Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

stinky hair

Since my kids have been so stinky sweaty with the INSANE heatwave we’ve had, they’ve been getting a bath and hair-washing every night. You may remember the lice-repellent shampoo I bought the other day… Well, it arrived Monday via UPS and I’ve been using it and the other products every day. I must say that because of my love of cooking, I really enjoy the fresh, herbal smell… Abby thinks it smells like my spice cabinet in the kitchen and hates it.

It’s made with rosemary oil, tea tree oil, lavender, citronella, lemongrass and geranium… Ok, so maybe she does smell like the spice cabinet (now that I think about it). I don’t care what she smells like (as long as it’s not mayo) – lice are no match for me!


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Girls’ Night…

Well BUNKO was a success (even though a few of the undesirables showed up). Once a year we all have to host at our house. The hostess provides dinner and a $10 gift, but doesn’t have to pay to play. Anyway, my “theme” was a backyard BBQ and I had a boston butt, baked beans, coleslaw and peach/kiwi cobbler for dessert. It was extremely yummie. Everything was a big hit, but everyone kept talking about the beans. SO SIMPLE!

Laura’s Baked Beans:

4 cans Pork n’ Beans

1 can baby limas

1 diced onion

1c katchup

2T mustard

2tsp balsamic vinegar

2tsp worcestershire sauce

1c brown sugar

salt and pepper to taste

and I added a few dashes of Texas Pete hot sauce

Mix all together and pour into a 9×13 Pyrex dish. Top with slices of bacon and bake on 350˚ for 1 hour. EASY-PEASY!


No Bunko night would be complete without a bit of alcohol either. We normally pair our meals with a bottle of wine or beer (even though some of the ladies bring wine coolers… ewww). Anyway, Shannie brought the makings for Sangria and between the 2 of us, we drank like a pitcher-and-a-half. They were SO GOOD… but LETHAL! It hit me before I knew it. Oh my goodness, what a headache this morning!


Ok, we took some pictures of ourselves last night so you could see what the new generation of Bunko is supposed to look like! We’re not just a bunch of old ladies playing dice… We’re fun! And we like to have fun!

Oh, and in case you were wondering… Shannie IS NOT FAT! OMG – That’s all she talks about. You don’t need Beer Goggles for this one… I think she’s crazy! Look at that skinny thing (she’s the one in pink).


Ali – I am purposely putting this picture of you up here… you sex-kitten! Look at you posing like Posh Spice.  LOL! I had fun, girls! Let’s do it again soon… just the 3 of us! No bunko-sticks-in-the-mud allowed!

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What is it about cupcakes that make everybody happy? Cupcakes are so inviting and always make me feel so good – eating them, decorating them, baking them… They are the perfect proportions of cake and icing wrapped up in a neat little paper cup. Who can resist them? Surely not my family. The kids actually start foaming at the mouth at the mere mention of cupcakes. I have a tried-and-true recipe for basic cupcakes that I always follow and I’ve talked about it before. It’s so easy and it calls for everything you should already have in the house anyway. It’s a recipe by Nigella Lawson that I absolutely adore.

Super Simple Cupcakes

1 stick soft butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
Take everything you need out of the fridge in time to get to room temperature (This makes a huge difference to the lightness of the cupcakes). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.Put all of the ingredients for the cupcakes except for the milk into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Pulse while adding the milk down the funnel, to make a smooth dropping consistency (I usually use all 3 Tbsp).

Divide the mixture between a 12-bun muffin tin lined with muffin papers, and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes (18 minutes in my oven). They should have risen and be golden on top. Let them cool a little in their tins on a rack, and then take them carefully out of the tin to cool in their papers, still on the wire rack.


Last night I decided to make 2 different kinds. One basic vanilla (see recipe above) with store bought (heaven forbid) vanilla icing and colorful sprinkles, and the other recipe was a mango cupcake with vanilla icing topped with toasted coconut. It was good: I added about 1/2 cup of mango puree’ (1 whole mango) to the batter and upped the flour to a whole cup. They were good, but a little mild – they needed some kick. Maybe next time I make the mango ones, I’ll add a squirt of lime juice to the batter… something to liven them up a bit.


Mommy’s little helper was in full swing last night too. She was sitting on the stepstool laying out paper muffin cups. Big helper! Only problem is that the cupcakes were already in the oven by this time. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts, right?

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Well, for the second morning in a row – Miss Abby woke up in a splendid mood! She decided she wanted to wake up to High School Musical’s We’re All In This Together this morning and by the time I got back there, she was sitting up in her bed JAMMIN’! Another day that she started in a GREAT MOOD! She got dressed, I fixed her hair, she helped me wake Maggie up and then took her medicine before I could even blink an eye. Maybe we’ve turned a corner…

Patrick is home sick today and I had to wake up early enough to get ready, fix Abby’s lunch, get both girls ready and get both of them to school on time. Not too bad. I even had time to spare to do a load of laundry. Woohoo! I like waking up a bit early. Anyway, I fixed Abby the cutest little lunch today. She has a toasted cinnamon mini bagel, carrots and ranch (which will probably come home – but at least I made the effort), blueberry applesauce, a grape juice box, 2 marshmallows and 2 midgie tootsie rolls. She’s going to love it!

sorry it’s a bit blurry…

Now I’m going to be singing those darn songs all day… Go Wildcats!

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such a mess…

Why is it that cooking breakfast meses up the whole kitchen?

1. a bowl for whisking the eggs

2. a bowl for mixing the pancakes

3. a pan for cooking the bacon

4. a plate for draining the bacon

5. a large skillet for cooking pancakes

6. a pan for keeping the pancakes warm in the oven

7. a pot for cooking grits

8. a nasty stove with bacon grease splattered all over it

9. about a billion spoons, forks, knives, whisks, etc strewn all over the kitchen!

Now my sink and dishwasher are full and I STILL have laundry to do. Well, on grocery night I always let Abby pick what she wants for dinner. It’s usually Spaghetti O’s or “TV Dinners” (which are Banquet fried chicken frozen meals) – her 2 favorites. Tonight, she picked breakfast! It was good. Maybe the half-pound of bacon I ate has something to do with those stuborn pounds I can’t get rid of. Maybe…

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all sweet – no sour!

We had so much fun tonight. After we got home, Abby and Maggie helped me make lemonade.
No, not Country Time – the real stuff. It really tastes so much better. It can even end up being cheaper if lemons are on sale (which they WEREN’T today). I always use a tried-and-true recipe I’ve had in my head for years: 1c lemon juice (about 6 lemons), 5 cups water and 1 1/3 cups sugar. It’s sweet and tart and oh so yummie! AND it tastes even better when you squeeze the lemons with an antique juicer. This one used to belong to my great grandparents.

Then we sat down to eat steak fajitas and spanish rice. Dinners like these are always fun. Why do kids tend to eat more (or actually eat for a change) when they get to get their hands dirty making it? Well, at least tonight’s dinner was a success… Notice our lovely glassware. Hey, we’ve got kids. And where you have kids – you have LOTS of plastic cups!

Oh and my recycle bin came today. I’m so excited. AND it already has 2 beer bottles in it. What? I couldn’t leave it empty it’s first night at it’s new home, could I?

After dinner, we went outside to swing (“ping” as Maggie calls it) and we took a walk around the neighborhood looking for a bunny who has made some “deposits” in our backyard. While we were out we decided to walk up to the neighborhood pool to see the progress. I must say that it looks great! After the tornado practically demolished our house and several others around us last year, it headed over to the pool and did a number on it as well. They’ve totaly resurfaced it, painted the cabana, put in surveilance (finally), put in a flat screen tv… I can’t wait until they open it up next month!

Ok, I’m editing this entry slightly: I just put 6 wine bottles in my shiny new recycle bin too. No, they’re not all from tonight – I’ve been washing them and saving them for when the city delivered my bin. Promise… Scout’s Honor!

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Go chek out this post on one of my new favorite blogs, Paper Bluebird. They just went on a farm tour in NC where they live and it looks SO COOL! I TOTALY want to do this with the girls. I think it’s really important for them to know that food just doesn’t come from the store… there are lots of factors that go into Mommy putting dinner on the table: chickens laying eggs, cows giving milk, people picking the vegetables and fruit, etc…

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