Friday, October 30, 2009

I'm so late, nothing new, huh?

I want to win some Stevia. Tia is having a giveaway. Do you want to win some Stevia? Go to her blog and find out how you can enter!

It's supposed to taste like sugar. I'll believe that when I taste it. I'm one of those people that can taste fake sugar a mile away. In fact, we only buy Swiss Miss instant cocoa because the other brands use fake sugar, check it out. My tongue knows; it can't be fooled. So if I win, I'll do a taste off, and let you know.

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Flashback Friday, part 3

It's Flashback Friday! I'm following Tia's example and posting a Halloween pic. Actually I'm posting two.

This is me and my oldest, Bubby. This was right before he turned four. My husband had just started working at the same place as one of my ex-boyfriends. It's a long story, but we had all been friends at one point, so it's not as awkward as it sounds. It was his office's party, and my first Halloween party. I've gone to plenty of Fall Festivals growing up, but we didn't celebrate "the devil's holiday". I don't remember ever dressing up as anything besides a cowgirl. We still raked in the candy, so I didn't really mind.

We had to dress up, and even though I wasn't really interested in going at all, I had to find costumes for me, my husband, a four year-old, and a one year-old. Let me add too, that it is nearly impossible to find a costume for an infant that isn't made of fake fur or any other material that is conducive to 90 degree heat. It is still FREAKIN' hot in October in Florida, but because most of the country is cooling off, apparently we have to improvise. Monkey, my second son, ended up wearing a Superman pajama set. I gelled his hair into a little curl on his forehead, and he looked adorable. I wore black cigarette pants, a black corset top (I was working at Victoria's Secret at the time, and I worked those sales racks), cat ears, a bowtie, and a tail. I think I also had black knee-high boots. At any rate, I had just recently dyed my hair black, so I thought it fit. The party was awkward, nobody was having fun (who has fun at their boss' house?), and it was over soon enough. One of these days, I'm going to throw a fun Halloween party just so I can say I've been to one.

This is my oldest younger brother. Catch that? There are five of us, three girls and two boys in that order. He's the one my kids call Uncle Bubba. Growing up, he was called Bubba because he was the only boy for almost ten years. He enlisted in the Army Reserves, decided to join full-time, got moved from Supplies to Helicopter Repair, got sent on two tours to Iraq, and decided no more. He lives in Virginia now, with his kids, and I miss him very much. We're the only normal two in the family, and that doesn't say much. Or speaks volumes, depending on how you look at it.

At any rate, I painted his face with glow in the dark paint, and I'm really proud of it. I think my Hubby was working because he ended up taking my oldest trick or treating with me. I was very pregnant at the time with my second, so I mostly sat on a bench, and he did all the walking.

Funny story about my brother, every time my husband had to take a business trip, he would come stay the night, so I wouldn't be alone pregnant with a baby. I swear, my neighbors gave me looks because every time my husband left town, this other guy showed up. We don't really look that much alike, either. Yup, good times.

Join in on the Flashback Friday fun, I'm sure you've got good stories to tell!

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Monday, October 26, 2009

"They call me tater salad."

I need to stop cooking like this. I'm not going to have any clothes that fit by the time Thanksgiving rolls around (see what I did there?). I can't help it though. Fall makes me want to cook. Christmas may be the time of year for baking, but fall is soup season. Here's another one of my favorites, and guess what, it has pork products and potatoes! Big shocker.

Baked Potato Soup
serves an army
  • 1 pound of bacon, snipped into bite-sized pieces with kitchen scissors (Use the good stuff, go ahead, you deserve it.)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (Baseball-sized is good.)
  • 2 cups carrots, diced (Look, it's a vegetable!)
  • 5 pounds of potatoes, diced (You can feel healthier and leave the skin on, or go completely unhealthy and peel them first.)
  • 1 T dried chives (If you have 3 tablespoons of fresh chopped chives, that's fine, too.)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 to 2 cups milk
  • Sour cream to garnish, if you need a little extra fat
Get out your big pot. We're cooking for an army here, there's at least 10 servings in this recipe. Saute the chopped bacon on medium heat until it starts to render its fat.

Add the onion and carrot, and cook until the onion is translucent and the bacon has given off all it's yummy fat. At this point, you can drain off most of the oil, but what's the fun in that? I'm sure cardiologists everywhere are cringing, but bacon fat makes me happy.

Add your potatoes and dried chives, and stir to coat every last piece with goodness. (If you are using fresh chives add them with the cheese so they don't get too nasty.)

Add enough water to cover everything. You can use chicken stock if you'd like, but definitely use low sodium or no salt added chicken stock. Bacon is plenty salty. Taste the broth to see if you need salt or pepper. I always add tons of pepper- I love a peppery potato soup!

After you've adjusted the seasoning, cover it with a lid, and let it cook on medium until the potatoes are starting to fall apart. It's probably going to take about 20 minutes, depending on how big you've diced your potatoes.

Right before serving, add the cheese and stir until it has melted completely. This is when you add the milk. If your soup is too thick, add more milk; if it's just fine, add less milk. Your soup will thicken as it stands, so err on the side of thin rather than thick.

If you've had a really rough day, serve it with a dollop of sour cream and more bacon on top. In my opinion either naked or dressed, this soup is a winner!

I know the title has little to do with the actual post, but it's one of my favorites clips by Ron White.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Flashback Friday, part 2

It's Flashback Friday! I almost missed it, too. I've had this feeling all day that there was something I was supposed to do, but it didn't click until I saw Tia's reminder on Twitter. And here I thought laundry, baking muffins, homeschooling, crocheting Christmas presents, and giving out medicine was all I had to do today. Silly me! BTW- giving a very flexible and energetic five year-old eye drops for an eye infection is about as easy as wrangling a greased pig. Or a soapy three year-old in the bath. Either way, I deserve a blue ribbon at the county fair.

Remember when I told you I wasn't a pretty child? The eighties weren't a good fashion decade anyway. This is my tenth birthday. It was a sleepover, and I was dressed up in my ruffled collar schoolmarm shirt and faded blue khaki skirt. Yup, I'm the one with my tongue sticking out.

When we were growing up, we were allowed to have a birthday party every five years. Because there were four of us until I was fourteen, this worked out to one a year with one year off for my parents to financially recover. I have solved this issue by having all my kids between November 12th and December 15th. They all have to share one big party. We used to throw each one a party, but as we added more kids to the crowd, we started to run out of money before Christmas even came around. Anyway, back to the photo.

Out of the seven girls that came (I invited all the girls in my class), I really only talked to three of them on a daily basis. I didn't really say much to anyone, for that matter. Don't worry, I'm making up for it now. I was such a late-bloomer. Sorry, I keep getting side-tracked, back to the photo!

We had a really good time. We made pizzas, cookies, and my mom made us home-made donuts in the morning. Looking back, I realize how cheap my parents made out, but back then I had no idea. I just remember having someone other than my sisters to stay up late and talk to. It was good times. You know, back when we still thought boys were gross. Once we started caring what the boys thought of us, it was all over. Sometimes I still think boys are gross, but it makes me happy when one of them tells me I look nice. At least now I don't totally flip out when a boy is talking to my friend and not me.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yummy, yummy in my tummy... part 2!

One of my Twitter friends, HKprettyinpink, asked me to share my recipe for Sausage, Potato, and Kale soup. I tweeted the simple version, but then thought more explanation might be good for those of you who had no idea what I was talking about. I have come to realize that's most of the earth's population. Even my own family has given me the "wha?" face from time to time.

Doesn't this look good? This is after it's been refrigerated and reheated, too.

So here it goes:

Sausage, Potato, and Kale soup

Note- I call it that because the sausage is my favorite part, followed by the potato, and well, the kale is there because it has vitamins.

  • 1 pound of bulk sausage (If you like it spicy, use spicy Italian; if you would rather have chunks of sausage, use sausage links and chop them up, I use Jimmy Dean Regular because that's what I like.)
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped (When I say large, I mean the size of a softball.)
  • 1 1/2 pounds of baking potatoes, diced (You can either leave the skin on or peel them, your choice. If you would rather have a firmer potato, use red potatoes; they hold up to cooking better.)
  • 1 box of chicken stock (I don't know how much stock comes in the box. If you really want to go all Martha, make your own, just don't brag about it to your friends. They might not like you later.)
  • 1 pound of frozen greens (Use kale, mustard, turnip or spinach- your choice again. If you want to use fresh, be prepared to wash, dry and chop at least 3-4 pounds to get the same amount. Just go frozen.)
Get out your big pot. Heat enough olive oil to barely cover the bottom over medium heat, and saute your sausage and onion until the sausage is done. If you want globs of sausage, don't worry too much about breaking it up. I need sausage in every bite, so I go medieval on it with my wooden spoon and break it up good.

While the sausage is cooking, you can prep your taters. Add them to the pot and stir until all that yummy sausage and onion stuff is covering every piece. I'm getting hungry. Add the greens now if they're still frozen. If you actually thought ahead and defrosted them (What's wrong with you, and how can I get that way?), add them after the potatoes have cooked halfway.

Dump in your chicken broth. If you need to add a little more water to cover your potatoes, go ahead. Taste the broth to see if you need salt or pepper. If you've added extra water, you're probably going to need to adjust the seasoning. Cover with a lid, and let it cook!

Depending on how big you've diced your potatoes, it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. I dice mine small (1/2 inch) because I have no patience. Go small the first time because once you smell this soup, you will want to eat it as soon as you can. If there is any left, I suppose it could be frozen, but I've never had any left to test this theory.

This can also be done in a slow cooker. Saute your sausage and onion first, then add everything to your slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or high for 2-3 hours.


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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yummy, yummy in my tummy...

I'm trying to write something witty and coherent, but it's not working. I think all my blood has rushed to my tummy, more later. So... because I found the camera, I thought I'd just post some pictures and maybe explain them a little.

Goliath gets the peanut butter jar after we're done. Most people rinse their recycling out before they put it in the bin, we lick it out. What did we use all that peanut butter for, you ask? Why is there so much fuzz on your carpet, you're probably also wondering? Don't judge me because I have fuzz next to my couch. I know you're staring at it. I know it's driving you crazy. Sheesh, if it bothers you that much, you can come vacuum my house for me. Bring a vacuum, mine is usually clogged with dog hair. Anyway, back to the peanut butter...

Peanut butter-dark chocolate french toast sandwiches of course. Breakfast for dinner is freaking awesome! We did have some pineapple, and I made them with whole wheat bread, so don't get all up in arms because my kids had chocolate for dinner. You're just jealous because you don't have any leftover homemade dark chocolate ganoche laying around.

Oh, and lunch was potato, sausage and kale soup, from scratch. I was Super Chef today, and my tummy is happy.

-Side note, I skipped Flashback Friday because Tia is sick. Send her well wishes and join in on the fun next week!

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Monday, October 12, 2009

It's Weebs!

I guess it's fall. There have been no leaves changing, the grass on our neighbors' lawns is still green (we have dirt that one day I will spray paint green); it's not even cold yet.
I did get a little bag of fabric leaves in fall colors from my Monster. They've started celebrating Fall in his Sunday school class, and he's really excited about it. He came running out of his classroom holding a little brown paper bag that he had lovingly decorated in one hand and a lollipop in the other hand. He shoved the bag into my hand, said "Dish ish foh you!", and quickly stuck the lollipop in his mouth before I could take it away. Yes, he has learned the art of distraction from his Mommy. I'm so proud.
When I asked him what was in the bag (I've learned to ask first. Sometimes little boys think things like bugs, used gum, and half eaten cookies need to be saved for Mom. They're so giving.), he said, "It's weebs!" If I could have recorded his little happy dance, I would watch it every day.
He's three years old, and still can't say "r", "th", "l", or "s" most of the time. I should be concerned, but it's still too cute which I need because most of the time, he's very un-cute.

Oh, and I would take a picture of his little art project, but the camera's still missing. There's a reason we call him Monster.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Flashback Friday, part 1

One of the blogs I stalk is Christopher and Tia. I fully admit my stalking. I may have posted a comment or two, but it has been a while. At any rate, Tia has been encouraging people to own up to their dorky, awkward pasts (at least in my case, she looks adorable) and join in on her Flashback Friday posts. So I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna bite the bullet, jump the shark, take the plunge, and any other cliche you can think of that would fit here. Please understand, I was not a beautiful child. Yes, Mom, I was beautiful inside, but outside I was, well as my loving father put it, a toothpick with an olive shoved half-way down. I was a really skinny white girl with a butt. Yup, baby's got back.

To ease you all into the wonderfulness that is my past, I'm gonna start with a picture of me and my older sister.

We grew up in South Florida, Margate to be exact, so this really could have been taken any time during the year, but I'm guessing I was either four or five in this picture. I am the blondish one in the red two piece, by the way. I couldn't really tell you why we were sunbathing by the trash heap, but I can tell you we didn't do that very often because I don't tan, I burn. And then get freckles. My lovely older sister (consequently, this picture may be the only proof that she was taller than me at one point in her life) tans like you wouldn't believe; she turns a gorgeous olive color. She also married a man who is part Puerto Rican, part American Indian so her children get really dark, too. Me? Oh, I married a Scottish/English guy. Yeah, we have clear children who turn the color of a watermelon at the slightest amount of heat. Hey, I married for love, not skin pigment. Oh, and we live in Florida, so I guess you could say my kids are red ten months out of the year, and then I have clear children for the other two. When I say clear, I mean you can see every vein in the skin. Just like their Mommy! Family photos are really fun, I always tell people my sister's kids are the brown ones, mine are the clear ones.

So yeah, that's more about my present than my past, but to tell you the truth, I don't really remember much about this picture. That was an awesome Flashback Friday, huh? Eh, maybe next week, I'll actually have a picture I remember something about.

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