Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Basement Renovations

We are in the process of starting to finish our basement...one room at a time.
We decided to start with a bedroom addition first. Actually this before picture
is actually 3 studded walls after we began. We originally had one support studded wall that 
goes the length of our basement. So here's the finish.... (well almost finished as there's always stuff still that needs to be done..paint the doors, add on a walk-in closet, etc) But here it is!!!!
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Here's a peek.
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Soo much better than concrete walls!!!!

We Love It!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cake Update

Cowboy boot cake
I'm just gonna act like it hasn't been six months since I've posted and go on from here. :) ok?
Here's a few cakes I've done lately Hope you like them!

Policeman cake

Shabby Chic Cake

Lingerie cake for a personal bridal shower

Another shabby chic cake


 A Bible cake (The black is actually chocolate icing so there wasn't an overwhelming black taste)

 And last but not least....a Red Velvet cake with a cheese cake filling with homemade
cream cheese icing. Delish!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Angel Food Pan for Corn Cutting!

I LOVE me some fresh corn ya'll! And I have 4 wonderful little shuckers that do all the hot and sweaty work...so I don't mind running down to the nice Amish Folk near us and grabbing some bushels full!
There are sooo many ways to put up corn and I've posted HERE before about how I do it. Well, each year I find ways to help me in small ways to make it go a little smoother. And this year, I came across an idea while online searching out fresh corn ideas. Use an angel food cake pan to hold the cob above the pan while cutting off the kernels!!!! And I love it! I mean I had kiddos BEGGING me to let them do all the work! Ha! Now you can't beat that.
Although it did help that I finally broke down and bought the Pampered Chef Corn Cutter this year. (BTW: Absolutely a MUST HAVE). It is sooo much safer than a knife...especially when I have so many miniature helpers!
This was the grueling and dangerous BEFORE method. I didn't let my kiddos help much with that. Plus the benefit of using the angel food pan is that you're not fighting the sides of the bowl the whole time. My wrist would actually hurt sometimes from pressing down on the sides of the bowl. The only downside of using the angel food pan is that if you go really fast some kernels don't make it into the pan. But at a steady smooth pace it worked FANTASTIC! I only put up a bushel and a half but am thinking of going back for more. I've got some green beans to put up today....trying to figure that out now!
Happy Corn Cutting ya'll!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Little R & R

We are back from the most relaxing vacation a person can have! Yes, this is an actual picture from our vacation. But no, Louis L'Amour was not my reading of choice....hubby's. However, I did read one entire book sitting on the beach. It was almost 400 pages! How relaxing!!!
I mean the kids were busy playing in the sand....hubby was listening to his tunes....so I kicked back to read.....it was that way for 7 DAYS!
Well, one day it did rain, so we did an Imax and Museum....but seriously we just chilled the entire time.
 Beautiful!
Mr. Ivanhoe came to see us almost everyday. It was as though we were sitting on his nest or something and he was waiting for us to leave. This picture cracks me up as it looks like he's 10 stories tall.
 We had lots of bird visitors. They were alot of fun to feed bread. There would be one lonely bird walk by and we'd toss him a piece of bread and all of a sudden.......

he would send out a silent message to ALL of his friends. They would be there almost instantly. I have no idea where they would come from except they were there in 1 second flat! LOL.

And of course there was lots of SEAFOOD! We are seafood fanatics.....especially FRESH seafood! We went to a local Fresh Seafood Market and picked out what we wanted from the display and we could take it back to the condo and fry them up ourselves or let them fry it up for us.....I chose to let them do the cooking! We ordered 1 lb of Fried Trigger Fish and 1 1/2 fried shrimp and 1/2 pound grilled shrimp (didn't get a pic). It was pricey (of course) I think it was around $40 for 3 pounds of fish. Yeah, crazy expensive. But we were stuffed. We got so tired of going to seafood restaurants and leaving hungry that we splurged on this quite a bit! However, it didn't come with any sides or drinks so we made do with potato chips as our side. LOL. I did cook some at the condo, but nothing gourmet by any means. We ate light during the day and went out for dinner in the evening. 90% of the time it was at a seafood place. One night we did go to a nearby Lamberts "Home of the Throw Roll" Cafe. 
We had a great time, but as always it is good to be back home. Hopefully, I will be able to post a little more often. I have some recipes I'd like to post one of these days. We only have 7 more days of school!!!!! The girls are working hard getting all their schoolwork done. They see the end in sight and are getting their second wind I think, because I don't hear so much complaining!!!  :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Notes

We found love notes last night when we got back from our early Valentines dinner from our girls.


Here is a few pictures of Ruth's notes. Kenny's was hidden in his wallet and mine was behind my pillow. I'm really glad she "meens it"! 

Here are Abigail's and Hannah's.....Abigail put mine on the computer desk and Hannah had mine laying on my bed. I didn't get theirs to their Daddy because Abigail said she folded hers up and put it in front of his entry card so that when he goes to work he will see it.
Hannah did a two for one deal here, ha!
I love the fact that "mom" is an afterthought here. As "Dad" is the one who is in charge of buying the Valentine goodies for them!
After we left Red Lobster last night (BTW I am in love with Red Lobster now)....they had a 4 course meal for $15.99. I ate like I hadn't ate in a long time. I should have taken pics but oh well. You'll just have to imagine I suppose. My dinner included Bacon and Potato Soup, Salad with Ranch, Grilled Tilapia with Wild Rice, Baked Potato, and.....Brownie Ale mode. Oh and 2 Cheddar Biscuits, ha! I was so stuffed I had to waddle out of there! Anyway to finish my first sentence....after we left Red Lobster we ran over to Michael's to pick up some Valentine goodies for the girls. I usually let Kenny do this all on his own. However, I was with him and he hadn't had a chance yet....so I helped. We found these cute spa sets for 70% off.
We got one for Abigail and Ruth. And since Hannah is on this big knitting kick right now we got her some of the ruffle yarn that is so hard to find right now and another skein of regular yarn for her valentine surprise.
Jack was kinda hard to buy for in Michael's but we managed to find him a set of toy binoculars and a little airplane. And of course they had to have some sort of candy for Valentines too! So Kenny picked out some cute little suckers in the check out line! I just love Valentine's Day. I drew little hearts on the girl's worksheets this morning. Making math problems a little more lovely ;)
Happy Valentine's Day everyone! We love you!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tiger's Blood - 3 ingredient candy

I did a post a while back on a few 3-ingredient desserts. Well, I'd like to add another to your arsenal. I found this recipe over at Southernplate.com. It came in very handy during the holidays. I whipped up a batch for Sunday School Teacher gifts and for some friends. It is Vonderful!! And one of the easiest desserts I've ever made.
Melt a whole package of White Almond Bark according to package directions in the microwave.
Add half a cup of peanut butter. You can use crunchy if you want....I didn't. (BTW I just love my new Pampered Chef measuring cup! It's the BOMB for getting Peanut butter out!)
Mix the warmed up white almond bark with peanut butter. It just takes a minute to get it all combined.
Line a 10x15 (or jelly roll pan...large rimmed cookie sheet) pan with wax paper letting the paper hang over the edges of the pan. Don't forget the wax paper!
Then pour out the peanut butter mixture onto the waxed paper and spread out evenly.
Like so.
Then melt 1 cup of chocolate chips...semi sweet or milk chocolate or dark or whichever you like. It is a bit more thicker than the almond bark when it's melted. But no need to add anything to it.
Just take your spoon and started drizzling it on there. Drizzle being a relative term. As it kinda gets a little gloppy sometimes. But it really doesn't matter just get it on there a little at a time.
Until it is all scattered all over.
Then run a butter knife all through it to make the chocolate swirl. I did it a few times all over in different directions. It was kinda fun....LOL. I then placed it in the freezer for about 15 minutes or so until it was all hardened.
Then just start breaking it into pieces.
I tried to get each piece about 2 inches or so big. I was really impressed with the taste of this ever so simple dessert/candy. To me it taste like peanut butter fudge. But oh so much easier!
I boxed up a handful in little tins and gave them out as gifts. They would make a great Valentine's Day goody for your sweetie! (If they aren't dieting, of course.) Keep this little easy candy recipe in mind the next time you need a quick little gift!
Tiger's Blood
Ingredients:
1 bag of White Almond Bark
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
Directions:
Melt Almond Bark per bag directions
Add peanut butter til combined with bark
Spread on 10x15 lined with wax paper
Melt chocolate chips and drizzle over pb mixter
Run a knife through  mixture to make swirly
Put in freezer until hardened.
Break into pieces!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Walden Farms Review of 0 Calorie Food!


It all started with this ad in my Weight Watchers Magazine! I am a very non-skeptical person when it comes to food. I'll try anything and expect to like it. LOL. Anyways, my hubby is always the skeptic on "too good to be true deals". But I had already ordered 8 bottles before I revealed my 0 Calorie discoveries to him! :) There was a coupon in the back of the magazine for B1G1 Free up to 10 bottles.
 Here's the deal site:  waldenfarms.com/JF13

And today my box of goodies arrived!!!! Can you believe this box is full of 0 calorie foods? I mean it weighs 12 pounds! LOL.

And here they are!!! My 8 bottles of 0 points, 0 calories, 0 fat, 0 sugar, 0 carbs, 0 everything.

Here are the 3 "dressings" I ordered. Ranch, Pancake Syrup, and Chipotle Ranch.

And these are the other 5 miscellaneous things that I chose out of tons of choices. It was hard deciding on just 8. After all I was only paying for 4. They are $5 each bottle on the site. However, they are in some groceries stores for cheaper. And I even found them on Walmart.com in cases (of the same product). The shipping at Walden Farms is $8.99 so I wanted my order to be worth paying that much shipping. So I payed $2.50 a bottle + the shipping.

Here is a little flyer they sent with my package. This is only a handful of what all they offer.

Check out that label!!! I mean Peanut Butter with 0 calories and 0 Fat? .....though I might add 0 peanuts....although it says "contains peanuts"....it's not in the ingredients. I suppose they are counting the peanut extract for those with allergies. 
 Okay, I know by now you all are wanting to know how all this stuff taste right? Well, I knew you would as I couldn't wait myself to try it all out. So I did a little taste test of everything. Although I read reviews that warned "Do not eat right out of the jar". LOL. So I made a PBJ with the Walden's Peanut Spread and Grape Spread.

Okay so here goes................a 2 pt PBJ sandwich (only the bread counts for points)
Walden Farms Peanut Spread


Walden Farms Grape Spread
GAG!
Seriously guys, I took two bites and I couldn't eat the rest. Now this is coming from someone who will eat just about anything fat free. But even for only 2 pts I couldn't do it!!!!! The jelly is the most disgusting thing ever. The consistency reminds me of canned cranberry sauce. But the taste was like eating really sweet hair gel. I am a trooper though. I mean I spent over $20 on this box so I must try on......

I decided to dip apple slices into the Peanut Spread. It's okay, I guess. It has the consistency of mayonaise.
I will probably find another way to use the peanut spread somehow. I'd love to find a recipe to hide it in. I saw some ideas of baking with it....I'll try to keep ya posted on that. Okay...NEXT.

Walden Farms Caramel Dip and Walden Farms Chocolate Dip
 So after the PBJ disaster, I'm now a little skeptic. I had such high hopes for the PBJ. I had even told my hubby of all that I ordered I was the most excited about the PBJ cause I really miss my PBJ while on WW. Wow, that sounded whiney, didn't it? LOL. So I opened the the two dips.

They both have this weird consistency thing going on. They both look and feel like a pudding. The caramel was not 'sticky' like normal caramel. The chocolate was like chocolate pudding that had not quite set up yet.

Okay so here goes the caramel.......it's not like any caramel I've had before. But there is definitely a caramel taste there. The taste isn't bad. But I keep expecting that stickiness of caramel, but it never comes. It just kinda dissolves in my mouth. But it really does "taste" like caramel. So I'd think this would taste o.k. in like a milkshake or over ice cream.

The chocolate dip is really chocolatey. It has a strong cocoa flavor. The consistency again is kinda like a not set up pudding. Not too bad though. It'd be good for one of those chocolate fixes that you need every now and then but won't cost a point! The picture on the jar is a bit deceptive, I think. Because I really doubt that it hardens on anything. And the picture has it on a strawberry as though it's hardened. And that is really what persuaded me to buy it.

Walden Farms Chipolte Ranch and Walden Farms Ranch Dressing
Okay so now on to the dressings! 

 The Chipolte Ranch is pretty good. It is really spicy. Alot more than I was expecting. Big Flavor on this one.
I wouldn't put this on a salad, but it would be good on anything Mexican and I think I'd put it on a chicken sandwich or hamburger. 

The Ranch dressing is good, too. So yay for the RANCHes.

Walden Farms Pancake Syrup
Okay now I didn't make pancakes to try this out, but I still wanted a little taste. BTW, I love maple syrup so I'm definitely hoping for a winner here.

Yay! It's good!!!! It really compares to the LITE syrup I already use, so definitely a winner here!

Walden Farms Amazin' Mayo
I was kinda scared to try this. I mean Mayo is a big deal ya know. I guess I shouldn't have tried the PBJ first because it made me skeptic about everything after that. I should have started with the Ranch. LOL

I didn't know exactly what to try it with. As I wasn't going to waste more points on bread and lunch meat if this was gonna be gross. So I grabbed a little cracker. But the cracker had so much flavor I ended up having to just dip my finger. Yeah I know, I would never eat Mayo with my finger, but I just needed to know. But amazingly it wasn't bad (I guess that's why they call it Amazin' Mayo). It does say it's sweet and tangy and I could taste that. Again the consistency is on the thin side. But I think the main ingredient in most their products is water so it goes to figure everything is thin. 
And BTW, all this has to be refrigerated once opened. Soooo I had to dedicate one whole shelf to Walden Farms. My overall review is: Don't invest alot of money at first. Don't buy a case of one thing you've not tried before. Don't get the grape spread. And if anyone would like to try my stuff you are welcome to try it. There is some splenda in some of the items. Would I buy again? Probably not from their website because of the shipping. However, if I saw the syrup or Ranch on the grocery store shelf I would buy them again. But I don't think I would buy the caramel or chocolate dip. I've heard the chocolate and caramel syrups are good though. I had never heard of these people before even though they've been in business since like 1972. I may have ran across and ad before but didn't give it much thought. So now I know, and now you know too. LOL. PBJ anyone?