Friday, December 18, 2009

Another Chance to Win...

So many bloggers get cool things to offer their blog readers... and some, like McMama just buy really cool things to give away to their readers... (Side note... why don't companies contact me for this stuff? Oh well - maybe one day - I certainly can't afford to buy my readers anything-Sorry!).

If you're interesting in getting some really awesome stuff to help you with photography, then check out MckMama's site. Check it out anyway because it's a great site, and she's just awesome. For another chance to win... head over to Grammie Mommy's site...

I'm blogging about this to get another chance to win these items, because I have a dream of being able to be a good photographer... and I think I need good editing software in order to do this... that makes sense, right???

Here's to hoping I win :-)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Okra and Tomatoes

Okra can be a strange thing, and some people are afraid of its slime... not me, I embrace it! Seriously though, I think it's a really yummy vegetable. My mom cooked it all the time growing up, either by using the recipe I'm about to give you(or something similar) or by frying... that's good to!!!!

If you've never tried okra, it's likely best to wait till summer when it is actually fresh (fresh tastes better), but in a pinch you can use frozen which is what I've been doing the last few weeks!

Okra and Tomatoes
1 bag of frozen okra(or 1 lb fresh) chopped
1 large (28oz) can tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced, pressed... your choice
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp olive oil

Heat olive oil in skillet (use something that has a lid). Add onion and saute for a few minutes. Add in the garlic, and then the okra. If using frozen okra, allow to heat up just a minute or 2. Add the tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer with the lid on for about 20 mins... Serve :-)

See... I told you it was easy!

If you are using fresh then put everything in the pot together after adding the onion and simmer.

What I've Been Eating This Week

The holidays are a difficult time to maintain a healthy lifestyle of any sort. Seriously, people bring all kinds of things into the office--I'm guilty of it too!!!! But, I make every effort to stay healthy.

Here's what I've been eating this week:

Breakfast: Oatmeal, Milk(fat-free), Coffee (with fat-free milk and sugar free vanilla syrup!)
S: Cheese Stick, Olives, Grapes (1/2c)
L: Quinoa and Black Beans, Garlicky Butternut Squash, Green beans
S: Cheese Stick, Grapes (1/2c)
D: Roast Chicken(from Costco b/c it's only $5!), Okra and Tomatoes(I realize this recipe isn't on my site -shame on me - so I'll post it soon)

This menu is flavorful and good for you so it helps keep me sane during this time of year!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Giveaways and Other Fun Sites

I've become a slight blog freak... ACK! It's relatively unfortunate, but I love them... it helps that we don't have cable right now and I can read them all to my hearts content because we don't get much on the 7 channels that come through :-)

Here's one of the blogs that I have started to follow, and really enjoy. If you need other recommendations, let me know :-)

Oh, and did I mention she's giving away a Kitchen Aid Mixer right now... my oh my, what a wonderful invention!!!!! Visit the link below if you want to enter...

She's Becoming Doughmesstic

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Friends and Babies :-)

So... I'm a people pleaser... A friend's friend... someone who loves other people and gives as much as I can to hopefully make their life better... Sometimes I would/do get hurt because I want people to give as much to me as I give to them, and it just doesn't happen that way. This bugged me a lot in high school--not so much now that I'm older and wiser (Yes, I'm almost 30... ACK!)!!!

My mom always told me that when I was older (30 is older, right? Yes, yes it is!), that I would be luck if I could count my good friends on one hand. Of course, I didn't believe her because I'm everyone's friend (or at least I was when I was growing up)... but she was right. (Yes, mom, I said it!) I am very lucky to be able to consider the women I call friends my friends. I can be real with them and they still love me, and I can give myself to them and they feel loved by me (I think). There aren't a ton of them, but I'm ok with that because I realize that having good friends is important, and the one below is a precious precious friend who I am blessed beyond measure to know!!!!

This is my best friend Kristi... there are tons of pictures I could show you over our 14-15 yr friendship that began at Camp Crestridge for Girls one summer. But I'm choosing this one. Why? Because it's the most recent one, and it's from her shower a few weeks ago. You see, she's going to be giving birth soon... to my "nephew" Carver Jacob! (I'm not entirely convinced that the Jacob isn't because of her obsession with the Twilight series, though I'm sure she's Team Edward as most sane women are!)... Anyway - she's pregnant... and due at the end of December. I'm so excited for her I can barely stand it. I only wish that I lived closer to her now--She's in GA, and I'm in TN--so that I could be there when the Carver decides to make his appearance. Have no fear, I will be around shortly there after... because I won't be able to resist.

She's going to make a wonderful momma! How do I know? Because she's a wonderful friend, and I know in my heart of hearts that being able to open your hear and be a wonderful friend is the makings of a wonderful momma!

So, here are some pictures of our most recent encounter at her shower. It was at the home of another former Crestridger, Rebecca! We Crestridgers stick together... it's almost like our own little sorority...

Kristi holding the blanket that I knitted for Carver. (There was a hat and booties too... and TONS of other gifts... the budget thing I posted about earlier kinda went out the window :-) )
These are all of Carver's awesome gifts... and NO, I didn't purchase all of these... I promise!

This is the wonderful spread that Rebecca put together for the event. There were even some deliriously awesome Oreo Cake Balls (recipe at the bottom)...

And these were the star of the show (Well, besides Kristi and Carver of course!)... These cupcakes, with Carver's initials were flavored in Chocolate, Vanilla, Red Velvet, and Key Lime... they were delicious!!!!

And now for the Oreo Cake balls. I'm warning you on this... these are great, but only make them to give away because the one thing they are NOT good for is your waist line... SERIOUSLY!

Oreo Cake Balls
- 1 bag of oreos
- 1 box of cream cheese (8oz I believe)
- white almond bark, melted (You can color this with food coloring to match whatever theme you are doing... Christmas, baby shower, etc...
- parchment paper
- a cuisinart...

Seriously, it's that easy.

Grind the Oreoes in the cuisinart(or similar equipment). Blend together with the cream cheese (works best with slightly softened cream cheese). Let this mixture chill in the fridge for a little while. Scoop out and roll into balls, and dip completely into the melted almond bark. Place on the parchment paper and allow to cool... perhaps over night in the fridge...

Eat... Share... seriously, share them... I command you to share them, and so do your favorite jeans!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Orange Cranberry Bread

This bread is a favorite in our house around the holidays... you can make it any time of the year (as long as you have cranberries - which could of course be frozen)... we just like it best with fresh ingredients :-)
I have to be careful and give some away because my darling hubby and I like it too much!!!

Orange Cranberry Bread
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 large eggs
1 large orange
4 Tbsp. butter melted
2 cups cranberries, coarsely chopped
3/4 cups broken walnuts

Preheat over to 375. Grease 9 x 5 loaf pan. Grate peel from orange and squeeze 1/2 cup juice. Combine dry ingredients. Beat eggs, butter, orange peel, and juice. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture. Fold in cranberries and walnuts. Bake 55-60 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Nanaimo Bars - My Attempt at Winning the Company Bake-Off

Last year I won the bake off at work... with this recipe. So, this year I was decidedly going to make my mom's wonderful coconut cake, until they decided to change the rules and make it a cookie bake-off! The nerve! So, I needed to pull out all the stops, and I couldn't just do my basic chocolate chip cookies(but maybe I should have)...

I had made this recipe once before, and it was really well received. So, I decided to make it again.

Thanks Food Network :-) Though I inadvertently screwed up the recipe a bit, it was still a hit... even if it didn't even come in in the top 4 cookies entered. My coworkers really seemed to enjoy them, and I guess that's all that matters.

Here's the recipe in case you want it. And for copyright purposes I'm just giving you the link to the FoodNetwork's site because, while married to a lawyer, I'm not honestly sure how that works!

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars

I'll post pics later, and I'll sulk about not winning... at least for a little while... because I'm competitive, and because sulking is expected I think! I mean, the prize was a $75 Williams Sonoma gift card!!!!
(Update)Here are some pics... they are every bit as tasty as they are pretty.
This is the fudge that I made for hubby and my coworkers... it's a hit too, but I can't give out the recipe as my father-in-law would kill me... (It's a secret!)

Special Peanut Butter Cookies

I am making these for my Bunco Cookie Exchange in my neighborhood... They are a combination of my mom's peanut butter cookie recipe and these cookies that bakerella made... (I LOVE BAKERELLA!)

I would have just made Bakerella's recipe, but for our group we have to have a cookie that contained flour... which is where my mom's recipe came in. They turned out really yummy... and my coworkers, and my darling husband's coworkers all seemed to like them!

Peanutty Peanut Butter Cookies
¾ cup peanut butter
1 egg
½ cup shortening
1 ¾ cup flour
1 ¼ cup brown sugar
¾ tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. milk
¾ tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
Almond Bark (Chocolate)
Chopped Peanuts

Heat oven to 375. Cream butter, shortening, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Add egg and blend. Combine flour, salt, and soda and add to creamed mixture. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with form in crisscross pattern. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Do not overbake.

Once cookies have slightly cooled, melt almond bark (according to package directions). Dip opposite sides of the cookies into the melted almond bark(or melted chocolate chips) and then dip into the chopped peanuts. Allow cookies to cool on parchment paper.