Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday desserts...

This was a winner: Debbie McG's Carrot Cake.  I hadn't made it for over five years.  Not sure why, it's pretty darn easy.  Last week Beau, who usually forgoes desserts because his sweet tooth is not as highly developed as ours are (wink), mentioned that he liked carrot cake.  I knew I had just the one in my recipe arsenal that he wouldn't be able to resist.

It looks pretty harmless in the top photo, and the piece in the photo below looks pretty ragged, but we weren't cutting for beauty, we were cutting for immediate consumption!

Mmmmm...  Made from scratch, moist, cream cheese frosting, and hey, it has 3 cups of shredded carrots, so I think each piece counts as a vegetable serving.  :)

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Just desserts...

Sunday found me unable to decide on one dessert to make for our Sunday family dinner, so I made two.

I've been wanting something lemony, and I found this recipe for Lemon Brownies.  They were easy, and had a nice flavor.  They had more of a cake texture than brownie though.


These are called Impossible Pumpkin Cupcakes.  They were not what I expected.  Basically they were like pumpkin pie without any crust.  The recipe said the flour in the recipe formed a firm crust-like outer layer, but I did not find that to be the case.  They were tasty however.  My pumpkin pie fans really liked them.  And they were pretty easy.  I made them in a silicone cupcake pan, and they popped out pretty easily.  After removing them from the pan, I placed them in paper cupcake liners for serving.
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Sunday, September 21, 2014

For good measure...

Today is the family Sunday dinner at Kasey's, and I am baking.  

My current kitchen is SO hard to work in.  It is pretty large, but the cabinets and their arrangement were decided on by someone who never cooked a meal in their life.  Hopefully we will remedy that someday soon, but until we do, I am always looking for my tools that get stashed in illogical places (my husband is a great helper around the house, but I hate it when he unloads the dishwasher!)

I'm not much of a gadget person.  I would rather have a good knife and cutting board than I would a cabinet full of choppers, shavers, or slicers.  I want the smallest, simplest tool to get the job done...less to wash and less to store.

Over the years, I have tried and discarded measuring cups and measuring spoons that didn't make the grade.  The green one above is my ALL TIME favorite!  It is silicone, and its four sides include a Tablespoon, teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, and 1/4 teaspoon all in one piece!  No searching in the drawer for the right size...I just grab the green one and know I have whichever I may need.

The stainless steel spoon behind it is actually one of my newest set of measuring cups.  The one pictured is a 1/2 cup scoop.  Each of the set fit through the opening of the jars that I keep flour, sugar, etc. in, and they are easy to level.  They also have long handles that allow me to reach deep into the jars.  

The matryoshka dolls are also a set of measuring cups.   They make it a little tricky to find the one you want...you have to keep opening dolls to find one of the smaller sizes you might need...but they are so cute that I keep them out on my kitchen windowsill instead of hidden away in a drawer.  I use the stainless steel scoops more often, but the matryoshkas make me smile.
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Saturday, September 20, 2014

The most interesting blog post in the world...

I don't always eat breakfast...but when I do, it pleases my soul as well as my palate.

Stay hungry, my friends.
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Braiding zee hair...


The girlies are on a competitive gymnastics team.  According to Mama, the coaches are very particular about the hair.  It must be French braided in two braids starting at the front, down to the nape, then joined into one braid.  It is later looped up and secured.  It must be heavily sprayed to minimize loose wisps--those could lead to unconscious hands reaching to brush it away from a face costing point deductions.

I am the designated stylist for Caitlyn and Chloe.  If we braid it wet and give it a good spray with an extra-hold spray, it can be done the night before the meet and still be acceptable in the morning.

Last time I braided Caitlyn's hair, she scolded me for going crazy with the hairspray.  Apparently the previous week she woke in the morning with her ear glued to her head!  LOL

We did Caitlyn's hair tonight, and I think I finally got it right.  She wanted to see the back, and approved the photo.  Chloe is at a sleepover tonight, so we will do hers in the morning.  Braiding her short hair goes really quickly, since I don't have to join the two braids into the one down the back.

And if I may go back a generation...
This photo of Kasey is one of my favorites.  She was about four.  When I used to braid her hair and loop up the braids and secure with ribbons, she called them 'baby swings.'  I'm not sure why.  But they have been known as baby swings ever since in our family.  :)  The little blue dress is probably my favorite of the ones I ever made for her.  I loved the pattern...A-line with the round yoke.  I salvaged that fabric from an old garment found at my mom's house...I can't remember whose it was, but I think I remember that it was a gathered skirt in its former life.  Sigh...my sweet baby girl.  

I'm glad I still have little girls' hair to braid.
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Making it Monday...

I have some catching up to do with my 52-letters-in-52-weeks goal.  And while I have a million things on my to-do list, and at least a thousand areas of chaos in my house right now, I thought I should make some progress on that goal today.  That, and the cool front and lower temperatures we got over the weekend made me antsy to use some fall-colored papers.

I started out by putting in a brand new adhesive refill...which turned out to be defective.  Aargh.  Luckily I had bought a three pack.  But still, I was really ticked to have to throw a whole refill away...believe me I tried really hard to get it working before I gave up.

And since the blade on my paper cutter has been pretty dull for awhile now, I thought I'd put a new one of those in too.   

Well...they looked like the right ones in the package...old one on the left, new one on the right.  Double aargh.  Guess I am doomed to having rough-cut edges on this batch of cards. 

And lucky me...I got the adhesive working fabulously...right before I dropped a piece sticky-side-down on the floor.  Triple aargh.  Turns out dust really is a protective layer...I just tucked the dust bunny edges to the underneath side of the circle and attached it to the card.  :) 

See?  Ya'd never know. 

I have a new Martha Stewart circle cutter I had to put through its paces.



This one is a flagrant copy of one I saw at The Mango Boys and Me.  Simple is beautiful. 

 You know, if I was smart I would have made multiples of the same card, but I guess I had a lot of creative ideas to work out of my system.

I saved the worst for last.  I hesitate to even show this one.  The duds keep me humble.  :)

Now that I can get these in tomorrow's mail and feel like I've accomplished something, I can get back to work on organizing the office/craft room.  I have to accomplish a lot in the next two days...I have to work 8 to 5 again part of this week and next week...and more urgent than that, Carey is due back home.  :)
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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Seven random thoughts on the 7th...


1.  I wish that I could insert an aroma.pie file into this blog post.  I have two Chocolate Bourbon Pecan pies in the oven, and the house smells SO amazing!  Pecan pie is Carey's favorite, and since he had to be out of town on his birthday, this is the first chance I've had to bake for him.

2.  A couple of months ago my sweet baby girl decided that she wanted to start a tradition of having us over for Sunday dinner each week.  She cooks the dinner.  I bring the dessert.  That wasn't a requirement of her invitation, but the grandchildren have been quite pleased so far.  :)

3.  Four days straight of working 8 to 5 last week was hard.  I am out of practice.  And the desk chair was really hard on my back.  However, it was a great branch...really efficient and everything very straightforward.  I have quite a few more work days this month and a few next month as well...some at this same branch, and some at another.  

4.  And work hasn't left as much time for reading!  Current book is challenging, so though I've been at it for over a week, I'm only about half-way through.

5.  Saturday an old friend came to visit for a few hours.  She hasn't visited since we moved, so she got a tour of the house...the very, VERY cluttered house.  Then Carey's brother spent the night last night.  They weren't supposed to be back from the lease until today sometime.  I had hoped to straighten up a little.  Oh well.

6.  Anyone thinking about Christmas gifting yet?  If I want to hand make things, it is time to get on the ball.  I have materials gathered for one project ready to start on.

7.  We have several projects that need doing around the house.  Three big ones.  New floors in the non-carpeted areas of the house (which is everywhere except the bedrooms).  Kitchen remodel.  New front door.  I'm hoping we can get started on those fairly soon.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hotheaded...


Yawning again tonight.  I was going to write a post about about a nifty video I found about yawning.  Apparently it's not necessarily about getting more oxygen.

Basically it says that "yawning has developed as a way of physiologically cooling your brain."  And "exhaustion and sleep deprivation are known to increase overall brain temperature."

But I don't really feel like writing anything.  I think I'm just going to fill my ice bag, put it on my head, and go to bed.  Tomorrow's another workday.
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back in the saddle...er...desk chair...

I'm filling in this week.  It's a branch I've worked in before for one or two days.  That was at least a couple of years ago.  It's so hard to walk into someone else's office and try to figure out what's what.  Luckily the person on vacation this week left really good instructions for me.

I didn't sleep well last night, however, so I yawned ALL day.  MUST get more sleep tonight.  Starting right now, in fact.
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