Monday, December 12, 2011

big helper...

Hello Friends!
Yes, it's been a while.
I sincerely apologize.
But, this one little blog post doesn't
mean I'm back at blogging full time again either.
It's just that recently my blog has come up
in a few conversations.  Which made me realize how much
I miss it and that some really do stop by to read it and keep up with me.

Again, I sincerely apologize for my absence.
It's just that blogging takes TIME... a lot of time.
And there just are not enough hours in the day for me to get it ALL done.
So, since my last post, which by the way, was back on June 9th,
my baby boy grew up and went off to college.

No, not really, he just turned 3...
But he will one day... and that day will probably be tomorrow.  *sniff*
But, as of yesterday... he was such a big helper!
He helped his dad put out our inflatable snowman...

Here he is reluctantly wearing his hat...

The stakes were a tangled mess.

Oops, he saw me with the camera... typical of him.
Hey Jude, cute hat!

Patience is a virtue.
One glance up and I got it!

He's working so hard...

Ha!  Yes, he's such a good helper!

I hope you all are well and enjoying this holiday season.
We are all well and oh so very blessed.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

13 weeks now...

 This is Ralphie.
Ralphie is a Basset Hound.

He's our newest baby.
We wuv him.

We got him on Mother's Day... or rather, I did.

He was only 9 weeks old when he joined our family.
We've had him for about 4 1/2 weeks.  He's 13 1/2 weeks now.

Ain't I good at math?

 Ralphie has made himself right at home.

This happens all day long... every day.
Every day for the past 4 1/2 weeks.
Did I mention that it happens all day long?
 But we all still wuv him.
 These two items have become my newest best friends...
as well as, the diapers and the wipes for the toddler.
It's non-stop and it's everywhere, man.

Much Love from Poop and Peeville...
just send more paper towels and air fresheners.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

salisbury steak...

Ha!  This time yesterday I actually started this blog post...
I'm just now getting back to it.  But, well, you know how that goes.

Whew!  We had some crazy weather last night (actually
it was two nights ago... I wanted to keep this post original)...
Heavy rain, hail, wind and rotation clouds all over the DFW area.
Everything is lovely and sunny today... but for a few hours
last night I was in a state of panic and freaked out mode.
It's pretty darn scary when the warning sirens are going
off, you lose your satellite connection, and your second-born
homegirl is on the phone with you, telling
you that a tornado has been reported right down the street from
your house, and then she starts crying and asking,
"what are y'all going to do?".

I'll tell you what I did...
I broke out in hives, that's what I did... and then I did this...
I ran to my youngest homegirl's bedroom (because that is where
the largest interior closet is located in mi casa) and began clearing it out.
I hung up with second-born homegirl... told youngest homegirl to
call her back on her phone, so I could call oldest homegirl and check on them.
(Did you get all that?)
They live just four miles from me in the direction the rotation was heading.
She was in freak-out mode too, but they were ok.

Meanwhile, JB was cool as a cucumber, as he stepped out onto the
front porch to keep watch, and got his brother (who lives out in an
Eastern suburb) on the phone to get the latest reports.

All the while I was darting from front door, to back door,
to laptop, to tv, to homegirls room... with a toddler on my hip.
Freak-out mode I tell you. 

And before we knew it, it had blown over and all was still again.

And that's when my youngest homegirl began teasing me about
how I went into "psycho hulk mom mode" while clearing out her closet.
She started putting sound effects to my earlier actions...
and before I knew it, I was cracking up.
God bless the teenagers.

So, unfortunately, I only got this one shot of my
ridiculously yummy salisbury steak.

*Salisbury Steak*

2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs... I used seasoned.
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt... I used a big pinch of Kosher.
1 8oz pkg baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 can cream of onion soup... the recipe actually
called for French Onion Soup, but I forgot by the time
I got to the grocery and grabbed the wrong one.  But it works great too!
1 can beef consomme

a large bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs,
egg, Worcestershire Sauce, garlic, pepper and salt.
Form mixture into about 6 patties.
Heat non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Add patties to skillet, in batches if necessary,
and cook for  7 to 8 minutes per side or until browned.
Remove patties from pan and set aside.
Toss your sliced mushrooms into skillet, and saute
for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender.
Add flour and cream onion soup and cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
Stir in consomme.
Return patties to skillet; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer
uncovered for 30-40 minutes, or until patties are cooked through and
sauce is thickened.
Serve immediately with your favorite mashed potatoes!

Make it for the people you love tonight.
They will love you forever!


Monday, May 23, 2011

sweet memories...

Isn't it funny how your senses can trigger a flood of memories?

One bite of this amazing pie and I was back in my Grandmommy's kitchen circa 1981.

Growing up in the Midwest town of Muncie, Indiana, being raised by my grandparents.

Life was pretty simple back then.

I was in the 7th grade at Wilson Middle School and my best
friend in the entire world was Alicia.  She and I were inseparable.
We sang Joan Jett's "I Love Rock n' Roll" at the top of our lungs as
we experimented with black eyeliner, and rode our bikes all over town.
Her mom, "Bombie", made THE. BEST. mac n' cheese and had the
tannest, longest legs I had ever seen... Daisy Duke had nothing on Bombie.

Most Friday nights were skating night at Gibsons...
until the Disco opened, then they were dancin' nights.

My Grandaddy was a handsome Sailor man, who after
serving his country, settled down and worked at Warner Gear.
He had a passion for fishing, gardening, country music
and cooking a big Sunday morning breakfast.
My Grandmommy was a beautiful, kind, nurturing, lady
and would give her last dime to anyone in need.
She had a passion for canning and baking.

And even though Grandaddy was the Sailor,
it was my Grandmother who could cuss like one. ;)
I miss that about her.

Every May, when strawberries and rhubarb grew hearty
in his garden, he'd selectively pick and bring them
in for my Grandmommy to make her pie.

She made her entire pie from scratch, crust and all.

My Grandmommy passed away suddenly in the Summer of 1997
and I had failed to get the recipe for her Strawberry
Rhubarb Pie, among many others.
I have regretted it since.

My Grandaddy lived for 10 more years after her.
He finally took his brides hand once again in the late Fall of 2007.

I loved them both dearly and miss them desperately every day.

Every May when I see rhubarb is in season, my heart aches.
Not only for them, but for "their" pie.  And because I never
got her recipe, I always pass up the rhubarb and just try
to remember the taste and smell of it.

This year, I bought some.
I brought it home and searched the web for a recipe.
I found one that I sounded yummy, made it,
(slightly different than she used too), put it in the oven and waited.
About an hour later I pulled it out of the oven, and got excited.
The aroma of this pie brought back memories.

*Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Streusel Topping*

2-3/4 cup sliced fresh rhubarb... about 5-6 medium stalks
2 cups sliced strawberries
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tablespoon cornstarch


1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick), cut into pieces
1 unbaked deep dish pie crust... either store bought
or your favorite recipe

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries,
 sugar and cornstarch.  Mix well.  The mixture should be
thick and syrupy after sitting for several minutes.

While the filling mixture plays nices for a few minutes,
grab a small bowl.  Toss in the flour and brown sugar.
Cut in the butter until it resembles course crumbles.

Pour the filling mixture into your unbaked pie crust
and sprinkle the streusel topping over the entire pie.

Place onto a shallow rimmed baking sheet.
Bake for about 50 minutes... you more than likely will
need to put foil around the edges about half way through baking.
Keep an eye on it!

Cool completely before slicing.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

I truly meant to take more photos as I cut into it...
but I got caught up in the tidal wave of sweet memories with each bite.

In loving memory for Clyde and Margaret...  You'll always be a part of me.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

the 1st & 15th...

No, I'm talking about pay days... although, those are good days.

I'm talking about (yes again) the first and fifteenth days of my 24-Day Challenge.

I know you all are interested in my progress and to see how I look.
I really wanted to avoid posting any more of my "first day" pics,
but I feel that because of some of the non-believers or nay-sayers
out there, it's important that they see my true progress...
aside from me being in a swim suit.  And I wouldn't do that to ya!
For anyone that knows me, when I find something that really
works or that I love I want to share it.

Let me say, I absolutely hate the first two photos here...
not only because of the way I looked, but also for the way I felt.
They were taken on Day 1 while my second born homegirl
and I were out on a long walk.
 It was like 90 degrees here in Dallas
at that very moment and I felt bloated, sluggish, and gross.
But by the end of the walk, I was red-faced, out of breath and sweaty...
but I was feeling pretty darn good.
This is the one I loath the most.
Please forget you ever saw it.
Thank you.

Let's just move...
And here I am yesterday morning in my kitchen on Day 15.
Ahh, much better.  And I was (and still am) feeling pretty darn great too.

Aside from my everyday ordinary activities of keeping house
and chasing after a 2 year old, I've only been on several long walks...
I've had no other form of "real" exercise.

Although, I'm about to hit the gym to try to
lose more and tone up some flab.
I may never be able to get rid of my belly jiggle or bulge
and I'm ok with that... after all, I am a realist.
I've carried five babies in my belly and I'm perfectly
content with forever wearing a tankini!

So, there you are... my results so far on the 24-Day Challenge.
It's been an eye-opening, lifetime change for me.
More importantly than weighing a certain amount or being
a certain dress size, is how I feel.  And I feel 100% better, healthier,
cleaner, and have more energy!
No piece of chocolate, soda or stick of butter has ever done THAT for me!


Monday, May 2, 2011

pure and simple veggie soup...

I'm off The Cleanse!  Whew!
That was a challenge.  But I did it, and I felt (and still feel) GREAT!
Today, I'm on day 4 of the MAX Phase (go here to see my previous
post if you haven't a clue as to what I'm talking about),
and day 14 of the 24-Day Challenge.  I've never felt better!

I ended the 10-Day Cleanse with a loss of: 1-inch in my bust, 3 1/2-inches
in my waist, 2-inches in my hips, and 1-inch in my thighs.
I immediately ran to the mall and bought a new pair of size 8's!
I couldn't contain myself.  If I lose more, I'll just have them taken in.
But in all actuality, I'm ok with a size 8... now, if only I could tone up the flab.  ;)

As promised, here is a (not so good) photo of me on day 1 of The Challenge.

I'll try to remember to get another photo this week.

Also, as promised, here is a run down of a typical
day of eating while on the Cleanse... this was my 3rd day.
I was craving something hot and comforting for dinner, so I came up
with this veggie soup.  It's not so different from any other veggie soup,
I suppose, but to me, that night, it was the BEST THING EVER.  ;)

Day 3
Upon rising I would (and still do) drink a tall glass of chilled water.
Then, I would drink the (yummy... NOT) Fiber drink that comes with the Cleanse.
After about 30-minutes I would have a SPARK drink.  I love this stuff!

Then, it went like this...
A banana.
A glass of ice water.
About 1 cup of Low-Sodium V-8 Juice.  I guess this was my
lunch that day.  Starting on Day 4 I would have a hearty green salad
with half of a tomato and half of an avacado.  I would add about 1/2 a can
of tuna (or some days, grilled salmon) with fresh lemon juice and lots of pepper.
As an afternoon snack, I had a handful of almonds with another SPARK drink.
About an hour and a half later I had a handful of fresh baby carrots.
Ice water.
For dinner I had a 1/2 cup of hot Veggie Soup with the salad I just described above.
More ice water.
And finally, a handfull of red seedless grapes right before bed.
I found the grapes were helpful with night time sweet cravings.

Whew!  Am I glad that Cleanse is over with!

However, this Veggie Soup recipe is one that I will most definitely make again.

~Pure & Simple Veggie Soup~4 small to medium size Yukon Gold Potatoes, chopped
10 to 12 baby carrots, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 giant (49oz) can of Swanson Chicken Broth
1 (14oz) can of Swanson Chicken Stock
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste... I like a LOT!A few dashes of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can green beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium yellow squash, sliced
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper... or more to taste.

Place the chopped potatoes, carrots, celery and onions in a soup pot or dutch oven.
Add the chicken broth, chicken stock, olive oil, Kosher salt, pepper,
garlic powder and seasoned salt.
Place over medium-high heat, stir well and bring to a boil.
Boil for about 30-minutes, or until the potatoes are softened.
Add in the green beans, squash, zucchini and Cayenne Pepper.
Stir until blended.
Simmer over medium-low heat for about 15-minutes more.
Serve with hot fresh French bread, whole wheat bread or over whole wheat spiral pasta.

Make it a great week and enjoy this soup!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

AdvoCare's 24-Day Challenge... Part 1, The 10-Day Cleanse

Since this post did not work on my facebook page, I thought I'd post it here and see if it worked better.

Hello Friends and Family...

As some of you may know I started the 24-Day Challenge 7 days ago. My objective was and is, to manage my health (not that I have any pending issues that I'm aware of), gain more energy, become more mentally alert, and of course, shed some pounds. Not that I am (or was) a couch potato to begin with. I'm just the typical stay-at-home-mom whose feet hit the floor in the morning and keep going until I fall into bed, exhausted, at night. About the only time I actually sit during the day is when I'm driving my teens to and from school or a grocery run. I also felt that I ate pretty healthy, for the most part, as well, covering all the basic food groups. This cleanse has poven otherwise and has made me "re-think" my relationship with food. Now, don't get me wrong, or go into panic mode... I STILL love to cook! And, I still have a love for food. I just may do some things differently in the future, that's all. My point is, most days I felt I had "foggy head", even after two and three cups of coffee in the mornings. By mid-afternoon I sometimes needed another boost of caffeine (either a COKE or a Micky D's coffee). And overall, I just felt bloated and sluggish and mentally tired. I needed to change something, and after learning about the 24-Day Challenge, I knew that's what I needed to do.

The first 10 days is the "Cleanse Phase"... and yes, it's been trying and down right difficult at times. And, I cannot lie... Yes, I have cheated, slipped up, got off track, and blew it a few times. But it's ok. I'm not beating myself up or throwing in the towel just yet (that's one things I like about myself ;)). One of the best things about this program is, it gives you an 80/20 rule... and that is "Shoot to be 80% compliant with the eating plan so that you get the results you want". It's not super strict and that's why I've been able to "forgive" myself and keep going. However, I have had to discipline myself and have a strong will power to succeed at times. And yes, I have been hungry, even starving, at times... but I found, it was when I hadn't eaten in a while. I have actually been keeping a food log and have been amazed at how much food I have eaten... even kinda grossed out. ;)But like I updated today as my status, being on the 24-Day Challenge (and only for 7 days), I have increased energy (with out feeling jittery), I feel more mentally sound and awake, and best of all, I have lost inches. I don't have a scale in mi casa because I feel you can get too caught up on weighing a certain number. Every body is different, and for me, it's mostly about how I look and feel. I do, however, own a sewing tape measure (I think that's what it's called) and I took my measurements on the first day. Here's what they were...
~ Bust: 41 inches
~ Waist: 35.5"
~ Hips: 39"
~ Thighs: 25.5"

And here is what the tape measure says today, day 7...
~ Bust: 41" (damn!)
~ Waist: 33"
~ Hips: 38"
~ Thighs: 24.5"

And, I ain't lyin'! 'Cause if I lie I break out in hives... and I hate hives! ;)

So, for everyone that is interested, here is a link to two short videos explaining what it is and how it all works.

And here are the instruction and eating guidlines for The 10-Day Cleanse and The Max Phase, days 11-24 for the 24-Day Challenge.

If you have any questions or are interested in doing the 24-Day Challenge, just message me... It is changing my life!
I will be sharing more soon... A yummy veggie soup recipe and maybe even a few pictures.  Maybe.
Peace, Love and Good Health!

Friday, April 8, 2011

triple layer chocolate crunch brownies...

These should really be called "To. Die. For. Brownies"... or,
"The Best Brownies I've Ever Had"... or,
"I'll pay your mom forty bucks if she makes me some of my
very own Brownies"!
Ha ha ha, on that last one...
I packed one single brownie in my baby homegirl's lunch yesterday.
She shared with many... don't ask me how. *Cringe*
Anywho, when I picked her up from school she told me that one of her friends couldn't believe how awesome it was and told her that he'd pay me forty dollars to make him his own batch.
After I stopped laughing, I stopped by the store to pick up what I needed to make more!

These are incredibly easy to make and oh so darn delicious.

~Triple Layer Chocolate Crunch Brownies~

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips, divided use
20 whole Oreo cookies, divided use
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Butter and flour an 8x8 cake pan.
~Mix together in a bowl the butter and sugar until fluffy.
~Add the eggs one at a time.
~Add in the vanilla and the cocoa powder. Mix until combined.
~Add the flour and salt, mixing until well combined and smooth.
~Fold in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.
~Spread into the 8x8 cake pan.
~Sink 9 Oreo cookies into the batter and press down slightly to partially submerge.
~Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
~While baking, crush the remaining Oreo cookies in a Ziploc bag.
~Remove from oven and sprinkle with 1/2 cup chocolate chips and the crushed Oreo cookies.
~Put back in oven for 2 to 3 minutes.
~During this time melt the remaining chocolate chips and peanut butter together in the
microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and melt again.
~Remove brownies from oven and pour melted chocolate mixture
over the top, spreading with a spatula. Be sure the chocolate gets down
into the Oreo crevices, as it is the "glue" that holds the top to the bottom.
~Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
~Let sit at room temperature about 15 minutes before cutting.
~Have a giant glass of milk ready.
~Take one humongous bite.
~*faint* Make 'em this weekend... sharing is optional.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


We're at it again. A transformation is taking place. Messes being made.
Homegirl using power tools. Homegirl is so excited...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

chicken cacciatore...

Italian food lovers rejoice!
Here's one that super easy and super de duper delicious.
Be sure you have lots of fresh crusty bread for dipping...
you most definitely don't want to miss out on this sauce.

Start with about 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts... hand trimmed.

1 medium onion... chopped.

1 red bell pepper... chopped.

1 1/2 cup of white wine.

Capers... about 2 tablespoons, chicken stock... about 1 cup,
and diced tomatoes... a 28 oz can.

Start by heating up about 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 tablespoons
of butter in a skillet.

While your oil is heating up put about 1 cup of flour into a shallow dish.

Salt, pepper and flour each side of your chicken.

Place in your hot skillet and brown on each side... about 5 minutes per side.
We only need to brown them... we'll finish cooking them a little later.

*faint* Oh. My. Doesn't that make your mouth water?

After you get your chicken good and brown,
transfer to a plate and set aside.

Now, see this here? This is good stuff, man.
Here's where you need to turn your heat
down just a bit and grab your wine...

With your wine in one hand and your spoon or spatula in the other,
pour in the wine and begin scrapping all the goodness from
the bottom of the skillet... this is what you call deglazing.

After you finish deglazing your pan, add in the
chopped red bell pepper and onions.
Give it a good stir to combine.

Throw in your can of diced tomatoes.

Pour in the chicken stock.

Oh, um... yeah, here's where I had to do a
switch-a-roo to a bigger pot. Don't be like me...
YOU can start from the beginning in a pot like this.

Ahhh... that's better.

Add the capers.

Stir to combine.
Here is where you'll want to turn your heat back up a bit,
throw in a dash or two of salt, some fresh
ground pepper to taste, and 1 teaspoon of dried Oregano.

Remember your chicken you browned?
Yeah, well, here is where you'll add it back in.
I sliced mine in half pieces because I'm a freak about
chicken cooking all the way through.

Bring all the yumminess to a boil, reduce your heat to
medium-low, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.

That gives you plenty of time to cook your pasta...
I used good ol' fashioned spaghetti.


First bite... *faint again*

Oh. My. Word. This is delicious.

Make it for your family... they'll love you forever.
Don't forget the bread!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

drunken beef stew...

Snowed in?
Expecting more snow?

We're expecting more snow here in Dallas in about 12 hours.
Right now you'd never guess it, seeing as how it's beautiful clear
blue skies, lots of sunshine and 50 degrees.

Last week we had a super snow storm to go right along
with all the Super Bowl extravaganza.
I didn't leave my house and school was closed for four days...
I'm not sure I'll ever recover.

Well, maybe if I make this.
Yes, this actually might save me.

It's a little labor intensive... just a little.
But oh so worth it.

*Drunken Beef Stew*

3 pounds beef stew meat
1 can/bottle of your favorite dark beer
Salt & Pepper
4 Tablespoons butter
2 cups water
32 oz beef stock
2 Tablespoons butter
Drizzle of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/3 teaspoon allspice
5 whole carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons flour
1/3 cup water

~Prep the stew meat by soaking it in beer overnight
or at least several hours.
~Drain the meat saving the liquid... set it aside.
~Pat meat dry.
~In a skillet, sear stew meat in two batches using butter,
oil, salt and pepper.
~After meat is seared, transfer to a dutch oven or big pot.
~Using the saved liquid, add 2 cups of water and pour over meat.
~Pour in the beef stock
~Turn heat on to medium-high.
~Add sugar, paprika and allspice. Stir well.
~Bring to a boil.
~Cover, lower heat to medium-low... more on the low side.
~Simmer for 2 - 3 hours. May need to add a little
more water, beef stock or broth at this point.
~Add carrots and celery, cover and simmer for about another hour.
~Make a roux with flour and water if needed to thicken.
~Salt and pepper to taste.
~Serve over your favorite mashed potatoes... mine are roasted garlic.

Comfort yourself and stay warm,