Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 13 Monday (3/31/14)

Recipe Review       

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Chocolate Covered Smores
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog
Unfortunately due to the variety of toppings, I cannot figure out the calorie count for these yummy treats.

These photos are not beautiful because the smores are still on the trays,
but you can see how yummy they must be!

         These little treats are quite decadent.  I remember eating these at Girl Scout camp when I was in elementary school.  I went to Camp Dean in the fifth or sixth grade. In fact, I remember that I heard somewhere that the Girl Scouts may have invented the recipe. How cool is that? 
         I dipped the smores in both white and dark chocolate because I wanted to try each type. The toppings that I selected were pistachios (in honor of my niece, Maddie, who loves them as much as I do. I also used mini M & M’s, and pecans, coconut and my all time favorite - macadamia nuts.  OMG – I get hungry just thinking about these goodies. 

Craft Corner       

         I love my sewing room.  I should probably rename it a craft room, because every craft and artistic endeavor I perform, begin in that room.  It is the room where my creativity is born and flourishes. 
         As I was looking around the room the other day I spotted my stash of little gift buckets.  These adorable buckets are perfect for a last minute gift. It is also great if you need many gifts for a crowd of children. 

         I purchased these little buckets for $1.00 each at Target.  I love them and always have some on hand.  Don’t be afraid to check out the sale or dollar aisles at the big box stores because you never know what treasures you will find!

Random Reflections - Bucket List

         Lately, I have been thinking and planning to write several children’s books for my great-nephews.  My goal is to start writing the first one this summer.  I have the topics, but it will require some local travel excursions, so I need to wait until summer.  This is going to be so much fun!

Becky’s Bucket List
Write 2 books for my great-nephews
Travel to Wales
Travel to Scotland
Alaskan cruise

Wants and Wishes

         The results of Willow’s second fasting blood test are coming back today and my greatest want and wish is that it will give us an answer to where the protein is going in her body. Dr. K is a wonderful veterinarian who outlines every step in the process to help my sweet, Willow.  I am so thankful for Dr. K and all of the vets and staff at the Sandwich Animal Hospital.  Thank you all for everything you are doing to get Willow back to normal.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week 12 Sunday (3/30/14)

Recipe Review       

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Grilled Chicken Bacon Sliders
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman Blog

I figured out that there are 760 calories (for 2) per serving, if 16 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

         Chicken in any form has become a staple in the American diet. Chicken and beef are running an even race these days. I read that the American Heart Association recommends skinless chicken and this recipe meets that requirement.  It also meets in that it is grilled and not fried.          
         Now I am a beef girl and prefer it to chicken but I do enjoy a great chicken dish, too. These sliders were wonderful. First of all I love grilled food. These sliders were very filling and a great meal. What more could a person want?  Chicken + Bacon + a bun + cheese all melted together to make one amazing dinner. I would love these at a BBQ served with either potato chips or potato salad. Yikes – writing this is making me hungry.

Trivial Triffles      

         I was driving through the west side of Geneva on the way to the store when I saw this house with a cupola.  I am fascinated with this little room at the top of the house. I am sure the view is outstanding. 

         I was wondering when this became a fashion and what was the point.  I found at that they began in the 8th century. A cupola was an architectural feature for the wealthy. I haven’t seen too many around anymore. The houses that usually have them are Victorian in design. I think it would be cool to have a room large enough with windows on all four sides that overlook beautiful scenery. I think it is a really fun feature.

Memory Musings

         I loved my first home.  I was fortunate enough to purchase my Grandmother’s home. My Aunts and Uncles sold it to me and left me the items they were not interested in keeping.  Thanks to my Mom and her siblings, I achieved my first major purchase.  I couldn’t have done it without them.
         This little saltbox house gave me so many amazing memories. I loved ripping out the old carpet with the horsehair backing. After vacuuming the floor I made a huge mistake. I used WD40 to try to bring the beautiful wood floors back to life.  Who knew that the floor would be breathtakingly beautiful but unsafe because it was so slippery that it was like a bowling lane. I have to say that I loved that floor and the rich wood tones.
         I would like to take this time to thank my family.  I will always think of it as Grandma’s house because I truly felt her spirit and love there.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Week 12 Saturday (3/29/14)

Recipe Review                   
Today’s Recipe and Location:  Bruschetta with Leeks, Goat Cheese and                                                       Bacon
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

I figured out that there are 361 calories per serving, if 8 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

         I absolutely love this bruschetta.  All of the bruschetta that I have ever encountered were made with tomatoes so it was off-limits to me. This recipe is absolutely outstanding.. I first took this recipe to a family party. It was gone in just a few minutes. I was thrilled when I heard a guest say, “Hey where it that bruschetta that everyone is talking about?”  I did not know this person but he absolutely made my day!
         The other location I took a small amount to, was my school. I only had enough to share with my team and all of them liked it a lot. This is one of those recipes that I will fall back on when I need hors de ouvres in a short amount of time.

Random Reflections             

I was driving home from the grocery store in Batavia, and turned the corner.  A huge smile came to my face. All I could think of was:

         How much is that doggie in the window?

         I pulled over to the side of the road and whipped out my camera.  At first the dog just watched me and as I photographed him/her she sat up and let me know she didn’t like what I was doing.  What a beautiful dog and a happy moment in time.

Helpful Home Hints

One of my goals for spring break is to reorganize my filing cabinets. I usually go to my tax accountant early, but this year I scheduled late. After I prepare for my “tax guy,” I usually organize the cabinet.
         One drawer contains all paper receipts for bills, etc… When I was an accounting student (in my youth) I learned to always organize files by the name of the business and then by placing the most current bill on the top. This way it is easier at the end of the year.  At the conclusion of the year, I remove all receipts from the previous year and put them in a cumulative file in alphabetical order. This way if for some reason I need to look up my N. I. Gas bill from 2013, I know they are in the 2013 cumulative file under the N’s and are all together. This makes it easy to go back and locate anything later.  I then put them in a filing cabinet in the basement for seven years.
         I’ll return to the filing cabinet system for other drawers on another day.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Week 12 Friday (3/28/14)

Recipe Review       

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Croissant French Toast
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

I figured out that there are 313 calories per serving, if 8 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

I want a bite right now!

       I read this recipe and thought it sounded rich. Boy, was I right. One of the best parts of croissants is that they are rich with the taste of butter. I do not apologize for loving butter.
         I laughed last week when I heard a doctor saying that margarine is no longer good for you and we should go back to butter. If we wait long enough everything is deemed dangerous and then that idea is repealed a few years later. I think it is really all about portion control.
         Regular old bread is no longer good enough for this girl’s French toast. “Give me croissants or give me death,” to mess up a quote by a brilliant man. Get out the warm syrup, pull up a chair, and prepare to smile from ear to ear.

Why Weight?

         Nighttime eating has always been a problem for me. I think this goes back to my childhood because I can’t remember a time that I didn’t want to eat at night. Since this is a problem, I have worked out a solution that works for me now.
         I love T.V. and this probably doesn’t help. In my late teens I taught myself to never watch T.V. without doing something simultaneously. For instance, I frequently knit, or go through the mail when I watch the tube. This way I have no guilt for doing my favorite pastime.
         The solution I discovered was Skinny Pop popcorn. I usually eat four cups of Skinny Pop around 8:00 p.m. This serving size has only 155 calories. It has worked for me so far but my friend, Amanda, suggested that I try a bowl of oatmeal. The oatmeal I love has only 160 calories so this is comparable to popcorn and doesn’t have the high salt content.  It is also a heavy food that could really do the trick.  Thanks Amanda for such a great suggestion!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Week 12 Thursday (3/27/14)

Recipe Review       

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Cinnamon Toast – The Right Way
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

I figured out that there are 252 calories per serving, if 1 slice servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

         I read the title of this recipe and thought how can it be any better than normal old cinnamon toast?  Well first of all, Ree bakes it in the oven – I just get it out of the toaster and slather on some cinnamon and sugar mixed. Ree adds vanilla to hers and possibly nutmeg –and I never even thought of such a thing.
         I can’t believe this is coming out of my mouth but once again she is right. Her way is much better tasting than my way.  Her toast is much more crisp than mine is. 
         Does she ever just screw up and get it wrong????? I have my doubts.

Random Reflections

         I miss 20/20 vision.  I didn’t need glasses until I surpassed 42 years old and it gets a little worse every year.  I am still not up to prescription glasses and just wear “cheaters.” Being a person who has no patience for disorganization in my home, I purchased a pair of glasses for every room, so they are available at a moments notice.
         Last week, I was driving home at night and realized that my night vision has also decreased.  I could see fine, but it was not comfortable. My eye doctor informed me that my distance vision is slowly getting worse so I believe that bifocals are in my future.
         My sister, Kim, told me that she was thinking about getting contacts because she is also annoyed with the whole glasses thing.  Maybe that is the route I should go when I reach the prescription phase.  Decisions, decisions……

Irksome Ideas and Images

         I was at Costco to pick up some supplies for our Too Good for Drugs graduation. As I was leaving my car, I offered to return someone’s cart for them.  The lady was so sweet and thanked me.  It is a good feeling to do something nice for someone else.  It makes me feel good even when it is something so little. 
         As I entered the store, a man unpacked his cart and left it right in the middle of the walkway.  I immediately was annoyed because it would have taken him five steps to put it back. Once again I encountered a person who thinks “it is all about them.”  It is people like that who remind me to do what is right for everyone and not be a self-absorbed jerk.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Week 12 Wednesday (3/26/14)

Recipe Review       

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Chocolate Chocolate White Chocolate                                                       Chip Cookie
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog


I figured out that there are 198 calories per serving, if 36 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

         I love that these cookies are both crunchy and chewy. These were so good.  I love that both types of chips are used and because of this, the cookies are rich!

Chocolate yumminess

I love the way the white chips peak out of the cookie

Today’s Critics:
I brought these cookies to my elementary school and my night college course.
         Roger Mercado said, “This was delicious.”
         John Michalisko stated, “This is the best cookie so far!”
         Jenny Anderson shared, “I’m am having another cookie.  It was heavenly and it ROCKS!”
         Jodie McKnight said, “I love the white chocolate chips.  This is yummy. Mmmmmmmm!”
         Sarah Gress told me that she liked that they were moist.
         The college students loved the cookies and said they were really good.

Gabbin’ About Gratitude
         I am grateful for my ability to plan ahead and be prepared. I know it can be annoying to the people I work with, but I rarely ever procrastinate (Yes, Steve, Jenny, and Sara – I know I can be a pain).  In college, I was one of those students who received the syllabus on the first day and began working on the long-term projects immediately.
         Some people are really great under pressure but that is definitely NOT this girl. The closer a deadline gets, the more my blood pressure rises. So, I have learned to plan ahead and finish projects early and then sit back and relax.  Although, I cannot say that I relax well, either. There is always something to do and thank Heavens I like to stay busy.  I know I get that from my Mom. Oh well – we all get the job done in our own time. Whose to say there is a right or wrong way to operate?

Memory Musings
         One of my favorite Florida memories is relaxing in the Stopka Pool.  We just floated around the pool on rafts and talked.  Laura, Mary, and Suzanne and I just enjoyed spending time together. Kathy was usually working when we hung out in the pool.  What I wouldn’t give now for a sunny afternoon, laying on a raft, and enjoying great friendships in Florida.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Week 12 Tuesday (3/25/14)

Recipe Review       

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Oatmeal Whoopie Pies
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

I figured out that there are 368 calories per serving, if 18 servings are made. This is the calorie count for the frosting option, not the marshmallow crème option.  (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

A filling cookie with a sweet center

         Creating this recipe was a first for me.  I had never made a whoopie pie before. I guess I always thought that they were a lot of work. They took a little while but I was happy with the result.
         First of all there was the oatmeal cookie.  It was a dense heavy cookie, but it sure was tasty. These cookies can stand on their own, without the filling.
         I debated in the choice of filling. Ree gives two options. The first one is to use a marshmallow fluff type of filling. The second one is more of a frosting.  Silly me, I thought the fluff would be easier. I don’t think it was, but it was pretty yummy. After making option 1, I think I would like to make them again but try option 2 and decide which one I like better. 
         I took these pies to a family birthday party, and came home with zero. That is a great sign for a dessert.

Why Weight?

         I consume a lot of fluid each day. This came from the old days when every doctor was “prescribing” that we all drink at least eight glasses of water each day. This has become a habit with me. There was a time that I thought maybe there was something wrong with me like diabetes, but all of my tests came out great, so this is just a habit. I guess it really is better than not drinking enough water because I never get dehydrated.
         I did have to give myself permission (in my head) to hold water weight at times. This is usually the case when I eat too much salty food. Since I weigh myself every day, if the scale doesn’t move down or goes up slightly I analyze what I ate that could be the cause of this anomaly. Salt is usually the culprit.
         Now I know many of you are saying that I shouldn’t weigh every day, but I need the number to insure I do not go backwards. It gives me peace of mind and that is a great reason.
         So if you struggle with water weight, analyze the possible causes and then raise your glass of water to it.

My Gorgeous Girls       
         Grooming is important to keep an animal in shape. Neglecting a dog’s grooming can lead to problems.  Take my shelties, for instance.  Being long haired dogs, they seem to develop hair knots behind their ears. If it is not caught, the hair pulls and causes pain to the dog.  I have watched Animal Cops when they bring in dogs and cats that have had their grooming neglected.  It is such a sad sight.

Sage is so intense she makes me smile! I love the way
her black coat feathers out on the white chest hair.

         When I was a kid, we used to wash our sheltie ourselves. Unfortunately, I have an allergy to animal dander that is under control, but I don’t groom my own dogs which helps my own health.

Willow is almost always calm and laid back.
She was reclining for this picture and her hair went a little wild!

         I have a fabulous groomer named Robin. She works at Sandwich Animal Hospital.  She is very talented, and thanks to Robin my girls always look amazing.  The proof is in the pictures!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 12 Monday (3/24/14)

A correction - I looked through a lot of family photos, but the one I posted of my Dad came from my cousin SueAnn in Arizona.  Sorry about the confusion - I am so grateful to her for this great picture of my Dad.

Recipe Review       

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Skewers of Glory
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman Blog

I figured out that there are 126 calories per serving, if 30 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

Today I have a wonderful guest cook and critic.  Alaina Erd is my fabulous niece who made Ree’s shewers for our holiday party.  Alaina loves and watches Ree’s show. (another Ree convert)

These make a really attractive hors de ouvres

Her review:  Skewers of glory…and man are they ever!  I wanted to make something new and Ree inspired me for Christmas. After spending around $50, I thought to myself…”Ree, this better be good.” There are no fresh, de-tailed, jumbo shrimp in the tri-cities area so I bought jumbo shrimp that were already deveined. I just thawed them. De-tailing actually wasn’t difficult or very time consuming. The trickiest part of the recipe was wrapping the pineapple. There is a distinct art to doing this. I think I figured it out on my last one. I felt assembly was required immediately before cooking, but I feel like next time I’d assemble beforehand. When all is said and done, this dish is well worth the money, time, and effort. It definitely made for some happy humans, and a wonderful holiday.  We’ll be making them again shortly!

Craft Corner       

         I was digging through the sewing room when I ran across these quilt squares. I purchased a flip calendar book a few years ago. Each day has a different quilt square to make.
         I love the squares and had a great time making them. When choosing the fabric, I decided to make a quilt that is partially black in all of the different squares and a separate quilt that is partially white. 
         The down side is that the squares are different dimensions.  So I just began making the squares and figured that eventually I would have enough to make several quilts. 
         Unfortunately, my free time was diminished over the past year as I have taught several classes at the university. I just need to make time for these things that I really enjoy.  Now that the days are longer, this really seems doable.

Random Reflections

       I am a worrier!  I feel tremendous stress on many days.  As I get older, it seems to escalate. I worry about doing something wrong. I never used to worry about these types of things when I was younger. I always went out and did what I thought was best and things always went well.
         Most of the stress I feel is in my job situation.  I have always loved my job but the tension and pressure has increased as time goes by.
         I was just watching Joel Osteen, my pastor, who said that we need to stop worrying and let it go. That I need to stop owning the stress and just enjoy the moment.  I love his sermons because they always relate to my life.
         OK – today is the day I work really hard on distressing my life.  I will continue to do the best I can and not worry what others think about it.   That sounds great – now I just need to make it work in my day to day life.

Wants and Wishes

         This week my class and I discussed a news article about a local farm that had many animals that were being removed due to neglect.  The article and news report were asking for local help to remove the animals. 
         I was really distressed by this topic. I am such an animal lover and will never understand why any animal is abused or neglected.  Why don’t people ask for help or give the animal to a shelter when they no longer want it.  “Pride goeth before the fall.”  I believe that “what goes around, comes around.”         
         I hope the people responsible are fully prosecuted. There is no excuse for such behavior.  My wish is for animal cruelty to end, NOW.