Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lusting

Is it wrong to lust after new bed linen?  The velvet, silk, ruffles, and lace!  So elegant, so sophisticated, so me.  Be still my beating heart.


Monday, January 30, 2012

18 and Still Feisty

Rio, our oldest cat turns 18 this year and has been a constant in my life for almost as long as I have lived in this forsaken place Georgia.  I have owned her since she was a kitten, part of an unwanted litter that my boss at the time had thanks to her wandering hussy cat.  Rio is not even the cat I wanted from the litter, I wanted the small, gray, ball of fluff that went to a friend of mine.  I ended up with the runt, a small black and white terror.  Little did I know, she would become the biggest of our cats, rivaling even the Tom's in the neighborhood.



Lately, Rio is looking old, her hair is greasy, she is moving more slowly, she sleeps in the sun or on a blanket all day, and is beginning to loose weight.  My mind knows she is starting to decline but my heart does not want to take her to the vet.  I just do not want to know, I want to cherish my time with her and my memories of her as a kitten and as the loving cat she is today.  She still greets us each morning with her cry of WAKE UP, it is breakfast time and waits patiently for us to get home each afternoon. 

I often wonder when a person says they are not cat person, if they have ever been owned by a cat?  For I believe if they have, they would never again say they are not a cat person.  Rio has brought much joy and frustration to our life and I wish for another 18 years of wonderful.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Happiness Is...

56 degrees and sun!  Everyone is enjoying laying in the sun, soaking up the warmth.  
 




 Even Doodle cat napped

Friday, January 27, 2012

Holy Crap

We received three more inches of rain this week.  It stormed and stormed last night and the rain gauge this afternoon says 17.004.  The weather people keep saying we are in a drought... I think they need to move the official measuring device north, because we are so wet and damp the ground is oozing. 

At least the forecast for the next week is sun with normalizing temperatures, I am having sun withdrawals.  I hope everyone has a most wonderful weekend. 

*Smiles

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.

~Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

14.45 Inches

Is the amount of rain we have received in Georgia since January 1st!  The past three days have been filled with rain, dreariness, and cold... which may explain why this post is yet again about recipes that Doodle and I tried.  I must admit, I am becoming a fan of these Southern Living cookbooks but wonder at the amount of fat and butter I am now consuming. 

Photo Credit
Sunday night, Doodle and I made Beef Tenderloin with Bourbon Mushroom Sauce and Corn-Cheese Spoonbread.  The Bourbon Mushroom Sauce was excellent and Doodle really loved the tenderloin.  But in my opinion, the star of the dinner was the Spoonbread.  When we started out, neither Doodle or I had heard of Spoonbread but we certainly will be making it again and again and again!

Ingredients

* 4 eggs, beaten
* 2 (17 oz) can cream-style corn
* 1/2 cup butter melted
* 1 (6oz) package Mexican cornbread mix - I could not find this, we just added diced jalapeno's to ours
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preperation

Combine eggs, corn, butter, cornbread mix, and baking powder in a large bowl.  Pour mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole dish.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle top of casserole evenly with shredded Cheddar cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Enjoy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mississippi Mud Brownies

I promise this is not turning into another food blog, but; I had to share this recipe... OH MY GOSH, these brownies are SO GOOD!!!  For those of you not familiar with the Tasty Kitchen website, please stop right now and click over.  This is a great site to find any and all types of recipes, ranging from easy to difficult.

This recipe is courtesy of Taylor at Greens and Chocolate and after looking through her blog, she is quite the cook and I have already found several more recipes I am going to be trying.  I sincerely hope that she does not mind me posting the ingredients and directions here.

Both Doodle and I are thoroughly enjoying eating these brownies.  The peanut butter is what sets them apart for me because who does not love chocolate and peanut butter!  

Ingredients

  • ¾ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ cups Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • ¾ teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • ¾ cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • ½ cups Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 1-½ teaspoon Canola Oil
  • 2 cups Mini Marshmallows
  • ½ cups Chopped And Toasted Pecans
  • 2 cups Confectioner's Sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoons Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¼ cups Plus 2 Tablespoons Of Milk
  • ¼ teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8″ square baking pan with parchment paper or foil. If using foil, spray it with cooking spray.

In medium bowl, combine flour, 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, beat together 1/2 cup butter, sugar, and 3/4 teaspoons vanilla until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time. Stir dry ingredients into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake in preheated oven for 22-25 minutes.

When brownie layer is done baking, combine peanut butter and oil in a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup and microwave on high for 20 seconds to soften. Pour this warm mixture over hot brownie and spread. Sprinkle the peanut butter covered brownies with marshmallows. Return to oven to bake for 3 more minutes, or until the marshmallows puff. Remove from oven and sprinkle puffed marshmallows with toasted pecans.

To make frosting, combine confectioners sugar and salt. In small saucepan, melt 4 Tablespoons butter over medium heat. When butter is melted, add the 2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1/4 cup of the milk and heat until the mixture begins to boil. Pour this mixture into confectioners sugar/salt mixture and beat on high speed with an electric mixer until smooth and glossy. If frosting is not pourable at this point, add remaining 2 Tablespoons of milk.. Lastly, beat in 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, then pour evenly over puffed marshmallows and pecans.

Let cool completely in refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Kraft Fresh Take

Photo Credit
Last night Doodle and I tried the new Kraft Fresh Take Southwest Three Cheese Style and is one of the easiest dinners I have ever put together.  This was an impromptu purchase, as the item was on sale at the grocery store and I was looking for something easy and new to make with chicken. 

Fresh Take packages contain a mix of spices, breadcrumbs, and cheese: everything you need minus the meat, in our case chicken.  Just open the package, mix the ingredients, drop in your meat of choice, and bake. 

The Southwest Three Cheese recipe is a blend of cumin, garlic, and red chili pepper.  The chicken had just the right amount of heat and flavor.  The cheese and breadcrumbs were not overpowering and melted just enough to allow the cheese to brown up and become crispy.  YUM!

Doodle and I would give this particular flavor two thumbs up.  It was nice to have something easy to make after a long day. Visit the Kraft website for more information about this product and for recipe ideas.  

P.S. Kraft has no idea who I am and I was not paid for this review.   

Friday, January 20, 2012

Blog Hop

I am out of ideas on what to blog about because I lead such an interesting life.  Today for example, I went to work, stopped at the dry cleaner and then headed home to clean the fish tank... how is that for exciting!




Thanks to My Little Life for hosting Five Question Friday.  Here we go.


1. Where do you hide the reeeally good snacks?
Since it is just Doodle and I, there is no need to hide snacks.  Quite honestly we do not have a bunch of snack food around anyway; however, Doodle is addicted to potato chips!

2. Do you keep your vehicle clean or am I the only one who has things falling out of their van?
My car is clean, there is nothing in it but an umbrella and window shade.  I cannot stand it when cars have food remains in them, yuck... vacuum people!

3. Have you ever been to Vegas?
Yep, not sure what the fuss is about either.  It is a great place to people watch and loose bunches of money. 

4. Warm room light blankets or cold room warm snuggly blanket?
Cold room, electric blanket!   

5. What is the worst airplane/flying experience you've ever had?
I have never really had a "bad" flying experience.  I would say that one particular landing in Billings, MT was an adventure.  The airport sits on a ridge called the Rimrocks and the wind blows up in a circular motion.  I really wondered if the pilot was going to get the plane on the ground in one piece we were all over the place thanks to the wind gusts.  

Billings Photos
This photo of Billings is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

~Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Meaty Stuffed Manicotti

Living in the south, one quickly learns that the grandaddy of all cookbooks are the Southern Living Annual Recipe books.  The books are put together based off the recipes from each months magazine.  Since we are in January, I only looked through those options.  Yesterday we tried:

Meaty Stuffed Manicotti


Ingredients
8 oz uncooked manicotti shells
1/2 pound hot Italian sausage
1/2 pound ground beef
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
2 white bread slices, cubed
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
16 oz container small-curd cottage cheese
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 - 16 oz jars spaghetti sauce with mushrooms
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Preparation

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; rinse with cold water. Drain.
  2. Remove casings from sausage, and discard. Cook sausage and beef in a large skillet, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain.
  3. Stir together egg and milk in a large bowl; add bread. Stir in sausage mixture, mozzarella cheese, and next 5 ingredients. Spoon into manicotti shells, and arrange in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Pour 1 1/2 jars spaghetti sauce over shells.
  4. Bake, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and pour remaining 1/2 jar spaghetti sauce over shells; sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, 10 more minutes.
  5. Note: Casserole may be assembled and frozen up to 1 month. Thawed in refridgerator overnight; baked, covered, at 350ยบ for 40 minutes or until heated.
Both Doodle and I thought the filling was great!  I used ground turkey sausage and did put in extra seasoning.  There was quite a bit of liquid in the bottom of the pan, maybe because I used  non-fat milk and non-fat cottage cheese, BUT, overall this was a winner.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dust Bunnies

How does our house get dirty when it is only Doodle and I living here?  I love how the house looks once I have dusted and vacuumed; BUT, I hate cleaning! 

I have tried cleaning each night, one room at a time... FAIL! 

I have tried cleaning on the weekends when I am home and have extra time... FAIL! 

I have looked into having someone clean our house... EXPENSIVE!  

Instead, I wait until I can see the dust on the furniture and cat hair stuck to the carpet.  So today, I clean.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Horses

This morning when I arrived at the barn, the water had not been turned off completely and the bathroom, tack room and feed room where full of water.  That is not fun in 30 degree weather but the barn owner and myself managed to get the water sucked up.  Whoever invented a wet/dry vac should be kissed. 

Austin was not wanting to move out this morning, I spent 30 minutes fighting with him before giving up.  I think he knows I am tired and I do not have the leg strength to arguing with him.  I hope my lesson goes better tomorrow than today's ride went.


After the barn visited my crazy ass horse friend's place, she just put in a beautiful arena but was having issues with her newest mare.  The mare definitely was bucking in the canter.  I wish I knew more about horses so I could be more help.  I think the mare is testing my friend's resolve. I suppose that is what Austin is doing to me, testing me to see if I really am going to continue to come out.  I have to admit, I feel like giving up most days.  But how can I give up when he is such a handsome dufus?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Strange Place to Visit

Last weekend Doodle and I had planned to go to a park or something just to get out of the house and walk around.  Needless to say, the weather and life did not cooperate; so this morning Doodle said we were going to the Funk Heritage Center. When he first mentioned it, I thought he meant Funk music... NO.. he meant Georgia's Official Frontier and Southeastern Indian Interpretive Center.  




It was a strange little place, not a bad place, just small and  different.  They asked us to sign the guest book, which we did.  However, the last person to sign the book was there on January 2nd.  Today is January 14th and we were the only people there. 

See what I mean! 

The lady that showed us around was wonderful and full of knowledge about the Indians that resided in the Southeast.  They had some beautiful pieces of artwork and an couple of 1840 cabins. 







 
We wandered around for a hour or so and then out to the "settlement" area where we came across this... does anyone know what it is? 

I think it was a machine that ground up corn or something.  If I can figure it out, I will let you know. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fragments of Nothingness

Thank you Mrs. 4444 for again hosting Friday Fragments.  Drop in to say "hello".

Mommy's Idea

*****
 I have decided I live a most boring life. Absolutely nothing happens.  I work, I eat, I go to the barn, I sleep, I get up and do it all over again.

This week as dragged on forever! It feels like it has taken 3 weeks to get to Friday.  The upside, it is a three day weekend, thank you Martin Luther King!

It has rained all week, I am tried of being at the barn in the rain which equals MUD and YUCK!

Speaking of the barn, I do own a horse, who at times is the ban of my existence.  Getting back into riding after 18 months off has been challenging to say the least.

Photo Credit
Has anyone been to Mt. Everest?  I have always wanted to climb Mt. Everest.  Does not everyone want to climb Everest?  I found a trip where you can trek to base camp, this is right up my alley!  However, Doodle was less than excited, in fact, I think he thinks me quite mad.



The whole Project 365 has become a gigantic failure.  I lasted 3 days.  I am not sure what that says about me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

~Soren Kierkegaard

Monday, January 9, 2012

Belly Rub

Ling's newest spot to sit is on top of me with her belly fully exposed, so that I can rub it continuously.  When I stop moving my hand, she looks back at me, as if to say "servant, really, I am still needing my belly rubbed"! 

While I can assure you, I was not drunk, this is a less than flattering picture of me, but Ling looks adorable! 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Questions

Yesterday we attended a first birthday party for a friends little boy.  Why do people find it necessary to have a party for a child that cannot walk?  Are they interested only in the presents?  Is it for the parents, so see their friends and for their friends to gush over said child?  I am asking only because we do not have children and will never have the opportunity to plan a first birthday.  So, I am curious, why have a party for a child that does not comprehend?

The party it was really cute; snowflake themed because last year he was born during the one week there was snow in Atlanta.  The birthday boy, had no clue what to do with the cake, it was really funny, he did not want to eat the cake or really get dirty, dainty little tyke.  Of course, he loved his gifts especially the ones that made noise and he is on the verge of walking, his parents are going to have their hands full.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

"Cheers to the new year and another chance for us to get it right"

~Oprah Winfrey

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Camera Confusion

Yesterday I did take pictures; however, after the camera kept flashing at me and would not take a photo, I thought I should review the manual.  After all, how am I going to get better if I do not know how to work the camera?  220 pages later, I still have no idea what the camera was flashing and why it would not take a photo.  I am still totally confused about AV and TV and what each of them do.  I mean I sort of understand but all my photos look the same regardless of what I set the AV or TV at... I must be doing something wrong!

I did learn that in the auto settings, there are eight more that I never knew about and to think I am pining after a more advanced camera... where is my brain?

Today, I took the camera with me to the barn, trying to take pictures in 32 degree weather with a wind chill of 17 is challenging and cold!  When my fingers froze and I could not push the button, I gave up.  Here is the best of what I took today.  

Barn Dog Louie... he kept wanting to sit on my foot, so this was the best I could do!

Frozen water bucket.  Told you it was cold!
 Same picture, I just sharpened it and messed with the color.  Reminds me of the ice in Alaska.
I hope everyone is having a fabulous start to 2012!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Random Nothingness

I really have nothing to say today, just random thoughts that are floating around in my head.

Today was not a holiday for us.  Yes, it was in fact a holiday for the rest of the population and the minimal traffic was case in point this morning.  That being said, it was weird being back at work after two weeks off.   

Winter has arrived... FINALLY!  It dropped about 20 degrees between yesterday and today and there is an arctic blast blowing in. That certainly sounds official.    


Last of the holiday decorations have been put away, the good cheer has ended for another eleven months. 

*Smiles

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Resolutions?

Happy New Year! Do you make resolutions?  I generally do not, I have never been one to keep the resolution and why set yourself up for failure?  However, I am open to trying new things and after visiting several blogs featured on Friday Fragments, I thought the Project 365 picture adventure is something up my alley. According to Kathy at West Family Adventures you are to take pictures everyday and post them on Flickr.  I thought I would just post the best ones here and not on Flickr.  Aren't you lucky!

Day 1- Not much thought put into this but it did make me pick up the camera and the only way to get better is to actually take pictures.  I will try my best to follow through on Project 365.


I thought the light coming in from the window was nice and Doodle always humors me when I have the camera.

PS. Isn't he just handsome and with the nicest smile!