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Showing posts from December, 2013

Good Eating Monday: Slow-Cooker Mac & Cheese

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   Happy New Year!  May your 2014 be a year filled with good things! I'll be taking New Year's Eve & New Year's Day off, so next blog will be Mama Kat on Thursday. Today I'm making  Chocolate Clouds , a delicious meringue cookie filled with chocolate chip goodness! We always host a Pray-In-The-New-Year event annually at the Airman Center on base, featuring food, fun, movies & games until just about 15 minutes prior to midnight when we gather, share prayer requests, then pray over the hour into the New Year. I'm taking the chocolate clouds. Plus I'm trying a new slow cooker recipe for mac & cheese. I love trying slow-cooker recipes, since the appliance is more economic then the stove!  Last week I tried a couple rounds of  Slow-Cooker Rosemary Rolls , one with herb, the other without. I added that extra teaspoon sugar, extra 1/2 cup of flour and split the olive oil with half coconut oil and the second batch came out quite a bit better. I

Friday Finds: Starry Night Parodies

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This week, we've seen both "Saving Mr. Banks," and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." Of the 2 films, Walter Mitty is by far the better, more charming and enjoyable movie. Saving Mr. Banks, while well put together as a film, is a bit of downer, despite it's few amusing moments. It's mostly tragic. Neither is for young children, especially not Saving Mr. Banks--not unless you want you little kids to have to watch a man dying slowly of tuberculosis. Walter Mitty would be suitable for older children who might understand the positive message in the film which is: "to really live life, you sometimes have to leave your comfort zone and try new things." **** Today's finds are few amusing re-interpretations of Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night" that I saw pinned on Pinterest.   Iron Man Batman Dr. Who Firefly Have a very Happy New Year!

Mama Kat Thursday: Snow

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 Today's Mama Kat prompt is: "Write a post inspired by the word: snow." I definitely have a lot of snow memories. I grew up in middle Indiana, southwest of Indianapolis and our property was heavily forested with deciduous trees, like oak, maple, tulip, beech, hickory, etc. Snow accumulation generally varied from 3 to 6 inches and, on very rare occasions, up to 10 or 12 inches. Crocus Buds in Snow in Indiana When you live with snow you learn there's "good snow" and "bad snow." Good snow is light and fluffy with enough stickiness to it to roll it into balls to throw or build a snowman  and thick enough to go sledding on. Bad snow is slushy, icy, too thin or otherwise too  miserable for any use. Of course, that is a kid's point of view on the value of snow. I used to love the look of new fallen snow on the trees that bent them into tunnels we could walk through like a winter wonderland. I also have many fond memories of sledding on

Good Eating Monday: Slow-Cooker Rosemary Pull-Apart Rolls!

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Greetings!  Almost Christmas! Just finished wrapping my husband's gift and waiting on one last item from Amazon that is scheduled to arrive today. Of course, mail is running late. I received a fun thing in my email from Kellogg's this past week. (I'm signed up with for many company's newsletters for coupons and such--I get a lot of birthday greetings from that, too!) Kellogg's got together with Shutterfly.com and sent to give me a free 8x10 custom calender and by custom calendar I mean loading your own photos onto a calender. I did a whimsical one comprised of screen shots of my and my hubby's pirate characters from an online game that closed down. We were members for 7 years off and on, so I had a lot of screen shots to choose from. (Shutterfly prints for personal use and gifts only; not for sale.) Today's Good Eating recipe is for Slow-Cooker Rosemary Pull-Apart Rolls! I have some rising in the slow-cooker right now!  I cut and pasted the

Mama Kat Thursday: Top 5 Christmas Songs

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The Mama Kat topic to this week is: My top 5 favorite Christmas songs! I love all Christmas music, especially the classic hymns. However, if you make me pick and choose, I do have a couple favorite songs and 3 favorite albums: #1 on my Christmas hit list is: Carol of the Bells! I love that one. Oddly it was the theme song for Andre Champagne & Cold Duck in TV ads in the 70's when I was growing up. It's not an easy one to find on  Christmas albums, either, but worth it having if you can find it. #2 is: O Come, O Come Emmanuel!  I love that one because it's in a key I can actually sing! I'm a lower end alto--- if I can manage to carry the tune, though I'm not too terrible with Christmas hymns. Singing isn't really my thing, but if I must, I prefer Christmas tunes. #3 is Everything on the A Charlie Brown Christmas Album by The Vince Guaraldi Trio!  The best Christmas music and best Christmas special ever! #4 Album is Trans-Siberian

Garden Pic Wednesday: Christmas Flowers & Fresh Trees

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I mentioned yesterday we were having a Gingerbread House building contest at our Bible Study Christmas Party last night---which we've never done before---and it turned out fantastic! There were 3 teams building graham cracker art and they really got into it! Lots of creativity. It was Kullin's idea. (The guy who helped us build our landscape wall). While he was at college, it was something he and his fellow engineering students did annually. He said the houses our teams came up with last night were way better then anything built by engineering students! To which Randy said, "I hope none of them ended up  building bridges." Kullin replied, "Well, unfortunately some of  them did." LOL. It very funny. I was one of the judging team. We had one person from every team explain the ideas behind their construction, then we judges retired to another room to make our decision. We picked one as "Best of Show." It had a peaked roof layered with mints

Good Eating Monday: Lemon Crinkle Cookies!

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 Greetings! Last week before Christmas! Christmas shopping done? Mine is. My husband just put the boxes going to family in the mail this morning! How's your cookie baking going? Want to try a really easy, lemony cookie? Today's Good Eating recipe is another I tried from  Pinterest: Lemon Crinkle Cookies. But as so often happens, the real deal didn't come out looking like the Pinterest picture. Food photographers use a lot of photo trickery like added dye or not cooking the crinkle cookie all the way through so it looks more deeply cracked or dusting it with extra confectioners to give it those clear white patches. In my experience, REAL crinkle cookies, regardless of kind, always come out with rather fine, light cracking and the confectioners sugar I rolled them in before baking is usually largely melted away. I think you'd have to do a second dusting after the cookies are on the cooling rack with confectioners to get those clear patches of whiteness. So, here

Friday Finds: The Amazing & Humorous

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Real Heroes Among Us: This "Batman" is a businessman who visits children in hospitals as the masked hero. He paid $5000 for the uniform.  He spends $25,000 a year of his own money on Batman toys and memorabilia. He signs every book, hat, T-shirt and backpack he hands out — Batman." "Luke, I am your boss" A Little Avengers Christmas Humor:

Garden Pic Wednesday: Decorating with Christmas Greenery

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Christmas Greetings! I spent many years as a floral designer, so today I'm  doing a couple of quick decorating tips for Christmas greenery and Poinsettias. F irst: Vasing Christmas Greens For The Table We buy a fresh tree yearly, which means a few branch trimmings. What I like to do is snip off the smaller branches on a branch of Frazier fir, strip each stem of needles that will be under water, then arrange them arrange them in a vase for my table. It makes a pretty, long lasting arrangement that I can flowers to or just enjoy along. Plus it smells nice. About once a week the stems will need a fresh snip and fresh warm tap water. I recommend a solid vase, rather then a clear one, so stems won't be visible.  Even if you don't have a real tree, many fresh tree lots will let you help yourself to their pile of trimmings for free-- but you should ask. Fund raising tree sellers tend to me more charitable about their trimmings then for-profit lots, which may charge

Good Eating Monday: Devil's Food Brownies

I just read recently that common Extra Virgin Olive Oil brands sold in the U.S. aren't pure. " The UC Davis Olive Oil Center  in cooperation with the Australian Oils Research Laboratory in Waga Waga, New South Wales, tested 14 imported olive oils and five California brands to see if they met extra virgin standards: Bertolli, Pompeian, Colavita, Carapelli, Newman's Own, Mezzetta and Mazola " These listed brands all FAILED those tests for purity!   Despite saying "imported," on their labels, many U.S. companies tend to dilute their brands with other oils, so you're not getting pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil! However, there's a simple way to test your bottle of Extra Virgin to see if it's pure: put in in the refrigerator for a couple hours. If it's pure, the oil will become slightly cloudy once it's chilled. If it's not pure, it won't.  I had a bottle of Pompeian I tried in the frig and it definitely failed the test! I purchased

Friday Finds: Amusing Pinterest Pics

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 Finds to day are some laugh out loud Pinterest Pics: Someone with a sense a humor attached Toy Story dolls to their bumper in movie-like fashion:  Every neighborhood needs one of these: A new take on the usual pumpkin-patch photo: Funny baby pic that speaks for itself: Have a great weekend!

Mama Kat Prompt: Trending Bad

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The Mama Kat prompt topic for today is:  "A trend you're not much a fan of." This topic leads me directly to thinking of the television industry and several trends I'm definitely NOT fond of: All the vampire stuff: Blood, lust, killing and immortality as the living dead? I don't see anything virtuous in watching it and it doesn't hold any appeal. Worse, the influence of vampire shows and movies has created a sub-culture of people trying to actually live like vampires, which I consider completely unhealthy. Shows about fighting demons, such as Supernatural and Sleepy Hallow are misleading :   They certainly misrepresent demons, angels and even the end times. Sleepy Hallow on Fox has fictionalized several concepts from Revelation, such as the "Two Witnesses," and, since they say they're quoting something from the Bible, I think people could be mislead into thinking this is correct information. In Sleepy Hallow, their "t

Garden Pic Wednesday: December Blooms!

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It's warm and somewhat muggy this week with a little rain. I was thinking I doing a little pick-up of limbs and pinecones after lunch. A frost last week killed the zinnia's, some of the vinca depending on where it was, most of the marigolds, though some struggle on, the salvia in a pot (not the one in the ground next to the house) and nearly all the basil.  The Thai Basil survived, which is interesting. I have a hosta up front, which gets Eastern sun, so it stays green all winter and is currently blooming. Go figure. Today's Pics of the Day are a few I took yesterday: Pretty purple and red Petunias: Next, pot bell peppers sporting fresh green leaves and new blooms! (Spraying with Epsom salt water helps!) This pot is outside the front door and gets southern sun all day, plus this location is somewhat sheltered from the cold winds. The back garden wall project as it now looks: I decided not to do a third row of blocks, but just two. That gave me e

Good Eating Monday: Slow-Cooker Cranberry Wonder Sauce

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Welcome to the first week of December! Christmas is coming fast!  When I was a kid, time seemed to go so slow and Christmas took forever! Today's Good Eating Recipe is: Slow Cooker Cranberry Wonder Sauce! Perfect for Thanksgiving! It's a fantastically flavorful way to cook Turkey or chicken or even roast beef! It doesn't come out either sweet or cranberry tasting. I found the juice to have only faintest taste of cranberry and just the tiniest bit of sweetness, so it makes TERRIFIC gravy! Absolutely lip-smacking! This recipe came originally, but my addition of the Italian dressing was my own idea. Slow-Cooker Wonder Sauce Just 3 ingredients: 1 15oz can jellied cranberry sauce, any brand 1/2 cup Italian dressing, any brand 1/2 cup LIGHT  cranberry juice, any brand or cranberry combo, like apple-cranberry, etc Directions: Spray slow-cooker with an oil spray. Salt & pepper whatever meat you're planing to cook and arrange in your slow-cooker.  (