spent a good hour looking for a couple of items I needed.  I had traced my steps to the point of remembering I put is somewhere that I would remember.  After prayers and effort I was able to find what I was looking for.  I wonder if I was just better organized if I would still have this problem.  My brain tells me yes - it is genetic - sorry Mom.
Smiley from

I am looking for a safe place to drop anchor.  If you know of any spots let me know.  But you know...if I just keep busy enough I won't have to think about it.

NINE days until Christmas - I have way too much to do and not enough time or money.  Please pass some extra!

I will leave you with a yummy easy dessert - that I have on my list to try.  I found it on a friends blog.

Crescent Roll Cheesecake

2 packages refrigerated crescent rolls
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar

Unroll one package of crescent rolls and line the bottom of a 9x13" pan. Flatten out well. Mix together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Spread this mix over the crescent rolls. Unroll the other can of crescent rolls and place on top of the cream cheese mix. Pour the melted butter over the top and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Over the worst

Well...I am feeling a little bit better.  I am not nauseous anymore, but food does not sound good.  Well a good old corn dog sounds really good, but my tummy says no.

So I had to give up concert tickets to the Friday evening Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert because of my tummy bug.  I was so disappointed.  A friend of mine has decided not to go and gave me her tickets for tomorrow morning.  I am going - no matter what.  I love their concerts.  I also missed our ward Christmas party.  I helped Ralph make two quiches to take for the meal.  They had a morning brunch and service project set up.  December is not the time to get sick.  At least I don't have the respiratory problems that sometimes come with the gomboo.

I am stir crazy.  Not enough energy to get up and do much, but tired of the four walls of my house.  I have tried to stay away from the TV - too much makes my brain mushy.  I listened to Christmas music and finished all my Christmas cards.  They are now written, addressed, and ready for the mail.  Took me long enough, but I got them done.  I just have Mars neighbor gifts to finish and then I am done.  (If I can stay away from the paper crafts)  I did watch a couple of programs today.  I watched To Kill a Mockingbird - In my opinion one of the best books ever written and the Polar Express - twice.  I love the music from the movie and the whole message included in the film.  I think everyone should believe in the spirit of Christmas.

A couple of friends dropped by with some treats.  Chocolate bark (white and dark) with roasted pecans and sea salt.  Really yummy.  We also got a bowl of clam dip and crackers.  Haven't tried it yet, but I am sure it will be good.  If not, Ralph will know how to fix it to make it taste good.  I love having great friends.  We are spoiled!

Well - I am going to sign off and try to occupy my brain with something else. 

Recipe for today.
This recipe actually belongs to Pioneer Woman  but oh so delicious!

Pioneer Woman's Quiche 
¾ pounds Thick Cut, Peppered Bacon
1/2  stick Butter
1 whole Large (or 2 Medium) Onions, Very Thinly Sliced
2 box(es) (5 Oz. Each) White Mushrooms, Washed And Sliced
1 can (14 Oz.) Quartered Artichoke Hearts
1 whole Pie Crust,
7 whole Eggs
1-½ cup Heavy Cream
2 cups Grated Swiss Cheese
Salt And Pepper (to Taste)
Optional: Fresh Parsley, Fresh Chives
Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Crumble and set aside. Pour out excess grease but don’t clean the pan.
Melt butter in the same skillet. Add onions and cook for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and artichokes and cook for a few more minutes. Salt mixture to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
Roll out pie crust and press into deep dish tart pan. (May also use 2 standard pie crusts for this recipe.) In a large bowl, beat eggs with cream. Add grated cheese, salt and pepper, and set aside. (Add cayenne pepper if you’d like a little kick.)
With a slotted spoon, add mushroom mixture into egg/cream mixture. Stir together. Add bacon and stir. Add parsley or chives, if desired.
Pour into pie crust and press to submerge ingredients. Cover loosely with foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Bake for slightly longer if quiche is overly jiggly.
Remove from oven and allow to set for ten minutes before serving. Remove quiche from pan and slice into wedges

Ta Ta for now!
Smiley from

Friday, December 11, 2009

Down and Out

Just a quick post today...Came down with a little bit of food poisoning.  I think...  Smiley from Not feeling too great today.  Hopefully tomorrow will bring a better outlook.

Ta Ta for now!
Smiley from

Thursday, December 10, 2009

An original Thursday

The title of this blog post was brought to you by Ralph.  He suggested I call it Thursday  - I said  "well that is original"  So he said call it original Thursday.  So there you have it.

Time is a flying by...I can't believe we only have 15 days left before the big day.  There is a part of me that is in no way looking forward to Christmas and then there is the rest of me that can't wait to spend time with family and take a break from life's worries.  At least try to anyway.

I thought I would take a minute and tell you about my most favorite Christmas Story.  Aside from the one told in the King James Bible and Book of Mormon I love "The Adventures of Nicholas" by Helen Siiteri.  Our cousins sent us the book for Christmas whe I was little and I have read it almost every year since.  A confession...I kifed the book from my Mom and have had it my possession to enjoy.  I noticed the book is back in print so I will have to see what I can do about replacing it.  I highly recommend this great story about a little boy named Nicholas and how the traditions of Christmas came to be from the tree to stockings and delivery of the toys by chimney.

So, Riley got upset yesterday when Ralph wouldn't let him outside to follow me to the car as I headed out to work  -Riley proceeded to go upstairs behind Ralph's back and pee all over the bed in our guest bedroom.  He is such a little stinker with a whole lot of attitude.  He was in a whole lot of trouble when he got caught.  Here is his "what?" pose.  And then his Babushka pose (thanks to Ralph)  He snuggled down into the blanket after he came in from outside and then popped his head out. 

Another holiday recipe to share....I got this recipe from another one of my sister's in law.  It is so good.  Give it a try!  The flavors totally say Christmas!

Susan’s Cranberry Wassail
2 cans frozen cranberry juice
1 can frozen orange juice
1 can frozen apple juice
15 cups water
3-4 cinnamon sticks
12 whole allspice
12 whole cloves
8 oz. cinnamon red hots.

Warm slowly and keep hot but do not boil.

Ta Ta for now!
Smiley from

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas morning

Smiley from
I have been thinking about Christmas's past and what the mornings always brought.  Usually my brothers would wake me up and we would try to sneak out into the living room to see what goodies were there.  I don't remember ever making it to the livingroom without Dad telling us to get back to bed.  It never failed that we somehow had to pass by our parents room to get to the living room.  Sometimes we would hang out until we were allowed into the living room and sometimes we would go back to bed but not very often. 
Smiley from

We would finally get Mom and Dad up and we would plow through the loot and then dump our stockings.  We always had an orange at the bottom with a can of blue diamond smokehouse almonds.  We also always had a box of Whitman's Sampler chocolates - of our very own.  We sometimes got Hickory Farms meltaway mints - which I love.  My brothers would get cans of smoked oysters which I couldn't ever stomach.  Dad usually put in a little necklace that he had made for me with an opal or garnet in the setting.  Sometimes I even got a ring.  It was always wrapped in layers and layers of tissue and then slid or shoved into a film canister. (That dates me - you probably can't even find a film canister around) 

We didn't really have a breakfast per say - we would eat our oranges, munch on our almonds and chocolates or the homeade candies left over from neighbor gifts and stollen and fruit cake.  Ralph's family always had Campbells chicken gumbo soup.  The morning was so crazy for their family that it was easy to open a can of soup and have cheese and crackers with it.  I think they always had grapefruit as well.  It was a treat for them and they loved it.  When I first got married, it was kind of fun to do something different, soup with cheese and crackers for breakfast, but I am all passed that now.  I really prefer breakfast food for breakfast.  It is my favorite meal of the day.  Ralph still prefers his soup.  A friend of mine used to serve her children parfaits - layered with fruit, ice cream, and granola.  That sounds good.  I thought a nice breakfast casserole or eggs benedict - you know something special.   I think we will always be divided on what is for breakfast Christmas morning.

I have plenty of things to do tonight.  I will leave you with a recipe for the best buttermilk pancakes you will ever eat.  I got the recipe off the internet - they are unbelievable!  I usually add a little bit more milk because I like my pancakes thin.

-- 2 cups all-purpose flour
-- 2 tablespoons sugar
-- 2 teaspoons baking powder
-- 1 teaspoon baking soda
-- 1/2 teaspoon salt
-- 2 eggs
-- 2 cups buttermilk
-- 1/2 cup milk
-- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
-- Choice of berries, sliced bananas, raisins or chopped toasted nuts (optional)
-- Oil for griddle

INSTRUCTIONS: Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
Lightly beat the eggs with the buttermilk, milk and melted butter.

Just before you are ready to make the pancakes, add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once, stirring just long enough to blend. The batter should be slightly lumpy.

If you want to add fruit or nuts, stir them in now, or you may sprinkle them on the pancakes while they are on the griddle.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or heavy skillet over medium-high heat (375 degrees on an electric griddle).

Pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto the griddle or skillet, spacing the pancakes apart so they do not run together. When bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes and the undersides are lightly browned, turn and cook for about 2 minutes longer, until lightly browned on the bottom.

Serve immediately on warmed plates with the topping of your choice. Serves 4 (yields about 24 four-inch pancakes.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Snowstorms and Ice

It took 20 to 25 minutes to get to work this morning - usually it only takes around 10.  We got our snowstorm and it dumped quite a bit of snow on us.  It is funny how everyone forgets to drive in the snow.  The radio announced over 150 accidents just today.  Crazy.  It does feel a little bit more like Christmas.  It makes everything so pretty - dusted with snow.

The pipes in our basement froze, so we had to play "thawing" so that we could get some laundry done.  Ralph was a trooper to get things going.  The scary part is that it is going to get a lot colder.  I wonder if the landlord will do anything to resolve the problem. ?????

I came home to a pot of homeade tomato soup and a big bowl of chex mix.  My boy sure takes good care of me.  The soup was so tasty.  Riley got to lick the bowl and he could not get enough.  We had cheeseball and crackers with our soup.  Perfect dinner.  YUM!

I watched Disney's new little program tonight on ABC called Prep and Landing.  I love any little program that reminds us that there are reasons to believe in the spirit of Christmas.  Way cute show.  Destined to be a classic at our house.  I tried to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas, but the network didn't have the sound correlated with the mouth movement.  Didn't have the patience. is a recipe to wrap the post up.  We made this for Christmas gifts and our friends couldn't get enough.

Maple Caramel Corn
3 (3.5 ounce) packages of plain microwave popcorn, popped
2 ¼ cups packed brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup butter
5 ounces sweetened condensed milk
Maple flavoring
Craisins (dried cranberries)
Roasted cashew halves
Sort through the pop corn to eliminate the old maids (unpopped kernels).
In a heavy sauce pan, over medium heat, cook the brown sugar, corn syrup and butter, stirring constantly. Cook until the sugar mixture is at 270°.
Remove from the heat and carefully pour in the condensed milk and flavoring. Stir until smooth.  You can add more - milk to make the caramel softer and gooier
Combine the popcorn, craisins and cashews.
Carefully pour the hot caramel over the popcorn mixture, gently stirring to evenly coat the pieces.
Cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Then start the second batch because the first is already gone.

Ta Ta for now.
Smiley from

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas ABC's

Before I get to my main topic, I just want to say I think the BCS needs a major overhaul! It is so all about the money and prestige. The SEC is afraid to get their butts whooped by the MWC or WAC. Pretty sad! TCU should be playing Florida and BSU should be playing Cincy. We got cheated!

ok...on to the rest of my thoughts. Busy day but tolerable. Once again - love hanging out with my friends this evening. We are so lucky to have them!

To celebrate the season a few ABC's.  I saw the ABC's on someone elses blog and thought I would come up with my own list :0
Smiley from
A - O Come let us ADORE him - Christ the Lord
B - Baby Jesus - the reason for the season
C - Caroling Caroling through the snow - Christmas bells are ringing
D - Decorations on the tree - or where ever you decide to put them
E - Excitement
F - Festivities with family and friends
G - Gifts of the Season
H - Holly
I - Ice and snow BRR
J - Jolly old St Nicholas
K - we three KINGS of Orient are
L - Lumps of Coal - have you been naughty?
M - Mistletoe - Kiss me please
N - Nativity
O - Orange at the bottom of my stocking
P - Packages tied with ribbons and bows
Q - the Quay where the 3 ships came sailing in
R - Rudolph the red nose Reindeer
S - Stockings were hung by the children with care
T - O Tannenbaum
U - Underwear because that is what you get for Christmas when you stop believing in Santa
V - Vacation from the cares of the world for a day
W - Wreaths
X - XOXO for everyone
Y- Yule Log on the fire
Zzzzzzz Zonked out
Smiley from

On that note - a quick recipe before bed
Chunky Clam Dip - can't leave it alone

3 6½ ounce cans chopped clams, juice reserved
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 pint sour cream
⅓ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
6 scallions, chopped fine
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce or Franks hot sauce
¾ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Celery salt
Dried parsley

In a large sieve set over a bowl drain clams, reserving clam juice, and in another bowl whisk together cream cheese and sour cream until very smooth. Whisk 2-3 tablespoons reserved clam juice into cream cheese mixture. Stir in remaining ingredients, adjusting seasonings to taste.
Dip may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring dip to room temperature before serving. Serve with potato chips.

Ta Ta for now

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Optimism and some Football

Smiley from millan.netIt is snowing - not big heavy flakes, but light floaty flakes that will never really cover the ground.  Maybe the snow will help to bring in the Christmas spirit.  I have all the decorations up, but it still doesn't feel like it is Christmas.  I probably just need to get over myself and go find someone that needs my help.  Ultimately that is what is about.. Right?  Giving of oneself? 

Bookgroup at my house was a success.  The food was fabulous and I always enjoy so much talking with them and getting everyone's updates.  By the way...Vegan sausage rolls are ok.  I ate one as it came out of the oven.  Texture was still a little weird, but flavor was ok.  I am still very much attached to pork fat!

We read Candide by Voltaire.  I love discussing philosphy with my friends and with Ralph.  The bookgroup still found it a little hard to find humor in monkeys running around biting womens butts and the women actually liking it.  Or a one buttocked women thinking she is a sex symbol.  To me that is funny.  Voltaire takes a huge pop-shot at royalty and the church as he writes this book.  One of his centuries freest thinkers and trailblazers for it.  One of my favorite quotes from the book is "What is Optimism?" asked Cacambo.  "Alas!" replied Candide; "it is the mania for maintaining that all is right when everything is wrong"   I find myself frequently doing this, not that it is wrong but I think that you can mistake hope for optimism.  They may go together, but they are different.  Voltaire definitley spends the whole book showcasing human suffering, which of course causes the protagonist to see the world as perhaps not the best: "If this is the best of all possible worlds, what must the others be like?"  At the end after his whole journey to find Candide's beautiful true love - he finds out that she is not so much what he imagined.  He marries her anyway and after all the hardships and sufferings he endured, he grasps what is really important in life: "In Voltaire's most famous words, "Il faut cultiver notre jardin" ("we must cultivate our garden") .  After all the travails of life, Voltaire believes that work and industry are antidote to man's unhappy condition. "Labor keeps aloof from us three great evils, - dullness, vice, and want."  Great Book

Football - I love it. 
Oregon vs Oregon State - Wow what a game!  Those Rogers brothers are speedy speedy speedy.  I wonder if the Utes will end up playing them.  We might go to either Las Vegas or the Pointsettia Bowl
Pitt vs Cincy - Cincy has a chance, but Pitt looks amazing
Florida vs Alabama - I honestly don't care who wins this one - I would love to see both of these teams beat.
How will all of this fall out for the bowl games.  All I have to say is that if TCU and BSU don't get the games the deserve and end uplaying each other - there needs to be some serious changes.  The SEC is too afraid they will be beat by TCU.  I would like to see BSU be able to play Cincy or Pitt - that would be a good game.  Tomorrows  rankings and standings will tell all.

For the rest of the day we will be out and about, purchasing stuff to make gifts for friends and family.  I will be finishing up cards and gift tags.  Oh yeah, I also have a Sunday Schoool lesson to prepare.  Not too excited about this one.  It is on "being a good citizen".  Make sure you be good to your neighbor, keep your yards neat, and make sure you vote.  

Recipe for the day - Since it is snowing - I think a good soup is on the menu.
My Clam Chowder
Chowder recipes are a dime a dozen. This is one that we have adapted until we both like it. Feel free to increase the amount of clams.

1 ¼ cup diced celery
1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
1 ¼ pound canned clams, drained
2 – 3 cups of reserved clam juice
2-3 thick bacon slices, diced
½ tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbls butter
2 Tbls flour
3 cups heavy cream, half & half, or a mixture of both
6 Tbls cooking sherry
Tabasco sauce
Worcestershire sauce

Place the potatoes in a large sauce pan, cover with water, and boil until tender.
While the potatoes are cooking, sauté the bacon in a large stockpot until it is crispy. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon bits, and set them aside. Add the butter, celery, onion, garlic and bay leaves to the bacon drippings. Sauté until the onion is translucent.

Add the flour to the vegetable mixture, and stir over heat to cook the flour (2 -3 minutes). Whisk the cream and clam juice into the vegetables and flour, stirring constantly to work out any lumps. Reduce the heat to simmer. Season with the sherry, Tabasco, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and thyme. Strain the water from the cooked potatoes, and add the potatoes and clams to the chowder.

Heat to serving temperature and serve immediately with crusty sourdough bread.

Keep Warm and Ta Ta for now
Smiley from

Friday, December 4, 2009

I am a carnivore!

My bookgroup get together is scheduled for tomorrow morning at my home.  There is a member of the group that is a vegan.  My challenge comes when I get to host bookgroup, I try to come up with a refreshment that all can eat.  I love to cook/bake.  But I am a firm believer in butter, eggs and cream.  When I have hosted in the past I always have some kind of fruit, but sometimes I just want a good old piece of cake made with butter and eggs.  Now the member always insists that we don't need to accomodate her, but I don't feel right not including her. 

We are having a brunch breakfast and it is potluck.  We have sign-ups for cinnamon rolls, cranberry orange bread and 2 people are bringing some kind of fruit and the vegan member is bringing oranges and grapefruits to juice.  One person hasn't signed up, but I am sure she will bring something yummy.  I have opted to make sausage rolls. They happen to be a favorite from my British Heritage.  I purchased a roll of vegetable protein sausage flavored stuff so that my vegan bookgroup member can have some.  I can't imagine that you could do anything to that stuff to make it taste good.  The texture was like sticky flour pasty lumpy stuff.  I added worcestershire sauce, season salt and Franks Hot Sauce, in hopes that it will help.  Riley wouldn't even eat it.  I have wrapped it in a a beautiful pastry and will bake it up.  I will report tomorrow on the results.  I also have a bunch of pork sausage rolls made up as well - for those of us that do eat meat.

December is passing quickly - I hope to get a lot of Christmas stuff done this weekend.  Stay ahead of the game if you can I always say!  I have got most of my house cleaned up for tomorrow - so that gives me the rest of the day to work on the Christmas "to do" list.
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Well on the carnivore note - I will share a recipe for crockpot french dip sandwiches.  I love a good sourdough roll dipped into the rich au jus with thick slices of beef roast and sauteed onions.  YUMMO!

Crock Pot French Dip Roast
1 packet Au Jus Mix
1 packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix
1 can beef broth
3-4 pound Chuck or rib roast
1 large onion sliced and sauteed with a little oil

Put all ingredients except the onion into the crock pot and cook for 6-7 hours. Cook up your onions, slice meat and serve on a toasted sourdough sandwich roll. Spoon broth mixture into single serving bowls and dip your sandwich into the broth and take a bite!

Well, I have to go finish my book for tomorrow - especially since I am leading the discussion : )
Ta Ta for now.
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Feeling Lucky

We just go back from going out to dinner with some good friends of ours.  I had such a great time.  I have to tell you, I think we are so lucky in the friends department.  It is so great to know that there are people out there besides your family that, at a drop of the hat, would come help or provide what ever I needed.  From chasing my dog down because he got out of the yard, to having someone to talk to, to moving our large furniture from one apartment to another.  I don't know that I deserve it, but I am so glad I have them.
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As hard as things are at work sometimes, I am so glad that I have a good job and that the environment is good.  Is it perfect - Hell no!  Everybody comes with their weaknesses and there are always politics going on at the office, but what office doesn't..

In just a few days, I have noticed a huge difference around our house.  Ralph has been such a great help and it has been nice to have him around in the evenings, not worrying about so many other things.  I love him!  We are already planning a fishing trip.  I can hardly wait!
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I have been reading Candide for my bookgroup get together on Saturday.  I have about 50 pages to go.  I forgot how racey the book the was.  Kind of fun though. The book begins with a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an idealistic paradise and being indoctrinated with having an optimistic view about life by his mentor, Pangloss. The bookwork describes the abrupt change of this lifestyle, followed by Candide's slow, painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world. Voltaire concludes with Candide, if not outright rejecting optimism, advocating an enigmatic precept, "we must cultivate our garden", in lieu of the of Pangloss's view, "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds".  Hopefully everyone will have read it and will have lots to talk about.

Well, I still need to go play with a dog who is feeling mighty neglected and I need to work on my Christmas cards.  There are just not enough hours in a day.

Recipe for today - my cousin introduced me to this pie.  I love it!

2 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
1 pastry shell (9 inches), baked
20 caramels
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 cups salted peanuts
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whipped cream and salted peanuts, optional
3 caramels
5 teaspoons heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter
In a small saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over low heat; stirring until smooth. Spread onto the bottom and up the sides of crust; refrigerate until the chocolate is set.
For peanut layer, in a small saucepan, melt caramels and cream over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat; stir in peanuts. Spoon into pie shell; refrigerate.
For chocolate layer, in a microwave, melt chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring until smooth. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl beat cream and vanilla until soft peaks form. Carefully fold a third of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture; fold in the remaining whipped cream. Spread over peanut layer; refrigerate until set. Garnish with whipped cream and peanuts if desired.
For topping, in a small saucepan, melt caramels, cream and butter over low heat. stirring until smooth. Drizzle over pie. Store in the refrigerator

Ta Ta for now
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

25 days and counting

Yikes.  I feel like I am on a rollercoaster and I can't get off.  The questions I having fun?  I love riding rollercoasters at theme parks.  As you travel to the top you can feel the chains jerk and pull and you totally anticipate how awesome it is going to feel when you get to the top and start your descent and the ride that is ahead.  I would ride them over and over and over.  I never seem to tire of them.  Somehow I need to apply the thrill of that ride to the ride I am on now.   Not quite the same.
Smiley from millan.netWell, I think we have a plan for Christmas.  The calendar is full and lists are made.   We need to play it smart and be wise about our choices and somehow we will make it through.  Kind of excited!

I don't know why I let this get to me, but I have.  The bishop of the ward that we officially live in (boundaries) just called to let me know of a place available to rent in their ward - just in case we have to move.  Just leave me alone please!  Let me figure this out on my own!  The more I get pushed the more I will push back.  On Sunday, there were several little comments and digs about changing to a different ward.  I don't want to uproot.  I am counting on every part of my being to stay in the ward I am now.  I never thought I would feel so strongly about this, but I do.  If I can't stay in my ward, then I want to move far enough away to have a clean start. 

Well, since we are celebrating the holdiays, I thought I would share a recipe each day...
I got this recipe from my sister-in-law.  It is one of our favorites.

1 8oz pkg cream cheese
1/3 to 1/2 Cup crushed pineapple - drained well
1/4 Cup green pepper chopped finely
1/4 Cup celery chopped finely
1/4 Cup green onions - chopped
Lawrys season salt and pepper to taste
Roll mixture into ball and then roll in 1/2 Cup chopped nuts.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.  Serve with your favorite crackers.

Got to take a dog for a walk and then hit the hay
Ta Ta for now.
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