Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Marlene's Perfect Pasta Salad!

This here is one of the very best, top of my list past salads. We recently had a cook out at the new humble home. Well Stephanie's mom brought guessed it pasta salad. Here I am expecting the classic elbow noodles and mayo concoction that is at every event only to be pleasantly surprised by this amazing mix. Let me first state my problem with classic pasta salad recipes. I hate when they are so sweet they make your teeth ache, however if they are tangy enough then they leave a horrid after taste in your mouth. This recipe solves both problems and it's basic enough to make it your own.

You will need:
1 jar of Marzetti "Classic Slaw" dressing (this is non negotiable...this makes the recipe)
2 tbs of mayo (I prefer Dukes if it's available....just no low fat or the dreaded miracle whip)
1/2 a cup of onion-chopped
1 1/2 cups of celery-chopped
2 hard boiled eggs-chopped
1 can of tuna/chicken your choice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of shredded carrots if you like them (they add a nice crunch)
1 box of your preference of noodles. I like shells, Mizz Marlene used mama loves elbows...pick your pleasure.

Boil your noodles according to the directions on the box, or Al Dente for this recipe.
Rinse them in cold water and drain well.

Then just dump all the rest in a bowl with the noodles, mix well and refrigerate for at least one hour. Now enjoy and thank me later y'all.

A word to the wise about this recipe. This is a very basic recipe that you can add or remove what you like. When I had it the first time it had carrots but no egg or salt and pepper. However unless you truly love onions in the extreme I would not add more than half a cup. For whatever reason this dressing makes the onions really stand out. I have found that half a cup delivers the perfect amount of flavor, and I like onions. I also add more celery because I really enjoy the crunch with the noodles. This works equally well with canned chicken or tuna. I like the tuna but some people don't. Now you can leave the carrots out, however they add some color and a small bit of taste.

I just had to bring y'all this recipe because it is that good. Really yummy. Since I now live in a place where going to the store requires going "into town" I do a lot of cooking. I am trying out beef pepper steak tonight. I will let you know how it goes.

With the beau working all day and me only working weekends I am about to loose my mind with all this free time. I have been doing a lot of reading lately but I have yet to read anything worth passing on. Even with all the boredom and free time driving me crazy(never thought I could have to much free time) I am still happy to be out of the crazies house. The level of stress relief that brought is amazing.

I hope everyone else is doing well. Kelsey the old lady and I are just unpacking and adjusting to life in the country. Have a great week!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Life when you have to go"in to town" for everything.

I am happy to say that we are no longer living with the crazies. I am unhappy to say that the chance of getting a pizza delivered to the new place is right up their with flying pigs. Which there are plenty of down the road from me. Not the flying variety but pigs none the less.

I highly enjoy being able to exist with out dealing with the crazies doing strange and unexplainable things. For example the day before we were set to move out the step-monster felt the need to scratch and gouge up all the furniture the dad said we could take with. His exact words were "if you don't take it I'm going to throw it in with the trash on Tuesday". Now it's not priceless antiques but it's a bed and a dresser we didn't have before. I thought his wording was pretty clear.....yes we can take this what I thought. However step-monster apparently felt the need to pay us back for "stealing right out from under her" her beloved water warped fiberboard headboard and the dresser with the missing handles and broken drawer tracks by completely ruining them before we took them with. Notice the frugality I have shown by not running out and purchasing brand new furniture just so I can say...fine you want it you keep it now that you have messed it up! This may end up being necessary though since every time I look at the furniture I get a wash of seething anger. There is also the never ending accusations of us stealing all matter of things from the house. "I had three cartons of yogurt not two!"-"I bet she took the scrunchy I wore with my nursing uniform in 1982!"-"I can't believe they took the remote control to OUR bedroom TV". This list is never ending. If the step-monster(who I will call fudgy face from now on due to the constant consuming of fudgsicles which she promptly smears all over her face in her Xanex induced haze" has managed to misplace something in one of her inebriated states then we have taken the item just to spite her. Because oh Lordy B I really had a thing for that chocolate smeared scrunchy with the little fuzzy craft balls hanging off the edges!

That is the end of my venting! Now on to the good stuff. I am interviewing for another that isn't 48Min's from the new house. The new roommates don't completely stink which is good for my mental state. The old lady has also somewhat bonded with the new puppy..Duncan or Dumkin depending on the mood which is also good so I don't have to play dog mediator all the time. That's about it. I am so much less stressed since leaving that house that I can actually sleep at night and everything is so much easier to deal with now. God love peaceful living situations!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Do you have to spend money to make money? No!

I have heard this age old expression more times then I can count. I am currently in a budget crisis.....ok I lied...the crisis part ended last week but I was in denial about it until a few days ago so that doesn't count. Here is the thing though...just because I am no longer hunting for pennies under the couch this doesn't mean that I should go on a spending rampage. I will admit that in the past I have had a bit of a shopping problem. As in I left at 9 in the morning and didn't come home till 9 at night with bags and bags of things. It was so bad that when I was packing to move I found things I didn't even remember buying brand new in their bags, tags still firmly attached. Since I am well aware that I have a large problem with self control I haven't even gone near anything other than a grocery store in fear that just seeing items I can purchase will send me into palpitations. Now I am armed with a plan......I am ready.....I can do no wrong...nothing can stop me. Budget here I come. This will be my first experience with a real budget, it used to be that my budget was just acknowledging how much I had left in my checking account and not getting an overdraft. The only issue with this plan is that some of the things I want to do(like a garden) are semi-permanent and I am in a non permanent house with the crazies. These are my plans.
I will start a garden, this will be free for the most part......$20 investment max. Our friends are moving to the next city over and the have given me free reign to transplant and salvage whatever I can out of their established garden. Hopefully this will cut down on our grocery bill since fresh produce is so expensive. We may have to go with out having all of our favorites but it will teach me to be creative with what we have.
I will not buy unless it is on sale (excluding things like milk and basics that almost never go on sale) I am a coupon cutting queen and I am going to pay closer attention so I can take advantage of all the sales and the manufactures discount with the store discount. I have been told you can actually make money doing this what with rebates and in store cash and what not.
Take better advantage of generic items. I am already pretty good at this. I have tried just about everything out there in generic and name brand. There are a few where the generic is honestly not even close to edible/usable....a few where it's not preferable but it will do the job.....and ones where if I didn't see the box I honestly wouldn't know the difference. I will start a store by product list on this in case anyone is interested.
These last things to be honest will not mean much until we move out of our current residence and into one of our own but it's still a goal.
I have said before that I am a trash picker. It's the thrill of the hunt, the high you get when you find that incredible item and all you have to do is find a way to get it home and it's yours free and clear! I am not ashamed of this, to be perfectly honest I would be more ashamed of paying retail for all the things I have found. Just last weekend I found a set of gorgeous wicker swivel bar stools that basically just need to be cleaned and freshly painted. Those things would have been over a $100 each at a home decor store if not more! I'm not saying I could furnish my whole house(although that could be a future goal depending on how this goes) out of free or close to free items but I can probably do a good part. If you can get a quality item used for less then you would pay for a poorer quality item new......why not?
Be energy efficient. I have done the research and have concluded can cut about 60% off of the average utility bill if you just do a few things. First put all of your normal appliances on a power bar, at the end of the night turn the whole power bar off not just hitting the off switch on the tv... ect. You would not believe how much power those things use when they don't even appear to be on! Break down and get the energy saving 5 year warranty light bulbs. They use less power and you don't have to purchase as many in the long run. They do cost a bit more up front but it's still less then you would spend on the electric and all those other bulbs. This last one I'm not to sure on...I need to do some more research. But from what I can tell if you sign up for the alternative time plan with your electric company and try to do all your energy sucking things during the off time you can cut off quite a bit.
Ok that's enough rambling for now............any hints or suggestions? Feel free to comment away!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's not a whine it's stating the facts!

Since I have decided to give up my need to whine I thought I would also start the diet I have been meaning to start since I got here. In addition to these new exciting changes I now have to be up and motivated at 7am so that I can fix my dear boyfriends lunch before he leaves for work in the morning. This does not make for a happy girl. In the best of circumstances (like when there are blueberry turnovers and hot fresh chicory coffee with real cream and cane sugar waiting for me at the table on antique pink and gold Spode bone china, none of which I can eat on the new diet) I am withdrawn on good days and down right ornery on bad days. I need at least one cup of coffee and half an hour by myself in order to turn into the happy cheerful girl I usually try to be. However I am almost positive the dear boy's parents wait with their ears to the door so they can corner me in the kitchen and tell me about their latest pity party. Their newest complaint is that I am not being understanding of all their daily pains. One of the side effects of this new no whining thing is I have a hard time listening to someone else do it for a prolonged period of time. I am more of the fix it or hush attitude. The step-mother has also taken to pulling all the rugs off of the floor as a hint she would like it washed. Her son has taken to leaving spoiling cups of coffee and cemented bowls of breakfast cereal in his room until I start doing dishes and then he conveniently starts cleaning out his room leaving me with the unhappy task of scrubbing the 32 going on 10 year olds dirty dishes. I'm told my eyes have started to glaze over with alarming frequency....I am also getting daily "stress headaches" so that I can hide in my room with a good book and not have to be depressed by all the make believe malady's these people get.

Nobody has been mysteriously harmed yet so I figure I'm doing pretty good. If I make it the whole month of August with out losing it completely I think I'm going to give in and get the antique piggy cookie jar off of Ebay. Since I can't eat cookies I'm a little afraid this could lead to more aggravation then it's worth but I might not be able to help myself. I think I am going to have to start cooking some inventive low-everything that makes me fat meals and I will post photos and recipes of them as I come up with them. If anyone has some good ideas please let me know.

I hope all is going well with everyone else and you all are having a great summer!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It has been more than forever!

I am back for good I am happy to say! Just an up date I am still in Fort Myers FL trying to make it big. Or at least just make it somewhere. I have a job and a roof over my head so I am not going to least right now. How is everybody? I haven't had much of a chance to do my interneting lately but that is about to change. I have been reading quite a lot lately and there is a book I would like to bring to your attention. It is called Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. If you (like myself) have been having those woe is me moments lately this book will really put things in perspective. Granted it was written in 1995 when things were not quite as bad as they are now but it is still very relevant for today. Basically it is about a page and a half for every day of the year. They each deal with different things on just about any topic. I read mine in the morning with my coffee before I start my day. A few of the topics that she brings up through the book(because I'm a sneak and I can't wait till the August chapter so I read ahead) are compromise, compassion, confidence, compliments,confrontation, and complaining. I never realized how much of my day starts with the letter C.(Just bringing us grown up people back to the sesame street days). I personally live with one heck of a complainer. They complain as if it is their life's blood, and maybe it is but I have realized a change in myself from being around them and its not a good one. I am starting to do it myself.

Since I have moved down here a number of really unpleasant things have happened. I have had every valuable thing I brought down here stolen(for those kindred hearts of mine who will understand this......the rat bastard took my Louie. My precious vintage Louie Vuittion that took me months to find....that I had to have repaired and lovingly mended so I could continue to carry it like the wonderful lady that owned it before me) the fiend took my diamond solitaire earrings that I got at 90% discount after an hour of arguing with the manager about the validity of my coupon as it applied to the going out of business sale. I'm not usually that woman who throws the fit in public but by God I had a valid coupon and it was the only way I was ever going to be able to afford those earrings. I didn't come down here with much...and to have the best of what I brought down here taken from me more than likely by someone I know was just simply too much. I used to take the old lady on long long walks and I was usually crying by the time I got done. Being away from my home and not even having the comforts that I brought with me just made every day a little less glowing. One of the vehicles I brought down here is no longer running with a huge repair tag on it at that. Then to top it off the people I live with are just crazy...literally off of their rockers and out of their minds. I would tell you the stories but you wouldn't believe me. Needless to say I was going batty. Just plain batty. Then I started reading this book. I am not going to say it is life changing but it is day changing. I don't know how much stress everyone who might read this is under. I consider myself pretty blessed and I know there are times I don't even want to open my eyes in the morning because I'm afraid the day ahead could be worse then the one before it but now I have figured out the trick. You have to take pleasure and happiness where you can find it. It sounds much simpler then it is. You have to do some searching and some thinking but it's possible. Get up and remember to be a little thankful for what you do have. Enjoy the sunshine and your pet if you have one. I'm not saying that nothing bad is going to happen and that all the stress will melt away but people we have to do something to cope and live happy. So that's my new Live Happy. No more complaining.....compliment everyone you can.....look for a little bit of gold in everything.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Here at last oh here at last

First let me say that I am not really sure how my Internet is connected. I plugged in the computer and I had Internet with out hooking it up. So I'm pretty sure it's not mine unless it's free these days. Either way thank you and I'm sorry to the owner! Next let me say that from Fort Wayne Indiana to Fort Myers FL is a really really really long drive. As in 23 hours. With a 9lb wiener dog having palpitations and panic attacks all the way here. Did I mention she is not a car dog? The Crystals burger did however distract her for a little bit. I would love to post the 5 trillion million billion pictures I have, however this borrowed Internet says no. I will post them all when I have my own personal Internet. I have now been here for...umm....about four weeks I think. It's easy to loose track down here because it's basically always vacation time. Since I have lived here I have gone to the beach exactly two times, both were at night. While that may seem like a disappointment to some it doesn't bother me to much because I found a job the first week I got here and it's at a yacht club. I literally can dip my toes in the ocean everyday during my lunch break. Not to shabby right? The old lady(ok...old know Kelsey bells) made it here safely and she now has Molly.....a shar pei, pit, everything else out there, mixed breed to play with and boss around everyday. So far so good.....but now for the bad. My cell phone company found out I am in Florida and they sent me a notice saying the will no longer be able to provide me service. So no cell phone for a bit, on the up side it was over $200 to get it shut off before I left because I still had a year and ten months left on my contract.......but if they decide to shut it's free to me! There is also this little thing called "porting" which means I get to keep my number. YEA!!! I guess that isn't all bad. I can safely say that the move Martha would say a "good thing". I am officially back to regular posts now folks. Have a great day and I will talk to you all tomorrow!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Last one for a while.......

So tonight is the much delayed night. At around 3am(so morning actually I guess)we will be leaving for Florida by way of Tennessee for the night. I have family there and they have kindly agreed to house myself, the beau, and my 10lbs of wiener dog Kelsey for the night. There was even talk of dinner and dessert being made!

This is my Kelsey-Koodles. Or Peanut, it just depends on the mood. She is 14 years old and we got her from a Dachshund Rescue a few years ago. She is also a spoiled rotten ankle bitter. But we are working on that. I'm thinking she would look cute dressed up as a Florida Gator for Halloween being that she's already a bit elongated and we are about to be Florida Folks. So I just wanted to say a little non-permanent goodbye to those that have already been so kind and listened to me ramble. I have only been at this for a few weeks but I love it and I will miss reading what everybody has to say. Darsden especially! I'm told I will have working internet about two weeks after I get there and I will be takeing pictures all the way down and after I get there so my next post should be a doosey and a half. Thank you all again! Wish me good luck. I hope everyone has a great next few weeks!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I am a house is a life has become a series of piles. I am at the point where everything just ends up in a pile. Really, I am not exaggerating. Ok maybe a bit because really the only things that are ending in piles are my clothes. But still it's one pile after another.

This was my first pile. It started off very reasonably as just what came out of the dryer. All of it was nicely folded. I was going to put it all away but then I was thinking that since I am just going to pack it up I should just leave it out. That was a very bad idea.

Then I ran out of room and had to start stacking stuff on the telephone bench in the foyer. Just to add a bit of fun I was looking for my duffel. That's it there under everything and what do you know it had gotten stuffed in a closet somewhere and was still full of everything I took down to Alabama last month. Good to know that I wasn't loosing my mind thinking I had lost all that stuff. To bad it's about to become hidden until I find out I accidentally packed it in a big suitcase because it was in a pile of laundry. I have started to pack but just when I get ready to close it up I HAVE to have something that is on the bottom of the bag. Then I have to dig through it to find it. This has the added benefit of destroying my neatly packed clothes because when I discover I need the item it's always when I have .2 seconds to find it and be on my way.

I don't even know when this pile started. This is my kitchen table by the way. On Tuesday it was clear enough to eat supper on so I'm not really sure what happened. I know that's my umbrella but I'm not really clear on why it's mixed up with my laundry. The kicker about all this is that I don't even feel a bit overwhelmed. I know I should feel that way but I have this feeling that it will all work out perfectly. I think they call that denial. I should be flipping out and stressed and all other things right now but I am just plodding along getting things done bit by bit. However I am so close to just packing up all my clothes except for a warm up suit and just wearing that until Sunday morning. Lawd help me I may be going insane.

Dr. Claywood at Indian Creek in Fort Wayne you should be ashamed of yourself!

I am so angry I could spit right now. ON mister so special Dr. Claywood and his dragon gatekeeper receptionist. I really hope karma comes around and bites them on the tush, or wherever it wants for that matter! So yesterday I made the trek all the way to Indian Creek Veterinary Clinic in the pouring, sheeting rain with my unhappy ferret in his transport box. This was a half an hour trip folks. One way. So I get there and we haul ourselves in out of the rain and go to sign in. Ms. Receptionist asks for all the medical documents I have on him so I hand them over. I also hand her the free checkup coupon. She looks up at me and says we can't accept this because the pet store you got it from closed..they have been closed for over a year now. Let me ask you..since I got my ferret in April of 08 and it's only February of 09 does that mean I got my ferret from a store that was closed and out of business and I just didn't realize it? She also said that if I would have just gotten it three months ago they would still be accepting it....but I thought she said they had been closed for over a how would I have gotten one 3 months ago? I guess she isn't aware of how long a year is. So I say can you check with the Dr. about taking this please, I just drove half an hour and I did tell the girl who took my appointment what coupon I would be using and she did still make me an appointment. So she goes into the back, and I kid you not stands at a counter flipping through a file for a few min IN MY DIRECT VIEW then she comes back and says nope the Dr. said they can't do it. I asked if I could just talk to the Dr. then....nope he's in a room. Here is my big issue.....this is what has me chewing nails...nowhere on the coupon does it say it expires at this date....not even any fine print saying subject to approval or one of those little statements that gives them an out of providing service. It doesn't say anything in any of the paperwork I got. She tells me that it must have just been a new girl that told me they would accept it. I'm sorry since when did it become my responsibility to make sure their employees are properly versed in their policies? I called back a few minuets after I left and asked to speak with a Dr. but he was still "in a room with a really busy day". The same receptionist says that I was really supposed to have my puppy seen 1-3 business days after I got him. First I'm pretty sure that I have a ferret and not a puppy, second once again you should have put it on the coupon then. It is not the customers responsibility to know your policies if they are not anywhere to be found. You can't just decide not to provide a promised service because it's no longer convenient. So now I am ticked and I am out to make a change if there is any way possible I can do this before I leave. First I am complaining to the Better Business Bureau. Then I am calling the local Fort Wayne SPCA...I'm not sure what they can do but I talked to my dogs vet and she said to give them a call. I'm going to write a review on every review site I can find and I'm going to E-mail the vice presided of the They had his info listed on the BBB website. If anyone has any other places I should keep in mind I would be glad to hear them! Let me also say that I was not trying to be difficult or the crazy scary customer woman today. If they would have told me on the phone that they no longer accept them(yes they did give me some trouble but they still made the appointment)or have just refused to make an appointment, or if I had made a mistake and there was an expiration date or something I would have been kind of ticked but I would have just marked it up to bad business. I promise to post later with something happier and with good pictures. Right now I'm going to go drink my coffee and plot what I'm going to say to the BBB. Something has to be done about the kind of business who choose do this stuff. I think I may have found my new calling. Righter of wrongs.....corrector of evil corporate customer mistreatment! At least until my mad wears off.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I am pooped. I feel like a splattered bug on a windshield. I also finished off the last of my raisin bran crunch tonight so that means I will have none for tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is not going to be pleasant. I still have yet to finish or really get much of a start on packing. Good news then that I'm not leaving until Thursday now. Tomorrow I also have to take Luchie to the vet to get him checked out before we make the trip. Tomorrow is the only day I could get an appointment for him because he is an exotic animal and has to see a special vet. When I got him last year I got this little coupon thing for a free vet apt(this vet is of course on the other side of town) and they were absolutely thrilled to find out that they would not be getting paid for this visit. Just thrilled!
So thrilled that they felt the need to argue about it being not valid and expired. Since I had not told them how long he has been with me I'm not sure how they came up with it having expired. Let me also mention that there is not an expiration date on the coupon. So Kate(this would be the arguing woman) finally relents and says that I am free to wait at the office after they open for an appointment to become available. How long might that take I ask? She answers me in her best put upon and full of attitude voice that she just doesn't know, it will take as long as it takes for a spot to open up. I would just like to say at this point that I am a manager caller. I will call if an employee is being rude but I will also call to express my happiness when I receive excellent service. I guess I'm an equal opportunity manager caller. So this is the point when I ask to speak to somebody above her. Well what do you know now they have an appointment for 2:30 or 3:40 which one would I like? What is so hard about just being a nice normal person who does their job well. There are so many people desperate for a job right now that I would think people who have them would be so happy to be keeping theirs that they step it up a bit. Or at least perform adequately and not horribly. When did asking for decent service become asking for too much? I wish I had some great recipe for ya'll today but honestly the beau just fixed hamburger helper....with boxed potatos au gratin. I threw some corn in a steamer bag because I figured two starches was a little much. Just to be cheerful though I thought I would show all ya'll my piggy of the month.
Yep they do come spotted as well as pink. I have about 4 loads of laundry left until I can start shoving things in my luggage with abandon. I am really considering saying who needs to fold....but then I think back to what my clothes looked like last time made that choice. Ok stick a fork in me because I'm done!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Southern Bombshell-1 Frosty-0

Today is the day that frosty came down. All the snow melted and I was able to tug and pull him out of the mud....because that is what happens when all the snow get mud. Today was a sad day though because Frosty...well he lost a hat...and an arm....and a lot of lights. I think this was his last year, he is officially in retirement. I have a small hope that some zip ties and a resourceful guy may be able to get him back in semi useful order but this is a very very small hope. I know my photo stinks but it's night out and I'm only halfway sure how to work my camera. This is just my proof that yes I did take that snowman down. My neighbors have been being a tad bit irritating lately because they like to park multiple vehicles right in front of my drive way. Now if their driveway was full I would say ehh annoying but fine. It's not full at all.....ever. Considering the fact that my mom was pulling out of my driveway last year and backed into one of their vehicles I would think they would have had second thoughts about parking there, but no. They also consider me to be a " country hick" because I had Georgia license plates when I moved here. I have considered leaving for Florida with Frosty still in the yard just because I know how much it bothers them. But I wouldn't be here to see them shoot those oh so scary bad neighbor looks over at me and I would have to leave frosty here. Hmm decisions decisions.

Just another Saturday

I am so not a party girl. The perfect example of this is all the "fun" I had on this Saturday night. It's also not like I did all kinds of fun stuff Friday and was just plain tired either. I just don't have whatever that run out and go buck wild thing is in me. It also doesn't help that every last one of my friends is already married and my two best friends are living in Nebraska(like it wasn't cold enough in Indiana) and South Carolina(I just refuse to talk to her because I am so jealous....juuust kidding...I talk to her so I can live vicariously through her). So it's not like a have a lot of opportunity for girls nights out these days. I don't really mind all that much though. My daddy came in this weekend and he, my younger sister, my beau and myself played black jack and the longest game of crazy eights ever.......seriously it was like a 3 hour game.

Don't you just love my Marilyn Monroe cards. I forget where I got them but I still think they are the cutest playing cards ever. We also made BBQ.........ok I told a small's not really BBQ because it's neither pork nor smoked/grilled. However it was what was in the freezer( we leave for Florida on Wednesday and I'm trying to use up the frozen goods) and the best we can do in this weather since it makes a grill kind of impractical. Snow makes a lot of things impractical. Like driving, and wearing cute shoes. Such a drag.

Anyways this was the make due BBQ meal. I tried to get the beau to give up his sauce for ya'll but he wouldn't do it, even after I pulled his ear with the tongs he still refused to give it up. Some kind of man code I'm sure. He won't even let me help make I can't stir or something. I'm still a little het up about it I guess but since I got to eat it I can't complain that much.

As always we have the players. Salt, pepper, Season All, garlic powder and BBQ seasoning....the beau said poultry seasoning would have been better but that the little bit I had left would just disgrace the chicken so he just used the BBQ stuff. Picky Picky Picky I say, like the chicken was really going to notice. Yes he also left the skin on and yes those are legs only. I don't know why they were in the freezer but apparently at some time I thought I really needed 5 chicken legs. However clearly I did not need them since they were just sitting in the freezer...that or I am forgetting something, either way it's of no matter......they are long gone and they were good.

I thought I would show ya'll the sauce since I can't tell you what's in it. It's this great spicy sweet mix. Actually spicy though not just hot. Very very good and one day I'm going to set up a secret camera so I can find out what he puts in it.
So a sprinkle of all the seasonings...everything was pretty even amount except for the salt. There was a bit less of that used due to the inclusion of Season all. He got almost all the way done with the saucing part before he realized he forgot the sprinkling part. That's why that poor leg in back is all naked and lonely.
After much slathering of the sauce with the brush(which was gross and nasty but the only one I had....apparently it's also against the man code to use a spoon to slather sauce on.....we must use a brush!)under the broiler it went for apx 9 min a side. I lost count of how many times he basted it with sauce but it was quite a few. After the broiling which mostly just makes the skin all nice and crisp they got covered with foil and baked at 350 for about an hour and a half. I'm not sure if that is a normal amount of time or if the element in my stove is just going out. Things seem to be taking a lot longer to cook these days. Or I'm just more impatient, who knows?
This is the final meal. That is not a grill mark in the chicken(I wish it was though) it's just the slice we made to make sure it was done. We are very paranoid about meat done-ness around here. The rice was from a box(I'm sorry gran......I don't know how to season rice as good as rice a roni) and the corn was frozen as well. You would think since I'm in the land of cows and corn I would have better corn options right? I just stuck the corn in one of those zip-loc steamer bags....those things are a miracle and you should run out and try them right now. I got a box of like 80 at Sam's club for around 6$ Not bad for a simple Saturday night meal. All in all I don't mind being a home body that much. I like to get out and dress up every once in a while but I just don't really get into the run out and get drunk and have strangers rub up on you in dark clubs. It makes me wanna take a bath in Clorox. Also I mentioned that we are leaving for Florida for good on Wednesday and I would just like to confess that I have exactly 3 things packed. My camel colored long sweater, a candy dish, and a Vera duffel bag. That's it. Really. I am going to be out of my mind on Monday. I am clearly a procrastinator of the worst sort and I will be punished for it by leaving some favorite pair of shoes here or something equally horrible I'm sure.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I AM GOING HOME!!!..............ok almost home

The time has come.......the good Lord is calling me. Next week I will be officially on my way back down south. TO STAY! I have been hemin and hawin over this decision for round about two months now. While back the beau started hinting that his dad wasn't doing to good and that he would really like him to come down and me as well so he could meet me. I said that was all well and good but my beloved pigs could fly to heaven and back and I still wouldn't be getting on an air plane so help me lawd. I do not fly. Period. Some time passed and he brought up that he would like to move down there to stay and he would like me to come with. Well heck I'm only young once right? ha ha snort snort....umm no I'm a planner sorry. But time passed and circumstances were weighed then decisions were made and it came down this. Next week we are packing up two cars with 10% his stuff and 90% my stuff, 1 dog, 1 ferret and a whole lota excitement on my part. It is a dry run you could say. We will be staying with is dad in Fort Myers until we decide if we like it enough to "put down roots". I am either in a state of delirium or I'm really this flaky because all I can think is...umm will it ever be cold enough to wear my mink...where will I get my nails done...and yes now I can wear cute shoes again with out snow worries! The smart part of my brain is saying yes a Junior League that won't be a joke..thank goodness daddy got me that GPS thing for Christmas because I get lost quick as a blink, when do I have to transfer over my license, how do I change the address on my dog's chip in case she gets lost too, and how will I ever find a church I like as much as the one I go to now? However both of these are running with "Dixie" playing in the background. REAL LOUD LIKE! I can not wait to be back down south......I'm near vibrating with happiness! Now for a bit of yummy delight. Literally that's what I call these, Yummy Delight bars. I warn you do not make these when you will be alone in the house with them. You will eat them all and that will suck....just trust me on this.

These are your players
1 Cup of butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt(unless you use unsalted butter then make it a whole teaspoon), 3 cups quick cooking oats, 1 cup chopped pecans, 1 cup chocolate chips, 1 cup coconut, 1 cup toasted coconut and 1 tablespoon of cold water.

First toast your 1 cup of coconut

At this temperature, and watch it closely because if you don't it will burn just to spite your non-observant self. Trust me on this too.

Cream your sugar and butter with a blender....don't try to do it by hand you will just make yourself tired. Unless you are one of those super motivated people then have at should have a decent arm workout by the time you are done.
When those are sufficiently creamed they will kinda look like grainy peanut butter you can add your egg and vanilla and when I say a teaspoon of vanilla I mean the kind where you sort of on purpose let it pour over the side for a second. Then stir...this you can do safely by hand with out to much effort :)

Next sift in your dry ingredients....I don't have a fancy sifter thingy so I just shake it through a colander. Usually I skip this step in most baked goods however these are super dense bars so this is necessary for a good end result.
Throw in your three cups of oats and put some muscle into it!

Add your other toppings. At this point I would like to add that these ingredients are completely interchangeable with just tons of other things. Ex. dried fruit, butterscotch bits, crushed bits of candy, even marshmallows the list is only limited to what you can think of. After your first three ingredients (I chose the pecans, coconut, and chocolate chips) you will need to add a tablespoon of cold water for each additional one to keep this from being a brick. First three=one tablespoon of water. Each one after after that gets its' own extra tablespoon of water. Keep in mind though that if it starts to look more like soup then a chunky dough you have ventured to far and there is no way to turn back.
This is what my dough looked like after all my ingredients were added in. We are looking for a solid yet soft mixture(soft not wet!). There should be enough of everything so that it all blends together well. If needed you can add an extra table spoon of water.

It is now time to press the mix into your pan. I highly.....very very highly suggest the use of parchment paper for this. It makes pulling it out and cutting it a snap. You can use the pan of your choice...just remember that thicker means longer baking time but to thin and it will just be crunchy.

One other reason I suggest parchment paper is since after you went through all the trouble to toast this coconut and press it into the top of the bars(that's what this step is, sprinkle your one extra cup of toasted coconut across the top of your bars..then lightly press it down so they don't all just flake up and fall off)it would be really disappointing if you decided not to use parchment paper or at least tinfoil because when you flipped it over to remove it from the pan all the coconut would fall off. On the other hand you could just serve it cut up from the pan and that would require no flipping of the bars. I can't do that option myself because then I wouldn't get to use my pretty crystal plate and I do appreciate well presented food stuffs. Set this is a preheated 325 degree oven for apx. one hour, please please please check this frequently. I have had this take 45 min and I have had it take 2 hours. I have no clue what changes it but change it does every time I make it.

All said and done this is what I had, a pile of toasty and chocolaty Yummy Delight bars. I hope you enjoyed yet another recipe. I swear I never meant for this to be a cooking blog but danged if it isn't!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Don't bring Sam and Ella to dinner........cook thoroughly.

Hi ya'll! Let me first ask you this deep a peppermint patty considered a candy bar? This is the question I awoke with on my mind, seriously I haaaaaaaad to know immediately if not sooner. The beau answered me with this (I held the honey for his cereal hostage until I got an answer......I can be manipulative if not given my way)"I think it's more of a candy.......disc?" I then proceeded to fall into a snorting laughing mess. That's the other thing....I'm a snorter. It surprises and disgust people on a regular basis. See I might be a little on the prissy side you could say. I wear pink kind of a lot and I wear pearls just about everyday and well.........I am the epitome of a girly and prissy gal. So when I start with the cute appropriate girly giggles and then dissolve into snorts it can be a tad off putting. Just thought I would share that important fact just in case it ever comes up on jeopardy or something. It's a disc not a bar. Now lets talk food, specifically Salmon. The kind people who decide what goes on the Kroger receipt informed me (because they know I bought salmon........creepy right?) that to avoid salmonella (sam & ella......snort snort) I needed to cook this thoroughly. I also need to not eat any Turkey Hill peanut butter products. Thanks Kroger people! It was on the receipt so you are all dissolved of any responsibility if I eat salmonella from one of your products. So salmon, I love it when somebody else makes it. Mine is never great or usually even edible. This recipe however is golden and incredibly easy(clearly it's not mine, the dear beau came up with is off the cuff....he's a smart one). Here it goes.
First start with a fillet of salmon.......this might also taste wonderful with white fish.

Then spread('s fish come on don't be stingy with the butter) butter across the top, followed by a reasonable sprinkle of brown sugar. I only use dark brown sugar because I am of the more is better frame of mind and darker=richer so that's sure as heck the one I'm using! You can use as much as you want for this even light brown if you prefer I won't judge! He is not a sweet lover so I came behind him and sprinkled extra sugar on my half of the fish. Depends on taste.
Here come the lemons. He "arranged" them in an aesthetically pleasing manner, once again it's your fish so you do what you like. They are pretty though aren't they.
These are your big players........the spices. Like always you can use as little or much of one that you like. I believe he did a pretty much equal spread of them all....we don't choose favorites around this house! Yes that is a very old school Marjoram leaves in my mom got it in the 80's and I borrowed(stole) it because.....umm...I don't actually remember what I needed it for. It was still good though, just had to use a bit extra of it for the full flavor. Spices and people....age does dry one out a bit.
Now it's ready to go into the oven.........this is what it looked like after being seasoned. We put it in the oven at 350 uncovered for 8 min then covered for another 6-7. This depends a lot on your oven though so you should continue to check it every few min just to make sure it does not dry out and over cook.

Our final product. It is done when it is flaky and solid and it looses that translucent fish color. It was incredible. I mixed up some basic white rice with a bit of brown sugar, curry and cinnamon to go with it. However like I said I enjoy sweet stuff the beau had just white rice with butter, salt and pepper. The other thing with this dish is that we did not add salt or pepper until it was on our plates. This was more forgetfulness then by design. I highly desired asparagus with this fish. Had I thought of it in the store I would have gotten some, as it is we will be having this again next week WITH the asparagus and I will include the recipe for that in another post. It just fairly screams for asparagus accompaniment.

A few friends who read my blog have asked me why I haven't introduced my family in my blog. My family being my "fur babies". I am a pet person. ( I don't suggest this for anyone house is a server pain in the tucus with animals.......the cleaning never ends. If I didn't love them all so much I would pack em up and ship em out!)
So I have decided to introduce them one at a time. This is Luchie. Or the rat. We only refer to him as that when he's been naughty though. I call him Lu-cheezy when he is being a sweetheart. He is a ferret...they say these guys are kind of like cats. Don't believe them. Yes he is litter trained and yes he is an awesome pet. However we can never leave anything out that he can drag/pull/carry or otherwise maneuver away because then it will be gone with in a matter of moments. Soon after this picture was taken half of that laundry pile disappeared never to be found again. He is mostly the beau's little buddy. They are guys so they bonded or whatever. I don't care as long as he doesn't steal my jewelry. We have an understanding.........he is small enough to be flushed if any good jewelry goes missing. (kidding kidding!) I will introduce you the rest of the crew tomorrow!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowl cake , gun control, and free speech

Love that title....catchy right? Lets start with the cake, and oh Arizona I cry for were thiiiiis close. Really neither one of those is "my team" but I am all for the underdog in most situations.

I don't usually toot my own horn however I would like to mention that I made that cake right there.......that very one with out the aid of any special molds or help. That is the work of a cookie sheet and a casserole dish and one very motivated gal. I should tell you all now that when it comes to "home-makerish" things I am competitive. Very competitive. I wear an apron, pearl necklace and high heels almost everyday. Just call me Suzy homemaker. So we(we being the beau and myself) were invited to a Super Bowl party of sorts. Nothing big just us and some of the people that go and sit up at Hall's drive in diner with us in the summer. I should also mention that we are car people. I am also a little competitive with my car. The honest truth is I would really like to have the biggest SUV possible so I could mow down(politely mow down that is) all those irritating drivers of which there are many here in Fort Fun Indiana since we apparently no longer believe in road manners. However after accepting that at only 5 feet 0 inches tall I would possibly probably need a small ladder to gain entry and exit that SUV I decided on the next best thing. A 1987 Buick Turbo T. Oh lawd I love that car. It is my dream car. I am faster then most corvettes and I have a huge trunk and a good sized back seat. Let me also mention that I get an 87 Buick........that I only pay like $256 a year for full coverage insurance on. Ok anyway so since we got invited I had to bring something and I decided on dessert since they had everything else covered. These are the pics...I would usually have captions telling what I'm doing but these are rather self explanatory.

My base
Yellow cake cooked in low lipped cookie sheet

Chocolate cake in casserole dish

Cake on base........duh right?

I made green icing out of store bought white icing......disposable pastry bag......ya get it I'm sure

I iced the bottom first.....then I set the "football" on top....I left it right side up since it baked with a domed top, I thought it was more football like. Then I iced it with chocolate icing and used what was left of the white for the laces and there you go themed cake for under 7 bucks. Whoo Hoo! I even put in captions after all. Now for the rest of my opening title. A little birdie told me that somebody was thinking about taking away the right to purchase and carry in the state of IN we can legally carry rifles and shotguns in our vehicles as long as they are in clear view. In my thinking a shotgun is probably going to do more damage then a handgun but that's just me. In my very honest and heartfelt opinion I think sure we should have a better procedure for allowing people to have handguns sort of like they do with a vehicle. Perhaps a mandatory class on gun safety and mandatory classes with a trained professional at the shooting range. I try to get to the shooting range at least once a week in the summer and twice a month in the winter. I prefer the outdoor range and it's closed in the winter. I get the theory around it, really I do. It's just that the only people who you are going to be able to stop from getting a handgun is going to be the same person who would have to register it. People who register them for the most part aren't out committing the majority of the dangerous crimes. If we already can't stop criminals from getting guns how is taking away the right to have them from people who go through the correct channels going to help? Last time I checked Johnny robber, Bobby molester, and Danny home invader are not going to say oooo you don't have a weapon because of the new gun law, ok here I won't go after you then. I think I should be able to protect my self and my home in any manner that I see fit so long as I take proper precautions to insure the safety of people not engaging in acts of a criminal nature. I also think that criminals should not be able to sue or whine about getting hurt if they are in the process of committing a criminal act. It's like a liability of the job isn't it? Just a quick word on free speech. Free Speech is not an excuse to say rude, ignorant and pointless things just because you can. There are some laws of human decency that written on congress approved paper or not should not be broken. If everyone would practice a little bit of dignity and tolerance and manners everyone would have a better daily life! I rest my case..........jeez I can get long winded. I also welcome any comments in agreement or disagreement as long as they are said in a polite manner.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cheese straws and stress

I am not usually a stress eater. But three days into being stressed can do things to a girl, like make her a stress eater. Not big stress mind you, just those little things. For example, first you find that the only pair of black pantyhose you own already have a run in them...............right after you unwrapped the brand new sealed package. I know the deconstructed look is in but come on now even the pantyhose come with holes? Next after you decide to throw on a chocolate brown pair and just pretend they are black(I was a bit desperate) you realize that the shoes you were going to wear are in your trunk.........the trunk is currently at the auto repair center. It will be ok, you can just pick a different pair. At this point you find out that you have run out of coffee, this is also ok because you can just have tea. As you are brushing your teeth you get toothpaste on your you are at the kitchen sink taking your vitamins for the day you drop the glass and it shatters in the sink. Then as I am leaving I take a look at the calender and realize my meeting is next Saturday........*sigh* None of these things on their own would usually be enough to make me resort to shoving cookies, gummy bears and candy bars into my mouth as fast as possible however these little things have been going on for the last three days. Nothing big just every little thing possible. After indulging( know...same thing) in my sweet feast I realized the reason I wasn't feeling fulfilled is because I was craving salty cheesy goodness NOT sweets!!! So with one egg some flour,butter and some cheddar cheese I turned to the one recipe guaranteed never to disappoint(unless you have hoity toity taste buds) CHEESE STRAWS! This recipe is out of my DC(Daughters of the Confederacy) Cookbook. It is simple....there are much better recipes out there for cheese straws but this one is simple and I almost always have the ingredients on hand. If you have younger kids these straws with some ranch dressing are always a hit and the kids can help make them. They end up tasting like cheese nips only spicier depending on how much Cayenne you put in them.

This is what I had on hand........nothing fancy here.1 cup of flour
1 cup and an extra hand grab(you know that portion you would grab to eat) of sharp cheddar cheese
1 beaten egg yolk
1 tablespoon of butter
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste(I like to use Jane's crazy mixed up salt for flavor but regular table salt works just as well)

In a bowl first add your butter, I smash mine up a bit just to make mixing easier. Then throw in your cheese.
Throw your flower in next.

Now smush is all around with your hand. You could use a fork or a pastry blender if you really wanted to but the heat from your hand really helps it all blend together. You will be able to tell when you see the little butter/flour clumps start to form that you are almost ready to add the egg yolk.
After your clumps have formed you can add the well beaten yolk.
Now you will add two tablespoons of ice water.
It's time to decide how spicy you want your cheese straws........I added half a teaspoon of each of these. Since this is a fairly basic dough you can add other things as well. I have added green onions and cooked bacon then served them with sour cream which was super super delish and got plenty of compliments!
This is what you should be looking at. At this pint you can use your hands again and start to mix and kneed it into a firm and crusty dough. The exact measurements are always different every time I make these things. You may have to add a bit more butter and more water to get it to the correct consistency.

When it all pulls away from the bowl but is not mush or wet you should be at the right texture.
You can now roll the dough out on a floured surface. I almost always use the top of my oven just because it's easy to clean and I don't really have a big enough counter to use for this. At this point I also add a bit extra cayenne and Jane's this adds a bit more color and some immediate spice when you bit into the straws. This needs to be rolled pretty thin because it will puff a bit in the oven and they are supposed to be thin crunchy sticks not bread sticks. (although I guess you could try for bread sticks if you wanted....I haven't tried that yet)
I use a pizza cutter to cut half inch strips horizontally across my dough. You can change your width depending on how many sticks you want to get out of this recipe.
Set your oven to 350....for this recipe the oven doesn't have to be fully preheated.

I spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. (the crisco stuff works just as good as pam and is a little bit cheaper....and they usually sent out coupons in the Sunday paper for it).

I twist my strips before I lay them on my cookie sheet, it just adds a little to the look of them. I also want to mention this pan I'm using. It's about 30 years old and it's made by a company called EverWare. They are kind of a coffee with milk color and they are the most amazing pans ever. Kind of non stick only the coating doesn't come off...........just amazing. If I can ever find more I will buy them all up. So you bake the straws at 350 for around 8 min a batch. They will be crisp to the touch but not hard. You will see the cheese start to brown on the tops when they are done.
I serve mine in tall glasses or on trays sometimes. Kids love love love these things if you don't make them too spicy. They are just fun to eat. This is all that was left after I made mine.......I ate them as fast as they came out of the oven......just kidding....mostly.

Tomorrow being Super Bowl Sunday and all the beau and I were invited to a Super Bowl party. I am so excited because I just adore the couple who is throwing the party. Since we were invited I am going to bring some kind of football treat. I am thinking a football shaped cake actually........and maybe Italian sausage balls. Either way I will share what I make with you all and the how to make it directions. I never thought I would blog so much about cooking......but I guess that's what I have been doing a lot of lately so it makes sense. Next week I will blog about other stuff I promise!