Friday, August 31, 2007

Bye Bye American Pie

Do you ever just get a bee in your bonnet and decide, seemingly out of the blue, that you must right-this-second make something? Well that was me last night. At like 8PM I decided I needed to make a sweet potato pie. Mind you, I have never even tasted sweet potato pie. But I love so many things made with sweet potatoes and figured a pie would be the best of the best when it came to this sweet, orange loveliness.

So I popped onto All Recipes and picked what looked to be a good choice. Heck, I have nothing to compare it to so it was a gamble either way. After reading the reviews, I decided that it needed more sweet potato than it called for in the recipe. I used two large (about 1lb each- so a total of about 2lbs) sweet potatoes and think if doing it again I would use 1 1/2. I had extra filling that I had to bake in a ramikin on the side. But other than that, I thought it was delish. We are a big pie, not cake, family so I am very picky on crust. I only make my own. But if you are less crust picky, you could totally use a store-bought one.

It was all I could do to restrain myself from eating a slice for breakfast. It's a vegetable afterall, right? I held off this morning but I make no promises that a slice will not accompany my dinner tonight. Mmmmm good!

Sweet Potato Pie

1.5 - 2 lb sweet potatos
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato and remove the skin. ( lazy girl method is to peel the potatoes first using a knife or vegetable peeler, chop into chunks, place in cover dish with plenty of water, and microwave until tender- about 15 mins or so)

Break apart sweet potato in a bowl (Or if you used my lazy girl method, simply drain off the water and mash with a fork or potato masher. fewer dish to wash- woo hoo!). Add butter and mix well with mixer (Or LGM (lazy girl method) is to mix it in with the fork/potato masher- it only takes a minute- less time that it would take me to locate both beaters). Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat/stir (LGM) until smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 C) for 55 to 60 minutes (OK, it took my pie closer to 75 minutes for whatever reason), or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle and then will sink down as it cools.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New Boots

I spent the last two weeks dog sitting for my cousin Kim who went up to their camp in VT for two weeks with the family. Last year they only had Blizzie, the black lab. But six months ago Kim's good friend passed away with no one in her family stepping up to adopt Daisy, the yellow lab. So Daisy found her new home at Kim's with her hubby and two adorable boys. Both dogs were adopted over the age of seven and really lucked out with such a great, dog-loving family. But Daisy has never been very fond of my baby girl, Sadie Kate. I wasn't about to live without her for two weeks though so I decided that Daisy would learn to love, or at least tolerate, her cousin. I mean, we all have that family member who we might never chose to be friends with but have to learn to tolerate because we are related and share holiday meals. Daisy is no different. Or so I told myself.

It did work. I mean, they are not best friends forever. But Sadie is so sweet and innocent and simply doesn't understand the concept of another dog feeling anything less than love for her. Sadie and the girls had a ball on our walks and watching me water Kim's many gardens.

But as this is a fairly boring story, I am really only telling you this so that I can show off part of my thank you prezzie. I have wanted a fun pair of wellies for a while now. I am not sure I would wear them if I lived in the south as they might be too hot but up here, I will use them a lot. In the spring I bought a pair of ballet flat rain shoes too. Aren't these wellies adorable? So me! Unfortunately, I will get a LOT of use out of them in the Fall. At least I'll look cute tromping around in the inevitable rain and slush.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Quit Leaving Me!

OK, for the third time in two weeks, one of my daily reads has gone private. Waaahhhh! Sniff! I'm so sad I don't get to read your of your daily crafts, fabu shopping deals and life rants. And I am starting to take it a little personally with so many in such a short time leaving me. Why did you go private Grosgrain Garage? I love your blog! If anyone else decides to go private, please let me know so I can profess my blog love to you. Oh that's right, blogs have totally become my addiction this summer. I never even log onto myspace anymore. Nope, fun blogs in shades of pink and green are my drug of choice. And fabric. And ribbon. And shoes. And bags. And ice cream. Sheesh....I have a disturbingly large number of addictions!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Crafty Crocodile

I have been quite the crafty little crocodile lately. The rainy days this week have left me inside staring at my piles of hoarded fabric. I finally found a few ways to put the fabric to good use. I am always so inspired when I see fabulous projects or room decorations or outfits on your blogs and thought I should share some of my recent crafty fun too.

The aprons were made using the Martha Stewart dishtowels. I actually drove to and went into K-Mart just to purchase them. If you are reading this Martha, please add your line to Target stores because I really really really dislike going into K-Mart. Martha's towels are very large- which is fabu for a dishtowel. However, I found after making the first apron they would be too long for a toddler. So I cut a few of the towels in the package down to make some for my toddler friends. Not wanting to waste the adorable fabric with ric-rack and always looking to embellish things, I turned that excess fabric into a little pockets on each apron. This project is incredibly easy- even for beginning sewers and children.

These little outfits were also easy once I figured out how to make the pants. I had to tweak my self-made pattern a few times but I eventually made it work (while channeling Tim Gunn of course!). They are gifts for several friend's tot's upcoming birthdays and a few extra for whatever- craft show or new baby gifts or ....

Canada is Snacking Better

Last night I had a dinner meeting with a Leadership Consultant who was in town for her yearly visit to our sorority chapter (I am the Chapter Advisor here in Upstate NY). The moment I met LC, I knew I would like her. She was so warm and friendly and kept saying wonderful things about our sisters....I was a proud momma hen! She is just starting her year tour of duty in this position and when asked where she would like to go to dinner, she of course said "oh anywhere is fine with me." She finally requested our new Cheesecake Factory restaurant. Which is a little funny if you knew about the conversation I had earlier in the day with the other advisor joining us at the meeting. I said that I didn't want to go to a chain restaurant and I try to always go to local places. Oh well, Cheesecake is a pretty good chain and it's been years since my last visit. She heard we have a newly opened one and she has never been to one before. The wait was of course more than an hour so we finished up most of our business related conversation before we even sat down. But that made dinner a ball- just sorority girls rehashing our college days (she is just a year out of school so hers were easy to remember). She is from Canada and it was my first time meeting one of our Canadian counterparts. Not that it should surprise me, but her experiences were pretty much the same as our American sorority experiences.

I asked her if there was anything she missed from home. And she said, yes Ketchup chips. Her mom came to visit her last week and brought her two bags.

Ketchup chips? What are those? My college roommate and I used to sit down with a bag of chips and a plate full of ketchup and dip them in before consuming. But I have never met anyone else who does that. And I only do it when Belle and I are together. Are you telling me they have chips already flavored like ketchup? I need these!! When we dropped LC back at the sorority house, she ran up to her room and brought me back the huge bag of ketchup chips to taste. Mmmm- sooo yum-o! To me they tasted like a salt-and-vinegar chip dipped into ketchup. Really unique and very tasty. She offered for me to take the whole bag but considering I just ate more than my weight in cheesecake, I declined after only a few chips. She said her other favorite chippy shack is flavored like roasted chicken. Really? That actually sounds delish. She said they are super yummy too.

Who makes these I wondered when I got home? Oh, Lays. An American company. But they are snubbing their own peeps, y'all! Because they are only giving these tasty gems to the Canadians. I feel no chippy love, Lays! Sniff!! Oh and Heinz makes them too. But again, only for the fun loving Canadian customers! America is being left out. Have you driven your shopping buggy down the chip aisle in the grocery store lately? It is insane. Lays and Heinz can't fit a few bags in there too?

So for any Canadian blog buddies living further north on the globe than me, know that I am jealous of your fun lunch snacks! And for anyone taking a trip up to Oh Canada, be sure to crunch on a few ketchup chips for me. Or a chicken chip. What other fun goodies are you keeping all to yourself, little Miss Canada?!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Complaint Free World

So months and months ago I saw Oprah do a segment on this, A Complaint Free World. And I thought, what a nice idea. I need to be more conscious of my complaining in life too so I sent away for the bracelet. I even ordered a few extra for friends. I don't remember exactly when that show aired but I ordered online that very day. I am guessing at least 4 months ago. Maybe longer. Well the purple bands arrived this week. I have never been into those rubber band bracelets but I thought that for a month or two to learn to complain less, it would be a great idea. I however didn't factor in that when I ordered the adult size bracelets that they would drive me absolutely insane falling off every 3 minutes. I have very tiny wrists (you don't know how I wish that word was waist instead!!) and I should have ordered a kid's size I guess. But since they sent me this product for free, I hate to waste it. So I have three adult size bands. If you want them, just let me know and I will send them to you. I need to make something else because I do want to try this little experiment. But it defeats the point of the experiment when the bands falling off cause me to complain ten times more often than I would on any given day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

So Bad, Yet So Good

So this summer I have reached all time lows for my television watching. I never used to get into the reality shows. I have never watch a full episode of Survivor or American Idol. And maybe it is because I was sick for so long and had nothing to do but watch bad TV for weeks on end. Or maybe there is nothing else on to watch. Or maybe my standards have suddenly lowered. Whatever the case might be, I am full on addicted to (oh I am so blushing now even admitting this) Big Brother 8 and The Hills. I didn't watch Big Brother 1-7 and didn't watch Laguna Beach. But it has not stopped me from watching with baited breath each week this summer.

I was totally upset when they didn't send Dick home two weeks ago. If I have to see Amber cry one more time while talking about her visions from God I might scream (softly though because believe it or not my voice is not yet fully restored- which on a side note- is getting very very annoying!). I love Eric and Jessica- though I am not convinced that Eric isn't gay. Which only matters because she seems to have a crush on him. Oh the drama.... It is trashy TV at it's finest. It is like watching a live soap opera where people stab each other in the back right and left and profess their love to others and cry and quote bible verses and call themselves "evil."

I think Lauren Conrad is adorable and Heidi is crazy. And Big Head Spencer is just nasty- he makes my skin crawl. I really love Whitney and wish she had more air time. She cracks me up and is sweet as can be. They keep claiming that Heidi changed after meeting Spencer but I am not convinced of that. I am pretty sure she is just one of those girls who will do anything it takes to keep her guy and is very blinded in the process. I know girlfriends like that. Well except that mine don't have fake boobs, all have degrees and work and live normal lives. So scratch that, I guess I don't have friends who are all that akin to Miss Heidi. Ew...I just thought about Spencer again....he is just so foul! He reminds me of a young Donald Trump wanna be. The only thing worse than being the man himself is a snaky-wanna-be. Something I really like about the show is that Lauren and Whitney are in school (well Whit just graduated) and working as interns. Oh they have fancy lives with flashy cars and sparkly outfits and jewelry and shoes for sure. But it is nice to see that they also have goals beyond club hopping. Though that is in there plenty too.

My former favorite shows were The West Wing and Gilmore Girls. But they left me and this is what I have found to fill the weeknight TV void. My brain is turning to mush! I hope they bring back October Road. Oh and I love love Project Runway!! Thank goodness Grey's and Betty will be returning soon. I miss them! Somebody watches way too much TV I think....

Monday, August 20, 2007

Odd Trip to Joann's

So when I was out and about running errands on Saturday, I popped into Joann. I am not sure why because I usually make it a rule to avoid it mid day on weekends. It is just too crazy in there. But I hadn't been in a LONG time and it was in the same plaza and well....I went in.

Of course I find a cute fabric that "I need" right away in the Michael Miller section. Now by "need," I mean that I have no plans for this fabric and it is just further proof of my dangerous fabric addiction. Does Promises offer assistance for fabric addiction? Perhaps Britney, Lindsay and I can all be roomies? On my way to get it cut I pass the pattern section. Now I have only used a pattern once or twice. I make my own patterns because I find purchased ones waaaay too complicated for my little self. I also make mine out of cardboard which I find easier beyond words when it comes to tracing. That flimsy tissue paper just baffles me. Or maybe I just don't know how to use them correctly? But I noticed one tiny, crumpled sign on the side of the Simplicity drawer saying that all Simplicity patterns were on sale for $.99! As in a buck! If you are not a sewer/fabric hoarder, most patterns run $10 - $18 on average. So I sat myself down and poured through the Simplicity books. For a girl who doesn't really like using patterns, I managed to walk away with TEN in hand. Things that I think might be fun down the road for gifts and such- hey we have LONG, COLD, LONG winters up here and I will need something to do with myself while hibernating from the chilly world. Of course I added up the regular purchase price of the patterns as soon as I got home. Originally all 10 totalled $136, I paid $10!

I always go to the back (upholstery/decorator fabric section) to have my yardage cut when it is busy because it is always less crowded back there. I was happy to see that instead of being about 12th in line in the front section, in the back I was going to be second. Woo-hoo! But the, what can only be described as odd, woman in front of me had a huge cart of fabric and trims to be cut. I kept myself occupied for a while reading the back of my huge stack of patterns but couldn't help overhearing the conversation between odd woman and Joann woman. Then I noticed that odd woman had an equally odd assortment of dark, Halloween-type fabric. Now I almost never ask when people are making because I am a bit on the self-conscious side myself when asked knowing that 1/2 the time I have no clue just yet what that fabric selection will be one day. But I was so curious- was she preparing for a costume party or a school play? I asked. And I tried my very best not to show my shock on my face when she answered. She replied, "Well I am starting to do Psychic readings so I need some fabric for tablecloths. I have been in school for it for two years training and am finally ready to do readings. I am a Psychiatric Nurse by trade but have really gotten into psychic and mysticism lately." I didn't even know how to respond to that. I was expecting her to say she was making her kids' Halloween costumes early or helping out with a school play or really anything but that. There was a lot of information in that short statement and I had dozens of questions. But I just couldn't find the words to ask without sounding judgemental and rude so I just said, "Oh wow- well your selections seems very appropriate." As if I have any clue what appropriate in the psychic world is but I needed to say something and that was what came out.

Can you handle one final Joann's story? I promise I wasn't there that long. So now I am in line to check out (this is the main reason I don't go on weekends- the line is crazy long and everyone seems to have special issues that require a manager who is busy with her own set of crazy special problems) and I am finally the next in line to be helped. And then....the view to end all check-out line views! The woman in front of me was dressed normal, casual, nice. She had cute, short hair and looked like she could be anyone's mother. As she is standing there though she apparently had an itch on her tushy. We have all been there. But she is standing in full view of the entire line so if it had been me, I would have just done my best to ignore the awkward situation. But it was not me. She starts to full on scratch her cheek as if she is a 17 year old boy in a locker room. BUT THEN.....after several minutes of this it seemed to not be enough relief for her pesky itch. She then actually lifted up her shirt enough to put her hand down her pants to scratch her bottom full on. I tried to turn away but it was just minute after minute of this itching. Now if I spot someone with an open shirt button or tp stuck to a shoe, I am always, always kind enough to let them know in as discrete a way as possible. And I fully expect the same from women out there. But I couldn't exactly tell her to stop scratching- clearly she had a big time itch. It was just awkward and funny and embarrassing all wrapped into one.

Note to self: Remember to avoid entering Joann's on a weekend.

But I do have my 10 new patterns (that I may or may not ever use- let's be realistic y'all!).

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Walking Pneumonia

Two weekends ago I went down to my old 'hood in DC to visit friends and attend the wedding of one of my most special girls. And I have wanted to tell you all about it ever since I attempted to return that Sunday afternoon. But like thousands of others all along the East coast, I spent hours upon hours attempting to get home as flights were being cancelled and airports closed due to severe thunder and lightening storms. I could go on and on about the drama that ensued due to total lack of organization and preparation from the airlines (damn you, US AIRWAYS!). I could talk for hours on the misery that surrounded the masses of stranded passengers trying to re-claim their luggage (it only took me THREE hours- I say only because I know of others who waited for FIVE just to be told that they had no idea where to locate their luggage!) or the number of hours we were required to stand in tight clumps the following day waiting for again delayed flights in the over-crowded terminals. Or the crazy things the flight attendants would yell over the loud speaker ("do not look at the computers- they are all wrong!" or "don't ask us questions, ask your neighbor because they know what is going on and can answer your questions" or "do not leave this spot to find a seat or get a snack because we when we tell you to get on the plane you will miss the call and will then miss the flight"). So instead of my carefully selected flight home mid afternoon on Sunday (carefully selected to ensure that I would be home to walk my Preppy Puppy before dinner but not too early to allow for the hangover I would have after the wedding and post-wedding activities), I arrived home famished after not eating all day (see above note from flight attendants! And they were so serious about it too so you better believe none of us (us as in me and my new best airport friends who were so close that upon landing in Albany we exchanged hugs) left our spots in front of the "magic" stairs that led to the lucky flights that were taking off that day!) at dinner time on Monday.

I knew I was tired but it was understandable considering I spent about 27 hours trying to get home. I went to bed early on Monday just wanting to wake up Tuesday fresh and ready to start my delayed week. BUT INSTEAD....I woke up feeling miserable! And after a few days of coughing myself into a state of total misery and barely being able to leave my bed, I went to the doctor. A respiratory infection. But a few more days and no improvement brought me back to the doctor just to find out that it was now classified as a severe respiratory infection/walking pneumonia. I have had drugs in me for a while now- the codine is fab and makes me all loopy. And I am getting better (or feeling less horrible?) but am still fairly bed-bound and coughing up a lung every 15 mins. I slept a little last night- which is more than I can say for the past week. It was not the best quality or most comfortable sleep ever, but something is better than nothing in my book. I'll take it!

I have to get back in bed now but I promise to get back to my beloved blog land soon with stories of my short but fab DC weekend, pics and details on the most fab prize box that arrived just in time to put a big smile on my face and other happenings on the Preppy Pink Crocodile front.


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