Thursday, September 30, 2010

Not cho Cheez!

Last night I participated in a "Family Math Night" hosted by the university I attend .  We set up at one of the local elementary schools.  My partner and I sponsored a Volume Guess Jar station in which the students were to guess the number of cheese puffs in the gigantic tub we purchased at Sam's Club.  The kid with the closest count to what was really in the tub got to take the cheese puffs home (you may have done something like this with pastel M&Ms at a shower).  It turned out to be quite the hit.  We let the little ones take a "wild guess" while we used a strategy to help the older students...parents and kids, alike,  participated.  My partner and I knew the count (1120) because we multiplied the number of puffs per serving by the number of servings, mind you, we scratched out that info with a pen.  I recall at one point a woman asked how we knew what was in the canister, she had on a school district badge so I just figured she was observing.  I happened to notice the name on the badge because she had the same last name as my best friend.  Anyway, I told her how we knew and she laughed and said, "ah, clever".  There was one little 1st grader that I just knew would win because he guessed 1100...the closest by far!  At the end we looked through all the folded pieces of paper and what did we find?!  The observer had written down the exact number of cheese puffs!  I noticed her looking at the label at one point but, I never saw her drop a "guess" in the basket.  If you knew where to look you could still see the print though I scratched thru it. 

At the end , all of the children sat on folded knees, eager to hear me announce who'd won.  The look of happy anticipation shattered when they heard me announce the woman's name.  I thought, "Surely she won't actually take the puffs.  She will give them to the next kiddo since she didn't even have a child with her but, no.  The ogre did a happy dance, stepping thru children, all the way up to claim her prize.  I hope for every bite she takes she gets a cheese puff sized dimple on her ass.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Make my Day

Yesterday I got a comment on Facebook from THE Rebecca Wells!  I'd submitted a picture a while back when Ms. Wells asked for comments and stories from fans to honor a birth in her family.  I shared a pic of my daughters (since I'd just had a new one myself) and I shared a little poem to honor my babes.  She wrote, "Adorable!"  I don't know if she meant the picture, the poem, or both.  Either way, she made my day.  Take a look for yourself : )  You know a momma's gotta brag!

Ever have one of these days?

The kind that leaves you dead in your tracks?

It's everywhere

Here.  Another article about food.  I particularly like how the article points out that HFCS is not bad but, it's the amount we consume that is. (might I add, DUH)  Though, I have to disagree (only a little) with this portion of the article because I think HFCS is much more dangerous than sugar because it is put into more products than any other sweetener and it's products that we don't always associate with sugar either like Ketchup, dressings, spaghetti sauce, and canned soups.  Even if you didn't consume one sweet in the day, you may very well have reached your max on sugar without even knowing it so I think that HFCS is a bad, sneaky little booger.  Read the labels, I know I know but, how would you know when an ingredient is really a HFCS in disguise?  I read that chicory, inulin, iso glucose, glucose-fructose syrup, and fruit fructose are all names that equal HFCS, go figure!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Last night, the husband and I watched Food, Inc.  I've watched snippets before and understood the concept of the film; really, it just underscored what I already knew but, it left me questioning, "what is a girl to do?"  When compared to most friends I stand apart as the only one jumping on the green/recycling/organic band wagon as these are not Corpus Christian "hot topics".  Though, it seems common sense to me and it's been pretty easy to make small changes (albeit more expensive since organic costs more), Corpus is really limited on it's recycling program and doesn't have much in the way of organics or Farmer's Markets so people just stick to what they know.  This leads back to my question, "What's a girl to do?" 

Recently, Corpus Christi was ranked, by Men's Health Magazine, the fattest city in the nation (if you've ever been here, you'd know this is no surprise).  I wish Jamie Oliver would come over here and shake things up!  We don't have the option to choose from a store other than HEB unless we want to drive all the way over to Sun Harvest and often I do just that.  Unlike living in Austin there's not a big selection for organics here because there's not a big demand.  The majority of people here are not informed about what's really in our food, I think but, that doesn't help my dilemma.  How do I choose healthy options for my family? 

Since my baby was born 4 months ago, there have been two major recalls.  The first was the big Tylenol/Mylecon scare in which God only knows what was being found in the contaminated bottles and the second was most recently with the Similac Advance formula in which beetle parts were found in the powdered versions.  This IS the very brand that we were given in the hospital and have stuck with because it's what she's had since birth.  If I hadn't had such a terrible bout of Mastitis, I would have gladly kept breastfeeding but, the body doesn't always allow us to do what we want so BUG PARTS are my alternative?! 

Really, I'm just frustrated because I love to cook and I want the best for my loved ones as I'm sure we all do.  I buy the leanest meats but, what does that matter when it's ground up with feces and rinsed with ammonia?  We hardly ever eat out but, is cooking in really that much better than Micky D's?  I buy fresh veggies most often because I prefer to skip out on the sodium found in canned but, does that really matter with the heavy dose of chemicals laden on all the crops?  I buy white meat chicken because it's supposed to be better but, is my family inadvertently becoming resistant to all antibiotics because of the large quantities they ingest by way of the chicken?  Maybe all the crap in the food is causing my daughter to have blood in her urine in what's been dubbed as "the mystery illness".  Since 4+ Dr.'s can't figure it out I suppose my guess is as good as their's. 

It's nice to think we can make a change but, watching that film just made me feel even more helpless.  What do I buy to make a change?  Where do I go to buy safe meat?  Come short of selling our home and moving away to a land free of growth hormones, what is a girl to do?  Maybe you would like to join me in prayer for food....maybe you'd just like to leave me your thoughts and comment.  Either way, I'd like to hear from you out there~  Let me know

Friday, September 24, 2010

Turtle Cake

Today is "Foodie Friday" at Designs By Gollum and I find that I look forward to these days, now, so I suggest you give her blog a looksee if you like recipes.  Today I'm sharing another over the top sweet dessert (I promise sweets are not all we eat around here).  I got this recipe from my great aunt Mafalda when I was a little girl.  I used it in competition for my 4-H cooking group.  I didn't get 1st place; rather, I lost to a "dirt cake" (you know the pudding in a flower pot with pulverized Oreo cookies and an artificial flower stuck on top) and I was more than a little miffed (imagine recalling this 20+ yrs. later) so it left a lasting impression on me to say the least.  The competition rules stated that everything be "from scratch" and, as you will see, this recipe calls for a box mix... sooo my solution?  Use the recipe on the back of the German Choc baking squares box.  Yes.  All from scratch.  It was so damn good, too.  So, "how could this sweet little girl lose to Bobby and his pudding in a pot", you ask?  Well, his mommy was the president of our 4H group, of course!  And, being the small town that this is, Bobby and I grew up to be hard feelings except for the occasional "life isn't fair" moments that I'm known to have so if you find yourself having one of your own "moments", I prescribe this cake:


1 box German Chocolate cake mix
14 oz. pkg. caramels
1 stick butter or oleo
½ cup evaporated milk
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans


½ cup butter
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
6 Tbsp. evaporated milk
1 lb. bag of sifted powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9x13 inch cake pan.  Mix cake as directed on the box. Pour half the batter into greased pan. Bake 15 minutes. Reserve remaining batter.  Melt the following until creamy in a double boiler or microwave: butter, caramels, and milk. Pour over partially baked cake batter. Cover caramel mixture with chocolate chips and nuts. Drop remaining batter over top.  Bake for 25 minutes or until done.

Mafalda’s notes: Put caramels ahead of time (I’m assuming she means to begin to melt them a little before adding milk & butter).

I used 2-½ to 3 cups of cake batter for the bottom layer. I cooled the first layer and caramel mixture a little so that it thickened some before adding the top layer.  The top layer, although dropped by spoonfuls onto the caramel mixture, covered thinly.


Heat butter, cocoa, and evaporated milk in a small sauce pan.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and add sifted powdered sugar. Blend. Add vanilla and blend until it reaches the consistency desired.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


In trying to feed mon petit bebe, today, we ended up quite the mess.  Baby, it seems, is bound and determined to do this all by herself .  4 month age restrictions not considered. Apparently. 

It got me thinking about how time flies and before you know it, poof, she will be feeding me pablum whilst I sit propped in an adult sized version of a bumbo seat.  Ahhh, to come full circle...can't wait.

I'd like to leave you with some tasty recipe on that sour note; alas, I'm fresh out of ideas and baby has, sweetly, drifted off to sleep following her bath so I think I'll follow suit and bathe the cereal out of my hair.  Happy Thursday, y'all!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

When it rains, it pours

With bands from the latest tropical storm to sweep into Mexico, South Texas has seen rain falling off & on for the last two days.  Last night my daughter had a sleepover, the baby slept through the night, and the hubby made us all crepes and bacon this morning.  For being cooped up due to rain, life seemed pretty good.  Then I got the phone call.  My sister calls around 9:30 to tell me that our dad hit a dog this morning on the way to the store on his Harley, laying it and him skidding across the wet asphalt  She was on the way to the hospital so I coordinate the girl to be picked up from the house, run to the store and load up on food, then pick up her three kids who were climbing the walls of the ER to bring them back here so that she can sit with our dad.  I went from two to five kids in a matter of an hour and I've been ready to hit the sack since 8:30 p.m.  I don't know how anyone does it with more than two kids.  Lately the husband and I have been talking about having a third since we are in baby bliss with our 4 month old but, having a 16 month old, five yr. old, and 7 yr. old added to the mix has got me wanting to hide under the covers.  It's like I'm seeing glimpses of what we've got to look forward to.  I'd almost forgotten with the humongous age gap between my two.  Now, it's all flooding back like the raining pouring just outside our door.  It hasn't been all bad, though.  They did keep me too busy to worry myself sick about my dad (who ended up with a shattered leg bone but, otherwise good), and they were great help in the kitchen.  To make the day fun for them so they wouldn't worry about Pawpaw, we baked a Mississippi Mud Cake.  It may not be as fun to make as the mud pies I see in their near futures but, I bet it tastes better by a long shot.  Big sissy helped by entertaining.  She's decided she wants to be an old maid for Halloween and I think she's working this angle for the costume design.

If you'd like to make a sickeningly sweet brownie type thang, you might want to try this recipe:

Mississippi Mud Cake (though, it's more like a brownie smothered in marshmallow creme and choc. frosting)
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
1 (10.5 oz.) pkg. mini marshmallows
   Chocolate Frosting

Whisk first 6 ingredients together.  Stir in flour and pecans.  Pour batter into a greased and floured 15x10 in. jellyroll pan.
Bake for 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Remove from oven; top with marshmallows and put back into oven to bake for an additional 5 minutes.  Drizzle choc. frosting over warm cake (though, I'd say you have to thin the frosting more so than the recipe calls for).  Cool completely.

1 (16 oz.) pkg. powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup butter, softened

Beat all ingredients at med. speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Yields 2 cups.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Recipe for "My family doesn't care that I'm beat so demands dinner anyway" Soup

Also known as Artichoke Shrimp Soup.  It was fast.  They were complaining and so here it is:

Shrimp and Artichoke Soup

24 oz. (two 12 oz. cans) quartered artichokes, drained
1 quart chicken stock
1 tbsp. Thyme leaves
¼ cup all purpose flour plus 1 tbsp.
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 quart heavy cream
1 lb. medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups chopped green onion, divided
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Salt and Creole seasoning to taste

     Combine artichoke, chicken stock, 1 cup green onion, thyme, salt, and Creole seasoning in a soup pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
     In a cast iron skillet, combine butter and flour to make a blond roux. Add blond roux to the simmering pot and stir in heavy cream. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Add shrimp and remaining green onion and simmer for 5 more minutes. Garnish with parsley (if dehydrated parsley is used, add along with shrimp and cook for 5 minutes to rehydrate).

I know I complain but, I DO love my family and this is a good recipe : )  The hubby and I learned it from the New Orleans School of Cooking when we vacationed there last 4th of July.
Our instructor...see soup in the reflection above him
We really enjoyed the class so if you go to New Orleans, I recommend checking into it.  They gave us the recipes that were prepared that day and this happened to be one of them.  They also served us with Abita beer which got me hooked.

Leftover Lasagna? Anyone?

Last night, I mixed up my traditional Lasagna recipe a bit and I used spinach and basil (basil from my garden) instead of meat.  I don't think that it was bad but, I just asked the fam if we could heat up leftovers and the room was silent.  I have to say, I was really hopeful that they would just go for the leftover idea since I'm wiped out but, I don't think they're gonna show me any mercy.  Considering that baby's been running fever from her immunizations and been as cranky as...well, a baby running fever from her immunizations, you would think that maybe one of my sweet, loving, caring, family members would step in and say, "Gee, mom, you look beat.  Sit down and put your feet up.  I'll get YOU dinner."  (Oh.  Wait. Are you a mom, too? If so, you probably read that last line and laughed out loud as you thought, "yeah. right.  I'll have what she's smoking!"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Good grief

Today, baby and Sissy went to the Dr.  Baby was getting her 4 mon. well checkup and Sissy was having follow up on her "mystery" illness from two weeks ago.  All was going is big for her age.  Yeah.  I get it; I, too, can see her rolls.  Dr. ordered a "diet" of sorts but, the real kicker was when she ordered an ultrasound because the rolls on her legs were asymmetrical.  I thought she was joking, I mean one extra roll really constitutes ordering an unltrasound?!  But, I guess so.  Tomorrow we will be headed in again to see if she has hip dysplasia.  Great.  I'll be flat broke and homeless at this rate.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The misadventures of a tween in the kitchen (pancakes)

Today, my daughter informed me that she would like to make us pancakes.  In an instant my mind flashed to her pouring a 2 lb bag of rice to the 2 cups of boiling water on the stove and then, another flash:

Her:  I don't GET it.
Me: What's not to get?  It's a grilled cheese.
Her: do I know when it's done?
Me:  The bread looks (moment of pause to bring the calm back to my voice) grilled.
Her: (dramatic sigh) Whatever; I still don't get it.

Flash forward to today:

Her:  Mom.  Something doesn't look right
Crap. I've heard these words before.  I go over to inspect the bowl.
Me: Did you follow the directions?
Her: (heavy sigh) Yes, right here on the box. (points at the recipe)
That's right folks, we are using a Krusteaz box of pancakes and the child still doesn't get it.  I'm thinking of plopping down my recipe for her to follow the next time she volunteers to make breakfast, IF, there is a next time.  That oughta really bring down the house.
Me:  So you put 1 cup of mix into the bowl?
Her:  Yes
Me:  And you added 3/4 cup of water to the mix?
Her:  (bigger, more dramatic, sigh) Yeuuuuhhhss! (points to the 2 cup measuring cup).
Me:  Right here where it says 1 and 3/4?
Her:  (Glances to the dining room as something of obvious interest has suddenly diverted her attention from the conversation at hand)
Me:  Ahem?
Her:  Oooohh, yyyyyeah.  Well, I didn't know.  Nobody told me there was more than one mark for 3/4ths on the cup.
Me: (dramatic sigh) Yes.  One would be the 3/4 cup and the one higher up would be going over the 1 cup mark, incrementally all the way up to the 2 cup mark.  (me pointing)  See, there?  (heavy sigh) Just add more mix.
Her:  Oooh, I get it!  Man, we're gonna have a lot of pancakes.
Me: Yeah.

I wonder where she gets her dramatics from
P.S.:  Her cat, Louise, who follows her wherever she goes, was at her feet, meowing, as she cooked and I heard her say to the cat, "you can't handle these pancakes."  Ahhhh hah hahhahahaaa.  I love my glad she's back from her week long visit to B.B.'s.

Here's my pancake recipe just in case you don't want to go the box-mix route.

2 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
2 tbsp. lemon juice (freshly squeezed preferably)
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. soda
3 cups flour

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Combine tablespoons lemon juice to milk and add to beaten eggs. Combine the remaining ingredients and mix until slightly lumpy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Is anything better...

than a BLT?  And, not just any BLT but,  a BLT with homegrown tomatoes?
Happy Saturday, y'all!

Friday, September 10, 2010


It is entirely possible that I just ate a 1/4 gallon of ice cream.  I'm going to hell for this and I'll be going down, fast, like a greased pig struck by lightening, 'cause the good Lord knows I won't be climbing any stairway to heaven with the extra L-B's I'll be hoisting around after this.  Oh, yeah; Happy Friday, y'all!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Whatnot Wednesday

I didn't get to go junking this past weekend since we spent most of the holiday at the lake or on the couch but, my uncle did bring back some of the goodies I'd left at my mom's (since they wouldn't fit in the car) from my last visit there.

Fiesta ware Salt and Pepper shakers, a gift from Grandma...they were her mom's (my Mimi's)
Milk Glass Hobnail Lamp
I'm thinking of selling some of this stuff on Etsy but, I'm new to that whole concept so a little apprehensive.  Anyway, here are more goods...
Irmi Wee Willie Winkie Lamp

Vintage giftwrap: baby & bridal shower prints.

I found some really amazing deals and I can't wait to share more bargains in the future.  In the mean time, I'll share a recipe for a pasta salad I had this weekend sooo yummy that I'll have to make some tonight!

Spaghetti Salad:
1 pkg. spaghetti (12 oz.) broken into thirds
1/2 c. salad oil (or a little less)
3 tbsp. Accent I'm scratching this since it has MSG, I'll use a cajun seasoning instead such as Tony Chachere's ( I JUST DID THIS AND I RECOMMEND NOT USING 3 TBSP...MORE LIKE 1-1/2)
3 tbsp. lemon juice (juice from approx. 2 lemons)
1 Bell pepper (chopped)
2 Green onions (chopped)
1 small can Ripe black olives, chopped
1 jar Pimientos, diced (if desired)
1 tbsp. mayonnaise or salad dressing

Boil spaghetti, drain and rinse with cold water. Add salad oil, Accent and lemon juice. Let sit in refrigerator overnight. Add chopped bell peppers, olives, onions and pimentos. Add mayonnaise and salt and pepper to taste. Leftovers may be kept in refrigerator for several days. Gets better.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Blow, baby, blow

Well, tropical storm Hermine has been dumping rain on us since yesterday evening.  Every time I woke up I listened to see if it was still storming and, yup, it was.  I think poor Georgie has been holding it for fear of getting his pretty, little, paws wet. 

The winds are high and we are under a tornado watch....good thing I only have one class this afternoon.  The baby and I will be cuddled up, indoors, in the mean time.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig (Pico de Gallo Recioe)

Today marks the beginning of Labor Day weekend and I need to be "makin' groceries".  Since we won't be going to my mom's (boo) I think we will be going to the lake to hang with friends which means that I need to wrap my brain around what to make.  I'm thinking Pico de Gallo and I don't know what all else but, here's a recipe for Pico de Gallo to hold you over 'til the next post

Pico de Gallo, pronounced Pee Co Day Guy-O in Texas speak

4 Roma tomatoes, chopped (or whatever kind you got...homegrown's the best but, you probably know that my "homegrown" crop was mini-sized)
1 medium sized sweet onion, finely chopped (TX is known for their sweet onions so I'm partial)
1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and minced
½ bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of 3 limes
Kosher Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. You may want to refrigerate to let flavors develop but, is not necessary. Serve with corn tortilla chips.

You can always add more tomatoes, onion, etc. if you are making this for a big crowd.  There really is no right or wrong in making something like Pico. 

I hope y'all enjoy your holiday weekend! 

Until we meet again...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

BREAKING NEWS (and a recipe for "The Big Easy"

Not really but, THIS JUST IN:  There is a funky smell emanating from this area-

Seriously, y'all!  It is faint so I only catch a whiff ever so often (actually, only twice) but, when I do it stinks to high heaven!  Now, I had a craving for "the big easy" (and if you're unfamiliar with "the big easy" this would be a snack of Pickapeppa sauce over a block of cream cheese eaten with Ritz) but, after catching a whiff of whatever odorous beast lurks behind door # 1, I'm thinking not.  Damn you, foul smell, for ruining my fat-ass bad-ass snack!

As a side note I should add:  I did not intend on eating the entire block of cream cheese...just sayin'

this~n~that Thursday

Okay, this is a little overdue since I mentioned posting last Saturday's junking finds a few days back but, here it is, as promised.
daughter's 1st cookbooks.  cost= $3 for both.  She picked these herself!

my little bargain book finds: a sweet kid's book circa '63 and a Southern Living Seafood cookbook

and the best for last, this darlin' little recipe tin box!

Sunday morning cat nap