Friday, January 30, 2009


OK, we took the plunge Friday and signed up, paid for a year in advance, hoping it will keep us going. I am stoked. I so need this, and am looking forward to it.

We checked out the "Y", but find that we want solitude when we are working out. We love kids, but want to be able to have peace and quiet. Some kids are too 'spirited', we have become used to the quiet and rather enjoy it. Please don't be offended, it isn't meant that way!

I'm going to really invest in an MP3 or something so I can listen to books on tape while there. I am also getting headphones to watch DirecTV there. It will be nice to MOVE while I suck in marathons of Jon & Kate or Little People Big World, or CSI: Miami, or First 48, you get the idea. When I can, I am a real couch potato.

Recipe Friday Jan. 30, 2009

Banana Crumb Muffins

I make them in jumbo muffin cups.
The crumb topping is what makes these banana muffins stand apart from the ordinary. They're scrumptious!
Servings: 10 or 5 in the large muffin pans

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

ACK I hate to be sick!!

I have spent the week sick with an ear infection and a terrible cold. The only thing that this ever does for me is to make me catch up on my rest! Seriously, I am not all drug out and exhausted. I have been sleeping for days now........GAW!

Steve and I are taking a plunge, we are joining Anytime Fitness to get this weight off. We'll do that tomorrow after work. Both of us are getting off early, so that will be an afternoon thing we can do, wish me luck! I took off 60# before, I know I can do it again!

Miss O turned 4 on Tuesday, Isaac just took his A+ Certification test and passed, he did it with flying colors! Now he goes on to the next one. Hopefully he will be a computer guru by the time he is done, able to support himself and make a go at living on his own.

Sister is moving this weekend, I hope to make her dinner and take it to her. It is the worst thing to move, in my opinion. You arrive at the end of the day all exhausted and starving. It is nice to have real food you don't have to cook brought to you. I would have so loved that each time I moved. Alas, it has never happened, but somebody has to do it for others, right?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Recipe Friday: Sugar Cookies

This is my favorite sugar cookie recipe. When my kids were little, I would make sugar cookies and decorate them, then monogram each of their classmates name on a cookie for them. We would decorate the girl's cookies in pink, the boy's in blue. (I realize it is not very creative, but it wasn't cheesy, the blue wasn't pastel, it was OK) It was so fun. Since the kids have grown, I use a little bite sized cookie cutter and make a batch of these for work. When done decorating,they look like the little candy hearts in the box, only prettier, and definitely better tasting!!!They are so pretty, I tint the frosting in all kinds of different colors and pipe rosettes around the outside edges.

Sugar Cookies

1 C. Sugar
1 C. butter
2 eggs
2 T. milk
1/3 t. soda
2 ½ C. flour

Stir together first 5 ingredients. Mix flour in to form a soft dough. (occasionally you might need to mix in more flour, do so a little at a time, so the cookies won’t be tough.) Roll dough to about 1/4" and cut into shapes, bake at 350 F. for 6 min. Cool and decorate. I cut the dough a little thick, I like soft cookies.

Before I pipe rosettes onto the cookies, I use a simple glaze of white icing all over the top of the cookie. Then I use the following recipe to decorate with piped flower onto the cookie.

Decorator Icing

½ C. solid vegetable shortening
½ C. butter or margarine
1 t. vanilla
4 C. powdered sugar
2 T. milk

Mix butter and shortening with mixer, add vanilla, gradually add sugar 1 C. at a time. Beat well on Med. Speed-scrape sides & bottom of bowl often, when all the sugar is mixed in, it will appear dry. Add milk and bead on high until light and fluffy. Keep covered with a damp cloth until you use it. Keep icing in refrigerator when not used, covered tightly. It will keep for 2 weeks, whip before using. Yield: 3cups

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I miss my friend Kim who moved to Vermont, but now is in Connecticut:

Congratulations Leslie

You won the Martha Stewart's Cookies Book!

You'll have to thank Scott for drawing your name!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Blog Give A WAY

Time's up! I'll have my co-worker, Scott draw a name.

I am giving away Martha Stewart's cookie book.

Enter to Win! Sorry, it is limited to the US and Canada only.

To win please do BOTH of the following:
1. Please mention this giveaway on your blog if you have one.....AND.......

2. Tell me what your favorite cookie is!

Leave a venue for me to contact you in the event you should win. An email address, a blog link, etc. You can email me through my profile page.

Your name goes into the drawing when you post a mention of this giveaway on your blog, and tell me your favorite cookie, that's all!!!

Contest ends Noon on Jan. 22nd CST.

Winners will be announced on Thursday Jan. 22nd at 8pm CST.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy 75th Birthday/Blog Giveaway idea

Would anybody be interested in Martha Stewart's Cookies Book? I have it and love it. I am thinking it will be the next blog giveaway. Let me know your thoughts.

My Father in law turns 75 today. My hubby, his 1/2 brother and his new wife and I are taking them to eat at the Big Grove Inn Bed and Breakfast in Oakland, Iowa. It's a quaint little place. The owner had an old log cabin moved to the property, their house was built around it to protect it. They made that portion of the house a bed and breakfast. It has a nice restaurant on the side of the house. We'll have prime rib and the owner is making him a chocolate cake. (his favorite, but I don't think he has ever met a sweet he didn't like.)

Jim and Joyce married about 31 years ago, approximately 2-3 years after my hubby and I married. IT was the 3rd marriage for Jim, the first for Joyce. They have been happy all of these years. She is aging with a few health issues, one of which is Alzheimer's. She sometimes does really well, other times she struggles to remember who people are.

We'll have a good time visiting with them. Jim's a kind, sweet soul, one of the most respectable people I have ever met. I don't know how many more years they can live alone, but we'll always be here for them if they need us.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I have been working lots of hours lately. I have been given 3 new projects all at the same time. It keeps me hopping every day. I love to be busy, the days just fly by!!

Hope you are all keeping safe and warm. The temperature is COLD here, the wind chill was in the minus degrees.

It was so cold I saw a SUN DOG yesterday. I had never really seen one before, but as I was walking back to my office from a meeting held VERY EARLY at the main hospital, it was there!! I think it is rare to see them, but the conditions were right yesterday.

This is what ours looked like:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Steve's quote

Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have forgotten how to fly.

Isn't that a lovely thought?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Recipe Friday

Baby brother is moving this weekend. I am going to make him and his family a meal so they can eat hot food once they get into their new home. I remember moving and being so tired when we were done, the last thing you want is to cook! Pizza and sandwiches get old fast when you are moving. There are 4 kids in that house, too. Besides, I love to cook, this will give me a chance to make a nice meal for them.

I'm going to make Lasagna and the Pioneer woman's olive cheese bread, and a garlic cheese bread. I am betting one or more of them might not like olives. Print the olive cheese bread recipe here.

I am also going to make these Pear/Ginger/Pistachio Blondies for Steve and I, it's a recipe my little friend Lindsey made, she has photos on her blog. I have the Martha Stewart Cookies book, the recipe is in there, also. She also has the recipe on the web. It took me more than a week to find dried pears, but I persevered and located them, finally. I'll post photos when I am done.

Pear, Ginger Pistachio Blondies
Makes about 1 dozen.

• 9 tablespoons (1 1/8 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
• 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
• 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried pears (4 ounces)
• 3/4 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped (3 1/4 ounces)
• 1/4 cup coarsely chopped candied ginger (1 1/4 ounces)


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan or a round cake pan. Line with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches to hang over sides. Butter parchment; set aside.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until combined. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture until combined. Mix in pears, pistachios, and candied ginger.
3. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. Lift blondie out of pan; transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely; cut into wedges. Blondies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Spode Blue Italian Oven to Table

I have a thing for blue and white dishes. I saved green stamps as a young girl (dates me, doesn't it?) I wanted to buy dishes for my cedar chest, so when I married, I would have a set of dishes. I chose the blue willow pattern, it was my favorite. I had no china cupboard to put them in, so they were moved from home to home in the box they came in........until I got to a house big enough to allow a china cupboard in my dining room.

Since that time, I have added to the set, a few pieces that are not the same company, but they were the blue willow pattern, or a blue and white dish of some sort. You can see them in the background of these photos.

Pioneer woman shows dishes on her site from time to time. I lust after them always. Recently one of the other readers posted a link to purchase the different oven to table dishes. I am on it, I want some of those pieces in the worst way, but I just got all of that fiesta ware for Christmas. I just can't help myself, when it comes to blue and white, I always want............sigh....

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Biscuits and gravy Saturday

Since sonny is home from school, he had a list of things he wanted me to cook while he was here. Homemade biscuits and gravy was one of them. I am not good at making biscuits. I have tried many recipes. This one seems to work.

Friday, January 2, 2009

SCORE! I found the Easter Dress for Miss O

This is the dress I wanted for Olivia to wear for Easter. I was lucky enough to find it at our 'local' to me JC Penney store!! It is so her, the bright pink, and the purple dots, she will look so cute in it! The ribbon can be purchased to go in her hair, she will look totally adorable! I can hardly wait to see her in it. I am sending it to her for her birthday on Jan. 27th. along with her Tink clothes that she wanted, the Fancy Nancy Butterfly book, and a few other things. I love to get her the books, she enjoys them so much!!!

Here is the book, she gets it at the library all the time, it is not available in their little town, G-ma has to get it in the 'big city' where she works.

Now to find the perfect shoes to go with the dress!! I still have time, the package won't have to be shipped for a few weeks yet.

Recipe Friday Jan. 2, 2009

Last night we had Pioneer Woman's Olive Cheese Bread. My son and husband love it, but we can't eat an entire loaf. I did one half and froze the other for a later date.

Olive Cheese Bread

1 regular can whole black (ripe) olives
1 6-oz jar pimiento-stuffed olives
2 green onions
¾ pound Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup real mayonnaise
1 stick butter, softened
1 loaf French bread

Roughly chop black and green olives. Slice green onions and give them a rough chop. Combine green onions and olives with the softened butter, ½ cup mayonnaise, and grated Monterey jack cheese. Mix thoroughly.

Slice French bread in half lengthwise, then spread mixture evenly over the halves.
Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes, or until thoroughly melted and starting to turn light brown and bubbly. Cut into diagonal slices and serve with salad, with soup, with spaghetti, or as a yummy appetizer.

Make-ahead tips: You can make the cheese mixture up to two days ahead of time and store in the
fridge. Or, you can spread the mixture on the bread and freeze the bread, unbaked, for several months.