Friday, October 31, 2014

Week 42 Friday (10/31/14)

Recipe Review                     
Today’s Recipe and Location:           Halloween Bark
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

I figured out that there are 363 calories 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.)

I just melted the white almond in a bowl over a pot

Here are my five toppings

Here is the bark right after I scattered the toppings

A close-up of the goodies

I just broke the bark up into a variety of sizes

         This is a very quick wonderful recipe. I love sweet and salty and this recipe just hit the spot with me.  I also love that you can change it for any holiday by changing the color of what goes on top. The delightful thing for me is the plethora of choices for toppings. This time I used: thin stick pretzels, Reese’s pieces, chopped mini Oreos, chopped pistachios and mini chocolate chips. Next time I will be sure to add in salted peanuts because a little more salt would make it perfect. I took a large container to school, and arrived home with it completely emptied. Another phenomenal recipe Ree!

Fabulous “Family and Friends” Food

Carolyn Frio’s Vanilla Walnut Pie
Another school recipe – Thanks Carolyn for sharing

9-inch pastry crust, baked/cooled (She bought the refrigerated kind and cut out round shapes to fit into her tart pans. It took both crusts to make 36 tarts. She had also used Phyllo cups.
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
¾ cup cold water
4 oz. instant vanilla pudding
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup ground walnuts or ground pecans
Hershey syrup

         Beat whipping cream until it forms soft peaks and reserve until needed.  Beat together cream cheese and milk. Add cold water and pudding to cream cheese mixture. Fold whipping cream and nuts into cream cheese mixture and place in pastry. Add a swirl of syrup on top and refrigerate.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Week 42 Thursday (10/30/14)

Recipe Review        
Today’s Recipe and Location:           Caramel Apples
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays

I figured out that there are 550 calories per serving, if 12 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

I started with beautiful Granny Smith apples

Of course, you need a lot of butter
to make homemade caramel.

This is the real McCoy - homemade caramel

The caramel started on the apple,
 and just slid right off - what a drag!

It just made a huge puddle. What you can't see
is the final product after I waited until it was
stone cold and reapplied it - it then finally looked good

         I totally blew this recipe. I followed the directions to a tee and when I tested the first apple, the caramel just slid right off. So, I did what Ree said and reheated and recooled the caramel. Once again, it just slid right off of the apple. I even added nuts, but nothing worked. My thoughts are, that I will give Nicole the extra caramel and the kids can just dip the apple in the caramel. Of well, I guess I messed up somewhere.
         Since I wrote this, I made one more effort to get the caramel on the apples. Now that it has been sitting for two hours and is firm, I scooped it up and spread it on the apples. Then I refrigerated them for 30 minutes. Believe it or not – most of it stuck. I think the problem was, that it was too hot when I applied it to the apples. The Serpico girls and Nicole thanked me for a evening treat.

Random Reflections - The Glorious Garden       

         Unfortunately, it is time to clean up the garden, and put everything safely away until the spring. Cleaning up my gardens is a royal pain. Last weekend, I removed all of the yard art and cleaned the garage. This is very important, because now that we are having freezes, the glass birdbaths that have water in them can crack. Now that the art is gone, what remains is to begin cutting back the plants. Grasses should never be cut back until March prior to new growth. Last year, I had 37 lawn and leaf bags after I began cutting the beds. This is an expensive time unless it falls in the leaf free pickup weeks. So, each and every night after Curves, you will be able to find me in the garden cutting my little heart out.

Here is the hosta bed before I cut it back

Clean and tidy and ready for next spring

This is the daylily and mandevilla corner bed

Here it is stripped of the glorious plants

Lastly, the penstemmon digitalis bed

It looks so sad after all is said and done. I pulled 12 bags
from the back, but still have about three to go when
the remaining plants lose their green color. The back
grasses will take about 13 bags in March/April.
Now that the back is done,
I am on to the sides and front yards. 

Irksome Ideas and Images

         I made a huge mistake this weekend by going to Walmart to grocery shop on Saturday afternoon. OMG I swear that every rude, disrespectful, and ill-mannered child was in the store. There was one Mom whose six children were running through the aisles and screaming as she blatantly ignored their behavior. There were several other toddlers screaming in carts, and I felt my stress level rising rapidly.

         I do not blame these children. Shame on the parents, who do not know how to say no, or teach their children basic manners. If a child misbehaves to the point where others are bothered, the child should be removed. JUST LEAVE. The child will then learn that this behavior is not acceptable. Don’t be your child’s friend – be a PARENT!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Week 42 Wednesday (10/29/14)

Recipe Review      
Today’s Recipe and Location:           Eyeball Cake Balls
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays
                           Pages: 238 - 239       Copyright:  2013  Harper Collins

I figured out that there are 226 calories per serving, if 38 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

It actually looks scarier, since it is out of focus!

A whole cookie sheet of eyeballs.

         These cake pops were a real challenge for me. First of all, they were so sticky that it was hard to form them in a ball. I think I made a mistake in that I wanted to use up some chocolate almond bark and I didn’t quite have enough so I also melted some white chocolate chips, too. I think they would have looked better if I used the melting chocolate Ree recommended. I think overall, they were a great first attempt. I have a way to go to be able to match the ones in Ree’s book. Nicole made a great suggestion. I should refrigerate the batter prior to forming the balls and then they will look like Ree’s photo. I am not a cake lover so I probably will pass on this recipe next time and stick with the others that I loved.


Gabbin’ About Gratitude

         I am so grateful for my weekends. I am having so much fun being home and working around the house. I feel blessed to have a home that I love, animals that I can’t imagine living without, and time to do the things that I want to do. Life is really good right now.

Memory Musings

         One of the best things I did was to have my home built. This was home number three and I knew what I wanted and what I did not want. My friend, Donna had just gone through this building earlier, and gave me so much great advice.
         One of the best pieces was to make daily visits to the house to check on the work. Thank Heavens Donna told me that because on one visit, I realized that they had put my walkout bay window in my bedroom closet instead of in the dining room. They had the house plans flipped upside down. The good news is that they had just out on the plywood base so it was fixable with no problem. The foreman apologized profusely and had it rectified the very next day. I had no other problems thanks to Donna, one of the smartest women that I know.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week 42 Tuesday (10/28/14)

Recipe Review      
Today’s Recipe and Location:           Popcorn Balls
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays
                           Pages: 232 - 234       Copyright:  2013  Harper Collins

I figured out that there are 237 calories per serving, if 12 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

Here, the popcorn is cooling in the pan

I put them back on the cookie sheet to cool

A close-up! These were easy to make and really tasted great

         Having never made these before, I anticipated that they would be difficult. Well, once again I was dead wrong. I told my lunch buddies that I would be bringing a lot of food on Monday, and Jenny shared that these were her favorite.  I think she will be thrilled with these goodies. I think the best part for me is the mix of candy corn and salted peanuts. Salty and Sweet….Sweet and Salty…what more can a person want in life??? These will become a yearly event for me. The calorie count is so low that this would be a filling snack for this girl!

Special Event:  The Monthly Massage!  

         One of the pleasures I give myself each and every month is to have a massage at Tranquility in St. Charles. Ever since I began having these, I have seen a significant difference in my body stress. Like my Mom, I am a worrier. I can make myself so tense over something so small that it affects my body. I strongly recommend calling Tranquility and scheduling a massage with Marissa.

Tranquility  Spa
113 N. 2nd Ave., St. Charles, IL

This is the fabulous Marissa, masseuse extraordinaire

         Marissa knew that I have always had trouble with my feet. I have heel spurs in both feet, and have had to wear orthodics in my shoes. She recommended that we add 15 minutes to my appointment and she would focus on my feet. The procedure is called Pep in the Step. My ankles were discoloring because the circulation down was great, but not so much on the way up. Since I have lost this weight and had the Pep treatment, my ankles are almost back to normal. Most of the discoloration is gone. Even the circulation specialist didn’t know this could happen. Yeah Marissa!

This is the room for manicures and pedicures

All staff members always offer flavored water.
This week is was grapefruit. I am not a big
grapefruit fan, but the water tasted really refreshing.
This is the small massage room. 

My Gorgeous Girls       

       This week the weather has started to turn much colder, and we have already had a hard frost. This is Sage and Willow weather!  I took some pictures of them as they ran, tackled, and played together. Of course, you can see that Sage is being dominant as usual. They have so much more energy as the weather prepares us for winter. I love to watch them enjoy each moment outside.

and the chase is on......

Willow loves to take shelter in the flower beds

Being outside is so much fun for them.

Where one does the other

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 42 Monday (10/27/14)

Week 42         MONDAY

Recipe Review       
Today’s Recipe and Location:           Mummy Dogs
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays
                           Pages: 228 - 229       Copyright:  2013  Harper Collins

I figured out that there are 159 calories 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.)

I wrapped them in crescent dough and left a little gap,
 so I could put in two drops of mustard for scary eyes.

They are just beautiful when brown.
They tasted great!

         I loved these little mummies. Maybe, they were so good because I haven’t had a hot dog in more than six months. I loved the dough and just added mustard to top this off.  I think they turned out really cute and I would definitely make them again. These would be extremely popular with kids.

Random Reflections - Bucket List

         Since I am planning to foster large animals when I move to Kentucky, I would like to start learning more about the care and feeding for these animals. I am always excited to learn something new and this sounded like a fun project.

I am going to learn as much as I can about the care of large animals
Make repairs in each and every room of my home to prepare to sell
Research Hadrian’s Wall for visit to Scotland
Enter a quilt in a local fair
Write a book about school for parents
Host a game party
Purchase a truck
I would like to learn more about fostering animals
Visit the narrowed list of Kentucky towns each for a weekend
Have a B.M.I. of 24.9 or lower
Return to Florida/Alabama and see old friends
Play tennis again
Learn to play bridge
Have an in-ground pool
Finish writing a book on the Scent Family
Save up enough money for a down payment on my Kentucky house
Research every town in Kentucky in hopes of relocating
Work on learning calligraphy and bettering daily penmanship
Begin making my own clothing using a mannequin
Volunteer at an animal rescue
Visit all 50 states
Photography courses
Complete all of Mom’s and my scrapbooks
Go skiing again in Colorado
Meet the Duggar family
Watch every nominee and winner for the Academy Awards to date
Remodel my kitchen
Take piano lessons
Write 2 books for my great-nephews
Travel to Wales
Travel to Scotland
Alaskan cruise

Why Weight?

It seemed like I worked hard this week, but only lost a pound. I do have to remember that my metabolism and age may play a part in my current slow down. I guess I should and will be thankful that it is a pound lost instead of gained. At times like this, I have to remind myself to be positive and always try to look on the bright side.

10/19                  Sunday                  1,647 calories         nothing                 
10/20                  Monday                 1,728 calories         Curves                 
10/21                  Tuesday                1,844 calories         Curves
10/22                  Wednesday            1,463 calories         Curves
10/23                  Thursday               2,841 calories         Curves
10/24                  Friday                    1,733 calories         Curves
10/25                  Saturday                1,700 calories         worked in yard cutting                                                                                          back plants

Goal:          64.5 lbs.          (goal: 100 lb. loss between 6/1/14 – 6/1/15)
                  - 1.0 lbs.         this week’s loss
                  63.5 lbs. lbs to go

Sun.                    10/19                  5,716 steps                  2,577 calories burned
Mon.                   10/20                  9,479 steps                  2,975 calories burned
Tues.                  10/21                  7.013 steps                  2,817 calories burned
Wed.`                 10/22                  9,995 steps                  3,068 calories burned
Thurs.                10/23                  8,547 steps                  2,962 calories burned
Fri.                      10/24                  8,992 steps                  2,940 calories burned
Sat.                     10/25                  13,415 steps                 3,354 calories burned

Wants and Wishes

         I want my windows to last until I move. This morning there were some condensation on all of the windows at the bottom and right above the middle where the window locks. Bummer!   I know that is not a good sign, but I need to save my money rather than upgrade the windows for someone I don’t even know. Ohhhhh – that sounded a bit harsh. What I mean is that I don’t want to spend my money here, but save it for my new Kentucky home where I might need to replace their windows.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week 41 Sunday (10/26/24)

Recipe Review                
Today’s Recipe and Location:           Cheese Ball of Death
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays
                           Pages: 236 - 237       Copyright:  2013  Harper Collins

I figured out that there are 187 calories per serving, if 12 servings are made. You do have to add the calories for the crackers, too. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

I made two cheese balls. One for my school friends
and another to split between Nicole and myself.
Here they are before I added the black sesame seeds.

I can't say that I made a perfect ball. Yikes!

This one isn't a whole lot better. OMG!

         I liked this cheese ball, but it was a little heavy on the goat cheese. I would rather have added more cream cheese or even some other cheeses. The black sesame seeds were just darn fun. Nicole, Joe and at least one of the kids enjoyed it, too.  I did discover a new cracker that I am in love with now. Triskets  makes a new flavor called Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil. I am in love. They are so wonderful and are great with a cheese ball or dip or slices of cheese or ..........gosh darn it almost anything or even alone.

Trivial Triffles

         I was reading a Real Simple magazine (Mar. 2014 pg. 32) and found a brilliant idea for your shoelaces. On my winter boots the plastic tips of the shoelaces always are ruined and the laces begin to unravel. According the Real Simple, all you have to do is dip the tip into a bottle of polish and it stops the fraying. What a brilliant magazine. Did you now the plastic tip of the lace is called an aglet??  Who knew?

Memory Musings

         Halloween is almost here. I have a few memories of the holiday. Of course, all of our costumes were put together by we kids. Store bought costumes were not even an option, but we did have a box of masks. We all used our creativity, and had a great time.
         When I was seven, Julie Rascher and I went as Mary Poppins and Bert. Julie, being a girly girl got to be Mary and I got to dress comfortably and be Bert. Of course, we used charcoal to coat my face and hands, so I looked like a true chimney sweep. The things we will endure for a pillowcase full of candy.
         Yes, we used pillow cases. I laugh at the bags and pumpkin buckets, etc. that kids use today. Pillow cases were a brilliant idea, because they never ripped and held a tremendous amount of candy. Sometimes we had it right – in the old days.