Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Church Hop: Take One

So I went and tested out that new church I mentioned a few days ago with my girlfriend this morning.  She's Catholic and thinks it's novel that the church offers nursery care.  I'm WASPy Protestant and think the modernness of the building and service just might be too much for me to cope with.  The music was of course contemporary with a band and drums and all that jazz.  Which I liked.  I love a traditional choir too, though.  They were very good though and they played several songs that I know are on the (Christian) radio currently.  So that was nice.  But I hugely disliked the sermon.  First of all, it was about Satan.  Which is fine I guess, but both the program and the backdrop of the stage (I don't think I can call this an alter- stage seems more fitting) had this black face with these creepy yellow eyes.  I go to church to be uplifted, not freaked out by the program front cover art.  And overall, the sermon was just waaaay too rah rah hate in the name of Jesus.  But with a smile.  And I believe I was the only person there in a dress.  It was like a Catholic church with everyone in jeans, up and walking about, and leaving early.  That is just so distracting to me.  I get the concept of "come as you are," but I really didn't think the message said that too and I honestly just feel more comfortable dressing up for church.  I'm sorry but I like men to be in a sports coat and sitting still in a pew on Sunday mornings.  Personal preference.

I am not likely to go back for a Sunday service, as it really just wasn't my cup of tea overall.  But I still might join a women's bible study through them because I've yet to get into one and I think it might be fun.  It wasn't horrible or anything, just not the right fit for my needs and personality.  I can see why families like it as they offer so many neat extras like mission trips and support groups and kiddie programs and such.  I just think I need something more traditional with choir robes and stained glass windows and hymnals.  Less "they're so bad" and more "God is good" coming from a proper pulpit without teleprompters.

So the Sunday Church Hop continues.  My perfectly fitting little white church glove is out there somewhere...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Attention

So I am having a do nothing day today.  Lounging with the dog, watching football, waiting for The Cocktail Party to start and reading blogs.  But I almost forgot to tell you about my Friday evening.  I volunteered at an inner city library to help out with their kid-friendly Halloween event with the Junior League. 





The asked that we get there two hours before it started to help set up.  So my cousin-ish and I got there at 4PM.  Set up took less than five minutes.  So we just sat there.  But we never realized that the library is this safe haven for kids.  That's what they do after school every single day.  And we were new faces.  Who clearly had nothing to do.  So they were flocking to us.  Just wanting someone to talk to them and acknowledge them and even more important, listen to them.  We learned all about the books they like and how they are only allowed 30 minutes of computer time each day.  We heard then talk about not having a costume because they couldn't afford one (I nearly started crying.  I'm embarrassed to say that thought never crossed my mind before.), not going trick-or-treating because their parents were going out to parties, and how they walk all over this rough section of city by themselves.  Cousin-ish and I really didn't ask many questions.  They just came and started talking and because we were nice, they kept talking.  I mean, we were there with nothing to do for two hours.  I think we agreed that our best moment was when a little girl asked to read a book with us.  We got to help her sound out words and watch the best smile come across her six year old face. 

The event started at six and included a DJ, costume contest, lots of food, games, contests and crafts.  We were at the table that let kids make trick-or-treat bags.  It was sooo crazy.  All of a sudden the three of us from the JL were sitting there surrounded by hundreds of people.  It was fun.  But completely and utterly overwhelming.  There were so many people in there that I couldn't hear anything anyone was saying.  It was just pure chaos.  By the end, we were down to only a tiny amount of glue left in one glue stick and I turned into the glue stick diva who refused to give it to anyone as they were disappearing.  Then the little little kids didn't have any.  So I kept one for them to use and let the big kids fend for themselves.  They all seemed to have a great time though.  I'm just not sure they quite expected such a huge turnout to a small two hour library event.  I sure as heck didn't.  When it was over, we folded everything into the plastic tablecloth, put it in a trash bag, and practically ran out of there.  Bravo to the library for putting so much effort into the safe night in party for the kids.  But I need at least another year to recover from that chaos. 



Images on this post were randomly found online and I do not know who created them.

Clarity Turned Rant

OK, wow.  I did two posts yesterday and they both set people off a little bit.  I never mention politics, barely mention religion and never money and I still manage to tick people off.  I can't win.  But to clear things up for the last time in regards to this post (so please stop telling me how terrible I am), I do actually like the three dresses pictured.  But they are really the only three pieces I like.  And I don't LOVE LOVE them.  Just like.  I think the prints and designs that Lilly Pulitzer has done for the last two seasons are just not my cup of tea.  Goofy, long sweaters that look like tails to me, lots of shiny fabrics (one of the things I love best about Lilly is the fabric quality- lots of cottons and super soft), and not-typically-Lilly prints. 

I've also said several times over the last two years that it greatly bothers me that they seem to be over-saturating the market.  Don't hate me, but I have to say it.  They are becoming akin to Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber.  The peeps down at Lilly seem to be taking ever deal that comes their way.  If I've said it once, I've said it a million times that I thought the match up with LeSportsac was wretched.  Nothing about that brand has ever seemed classic, preppy or cute to me.  The Lilly prints might have been cute but they were still holy ugly in the traditional LeSportsac style.  To me.  In my opinion, expressed on my blog, by me

The brand is feeling less and less like Lilly Pulitzer the woman and more like a main steam B brand that can be purchased from any Sears store.  Not that anything is wrong with Sears.  But don't pretend you get the same excitement out of going there as you do to a Lilly Pulitzer Signature Shop. 

I am a South Florida girl who has been a Lilly fan for as long as I can remember.  But I can't wait for the Pink Palace to go back to more classic prints and designs.  Until then, I'll old school it with non-new and vintage pieces.  I'll forever be Lilly Pulitzer's biggest fan so I can be patient and wait for them to stop messing with tradition.  As the saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

OK well this post started with me intending to say that I do in fact like the three dresses pictured below but it turned into a rant that will likely bring me more gruff.  Whatever.  I hold the power to delete rude comments and emails. 


And in reference to this post, I knew you would flinch Laura.  I laughed as soon as I saw you pop up in my inbox because I just knew you would have to say something about SL.  Ha.  But I do really like Sandra Lee.  I don't like everything she makes.  She loves her some cool whip and store-bought frosting and cookie mixes (which I think is the biggest of her prepared food sins).  BUT I think she very much has her place in the food world because she cooks practical.  She uses ingredients that are easily accessible and is conscious of making budget-friendly meals.  She also uses her crockpot a lot.  And I do get that her style is not very foodie.  Not refined and celebrated.  But I again say that she is practical.  Plus, even if you don't like her food, you have to appreciate the fact that she matches her ENTIRE set to her outfit.  The food, plates, clothing, tablescapes, pots and pans, and of course the window treatment ALL COORDINATE.  That is just so fun to see.  I saw an interview with her saying that the first season or two of the show, she put all of that together by herself.  Now of course she has a big team. but I respect her even more knowing she did it all on her own accord.  I think she has a really interesting background story too and she just seems fun to be around.  She makes a great cocktail on every single episode.  What's not fantastic about that?  It's OK if you don't like her.  But she cracks me up even on days she cooks food I don't want to eat. 

And on Rachel Ray, she actually annoys me.  I would hang out with Sandra any day over Rachel.  But, Rachel is from my neck of the woods and references my grocery store.  So I know if she is cooking it and saying she made it last week while visiting her family, that I can find all the ingredients on any given trip to the PChop. 

And that's all I have to say about that.  For now.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fish Monger

Dear Food Network,

Please quit telling me to "ask my fish monger" to do all these fancy pants things.  I live in small town America.  Instead of a specialty fish market, I have what we call a regular grocery store.  The guys behind the fish counter are teenagers who can also be seen stocking shelves and bringing in buggies on any given day.  You have to practically touch the fish you want to buy because they certainly do not have any fish knowledge.  And the fish comes frozen.  Or fried.  Those are your options.  No fish monger to de-bone, fillet, take the skin off or recommend the freshest product. 

Say it with me, Food Network.  Reg U Lar Groce Ry Store.  I know it's not fancy but it's all that we have in a good 90% of America.  That's why people appreciate Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee so much.  They reference things that regular folks have access to. 

This is not to say I wouldn't love a local fish monger.  I grew up in an area with many and that is where we bought our fresh fish.  We also went to a butcher shop a lot of the time for meats.  I understand the valuable service they provide.  But you deal with what you have.  Until I move to a larger city, I'd appreciate you recognizing that very few of us have access to services like that. 

Your truly,
Preppy Pink Crocodile

Where Did Lilly Go?

OK so I like these three dresses from the newest Lilly Pulitzer collection.  Like being the key word.  And I do like them.  But I am sad to say that yet again there is nothing I LOVE from Lilly Pulitzer.  Second collection in a row that feel so much more trendy than classic Lilly to me.  What the heck is going on at the Pink Palace?  Did they change designers?  Not happy about this change to more trendy mainstream fashions.  I shop Lilly because they are so distinctive and striking and well, Lilly.  If I wanted the stuff they are selling this season, I would go to Talbots or Ann Taylor. 








Has anyone found any fabulous pieces this season?  Maybe I need to see them in person but as far as what I have seen online...blah!  I just don't feel Lilly in many of the current designs.



Edit:  I said this in the comment section but will say it here too just to clarify. 

Ok y'all, I said I do actually like these dresses.  But overall, I think the collection this season (with the long drapy sweaters and shiny fabrics and odd non-Lilly prints) is more trendy than classic.  And again, just my opinion.  We don't all need to love the same dresses to be friends!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Here's What You Missed...

* So for the past week I have been itchy.  All over.  My back is the worst but even my hands itch at times.  Now I have always had terrible allergies but this week of itching is ridiculous.  I skipped going to a fundraiser dinner last night because I was like Gidget the Fidget all itchy and twitchy and squirmy.  No one needs to see that nonsense.  Benadryl helps but it also makes me drowsy.  Even the "non-drowsy" kind.  In quotes because I think that's a big lie.  It should read "slightly less drowsy but you will still likely fall asleep super early, which will make you wake up in the middle of the night because your sleep clock will be off kilter."  That was probably too long for the label though. 

* I have way too many volunteer things on my plate right now.  I found help with two big things in the last few months but then took on other big things in the wake.  What I should have done was get help for the two big things and then walked away smiling.  But I'm an idiot and that's just not how I roll.  Instead I said I would just do this other giant project because no one else was volunteering for it and it really needed to get done.  I never seem to learn my lesson.

* I'm trying out new churches.  It's my new thing.  This week it's one of those big-huge-mega-wave-your arms-to-music-dunk-you-in-water-to-baptize-you churches.  Not really my cup of tea but they offer so many fun programs and classes that I've decided it's worth a go for a few weeks.  Either way it should prove interesting!

* My sorority kids are about to have their annual office change over and I am all sorts of weepy about it.  I get sentimental every year but I am also usually excited to see a change.  They are always so motivated right after they get their new offices.  But this group has been so extra special.  All of them.  They are all just  awesome and I feel like it took soooo many years to get such an amazing group all at one time.  This is not to say that other groups have not also been great.  But this group just seems to work exceptionally well together.  They communicate so well with each other and advisors and that just makes a world of difference.  I know the next group will be great.  They always are.  The chemistry from this group though...it will be so hard to top.

* I was on such a stride with my GF diet but have had a slump the last few days.  I remember Bestie saying that the first few days of her Moo Goo diet, she didn't eat much because she didn't know what to eat.  Until this past week, I never felt that way.  Now all of a sudden I feel like I am out of snack options.  And I am a big snacker.  In fact, I could go the entire day not eating proper meals, just little tapas-like nibbles here and there.  If you are GF, what are some go-to snacks that you enjoy?  I cannot keep eating carrots and potato chips as my only go-to snacks.  As (I'm ashamed to admit) has been the case for the past week or so.

* I fell off the bandwagon with going dairy free.  I said I would never give up butter and occasionally cheese but I've had pretty much every dairy product out there in the last week.  Times five.  Which very likely could explain my allover itching.  I went back to only almond milk, no cheese, no cheese, and no cheese last night.  For the record, I really LOVE cheese!  And sour cream.

* It turned warm here.  Indian summer and I love it.  But I put away most of my warm weather clothing.  It's always something...

* I'm glad that Halloween candy is mostly chocolate.  I don't much care for chocolate outside of a brownie pan so it's not terribly tempting.  Easter candy on the other hand...  I need a Peeps-a-holic program something fierce.

* My house needs to be cleaned.  I mean, it's clean and tidy.  Ish.  But it needs a deep scrub.  I honestly cannot remember that last time I dusted the tops of armoires, doors, kitchen cabinets and moldings.  It just does not seem like it will at all be fun to do.  But the cob webs are crying out to me so I have a feeling we will have a seasonally appropriate date this weekend. 

* And I wonder why I am single.  Last weekend I had a date with the vacuum and mop.  Perhaps branching outside of the cleaning aisle of Target will bring me more luck.

* My BIG work project is making progress but I am just so nervous that it will fall through.  So until it is set in stone, mums the word.  I promise to blog about it as soon as it's super duper for real. 

* I'm obsessed with maple almond butter.  It's ridiculously expensive compared to store brand peanut butter but on a banana in the morning it is just so fabulous!

* I didn't love this week's Glee as much as I thought I would.  I honestly do not know how they will ever top Grilled Cheesus.  But better music might be a good start.

* Last weekend while doing a little League volunteering (that's me trying to very discretely set the scene and encourage y'all to read right between those lines), I saw a baby wearing big gold hoop earrings.  She was walking, but barely, so I know she was under 18 months of age.  Probably closer to a year.  I mean, she could barely stand and she had on big hoops in each ear.  Quite the sight!

10 Seconds To Sparkle

I have no idea if this stuff is bad for jewelry but I've used it for years now.  I buy it in the jewelry section of Target.  Dunk your silver in for 10 seconds and it comes out sparkly.  I have also used all sorts of polish and clothes but this stuff is much faster and better.  Though, I must warn you, it smells like rotten eggs.  So I actually rinse everything off under running water after I clean it. 




Look at the difference.  I really hope this stuff isn't toxic because I love it. 


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Sorry if these recipe posts are boring but I find writing stuff on the blog is a great way to remember recipes without having to keep lots of paper around the house.  Plus this soup is really really yummy and couldn't be easier to make.


CREAMY PUMPKIN SOUP

Ingredients:
* 1 large can pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
* 1/2 med. onion, chopped
* 2 carrots, chopped
* 1 teaspoon minced garlic
* 2 springs fresh rosemary
* 2 boxes chicken or vegetable stock
* 1 cup cream or half and half or other milky product (like almond milk)
* EVOO
* salt and pepper to taste


Directions:
* Saute onion and carrots in a little EVOO until tender. 




* Add rosemary, garlic, pumpkin puree and chicken stock.




* Add cream/milk.  Fish out the rosemary stems.




* Serve with a yummy salad.

APPLE DRESSING

Ingredients:
* A few tablespoons apple cider vinegar
* 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
* A few tablespoons apple sauce
* EVOO
* s/p to taste

Directions:
* Put everything in a container with lid.  Shake.  Serve. 
* The amounts will vary depending on your taste and servings.  If you don't have maple syrup, just use more applesauce.  The great thing is that with the applesauce, you use significantly less oil and it is still nice and thick.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Peas, Please!

I actually made this recipe a few weeks ago but as I am making it again tonight, I thought it was high time I posted the recipe.  Split Pea Soup.  Don't turn up your nose, friends.  It's soooo delicious!  A classic fall comfort food.

SPLIT PEA SOUP

Ingredients:

* 1/2 small onion, chopped
* 2 carrots, chopped
* 2 slices bacon, chopped
* 1 small ham steak, cubed
* 1 bag dried split peas
* chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
* EVOO
* salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

* Saute the onions in a little EVOO.  Add the bacon, ham and carrots.




* Add the bag of peas.  Toss so that they are completely coated in the onion ham goodness.




* Add chicken stock (or veggie or water).  I used two boxes of low sodium, low fat chicken stock and then towards the end added some more water too.  It will appear very watery after adding the stock.




* This is after about an hour.  Getting thicker but still very watery.  Don't worry.  This needs at least two hours to simmer.  Taste test to see if it needs any salt (it won't need much if it does because there is a lot of salt in the bacon and ham) and pepper.




* Two hours after starting, this is what you have.  Very thick and creamy.  Without adding a bit of flour or dairy.  The peas break down and melt into this deliciousness.  With the big chunks of yummy ham.  OMG I cannot even tell you how happy this soup makes me.  Crazy simple but soooo tasty. 




Oh do you see that white in the middle of the bowl?  Yeah I thought I would try adding a bit of sour cream.  I ate it but never added it again.  It doesn't add anything to the soup.  It's so creamy and yummy all on its own.  It's also very cheap to make.  A bag of split peas is less than a buck and the rest of the stuff is probably already in your pantry/fridge.  I usually eat it for two days and then freeze the leftovers in single servings to eat later.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bierocks

I made these last night.  Bierocks.  Go to that link for the crust recipe because I improvised and my crust was not nearly as nice as hers.  It was dry and I was upset that they didn't look very pretty.  The good news is that they tasted fantastic, crust included!  So what I did was great, just not very eye-catching. 

For the filling I just made it up as I went along.  But here is the list of what I used:

* 1 head purple cabbage, chopped
* 1 small eggplant, peeled and cubed
* 1 package sliced mushrooms
* 1/2 small chopped onion, chopped
* 1 large bag frozen, thawed, drained spinach
* 1 cup ricotta cheese
* 1/4 cup shredded cheese of choice
* EVOO
* salt and pepper to taste




Saute the onion and cabbage in EVOO.  Once wilted, add mushrooms, then eggplant. 




Add spinach.




Add cheeses.




Roll out 12 dough balls.  Fill with a few spoons of the mixture.  Fold up dough around mixture.  Brush with a bit of melted butter.




Mine were so crumbly that they kept breaking all over the place and there was just no way to flip them over with a seam side down.




But it turns out it didn't matter.  They tasted fantastic.  Two made me feel REALLY full at dinner.  After they cooled, I wrapped most of them individually in plastic wrap and stuck them in the freezer.  They make a fantastic single girl dinner or hot lunch. 

I know they look small but they are surprisingly filling.  You could certainly use up leftover meats or make mini calzones.  I'm pretty excited to have some ready-made meals in the freezer. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spotted: Lilly Pulitzer Paper Products

I had about four minutes yesterday to run into TJ Max.  I'd not been in there in months, but I've seen a few friends mention that the paper section had some Lilly goods.  And do you know what?  They were so right!  Lots of Lilly Pulitzer and even some Kate Spade paper products.  At my store, they were both in the back paper/stationary aisle and in the front up-sell stand near the check out station.




I didn't have my list with me so I bought a bunch (because we all know what is there today is gone tomorrow in those stores) and will actually return several of these items.  (Y'all know I am a big returner.)  But they had a lot more than I am showing you.  And I bet stores south of the MDL will have much more than up here. 




For myself, I bought a set of round notes.  Love!  A great size and the paper is a nice weight too.  Plus, they are just so cheerful and happy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What Do You See?

When you look at my blog, is the font suddenly huge?  And do you have to scroll over to see the right side (followers box, list of blogs, etc)?  I used to be able to see the entire blog in one screen but then poof all of a sudden last night, it changed to have print large enough for the blind to read.  I don't like it.  I like being able to see the entire blog at one time.  How do I fix it back to normal since I didn't do anything to make it look all big and puffy??

Bakery On Main

I was lucky enough to sample some tasty breakfast treats from Bakery On Main.  This was a big treat and I discovered that the granolas are actually sold in my Price Chopper (regular grocery store like Kroger and Publix).  I plan to continue eating these in the morning.  So yum-o!




I love love love their packaging.  If I've said it once, I'll say it a thousand times that I am a big sucker for great packaging.  And I love that their philosophy is "food that is good for you should taste good too!"  Bakery On Main worked hard to find ingredients that were certified GF to ensure that no cross-contamination situation would make customers ill.




There was not a single product that I didn't LOVE.  I enjoyed each packet of granola with almond milk and they were good to the last drop.  I am trying to lower my dairy intake and don't really love soy stuff but I bet they would be fantastic over yogurt.




The Nutty Cranberry Maple Granola was my absolute favorite!  I was excited to buy a big bag of it last week in the grocery store.  Delish!




All of these were great but my very favorite was the Extreme Trail Mix Granola Bar.  It has 5 grams of fat and 170 calories.  The granolas have between 6 and 12 grams of fat per half cup.  Higher in fat than a bowl of rice cereal but a really yummy breakfast treat all the same.

All of these products are all natural, gluten and wheat free, dairy and casein free, cholesterol free, and trans fat free.   Oh and they have a few fun recipes listed on their website too.  I love when companies think ahead and offer recipe suggestions to curious customers.

Pizza Two Ways

I made my first homemade gluten free pizza.  It was very easy and much better than Amy's.  But still not perfect.  Really I just need to give up the dream that I will ever eat a NY slice again.  I'll still play around with recipes until I find the right balance though.  Oh and as I was about to pour in my yeast, I realized it was expired.  I looked at every package of yeast in my house and they were all expired.  Some I bought recently too.  Drats.  I used the least expired package.  Haha- as much as I love Martha and Ina, I better relate to Rachel and Sandra. 

In the end, it was pretty dense.  As are all things GF.  But I think it might be less so if the yeast had not been expired.  The flavor was lovely and actually tasted like...wait for it....whole wheat.  I bet if I didn't tell you it was GF, you would think it was whole wheat.  I know, surprising. 

I adapted this recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

*1/4 cup sorghum flour
*1 cup rice flour
*1/4 cup cornstarch
*1/2 cup potato flour
*2 teaspoons xanthan gum
*3/4 teaspoon salt
*1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
*1 teaspoon sugar for proofing yeast
*2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
*3/4 cup warm water
*2 Tablespoons ricotta cheese
*2 eggs
*2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
*1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
*1 Tablespoon Honey

DIRECTIONS:

*Place your pizza pan or stone in the oven and heat the oven to 170 degrees to get it warm.
*Prepare your liquid ingredients. Mix the olive oil, egg, ricotta cheese, honey, and vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside so the mixture comes to room temperature.
*Combine all the dry ingredients and sift together in the bowl of your stand mixer. Use the paddle (not the dough hook) for this recipe.
*Heat 3/4 cup of water in microwave. In a separate small bowl, place your yeast and the teaspoon of sugar. Mix with about 1/4 cup of the heated water, stir, and let it sit for a few minutes. Once you know the yeast is active, proceed with the recipe.
*At this point, you want to double check and make sure all your ingredients have come to room temperature. Turn the stand mixer on and give the dry ingredients a few twirls. Add the egg, ricotta mixture to the dry ingredients and give it another few twirls. Add the yeast mixture. At this point, gauge the liquid level. You want the dough to look like stiff cake batter. The dough should still hold the swirls of the mixer, but it should be shiny and not dull. Add water slowly until the right consistency is achieved.  The original recipe added the full amount but I only needed about half. Since different brands of flour and measuring techniques vary, it is best to eyeball this and add the water slowly to get the texture you want. You will get good at knowing what gluten free pizza dough is supposed to look like.
*Once you have the pizza dough made, take the pizza pan/stone out of the oven. You can turn the oven off at this point and leave the light on in the oven. Fit the pizza stone with parchment paper or foil (do not use waxed paper) and lightly brush with olive oil. With oiled hands (I spritz mine with evoo spray), slowly spread the pizza dough batter in a 12-13 inch circle or rectangle. You want the batter to be evenly distributed. If you find your hands getting too sticky get a little more olive oil on your hands. 
*At this point, I put my pan back in the oven for a 40 minute rise.
*Once it has risen for 40 minutes, turn the oven to 375 degrees for 10 minutes to prebake crust.
*Then add toppings. Turn the heat up to 400 degrees and cook for 7-12 minutes, depending on toppings and thickness.

Makes 1 12-13 inch pizza crust.


Trying to rise in the oven with expired yeast.


For my toppings, I did a half and half pizza.  I used up a ripe tomato from my garden, fresh spinach, some dabs of ricotta and shredded cheese that I had on hand on one side.  The other side had a base of a peanut sauce, sauteed chicken, scallions, dabs of ricotta and a tiny bit of shredded cheese.


Saute the chicken in a little EVOO spray.


Before adding toppings, I brushed the entire top crust with a teeny bit of EVOO.


Ready to go into the oven.


Just out of the oven.  Smelled amazing!


Both were yummy but the peanut chicken was soooo fantastic!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend In A Nutshell

I am going to get my shit together this week.  Promise.  I think.

So let me fill you in on a bit of nothing that went on over the last few days...

* I am nearly finished writing out my Christmas and birthday (I have so many friends with near-Christmas birthdays so they get two prezzies in Dec.) list.  And if I keep on top of things, I might just actually reach my goal of having it all bought, made and wrapped in a bow by December 01.  That's my goal every year and I believe I've only actually accomplished this once.  This might be year number two.  I had a holiday A-HA moment on Sunday and all of a sudden I just figured it all out!

* I was rolling my buggy up to the check-out area of Target tonight, looking for the shortest line.  I saw a cashier walking back toward her station and asked if she was open.  She said yes and I rolled right over.  Unloaded about five of the 12 things in my buggy.  When this women rolls up behind me and scolds me that she was in front of me.  I turned to see her and she again said that she was in front of me.  I must have looked deer in headlights and mumbled a "huh??" because she repeated herself a third time.  Still confused I turned to look at the cashier (who was scanning) and turned back and said "um..oh...sorry?"  Now I pushed my cart at a normal speed.  I wasn't like pulling it or running like a crazy person.  I was engaged in a conversation with the cashier.  After pushing my cart, I walked around to the front and unloaded nearly half my goods on the conveyor belt.  There is no way she could have been in front of me without seeing her.  I am not a line-skipper either.  At all.  So she then grumbles in the very most snide tone ever that I can go ahead but she was in front of me.  So a minute later I finish putting my stuff on the belt and move down to swipe my card (I'm considerate like that and know that if you swipe before finishing it means the next person won't have to wait very long.).  So lady is slamming her stuff and huffing and giving me VERY dirty looks and keeps saying how she was in front of me.  I lean in to the cashier and apologize to her and she replies "oh I don't care, I didn't see her."  Which only brought eye daggers from lady.  I nearly ran out of there.  But I am pretty sure to be in front of me, you need to actually be, you know, in front of me.  As in, I see your hiney.  Not the other way around. 

* I had a very busy but a surprisingly fun weekend.  A little Junior League, a lot of sorority, and a three-some between me, the vacuum and my house.  Dirty, not-so-sexy fun. 

* And big BIG (or little) news is that I fit into my tan Lilly cords on Sunday!  Now they are still two sizes larger than I want to be wearing, but even they didn't fit by the end of last winter.  A lovely and not overly expected side-effect from going gluten free.  And serious motivation to stay on top of Project Fit Back Into My Pants!

Back tomorrow with recipes and photos.  Pinky swear!

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Life Motto

This is all I have time for today.  Stolen from Bits of Truth.  The second one is my new life motto.  Happy Friday, girlies!  I hope y'all are in areas that don't include a winter weather advisory.  Because it's October and that is just crazy talk.  Even if I do live in the North Pole.





Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hold On...

Sorry, life took a turn down Busy Street the other day.  I actually received AMAZING Pink Crocodile Designs related news.  But am holding my breath just to be sure it really really comes to fruition.  Then I promise to tell-all to y'all first.

But I need a day or two off to get my ducks in a row.  And my house vacuumed, clothes ironed, and it might also be wise to finally bring up my fall clothes as it has been chilly up here lately.  Just being honest. 

So I'll be back in a day or so.

Kisses!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Brothers And Sisters



So I totally had another post planned today venting about something that upset me (read: has made me cry a lot lately) but I decided to give it one last ditch effort to find a solution.  And instead talk about how stinkin' AMAZING the Chilean mine rescues were last night.  I stayed up waaaay past my bedtime watching several rescues on CNN.  Crying like the baby I am.  (In case you have not sensed it by now, I cry a lot.  For good things and happy things and frustrating things and sad things.  That's my release.)  I have been entirely too invested in this story and just think it's such a miracle that they are all safe!  News stories are all so gloom and doom or politically nasty or Hollywood skanky.  It has been so refreshing to follow such a hopeful story with such a triumphant ending.




I know nothing about the Chilean government.  Nothing.  But I was so impressed with their President.  Regardless of politics, I think we have always had American Presidents who truly care about their country.  Who would chose to do that job otherwise?!  But I cannot imagine any of our Presidents hugging and kissing and crying for the rescued workers as their President did last night.  Maybe Bill Clinton now.  But not then.  I think that is greatly due to the culture difference.  We just don't kiss and cry like that in America.  I thought it was so touching to see how sincerely invested he was in each of those miners. 




Did y'all see that their families literally moved to the mine entrance. There was nothing there.  But they built camp sites that included a red corrugated metal school house too.  The entire story has moved me for months.  The miners are amazing but so are their families who moved their lives to hold vigil. 




No on to a totally different topic.  My new favorite Sunday night show.  Sister Wives on TLC.




So I love all things extreme religion.  Theology is one of my very favorite topics.  Fascinating.  I mean, polygamy is not for me.  I can't understand it at all, actually.  But who am I to judge?  They clearly made this choice of sound mind and body.  No prairie dresses or emotionless faces.  They are regular people living their faith.  I dig them.  Don't want to join them, but they are so normal in so many ways.  I knew families like this existed.  Meaning, I knew that not all polygamists wore prairie dresses.  But the husband is just a regular guy.  Not controlling and demeaning.  They laugh and fight and act silly and play and do yard work and burn toast just like every other household.  Is anyone else watching this show?  Do you find it as interesting as I do? 


My Mocha




I don't drink much coffee during the warmer months.  Sometimes I will make an iced coffee (or coffee milk) but I just can't conceive of drinking something hot when it's hot outside.  But now that fall is officially here, it's coffee/cocoa/soup time.  Not everyday.  And unless I am at someone's home, I only drink decaf.  But sometimes a hot cup of coffee really just makes the day better. 

One of my favorite night time treats is coffee with Bailey's.  Or just Bailey's.  Ha!  In the morning, sometimes I feel like a sweet treat.  As much as I love Starbucks, they are often too sweet for my tastes.  Their mochas taste like straight chocolate syrup to me.  Not my thing.  But at home, I just add a teaspoon or two of hot cocoa mix to my hot coffee cup.  Just enough to give me that chocolate touch without being overboard.  And a fraction of the price of a Starbucks bevvy.

Not that it will stop me from picking up a beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte (and Eggnog Latte at Christmastime)!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Update

Thank you so much for reading and offering such kind comments on this post yesterday.  It's a cruddy situation.  No two ways about it.  But it is also a reminder that life is precious and fleeting.  When was the last time you told a friend that you are grateful for her friendship?  Call her up or send her a quick email right now to let her know you love her.  Just because.

But to offer up a good update...  My friend who was having a brain tumor removed yesterday is doing very well!  It was very fast and the doctors were so pleased with her results.  She was talking and carrying on conversations by last night.  A great sign!  Though she is having some complications today that they doctors are unhappy with so it looks like she will not be fast-tracking it out of ICU.  But things could be so much worse so overall, it is very good news!! 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for all of your kind words, positive thoughts and prayers for my two friends!!  I know they are helping!

Thank you so much for your bloggy friendship!  Y'all are the best friends a girl has never met (yet).  Kisses!

ERROR 503

Many times a day, sometimes a dozen or more times a day, I get a blank white screen that reads Error 503 from Blogger.  Usually when I try to comment.  I take the time to leave a long-ass comment and then jump through the hoops that y'all put up in the form of security codes that pop up AFTER I type the comment at the bottom of the screen (My total pet peeve by the way.  So you know I really really like you if I still comment on your blog if you have it set up this way.  I cannot tell you how many times I have clicked away after typing the comment because I didn't see that I had to scroll down to the bottom again to try typing in a secret code four times to really leave the comment.) then to have this code pop up.  I then click backspace and the comment is gone.  At this point I may or may not leave a new and shorter comment. 

The code will pop up at other times too, though most frequently during the hoop jumping comment process.  But sometimes when I click "Dashboard" and the like it will occur.

Is anyone else getting these error codes?  Do you have a solution?  Years ago I had an issue with Blogger and after searching the internet and asking bloggers, I finally asked Blogger.  It took them more than six months to get back to me.  So I don't feel that's at all helpful.  It's been going on for a long while now and I am so over it!  I won't lie, the pop up code thing is annoying.  But when combined with this error code and having to re-type a comment...well it makes me less inclined to comment on blogs.  And that's not right.  I've always been pretty good at leaving comments.  I don't want to stop.  But my frustration level is at an all time high right now with Blogger!

And since I mentioned it, I am dying to know.  Why do some people have the security code right below the comment box. So you can see it as you are typing a comment.  (the far less annoying way to add the security code thingy)  And some folks have the hoop jumping pops up after you type and click "post comment" and then makes you scroll down to the bottom to see if you have a hidden security code thingy?  I guess I don't understand the point of the security codes at all.  I set mine to require approval so that if sketchy or mean comments are left, I just delete them before they see the light of day.  Maybe that's annoying to y'all too?  Honestly I am just curious why the security comment boxes are so different.  I'll still comment.  But I have also walked away from the jump through hoops pop up things many times after getting so frustrated. 

Any advice to solve mystery 503?

Better Batter



I had the sincere pleasure of testing for review the above products by Better Batter.  Hands down the BEST gluten free products I have used to date.  Bob's might be easier to buy in your local grocery stores but Better Batter is moons and skies above Bob's in quality!!  I plan to put in a big order of the flour this week.  The price goes down per pound as your order increases.

First let's start with the packaging.  How cute are these boxes?!  Packaging gets me every single time.  But it sort of made me feel special.  So often, GF products are an afterthought.  On the bottom shelf.  In wrinkled bags.  Better Batter took the time to make their packaging cute and colorful.  It did not go unnoticed by me at all!




I made the most amazing brownies ever!  I made the mix exactly as directed but added in walnuts.  Non GF eaters and super skeptics were raving about them.  Oh and they are designed to fit in a 9x13" pan.  I don't know about you, but that drives me nuts when mixes are made for a tiny 9" square pan.




They were moist and fudgy and super yummy!  Not yummy for gluten free products.  Just plain old YUMMY!  Seriously one of the best brownies of all times. 




Better Batter's GF flour mix is amazing!  They nailed it right on the target with their combination.  I made this clafouti last week with Better Batter's flour.  And it was amazing!  I've made this pasta twice now with the flour.  Again, fabulous!!  I will be trying out the bread recipe on the side of the box this week.

Flour make up is as follows:
Rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, potato flour, pectin, xanthan gum.  They note that the pectin is a lemon derivative.




The first thing I made with the Better Batter GF pancake/biscuit mix was biscuits to eat with pulled pork.  It seems that I neglected to take a photo of that but I think that everyone knows what a Bisquick-type biscuit looks like.  They tasted very similar.  Not identical but very very similar.  I gobbled mine up and then ate one again then next morning for breakfast.  A very fun breakfast treat!




Then this past week I mentioned that I was making breakfast for dinner.  This is what I made.  Pancakes, brown sugar baked turkey bacon (First time I've ever tried this and OMG amazing.  And I think that the healthier turkey bacon totally makes up for the added brown sugar, right?) and an omelet with spinach and feta cheese. 

Don't judge me by my pancakes.  It's time I come clean about something to y'all.  I am terrible at making pancakes.  I totally fail at making them round and pretty and I suck big time at flipping them and I am super impatient.  So I don't eat them very often because...well...you can see what they look like.  But you will be happy to know that they tasted amazing!  Tasted nearly gluten full.  If I had not had pancakes at a diner about five weeks ago, I bet I would not have even noticed a difference.  But you know, gluten full diner pancakes are in a league all their own.  These were a good, solid second to those though.  Very fluffy and full of lovely pancake-y goodness.  Made all the better because they were eaten for dinner!







Add lots of spinach and feta cheese, fold over and enjoy.  The salty feta was awesome in the same meal as the pancakes and brown sugar bacon.  Did anyone notice that my pots and pans are all pink and green?  Hehe!




I honestly cannot praise these products or this company enough! I am simply thrilled beyond words to these products. Unfortunately, I have yet to find them in a store in my area. But they are easily available online. And I am finding out that such is a staple of a gluten free life. Go here to read more about the awesome story behind the creation of Better Batter.
















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