Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone - if not a bit late!

Doodle and I spent the holiday in Panama City Beach, Florida.  This is the second year we have spent Thanksgiving there and I think it may be our last.  There is just not much to do in that area of Florida other than the beach. The weather was perfect, low to mid 70's for the weekend with the nights and mornings down right cold.

This time around we ate at the Hognose Snapper and what a treat!  I had the best lobster spring rolls and their fried fish was battered just right.  I definitely recommend eating there while visiting PCB.

We also saw Lincoln while we were out of town.  It was a good movie, Daniel Day Lewis, looks amazing like Lincoln and I sure it will be nominated for many upcoming awards.  What courage it must have taken those men to vote "yes" to the Thirteenth Amendment.  We may have come from humble stock but we certainly had guts when it counted. 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

That's the ultimate goal of most turkey recipes: to create a great skin and stuffing to hide the fact that turkey meat, in its cooked state, is dry and flavorless.  Does it have to be that way? No. We just have to focus on what the turkey is and the turkey needs.
~ Alton Brown

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Dust Bowl

Photo Credit
Did anyone watch the PBS special on The Dust Bowl?  It has been on our local station the last two nights and what an amazing program.  Ken Burns does such a great job on documentaries.

"THE DUST BOWL chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, in which the frenzied wheat boom of the "Great Plow-Up," followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation. Vivid interviews with twenty-six survivors of those hard times, combined with dramatic photographs and seldom seen movie footage, bring to life stories of incredible human suffering and equally incredible human perseverance. It is also a morality tale about our relationship to the land that sustains us—a lesson we ignore at our peril".

Photo Credit
I had no idea the dust bowl lasted almost ten years and the amount of dust that was deposited is unfathomable.  Last night, they said during one storm over 14 inches of dust was deposited in just a couple of hours, can you imagine?  The dust was everywhere, in your clothes, your bed, your food (if you had any), the pictures are astonishing and shocking.  What resonated with me the most, was this was our fault and experts believe it could happen again!  How frightening that we learned nothing!

If you get a chance, watch the program, it was riveting.   

Monday, November 19, 2012

Artificial vs Real


Doodle and I are locked in the classic battle of getting an artificial tree versus a real tree this year.  We went and looked at artificial trees this weekend and everything looked, well, artificial.  Add to that, I want a flocked tree, he does not, and we just gave up in disgust and went home. 

Why is it so difficult to find a nice, reasonably priced artificial tree?  On the other hand, why are real trees so expensive also?  You cannot get a decent tree for under $80.00.  For a tree that you will recycle in three weeks!

How do you handle this dilemma?   Do you just spend the money on a real tree each year and enjoy or have you found that perfect artificial tree?


Sunday, November 18, 2012

What in the World?

Do you know what this is?  

Photo Credit
Doodle and I brought one home from Kansas, they were everywhere, lying on the ground.

It has a nice orange smell and has made the kitchen smell great.

The skin is rough and bumpy.  It is relatively hard and heavy.

The tree has huge thorns growing on all the branches.

Some people in Kansas call them "Hedge Apples".

Figured it out?

This fruit is from the Osage Orange Tree.  They grow throughout the great plains which explains why neither Doodle or I had ever seen one.  They were planted as living fences, makes perfect sense when you see them, they are usually in a straight line. In fact, looking back through the Kansas photos, you can see the trees.  Squirrels and deer like to eat the seeds from the inside of the orange, which from what I can tell is difficult.  One website recommends a hack saw to open the orange.

I think I am going to try growing one of these in the front yard... I mean if it grows in Kansas, why would not it grow in Georgia!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Fragments

Happy Friday once again!  As I say each week, Fridays just cannot come around fast enough!  I do not have too many fragments this week, nothing has been happening around these parts.

Mommy's Idea* This morning I asked Doodle if he could change one thing about me what would it be?  Is that not a loaded question!  He said he wishes I was more content.  I had a feeling he would say that.  Sometimes when I say something, I realize he is thinking that I am not happy, when really, I am just saying, wow, wouldn't it be great to have a houseboat or ten horses outside our window.  It does not mean I want the particular item but rather just the option to have it.

* This weekend we are trying another new recipe with shrimp and goat cheese.  I will let you know if it turns out and is worth sharing.

* Have you ever Googled yourself?  I did and while I did not find too much, I was amazed at some of the things I did find.  You never think that a company would just put your name out there but they sure do.  I then spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to get my information off the site. 

* Our office had their Thanksgiving luncheon today, what a gigantic waste!

* I finished reading Game of Thrones by George RR Martin, what a great book.  Although I am quite dismayed that all the characters I liked seemed to die in the first book.

* Have a grand weekend everyone and no, the picture had nothing to do with this post, I just figured a photo is nice.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Soy Ginger Chicken

For awhile, Doodle and I were trying new recipes each weekend and loving it.  We found a couple of really good ones through Southern Living.  However, as is so often the case, we just stopped cooking, got lazy you could say and were back in the rut of having the same things over and over.  That all changed this past weekend when Doodle found two different slow cooker recipes. 

I have never really used the slow cooker, I am always worried that whatever it is may overcook and burn (yes, that happened... had to throw the entire cooker away... it was bad).  However, since I was home yesterday and had picked up all the ingredients over the weekend, we gave it a shot. 

The recipe was easy, especially if you actually buy skinned chicken.  Let me just say, buy the chicken skinned, I may never eat chicken again after yesterday!

Soy Ginger Chicken - Martha Stewart


Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 piece fresh ginger (about 2 inches long), peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal (1 cup packed)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 chicken drumsticks and 4 thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds total), skin removed
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Directions
  1. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, stir together soy sauce, sugar, garlic, cilantro, ginger, 1/2 cup scallions, vinegar, coriander, and pepper. Add chicken and carrots; toss to coat. Cover, and cook on low until chicken is tender, about 6 hours. Using a large spoon, skim off and discard any fat from surface of cooking liquid.
  2. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, whisk cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water. Ladle 1 cup cooking liquid into measuring cup; whisk to combine. Pour into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil; cook until thickened, about 1 minute. With slow cooker turned off, stir in cornstarch mixture. Serve chicken with white rice, and garnish with cilantro sprigs and remaining 1/2 cup scallions.
I neglected to add the carrots, somehow I completely missed that part and I would have added a bit more corn starch to thicken the sauce to coat the meat.  Mine only cooked for 4 hours, which was plenty, the meat had fallen off the bones.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

Crowded classrooms and half-day sessions are a tragic waste of our greatest natural resource - the minds of our children.
~Walt Disney

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Who Wouldn't Want to See a Polar Bear

Photo Credit
Did anyone see the list of Adventures that should be on your bucket list?  It was the Ultimate Adventure Travel Bucket List through Travel & Leisure.  I printed it and showed it to Doodle, as he is looking through the list, I can already tell that most of the adventures are not his speed.  Then he comes to meeting the Polar Bears in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.  I have been talking about this vacation for years now.

I excitedly exclaim, "Who wouldn't want to see a Polar Bear!"  Doodle just looks at me and giggles... I ignore the giggle, tell him the Polar Bears are dying out, we need to visit them soon.  By this point, he is unable to contain an outright laugh.  I give up!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Holiday Cards



Yesterdays shopping trip was great.  While we did not much actual shopping done.  We had a great day.  It seemed everything I wanted was at least $500.00... I could have easily spend thousands of dollars yesterday. 

COME ON LOTTERY!

I did get our holiday cards and just have to share, I love them! The inside reads "Never lose the magic!"


Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Fragments

Welcome everyone to another edition of Friday Fragments.  What a week it has been!

* Finally the political ads are done and finished for oh maybe the next six months before they start up again. I am grateful that I live in a country where we celebrate freedom of speech, but I wish there was a truth-o-meter with all these ads, speeches, and debates, perhaps, it would limit the number and scale of lies.

* I am sure the politicians would not say lies, rather, stretching of their truths.

* Why is my degree in Political Science again? 

* I am off today, a dear friend and I get together every November for our annual shopping day.  Back when her children were young, we shopped until we dropped.  Today, we will meet for breakfast, poke around some of our favorite stores, have lunch, laugh and talk, the shopping has taken a back seat the older her children of gotten.  In fact, her son is driving now... I just made myself feel old!

* The weather has turned colder here, we are freezing at night with highs in the 50's.  Although this weekend they are saying we will be back in the 70's and I wonder why I cannot find a thing to wear... how does one dress for 40 degree temperature swings?

* On a related note to the weather, I have to find new clothes for Shen, he is just not staying warm enough.  I have purchased and returned more outfits than I care to acknowledge to Petsmart.  I finally told the salesperson, either my dogs are getting fat or the clothes are getting smaller.  She said, it sounds a lot like her clothes, I had to agree.

* Have a grand weekend everyone.  Stay warm, safe, and dry.  If you are in the Northeast, know that everyone is wishing you well and that the power crews are working as quickly as possible.  It just takes time, trust me, I know! 


Mommy's Idea

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

“Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
~Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Road to Oz

Rounding out the last of the Kansas related posts, I thought I would share a couple of pictures that do not fit into a post.  As we were driving sometimes, we would see a sign that just made us laugh or smile.  Wouldn't it be fun to say you live in Yoder?  I mean really!
Or how about on the Oz Highway?

Overall we enjoyed our visit, the country is beautiful and the people friendly and welcoming.
I wonder where our next adventure will take us....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Underground Salt Museum & Mine

The highlight of our trip to Kansas was a visit to the Underground Salt Museum. Before researching things to do in Kansas, I had no idea there was a salt mine, that you could visit.  How cool is that!  Doodle and I paid for all the tours, which included a visit to the museum, train, and dark tram tour.  When you arrive, you are ushered into a room and shown a safety video.  You are then outfitted with a hard hat and a breathing device that you have to keep on at all times.  Once that is completed you enter an elevator, really it is a metal box that clangs while it that takes you down 650 feet in total darkness.  It was so dark, you could not see your hand in front of your face.  The elevator opens and you are in the salt museum.  This part of the mine is no longer being actively mined and has been turned into a museum. 

It is amazing, you are surrounded by salt, ceiling, walls, floor.  They ask that you do not lick the walls... seriously, they ask you that.  There are various passageways that continue on forever, with exhibits that tell you about how the mine was found, old ways of mining, how they mine the salt now, and what is stored in the museum. 

None of the trash that the miners brought down ever went back up.  There are piles of trash from the 40's and 50's scattered around.  It is how they know when that part of the mine was blasted.  The train ride takes you past a part where the ceiling collapsed.  The driver assured us that would not happen in the museum. 

Doodle and I walked around in awe, we were in a salt mine, 650 feet down. The museum stores several famous Hollywood movie props as the temperature is always 68 degree with 40 percent humidity. 

The dark tram tour whisks you around another part of the mine where they found an almost pure 6000 pound chunk of salt, that is on display.  It also tells you that the mine is compressing on itself, but so slowly that it will not affect us.  Finally, you are taken to an area of mined salt and allowed to fill a small bag with salt.  Of course, I was the only one climbing to the top of the pile and was asked not to climb.  The good stuff was up there!


This is part of the large chunk of pure salt that the miners found. 
Doodle and I did sample a bit of salt, from the pile. It tasted like salt but saltier. 
  Whorls from the machinery used to mine the salt.  This is what all the walls and ceiling looked like.
The museum is amazing, people of all ages walking around in awe.  Looking up, pointing, it was a great couple of hours and well worth the money!  GO, VISIT!   

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

It dawned on me this morning that I never finished our adventures in Kansas.  I will get the final posts done this weekend, I really had been saving the best for last.  One of the areas that I wanted to be sure and visit was the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.  Early in the history of the United States, tallgrass prairie covered 170 million acres across the North America.  Now only about 4% remain most of which is located in the part of Kansas we were visiting.  I thought it very important that Doodle and I see this, since it is disappearing at an alarming rate. 

We looked at the webpage early and realized, we had to get a move on to arrive in time for their bus tour, so we drove, like the wind arriving with 5 minutes to spare, only to be told they did not have enough staff that day for the bus tour.  In fact, the ranger expressed concern that funding was dwindling and the preserve did not get that many visitors (hello, we are in Kansas).  We opted not to wait for the later bus tour but did the walking tour on our own.

 This is a joint venture between the Nature Conservancy and the National Park Service with the total area covering over 10,000 acres.  Part of the national preserve includes an 1881 ranch house, three story barn, and other various outbuildings.  Including a three person outhouse. Doodle and I enjoyed our visit to the area and talking with the volunteer in the house.  He was the one that told us how to tell if an area has been overgrazed and the different types of grass found on the prairie.  This is a definite visit, we need to support this new preserve to ensure it is available for generations to come.
 This is what you see in Kansas, miles and miles of it.  It was beautiful and haunting to think of the people that traveled in wagons.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday Words of Wisdom


"Hold on, man.  We don't go anywhere with "scary," "spooky," "haunted," or "forbidden" in the title".
~Shaggy, from Scooby-Doo

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum


Did you know that President Eisenhower grew up in Abilene, Kansas?  Abilene was a stop over point so we could visit the library and museum before heading out on our next adventure. 

Eisenhower was a great man and a great president... everyone says so.  The area is beautiful and includes the home where Dwight grew up.  It is small by today's standards but served the family well. 

Chapel - the final resting spot of the President and his wife Mamie (isn't that a great name)!

It does not cost anything to visit the grounds but if you want to see the house, chapel, museum, etc you will have to pay a nominal fee.  The museum has an exhibit about World War II that Doodle enjoyed along with the life of President Eisenhower and his time in office.  Take advantage of seeing this when you are traveling through Kansas!

Good Friends, Good Food

Last night we had friends over for dinner.  Whenever someone comes to dinner, it gives DB and I an excuse to try new recipes.  I think we may have found a couple of winners.  We decided on enchiladas, with all the fixings.  Here are the recipes give them a whirl:

Simply Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas found on Food.com.

1 lb chicken breast, diced (I used rotisserie chicken)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 flour tortillas, softened (8 inches each) (I used corn and flour)
1 1/2 cups grated monterey jack cheese or 1 1/2 cups Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 (15 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies

In frypan, cook chicken and onion together in oil over medium-high heat until chicken is just done.  Divide cooked chicken evenly between 8 tortillas; add 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese to each tortilla. Roll enchiladas and place seam-side down in 9x13" baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with no-stick cooking spray.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan; stir in flour to make a roux; stir and cook until bubbly; gradually whisk in chicken broth then bring to boiling, stirring frequently. 

Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and green chiles; pour sauce evenly over enchiladas. Top with remaining 3/4 cup cheese (baking dish may be double-wrapped and frozen at this point) and bake at 400F for 20 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce near edges of baking dish is bubbly.

Three Cheese Enchiladas from Taste of Home.com

1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup picante sauce, divided
1 medium red or green bell pepper, diced 
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 teaspoon crushed cumin
8 flour tortillas (7-8 inch) (I used corn and flour)

Combine 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, 1 cup cheddar cheese, cream cheese, 1/4 cup picante sauce, the red pepper, onions and cumin; mix well. Spoon 1/4 cup cheese mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll and place, seam side down, in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Spoon remaining picante sauce evenly over enchiladas; cover with remaining cheeses. 

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until hot. Top with lettuce, tomato and ripe olives; serve with additional picante sauce if desired.

Of course I did not take any pictures, trying to get everything out on time and keep it warm when it was 50 degrees outside is a challenge.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Fragments - October Version

Hello everyone!  As always, a huge thank you to Mrs. 4444 for hosting this weekly event where all brain matter can be dumped.
Mommy's Idea
Doodle and I had a grand time in Kansas.  Although most of the people we encountered looked at us like we had sprouted an extra head when we told them we were there on vacation... on purpose.  I am still working on posting the highlights from the trip.

We learned how to tell the difference in an overgrazed prairie and a prairie that is in good condition.  Also, learned that acreage is selling there for a high of $2,500.00 an acre... what a great deal if you want to live in the heartland of America.

I am thankful the election is almost here, I am so tired of hearing about the candidates, what they said, what the didn't say.  Just remember to vote, if you don't you cannot complain!

I am having a difficult time remaining positive at work, office politics are running rampant.  I wonder if that will end when the election does?  Something tells me it won't.

One of the horses from my barn that showed at Morgan Nationals, came away with a national title in pleasure driving.  How exciting!  My goal is to ride at nationals.  The trainer seems to think this is a realistic goal.

Cooler weather is due to return to Georgia this weekend, thank goodness, it has been in the 80's here again and I am ready for the cold.  We need rain, everything is drying out again.  Maybe the perfect storm will drift south instead of north.

Have a great weekend everyone and be sure to visit all the other blogs.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mushroom Rock State Park

One of the more interesting adventures in Kansas was visiting Mushroom Rock State Park.  According to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism:

"This is a 5 acre park that was donated to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (Kansas Park and Resource Authority) by the Ellsworth County Historical Society, the property was dedicated on April 25, 1965. Part of the Smoky Hill region in the north-central part of the state, the Dakota formations are the remains of beach sands and sediments of the Cretaceous Period, the interval of geologic time from about 144 to 66 million years ago. Sanstone and sedimentary rock, is held together by natural cement. The concreations that make up Mushroom Rocks are cemented calcium carbonate. The largest rock measures 27 feet in diameter. This area is truly a site to see".

Truly a site to see, Doodle and I just had to visit this park!  After driving for what seemed hours, on dirt roads, through small towns, past farms, cattle, and prairie... we came upon this:
And this:
 And this:
And this (on the other side of the road):
I tried to convince Doodle to jump up on top:

I cannot say what I thought I would be seeing but I truly thought that after driving so far into the country, I would spend more than 10 minutes wandering around wondering why we drove all this way to see rocks. 

Alias, if you visit Kansas and are in the area of Mushroom Rock State Park, you should stop, if only for a conversation point.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

"Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don't you think?"
~ L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kansas

We are back from our great adventure to Kansas!  Our travels took us far and wide to see such exciting places and towns.  We landed in Wichita and immediately headed out to see the Keeper of the Plains.


The Keeper of the Plains is at the meeting of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers.  Native American artist Blackbear Bosin donated the 44-foot sculpture to the citizens of Wichita in 1974.  The sculpture stands on a 30-foot rock, surrounded by a plaza which describes the Plains Indians way of life.  You can access the sculpture from one of two bridges that cross the rivers.  The sculpture is lit by five fire drums nightly (depending on weather) for fifteen minutes.


This was one of the highlights of the trip for me.  The sculpture is awe inspiring and to see the Keeper at night surrounded by fire should be on your must see list while in Wichita. 



Next up, Mushroom Rock State Park.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

"Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected."
~Steve Jobs

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Getting Old

Sent to me by a friend. This is truly how I feel some days! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Local County Fair

source
This weekend is the last for the Cumming Country Fair and Festival, so Doodle and I decided we should check it out.  Okay, I really wanted a caramel apple and I love state fairs, they are just so American.  The Georgia State Fair was this weekend also, but a couple hours away. 

The local fair was crowded, they had all the games that no one can win at, the rides, a petting zoo, a four foot rat, man eating snake, chainsaw carving, a working cotton gin (really neat), Indian camp, some local businesses, and of course the food.  Fried Koolaid, Fried Dough, Fried Chicken, Fried Snickers, French Fries... are you getting the idea? 

But, wait, where is my elusive caramel apple? 
source

I began to despair!

Does no one eat caramel apples?

Oh, there they are... Candied and Caramel Apples!  It was good!  The apple was fresh and tart, the caramel not overly sweet.  I enjoyed every last bite of it!

So while the fair was just okay, they did not have all the animals raised by kids in 4-H or quilts or any of the stuff at the state fair, I did score my caramel apple and it only cost us $24.00! 

hhhmmmm, maybe I should rethink the whole going to a local fair just to eat an apple... NAH, it was worth it!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Creole Jambalaya

Source
Doodle and I have been looking for a recipe to use with smoked turkey sausage.  I happened across this new product by McCormick Gourmet in the pasta area and decided to take a chance.  We used the recipe on the back of the package and it actually was quite good

The recipe called for:
1/2 pound chicken
1/2 pound smoked turkey sausage
1/2 pound large shrimp
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup onion
1 cup celery
1 cup rice
oil
water


Everything cooks in a large pot on the stove so clean-up is a breeze and it made more than enough for us to have left-overs.  I was quite impressed with the flavor, not overpowering but with just enough of a kick to make it good.  It was easy; total cooking time, including cleaning the shrimp (YUCK) was just over an hour. You could also use this product as a base and add whatever meats or seafood that you wanted. 

PS. This is not a paid advertisement, I just liked the product and thought I would share. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Monday, October 8, 2012

Browned Butter & Bourbon Blondies

I found this recipe on the Tasty Kitchen website... if you have never checked it out, you definitely should.  This website has so many recipes and honestly, everything I have tried as been good and most of them "keepers".

Amazingly, I had all the ingredients for this recipe with a few minor substitutions.  I did not have unsalted butter so I used salted butter and omitted the salt.  I used pecans instead of walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I would put more chocolate chips in the next time, but over all, these are wonderful and easy!  I would share a picture but they are gone, all gone!

Ingredients

6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Browned And Cooled
½ cups Walnuts
¾ cups Unbleached All-purpose Flour, Plus 1 Tablespoon, Divided
½ teaspoons Baking Powder
¼ teaspoons Salt
¾ cups Packed Light Brown Sugar
1 whole Egg
2 Tablespoons Bourbon
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½ cups Milk Chocolate Chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
In a small pan on medium heat, melt the butter, stirring occasionally. Cook the butter until it begins to have a nutty smell and turns an amber color. Do not overcook or it will burn easily. Remove the browned butter to a glass bowl or cup and set aside to cool.
Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350ºF for about 15 minutes or until they are golden brown. Transfer the nuts to a cutting board and chop lightly. Set aside.
Cut a length of parchment paper to fit a 8×8 baking dish, allowing the paper to come up to the top of the pan on both sides. Cut another sheet to fit in the opposite direction, trimming at the top of the pan. Spray the parchment paper lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
Whisk 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
In another medium mixing bowl, combine the browned butter and brown sugar until blended. Add the egg and mix well. Blend in the bourbon and vanilla and mix just until incorporated. Fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture just until combined. Do not overmix.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour to the chocolate chips and toss until the chips are somewhat covered. Add the chocolate chips (with flour) and the toasted walnuts to the batter. Fold in gently. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake until the top is shiny, cracked and light golden brown, 22-24 minutes. Do not overbake. Blondies should be chewy, not crunchy.
Cool the blondies in the pan then lift out using the parchment paper. Transfer to a cutting board and slice into bite-sized squares.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

$800 Estimate

Thanks for all the well wishes for Mo!  She spent the day at the vet (kitty motel) and is now home with us for the weekend.  She will return to the kitty motel on Tuesday for removal of the growth.  The estimate the vet provided ranges from $500.00 to $800.00 depending on what they find when the remove the growth.  They want to send it off to be analyzed but I am going to decline this expense. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around the cost of this.  $800.00 is a house payment! 

I suppose others spend much, much more on their babies and we have been very lucky that everyone has been relatively healthy throughout the years.  So I will make the $800.00 payment to the vet on Tuesday and eat Ramon Noodles for the rest of the month!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Fragments - Early Morning Style

Mommy's IdeaWelcome to another edition of Friday Fragments, where you get a chance to dump all the extraneous stuff from your week hosted by Mrs. 4444 at Half-Past Kissin' Time.  Thank you all for stopping by.


* This has been a long week.  I am tired of working two jobs and getting paid for one.  While I complained mightily about my employee, I certainly miss them now.  I had forgotten how tedious that job is.

* Mo, our cat is at the vet today.  She has a growth on her shoulder that I thought was just a mole.  Then it started growing and growing and last night it was oozing.  Looks like it may be infected, so I am hanging out waiting on the vet to open before heading to work. 

* It seems that fall is here to stay in Georgia.  The nights are cool and we have been sleeping with the windows open.  What a wonderful time of year, the days are shorter, the bugs less active, and soon the time change will make everything right with the world again.

* Speaking of the time change, can someone please explain why we continue with this practice. I just do not get it!

* The Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show starts tomorrow.  The barn I ride at is there in Oklahoma City with two horses. I will be cheering them on from here.  All classes are available to watch online.  Take a look, you will definitely be impressed. Maybe I will get to ride there one day..

* I wish you all a happy weekend.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Princess Bride

'The Princess Bride', the greatest movie ever made is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a special Blu-Ray edition.  For those who have never seen the movie, it is centered around a love story, with pirates, sword fighting, a giant, an evil prince, a beautiful princess, and true love.

There are many websites devoted to the movie and the cast of characters.  I will not go into the entire story line, although, I can just about recite the whole story.  If you are looking for something to do this weekend, many  theaters are showing the movie in honor of the anniversary.  If you have never watched it, go, enjoy the fantasy of pirates, giants, rodents of incredible size, and most of all true love!   

All photos courtesy of http://princessbrideforever.com/.