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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bernat Crochet-A-Long

I posted back in January about a crochet-a-long (CAL) that Bernat was doing and I decided to join in.  I have never done one before so thought it might be fun.

I bought my pretty yarn right away

Then.... less than a week later, my whole world changed - I mentioned it here but since I try to keep my blog happy and upbeat, I didn't write too much about it.  But truth be known, it has been extremely difficult, even while typing this I have tears rolling down my face.  Some days it takes ever ounce of strength God gives me to make it through the day.  I've been very, very sad and depressed and quite frankly don't even feel like getting out of bed most days but I have to and I know daddy wants me to be happy - that was his goal most of his life, to provide for his family and make us happy.  So I try..it is hard but I try.

But because of that I had no desire to crochet or do anything else for that matter.  I already had a trip planned in February, long before daddy even got sick so I went on the trip and it was good for me.  The week I went on the trip was actually the week for CLUE 1 of the CAL and since I was gone, I couldn't start the afghan.  When I returned home, the grieving process continued so it was a couple of weeks before I actually took out the hook and completed it

CLUE 1 - Completed




Clue 1 was very easy and if I had been myself, the way I used to be, I would I could have easily have finished this clue in one evening.  However, dealing with depression and grief...it took me about 2 weeks - I would work on a square here and there and forget it about it a few days, just not wanting to deal with anything.

After I finished those, I was ready to start CLUE 2

I finished one of the motifs rather quickly.  While I was on Clue 2 - the rest of the CAL group was on clue 5, so I was a bit behind, something like that would have drove me crazy in the past but I decided it is not a race.  I'm going to finish this afghan but I don't have to do it in record time.  I wonder if most of the ladies in the CAL work full time jobs (I work at least 60 + hours in a high-positioned job), do they have any help around the house (I don't - all housework, yard work, home repairs, appointments, bill paying, etc) are up to me.  Are they depressed, are they grieving?  So... I said "It isn't a race" - it is supposed to be enjoyable,

I've finished 4 of the 6 motifs so far - I worked up those 4 pretty quick but since then, have been so busy at work and still just don't have much of a desire to do other things


Now let me tell you more about the CAL.  Everyone is finished, except for me of course.  But there are a few things that are bothering me.   #1, I'm not especially fond of the finished look - it is so ... so ... unsymmetrical and I am a Libra so symmetry is important to me.  #2 We were told the CAL would be 15 weeks - but not a clue every week, some weeks would be catch-up weeks.

We only had 1 catch up week (clue 6 I think) and by the end of week 8, the afghan was done and they were telling us how to add the border.  What?  So now they say the next few weeks are going to be for contest - so half of the weeks are not really part of the CAL - they are for contest.  Contest are fine but that should be AFTER the CAL or maybe the last week of it but not the last 7 weeks of it !!

I just feel like if the CAL was only going to be 8 weeks, then say it is 8 weeks - don't say 15 when it is only 8.  I feel a little jipped.  Like they just got tired of putting out clues so said "Uh, yeah, we're done - there you go"

I am going to continue and finish up the afghan, even though I would not make a pattern like this - it will be a challenge for me and teach me some different motifs and I really do LOVE the yarn.  I won't be able to enter the contest - the deadline is May 7th and I won't have it done by then I know.

I wish I had done the knitted one (which looks like a quilt) - I like the look of it but I am a slow knitter and it would take too long, plus I like to crochet more than I like to knit.  Oh well... you take a chance with a Mystery CAL - I'll post my progress - wish me luck.

UPDATE: June 2012:  I really do not like the finished look of the afghan so decided not to continue with this pattern after all..... stay tuned for what I decide to use the yarn for instead (I'm still looking for the right project)
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake


Okay, this was an experiment.  My friend's daughter is turning 13 today and she LOVES Reese's peanut butter cups, even more than me and I didn't think that was possible.

She really likes my Oreo Cheesecake, which I make for her mom's birthday every year, so I decided to use that as a base but change it to a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake.  First I had to decide what to use for the crust. I could have used oreos but I wanted something more "peanut buttery" so I got a package of Nutter Butters (yum) - Put 18 of them in a ziploc bag and roll over them to crush them into crumbs


They will look like this when you are done


Now melt 1/2 cup of butter (I always use REAL butter, not margarine when baking.  I love that Land of Lakes sells butter already portioned into 1/2 cup sizes.  This is the only butter I will buy now.


Mix it well and then pat it into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.  The pan should be pre-prepared, wrapped well with aluminum foil (this will make sense later)


Bake the crust in a 250 degree oven for 10 minutes until brown (be careful, you don't want it to burn)

Gather your ingredients for the Cheesecake filling


 Yes that is 6 packages - 3 pounds of cream cheese, 24 snack size peanut butter cups, 8 oz of mini reeses cups, sugar, 5 whole large eggs and peanut butter. Hey, I never said this was going to be healthy :-)

Blend the cream cheese until smooth, add the peanut butter, blend until smooth, add sugar, again blend well (scrapping sides as needed with a spatula, add eggs and vanilla and blend well)

Let me say that I was a little surprised when I unwrapped the snack size Reese's cup - I haven't bought theses in a LONG time and couldn't believe how they have shrunk - they are a lot smaller than they use to be.  Here is the snack size and the mini side by side.  I wish I had a regular Reeses to compare it to.


Cut up the snack size Reese's peanut butter cups - I just cut them into quarters.


Then add fold them into the cheesecake filling - use a spatula or spoon, you want to keep the pieces pretty whole.


Place the pre-baked crust in a large pan, and pour the Cheesecake filling over the top, now this is why you wanted the pan wrapped with aluminum foil. . . pour water into the pan around around the cheesecake - this is a water bath.  I always bake my cheesecake in a water bath, it makes the cheesecake nice and smooth and keeps it from cracking on the top.  Bake at 250 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.


When done, remove from oven and let cool for a bit - then top with mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (may have to press in a little bit).  Melt a little peanut butter in the microwave and drizzle over the top.


Now I would love to cut a slice and show you what it looks like inside (I would also like to sample it since I've never made it before) but...I don't want to give it to the birthday girl with a big piece missing out of it.

Refrigerate when done - it is best to make cheesecakes 24 hours ahead of time and allow proper time to chill in the fridge.  I hope she likes it !!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
 (serves 12)

For the crust:

4 tablespoons butter (not margarine), melted
2 cups Nutter Butter cookies, crushed fine (about 18 cookies)

For the filling:
3 pounds cream cheese
1/2 cup smooth Peanut Butter
2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
24 Snack Size Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (cut into quarters)

For the garnish (optional):
5 oz. Mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
1/4 cup melted Smooth Peanut Butter

To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Wrap the outside of a 10-by-3-inch springform pan tightly with foil (to prevent water from leaking in). Line the bottom with a parchment circle. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together melted butter and Nutter Butter crumbs. Place in pan and press down firmly and evenly. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside to cool.

To make the filling: Place cream cheese in a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed until soft (6 to 8 minutes). Use a rubber spatula to scrape bowl often to ensure even distribution.

Add peanut butter and blend.  Add sugar and blend well, scraping bowl just until mixture is smooth (no lumps). Reduce mixing speed to low, then slowly add eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined.

Remove bowl from mixer. With a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in chopped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups into batter. Pour batter into pan prepared with crumb crust; place cheesecake pan into large roasting or cake pan. Fill roasting pan with water, leaving 1 inch of space from the top of the cheesecake pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours (usually 2 hrs and 45 minutes is perfect), until top of cheesecake is slightly golden.

To make the garnish: top with mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (pressing into top a little) and drizzle with melted Peanut Butter.

Refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving.




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Monday, April 23, 2012

Trisha Yearwood's Crock Pot Mac & Cheese


When I first found out Trisha Yearwood was going to have her own cooking show I was so excited and immediately set my TiVo to record every episode.  I have tried a few of her recipes - one of my faves being her Hot Corn Dip and they are all good !

I love macaroni and cheese and I like easy crock pot cooking so thought I would give this a try.



Trish Yearwood's Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick ) of butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Two 10-ounce bricks sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 5 cups)
  • Dash of paprika

Directions

First - grate your cheese - I decided to use one brick of mild and one brick of sharp - whoo hoo, good arm exercise and boy is that a lot of cheese

Spray crockpot with non-stick cooking spray (like Pam), mix the macaroni, evaporated milk, milk, butter, salt, pepper, eggs and all but 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top of the mixture and then sprinkle with paprika.

Notice that it didn't say to pre-cook the macaroni so I didn't and it all was done and tender when I took it out.  However, when I watched her cooking show, she pre-cooked it and added it - I might try that next time but it cooked just fine adding in dried pasta.


Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours and 15 minutes. Turn off the crockpot, stir the mixture and serve hot. 


The finished dish was not as thick as I like mac and cheese to be.....If I make this again, I will leave out half of the milk, I would add a little bit of dry mustard and I would use all sharp cheddar. 



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Sunday, April 22, 2012

50 Random Questions

1. What time did you get up this morning? 3 am; 4 am; 5 am and finally 6:30 am

2. How do you like your steak?  Medium Well

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?  Chimpanzee, just yesterday

4. What is your favorite TV show? Castle

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? In a big house on the beach

6. What did you have for breakfast today?  Nothing

7. Are you in a relationship? Not at the moment

8. Is there someone special you want to be in a relationship with? Not at the moment

9. What foods do you dislike? Not especially fond of onions

10. Are you saved? Yes

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? 2003 Chevy

12. What are your favorite clothes?  Comfortable ones

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?  Europe, Hawaii, New York City, Chicago, San Diego, San Antonio - heck just about anywhere except the middle east (wouldn't feel safe there)

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?   Full

15. Where would you want to retire?  See # 5

16. Favorite time of day?  Bedtime

17. Where were you born? Duluth, GA

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?  Pro football

19. Who do you think will not tag you back?  Not tagging anyone

20. Person you expect to tag you back first? Not a fan of the tagging

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?  Did you not read #19-20

22. Bird watcher?  Yes

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?  Both

24. Do you have any pets?  No

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?  I just received Manager of the Month at work.

26. What did you want to be when you were little?  A vet

27. What is your best childhood memory? Playing with my brother and sister

28. Are you a cat or dog person? Both, but prefer to be around dogs

29. Are you married?  No

30. Always wear your seat belt? Not always

31. Been in a car accident?  Just fender benders

32. Any pet peeves? We all have pet peeves

33. Favorite Pizza Topping? Pepperoni

34. Favorite Flower?  Daisy

35. Favorite ice cream?  Pralines and Cream

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? Burger King for burgers, McDonald's for fries

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test?  1

38. From whom did you get your last email?   Verizon

39. Which store would you choose to max out your card? Pottery Barn

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? Hmmm...can't think of anything

41. Like your job?  Yes

42. How many true friends do you have? 4

43. What was your favorite vacation?  South Dakota

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?  Teresa

45. What are you listening to right now?  Fox's 25 Anniversary Special

46. What is your favorite color? Purple or Green

47. How many tattoos do you have? 0

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz? Once again see #19-20

49. What time did you finish this quiz? 9:29 pm Sunday, 04/22/12

50. Coffee Drinker? No
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Funny Friday - Kitty in Glasses

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Trip to Las Vegas

My friend Lynn and I went to Las Vegas a couple of months ago and had a BLAST !! We took so many pictures but I took my photos and her photos and narrowed it down to my faves. Here is the book I made on Shutterfly. I love it !

Click here to view this photo book larger

Visit Shutterfly.com to create your own personalized photobook.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Crab & Swiss Quiche


Gee, can you tell where I usually grocery shop?

So..I haven't posted a recipe in a while and was thinking about how I haven't made quiche in a while.  I love this recipe.  Many, many, many years ago, I was flipping through one of my mom's church cookbooks (which are the best by the way) and came across a recipe my Aunt Evelyn had submitted called "Hamburger Quiche".  My mom and all her sisters are great cooks so it got my attention right away, especially when I read that crab could be substituted for ground beef.

Here is the recipe as it appears in the cook book:
 You can see it calls for green onion, which I admit adds good flavor, but I don't care for it because it is an overbearing/strong flavor to me, so I use a few dashes of onion powder instead.  Also, I forget the cornstarch about half the time - it helps the thicken up the quiche but if you leave it out, just cook the quiche a tad bit longer.

This recipe is very versatile and I can't believe it only calls for 2 eggs but it really is enough.   I always use a deep dish pie shell.  The funny thing is, I never made the Hamburger Quiche version.  I have made the Crab & Swiss many, many times.  I've also  made diced ham and swiss, sausage and Cheddar and even just plain cheese quiche with Cheddar, Monterrey Jack and Swiss.  I'll have to try the Hamburger version one of these days.

I posted this recipe on Allrecipes many years ago and they actually gave it 2 different names and put it in 2 different categories.  It is funny, the recipe is the same but the reviews can be so different - LOL !  One is listed as Crab and Swiss Quiche and the other is listed as Crab Quiche II.  They both have 4 1/2 stars so I guess that is pretty good at least.



Crab & Swiss Quiche
  • 1 (9 inch) deep dish pie crust
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 pound imitation crabmeat 
  • Onion powder (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Old Bay Seasoning (if desired, to taste)
 Preheat oven to 350, mix eggs, milk, mayo, cornstarch, cheese, crab meat, onion powder (or diced green onions), black pepper and pour into pie shell.  If desired (and I always desire), sprinkle with Old Bay Seafood seasoning.


Bake at 350 for 30 - 40 minutes, until knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool slightly and enjoy.  Note:  At the 30 minute mark, I like to sprinkle the quiche with real shredded Parmesan cheese (not the grated Kraft in the can but the shredded kind you can buy or shred yourself), then bake the remaining 10 minutes.

Oh so good !!!

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Funny Friday - Cute Kids Sprayed with Water

These kids are just too darned cute !!  I love the look of anticipation with the little girl is about to be sprayed.

I promise this will make you laugh !!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Favorite TV Character - Sue Heck !

I feel like there are not many shows on TV that families can watch and enjoy together.  There are plenty of shows for adults (CSI, Grey's Anatomy, Castle, 20/20, etc) but I wouldn't let my kids watch those shows.  There are plenty of shows for kids (iCarly, Wizards of Waverly Place, The Suite Life, etc) but adults don't always necessarily enjoy them.

There are only a handful of shows families can watch and enjoy together, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars and The Middle.   When I was a kid, there were lots of sitcoms on TV that we could watch and my parents liked too.  But on the main 3 networks, I can only think of one sitcom that adults would like and I wouldn't mind my kids watching and that is The Middle.

My favorite character on The Middle (and one of my all time fave TV characters) is Sue Heck, who is the middle child and the only daughter of the family.

Why do I love Sue? Mainly because she is so upbeat and positive.  You rarely see Sue when she isn't smiling, even in situations where most people would not. 

She is definitely not the most graceful person in the world, in fact she is quite the opposite, a bit clumsy and accident prone but she is feisty and determined and when she sets her mind to something, she doesn't quit. Poor Sue, things don't generally go her way, even when they should.  Bad luck tends to follow her around but in the end, she remains upbeat.

She can take pretty much any situation and turn it into something positive.  Plus she is not afraid to try new things - most girls that are considered "geeks" or "nerds" at school would never try out for cheerleading but not Sue - heck, she decided to start a whole cheerleading squad for the high school basketball team because they didn't have any cheer leaders.


I love Sue's style.  She is bright and fun - while considered a geek or nerd at school, she does not see herself in that light - she is confident, smart, funny and positive.  Sue is the kind of girl that always sees the silver lining behind the dark cloud.  She is a go-getter.


I strive to be more like Sue, happy with yourself, confident, positive and always seeing the good things in life.  If more people were like her, the world would be a better place.

Recently, Sue was suppose to get her braces off but was told she had to wear them a bit longer.  I was looking forward to what she'd look like without them.  Now I kind of know....

Sue (who is approx 14 - 15 years old) is played by the incredibly talented 20 year old Eden Sher, who is anything but a geek and here is what she looks like without the braces.


So.... Here is to a good family sitcom with a positive and happy character - yeah for Sue Heck !!!


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Sunday, April 1, 2012

2012 Movies

Listing of movies I've seen in 2012 (does not include movies I've re-watched)

January 2012
Something Borrowed - good story but moved a little slow I thought
Mean Girls - really liked it
Hall Pass - just okay - was crude and predictable
Twilight - Breaking Dawn Part I - good, a little cheesy when the werewolves talked to each other though
Insidious - not as scary as I thought it would be but was creepy and spooky without gore
The Artist - I LOVED this movie - LOVED it !!    ❤ ❤ ❤
The Karate Kid (the newer one with Jaden Smith) - never saw it before, they should have named it The Kung-Fu Kid, I wonder why they didn't?
The Descendants - good movie, good acting, beautiful location 

February 2012
Extremely Loud and Incredible Close - good acting, had a lot of narration, a little upsetting
Warhorse - Epic storytelling in classic Steven Spielberg fashion - I loved it
Moneyball - true story - good but kind of slow for me
Ides of March - very good, incredible to know stuff like that (or worse) goes on in real life. 
Tree of Life - very artsy movie that was HORRIBLE
Midnight in Paris - sweet, charming and romantic. 

March 2012
The Way - staring Martin Sheen, about a man taking over a pilgrimage for his son, pretty good
Legally Blond 2 - I love Reese Witherspoon but ... the first Legally Blond was great, the didn't need #2
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - very funny movie - romance but also drama - I loved it.
Cedar Rapids - watched on HBO, was just okay
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son - also on HBO - also just okay
Bridemaids - not as crude as I thought it was going to be (really only a couple of crude scenes), it was a pretty good story but not sure what the big hoopla was about it.  Also don't know why Melissa McCarthy was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, she did a fine job but she wasn't any more special then the other girls in it.  
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