Each person should judge his own actions and not compare himself with others. Then he can be proud for what he himself has done. Galatians 6:4

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm going where my toes won't get cold
I'm going where I can wear my flip-flops for at least 4 days
I'm going where my living room won't be full of 13-14 year old boys
I'm going where the sun will shine down on my face
I'm going, but I won't be gone for long....

And I'm going ...ALONE!
I'm loving it!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I normally don't do this a lot.. but I found this blog.. actually I read about it and went over to peek...

It is the CUTEST... and not only is it cute and frugal.. she is giving the coolest REUSABLE sacks away from hotSACKS. I don't know about you.. but I'm getting tired of all the plastic bags that I save up and cram in my pantry... these would be an adorable addition to that cause...
I absolutely ADORE these bags...
So RUN over to JANE4girls$800annualbudget .. and put your name in to win!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

You know...
I read many many blogs... and try to comment on them all....
I felt that I had to share this blog I read... all the time...
It took me a few reads to realize that the talent behind this blog was from a HighSchooler!
Her wisdom and encouragement is above and beyond...

So.. if you have nothing to do.. do me a favor.. and go visit my awesome Blog Friend Mere....

The Babblings of Mere and leave her a comment!! I thought I would do this RAOK for today.. for her...

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's Seriously To Cold to Blog....

I can deal with mounds and mounds of snow.. but the FREEZING WEATHER.. that bugs me.. that holds me in my home.. and drives me INSANE!! This morning.. at 8:30 am on my way to work.. my car read MINUS 13 degrees.. and the wind was blowing.. so what was the real temp? I don't even WANT to know...

Thought I would share some lovely pictures of New England...
This is my poor neighbor across the street.. I took this picture out my front window... she's all snowed in...

And these are just some random pictures I took trying out my lens on my camera.. I tend to ignore one of my lenses.. so I pulled it out and played with it..

With it being so cold.. I ran to my local library to grab a few books out.. I think everyone else in town had the same idea because the "new book" shelves were pretty bare. I did however find the latest book in the Elm Creek Quilters Series. I was kind of disappointed when I picked up the book and noted that it was "small" in size...

The story was VAGUE.. and a quick read.. I'm talking an HOURS read.. the story is "enveloped" in between a series of recipes. Now don't get me wrong.. I LOVE recipes.. you all know that.. but there was truly NO "meat" to this story. If you have read ANY of the books in this series you would understand my disappointment. Jennifer Chiaverini is an EXCELLENT author with amazing talents to dig up history and intertwine them with today's characters. This book gave no such talent. At one point.. I almost said "forget it" and was going to return it.. but I gave in and finished it... I don't feel that her story of the Elm Creek Quilters ends here.. so I will be looking forward to another book in the series in the future.

Now this book... I LOVED it.. it's a new spin off series of the "Yada Yada" Novels
This book is a bit more serious than the other books in the previous series.. but it WILL suck you in right away.. and you will bond with the character right off...
Here is what the author says about the book

Gabrielle Fairbanks has nearly lost touch with the carefree, spirited young woman she was when she married her husband sixteen years ago. But when the couple moves to Chicago to accommodate Philip’s ambition, Gabby longs for the chance to find real purpose in her own life.

A chance encounter with a homeless woman suddenly opens a door she never expected. The women of Manna House Women’s Shelter need a Program Director—and she has the right credentials. Gabby’s in her element, feeling God’s call on her life at last, even though Philip doesn’t like the changes he sees in her. But she never anticipated his ultimatum: quit your job at the shelter or risk divorce and losing custody of our sons.
In this moment, Gabby’s entire foundation shifts. She must find refuge, as in the song they sing at Sunday worship: “Where do I go when there’s no one else to turn to . . . I go to the Rock I know that’s able, I go to the Rock.”

At the end of this book I was so ANGRY.. ANGRY at one of the characters.. and a bit upset with the Author for leaving it where it ended.. and then realizing the next book doesn't come out until September.... When will I learn to read a series AFTER all the books have come out.. Ü

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I'm ADDICTED.. and I can't help it... I never in my life thought I would love a video game... NEVER... but this isn't your ordinary video game I guess....
My son bought...

I have never laughed so much.. I have never ignored so many things in my life to rock out to this!! Ok.. I'll admit it.. back in the 80's/90's I had my fair share of Rock Out Days.. YES.. I was one of those girls who used a can of aqua net a week.. ( sorry.. wasn't aware of the ozone back then like I am now.. or should I truly say I didn't care back then?). I saw so many bands in concert... and even went to a Motley Crue concert severely sick with Mononucleosis .. I landed in the hospital two days later... I had lost 30lbs that summer running the roads.. hanging out with friends.. working... and waiting to see the next hair band. You secretly want to know who my favorite band was??????? GUESS!!! That is if you remember the hair bands!! LOL LOL!!
Would I shock you if I told you my basement has Albums ( yes those record things) with "original" album covers to some bands back then.
A girl friend and I use to run to the record stores ( remember those) and grab the album the day it came out because we KNEW that the covers would soon be "banned" from the public.. thanks to Tipper Gore ( we weren't fans of hers back in the day)... But now being a mother.. I can understand WHY she went that route...
So now in my basement I have album covers that wouldn't SHOCK the public now.. like they would have 20 years ago...

That went a direction I didn't plan... so back to the Rock Band.. NONE of the boys that come and play want to sing... sooooooooooo GUESS who gets to sing... YUP.. you're "talking" to her!! I got to say... I usually kick the other members butt's with the final score.. my highest... 99% on Expert.. Thank You Bon Jovi for the endless nights and days running around singing your songs.. when others thought it would get me NO WHERE.. boy were they WRONG!!! It got me to be the TOP PERFORMER on ROCK BAND!!!!!! WOO HOO!!! LOL LOL LOL...
And something I realized... I guess I NEVER really knew all the TRUE words to Hungry Like the Wolf... ooopsss Sorry Duran Duran...

NOW!! What I would like to see.. is some Contemporary Christian Rock Band Groups!! Hey.. a Girl Can dream... right?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

King Arthur has to be one of my favorite places about living in New England. Once you walk through their open doors ... it's like you're stepping in to a whole new world... even if you don't bake/cook something will draw you in.. if it's not the fresh baked goods.. it could be the huge cookie cutters or even the gigantic chocolate chips that you're dreaming about biting into!

When their catalog comes to me.. I paw through it to try and bake something from their recipes inside of their catalog. I'll be honest.. NOT all the recipes draw me in.. but there is always one that catches my eye.

Golden Focaccia was one of them. I see these breads in the grocery store ALL the time.. and dream of eating one... once I catch a look at the price I usually end up putting it back and declining the offer. After making one of these breads this weekend ( yes weekend)... I realized that maybe those prices aren't so obnoxious after all.

I do want to make mention that I think the instructions for this recipe were some what poorly written... someone like myself who bakes/cooks all the time had me scratching my head at one part... and as I sat there and wondered.. I went with my instincts on what to do. *** I added my own pictures to show you what I did a bit different.

I left this overnight... those black "specks" are actually air bubbles


* 1/2 cup cool water
* 1/16 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast
* 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose

I threw the dough in the bread machine so I could walk away and do other things... The recipe tells you that you can do this.. HOWEVER.. it doesn't tell you if the first rise in the machine is "actually" your first rise of a two hour period.. So I made it so...

This is me poking it to have it deflate for the second rise...

This is the dough in a lightly greased bowl.. I let rise one more hour....

* 2 teaspoons instant yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
* 1/2 cup lukewarm water*
* all of the starter (above)
* 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
* 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
* 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* *Use 1 tablespoon less in summer (or in a humid environment), 1 tablespoon more in winter (or in a dry climate).


* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
* 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt

Here.. I rolled it out and had to let it rise YET.. again...for about 2 more hours....

After the 2 or so hours.. I had to "dimple" the bread... I wasn't impressed with the "crusty" appearance of the dough... but in the end... it really didn't matter.....

1) To make the starter: Mix the water and 1/16 teaspoon yeast, then add the flour, stirring till the flour is incorporated. The starter will be paste-like; it won't form a ball.

2) Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; the starter will be bubbly. If you make this in the late afternoon, it'll be ready to go by the next morning.

3) To make the dough: If you're using active dry yeast, dissolve it with a pinch of sugar in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water. Let the yeast and water sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, until the mixture has bubbled and expanded. If you're using instant yeast, you can skip this step.

4) Combine the dissolved yeast (or instant yeast) with the remaining dough ingredients, and mix and knead—by hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle—to make a soft, smooth dough. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take about 7 minutes at second speed.

5) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 1 hour.

6) Gently deflate it, and allow it to rise for another hour; it should have doubled in bulk from its original volume.

7) Lightly grease an 18" x 13" baking sheet with a rim (or two 9" x 13" pans) with non-stick vegetable oil spray. Drizzle olive oil atop the spray; the spray keeps the bread from sticking, while the olive oil gives the bottom crust great crunch and flavor.

8) If you're using the baking sheet, gently pull and shape the dough into a rough rectangle, and pat it into the pan. As soon as it begins to fight you and shrink back, stop patting. If you're using two 9" x 13" pans, divide the dough in half, shape each half into a rough rectangle, and pat one piece into each pan. When the pieces start to shrink back, stop patting. Wait 15 minutes; pat the dough farther towards the edges of the pan(s). Repeat once more, if necessary, till the dough is close to covering the bottom of the pan(s).

9) Cover the pan, and allow the dough to rise till it's very puffy, almost billowy. This will take about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

10) Gently dimple the dough at irregular intervals with your fingers, pressing down firmly, but not abruptly; you don't want to deflate it too much.

11) Spritz heavily with warm water, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil (or enough to collect a bit in the dimples), then sprinkle with rosemary (or the herb of your choice), black pepper, and a bit of coarse salt, to taste.

12) Bake the focaccia for about 10 minutes. Reverse the pan(s) in the oven (top pan on the bottom, bottom pan on the top), and bake until the focaccia is light golden brown, about another 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and immediately turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

Here was my final result....

My final thought.. this is definitely a bread that needs to be dipped in a flavored oil ( As king arthur recommends)... or it will be a NICE compliment to a green salad! I took it out of the oven about 30 minutes ago and before I sat to blog... half of it was already gone....with thumbs up!!
So if you have a whole weekend to dedicate to make this flat bread... go ahead and give it a whirl...

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New YEAR!!!!
I hope everyone has a WONDERFUL 2009
I know I'm looking forward to forgetting about 2008 and moving forward!

This past Christmas I made a soup for my in-laws. They have become.. vegetarians.. or should I say they are trying to change the way they eat. I wanted to make them something that they could eat and NOT worry about eating. I cruised on-line and found a FABULOUS soup!!

My intent is to always try and photograph what I cook and share it here.. but I NEVER remember to do it... but the night before Christmas.. I remembered.. so I'm going to share some pics with you.. it's NOT step by step.. well.. cause I did FORGET to take some pictures in between... so I will share what I have...

Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Soup with Caramelized Vidalia Onions from THIS site.

1 lg. butternut squash (about 3 lbs.)
1 head of garlic
2 lg. vidalia onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 C. of vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dry, rubbed sage
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste

Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Cut butternut squash in half. Remove stringy insides and seeds. Discard.

3. Place squash halves in a roasting pan, skin-side-down. Roast 20 minutes.

4. With a sharp knife, cut off the top of the head of garlic, leaving cloves barely exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and place garlic in pan with squash.

5. Roast squash and garlic together about 20 minutes more, until squash is very tender.

6. While squash is cooking, caramelize onions. Combine onions and 1-2 tbsp. olive oil in a hot skillet.

7. Sprinkle with sage, salt, and pepper. Saute until brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally.

8. Remove squash and garlic from the oven and allow to cool about 15 minutes before handling. Scrape out squash flesh and squeeze out garlic cloves.

9. Bring vegetable broth to a simmer in a large pot. Add squash, garlic, and 3/4 of the caramelized onions.

10. Simmer 5 minutes, then blend with an immersion blender. (Alternately, you can blend squash, onions, and garlic together with a food processor before adding to vegetable broth.)

11. Add basil and more salt and pepper to taste.

12. Simmer 15-20 minutes. Top each bowl with remaining caramelised onions.

In the recipe it calls for you to bake the squash for about 40 minutes.. I'll be honest.. it took me a little over an hour to get it soft... and I still felt it could have been cooked awhile longer... But this is the squash and the garlic cooked together... I had all I could do not to take a bite of this!!

In the mean time I had to caramelize my onions... so I took some butter and a chunk of brown sugar and melted it together... ( great measurements there.. huh?)

then added my onions and cooked them on medium until they turned a nice golden brown...

I could eat these alone with a spoon and be in heaven!!!

The final result... mmmmmmm it was nice and thick and WARM.. I served it up with my Sunflower seed bread! I have to say it really ended up being a hit!

This is what I'm reading now... I've had this book for about 2 or 3 years ..I bought it and at first didn't seem interested in it.. so back on my shelf it went... Now I'm REALLY enjoying it!! and actually can't wait to read the others that go along with it!!