Tuesday, December 27, 2011


It's always a bittersweet time for me. In so many ways I'm ready to control the chaos and return my house to its normal decently organized fly-lady clean state. On the flip side it seems so empty and in festive and bland after it is done. But it must come down as we can be the Griswolds all year and this today is the beginning of de-Christmasing and I say the beginning because it didn't go up in a day so it certainly won't come down in a day! So when do you start the process? And if you tell me your done....I'm jealous really really totally jealous!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Well Merry Christmas my peeps!
I've been cooking and eating and cooking and eating and I'm gonna pop!!  But until January 2nd, the holidays aren't over so I'm just gonna keep on doing it!!  I will have some new recipes and posts for you and there are many where I just got too stinking busy to take photos but hey that's just the way it goes sometimes!

In the meantime we've enjoyed our little family, missed the ones who aren't here with us and got word this morning that my crazy fun brother-in-law got his Christmas wish....a new grandson born today on his birthday. Which is especially joyful because...my BIL's son was born on his grandfathers birthday!!
It's been a great day of present opening and the kids getting way more than they wished for and the hubster and I feeling so blessed that we could shower the kiddos with gifts.   It seemed like the present opening went on for hours and we now have the trash to prove it!!

I'll try to be around some this week but as we clean and take down the decorations and shop a little bit more I'll be enjoying my family and I hope you will be too!  You never know when you won't have them any longer and Christmas morning is a time that I find especially difficult.  My dad wasn't much on most holidays and celebrations except Christmas and every year when we sit down for that big Christmas breakfast I think of him and wish that he was still here enjoying the biscuits and gravy like always.  Instead he's in heaven attending Jesus' birthday party and smiling down on us and feeling our love.


Merry Christmas....our new tradition, Christmas pj photos!!
Things to remember, this was taken about 2am after we attended Midnight Mass
AND hubster only took about 5 photos total.  We didn't have much to work with!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dis and Dat

well peeps...I really had the best of intentions of blogging all the yummy things I've been making BUT life keeps getting in the way.  It's ok...I love it when the kids are home, the house is full and everyone is running a thousand different directions and you never know who or how many will be at the house at a given time.   It's exhausting but it's great.  I try to get up in the morning and do the "chores" so we have the rest of the day to play.  This lets the kiddos sleep and then I still maintain some "order" in the house.
Some days it works..others like today means it's 10:40 am and I'm still in my jammies and robe sitting at the kitchen bar.
However I did want to share with you some Pinteresting crafts that have been done round these parts this year!

This is LauraLoo Who's wreath
I apologize for the bad photo because this thing was gorgeous!!!

This is my Saints inspired wreath that just happened to match our wild kingdom powder room
Also begging forgiveness for this photo, it's really hard to take good pictures in a powder room!

This is now hanging on the girls bathroom door
No- I do not have a DecoMesh habit, why do you ask?

This is the base of the stairs in the house

Here you can see a little more of the full staircase
yeah more DecoMesh...whatever!
I only bought like 5 (or more) rolls of the stuff.

Here is another DecoMesh wreath that is hanging on the hall tree in the entry
yeah ok, maybe a tiny little DecoMesh addiction

well seriously did you expect me to leave the poor tree out of the DecoMesh craze?
Ok fine..... I am Samma and I have a DecoMesh habit
Don't judge, I'm making a MardiGras wreath too...fair warning that this DecoMesh habit will not end for awhile!  I'm no quitter!!!

LauraLoo Who and I also made these Pinterest inspired crafts from wine bottles
they are lovely and we may or may not have used the spray adhesive in the house over the carpet and you may or may not stick to the cordless phone upstairs if you pick it up and my socks may or may not have had garland greenery and glitter stuck to the bottom of them.
We are not the tidiest crafters in the world but we have fun!

I don't know why this is here unless it's just to show you the ginormous poinsettia we bought at the costco.  So far I haven't killed it.

yeah this is just another view of the stairs...I keep trying to get a good photo but so far it's eluding me!

LauraLoo Who and I also made these cute little clipboards out of tiles we found in my attic
There's the peanut brittle recipe on the board...I've made that ALOT this year!
These were cute simple and fun too!

This is cute little wreath adorned with DecoMesh in my breakfast area...it matches the table runner and centerpiece. You'll just have to take my word on that one.

and finally our home...all decked out with lights and a LARGE 20ft Santa.
yes I said 20 foot.  I'm married to Clark Griswold...and that's ok.
I have suggested we make a sign that says "Santa's Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" what with the red lights and all...I was vetoed. bummer.

I promise to be back soon with Christmas crack...also found on Pinterest. 
Yeah, it's that good!

Peace, Love & Christmas wishes!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Baked Pork Chops with Rice & Veggies

It's one pot and it's healthy...go figure!!
Actually I've made this for you guys before but it bears repeating as I want you to see how different you can make this for YOUR family.   And after the last artery clogging meal I figured you needed to see something a little on the healthier side.

This cooks in the oven for about an hour so you can have it cooking while you are doing other stuffs...like helping your husband take pictures of your friends.  Which I still have, Which they probably need for their Christmas cards, Which makes me feel kinda bad that I forgot to drop them off yesterday to them.
**sigh**  I'm too depressed to carry on now.
Oh wait...I'm also out to prove that I don't eat like crap every day of the week so here we go!

just lightly brown up some nice lean boneless pork chops
Pork...it's the other white meat :0)

In a big casserole dish (sprayed please so no sticking will be allowed)
add some celery, carrots, sliced zucchini, chopped onion & chopped bell pepper
(this is where you put in whatever veggies you like or your kids will eat or hey, whatever is easier for you to hide in other food)
Add to that, 1 1/2 cups of uncooked long grain rice.  I use a nice organic Basmati medley but find one you like and use it!

Take those browned pork chops and add on top of rice/veggie mix
then bring 3 cups water/broth to a boil and add 4 tsp chicken bouillon, 1 tsp Italian seasoning and 1/2 tsp salt to liquids and pour over chops and rice/veggies

Cover tightly with foil and pop in the oven for 60-70 minutes.
Remove foil and serve!

sooo yummy and so good and so healthy

It was late by the time we ate so we just had the chops and rice mixture for dinner
and the pictures aren't very good but we were kinda like starvin' for marvin, you know!

just two of us and this was all that was left.
yep...we were hungry!!!

What are your favorite one pot meals??
How do you sneak in extra veggies??

Inquiring minds want to know!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chicken Fried Steak...have mercy!

mercy me honey bee....I done went and did it.  Yep I made the unhealthy dinner of the year.
Sometimes you just gotta so I did and we loved it and yeah, my poor hubsters cholesterol is outta control and mine too probably now.

If it helps we did have roasted asparagus with dinner and it was good too, even if I didn't put gravy on it!!

Let's do this so we can all get on the treadmill together!

but first a word from the queen of the house.... I present Miss Lilli
Don't disrupt or try to pet the cat without her permission
seriously this cat has AT-TI-TUDE!!!

2-3 pounds of cube steak

2 eggs in 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
(don't you love my Christmas dishes?!)
Whisk the eggs & milk together

2-3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
Combine really well

Coat the meat in the milk mixture

Dredge in the flour mixture

Then repeat...yes that means milk, flour, milk, flour
You should be good and messy about now!

Get that all nice and coated with ooey gooey goodness

Heat up about 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a big cast iron skillet
Also, make sure you have sealed the grout on the new tile job behind your stove
Very important...if you don't believe me just ask this girl and she'll tell you all about how NOT fun it is to clean grout.   I headed that warning my friends!!!

Oh by the way...the oil is hot when it sizzles if you sprinkle a little flour in the pan
We want hot oil peeps!

Grab that plate of meaty goodness

and plop it into that hot grease
Your stove will be messy now too
Don't worry...it goes with the countertops

cook on each side until the edges get golden brown
then flip and cook the other side.  
I think it was about 3-4 minutes each side

when you remove from the pan, move to a paper towel lined plate
let those paper towels soak up some extra grease
Continue frying until your meat is all cooked

Now make gravy...sorry folks only 1 photo because it's really hard to take pictures while making gravy
Retain about 1/4 cup of the grease in the pan
Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of the flour mixture evenly in the pan
If you don't have enough leftover just add more flour
Using the whisk stir the flour and the oil until you form a nice golden brown paste like substance
If the mixture looks too oily, add more flour
once it is nice and golden brown whisk in 2 cups of milk
I used buttermilk because I'm just sassy that way!
Whisk constantly to combine and then let the gravy come to a slow boil
It will thicken but if it looks too thick just add extra milk in little splashed.
This should take about 5-10 minutes for that gravy to thicken up and become heavenly!

Now I had some biscuits baking in the oven and the asparagus roasted and some mashed potatoes working.   Just slap that nice warm meat on a plate and cover in gravy. Seriously is there anything that screams comfort more than this??    hey...splurge occasionally then remember to take your cholesterol pill and go for a walk around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights!!

What's your favorite so bad for you yet makes you feel so good inside comfort food??!!


Friday, December 9, 2011

Peanut Brittle with Mere

Yep folks I STILL haven't finished getting up the Christmas decorations around here and I have a couple of really really really cute Pinterest inspired crafts that we've done but today we are starting the holiday baking!
Actually WE started it last weekend but I'm so far behind on every stinkin' thing that I'm just now getting to this post.   The Mere bear has been over most of this week and last Sunday she wanted to make peanut brittle.  I'm sure there are just a fabulous amount of equally delicious recipes out there but you know, I just found my dear Momma's recipe and we went with that.  I have learned that making candy is precise work, not difficult, just precise and when you are teaching someone else, go with what you know.  It was good and Mere can now add peanut brittle to her list of goodies and we are making more this weekend!  Yeah, hubster likes the peanut brittle.

Let's do this....
My best tip for candy or any kind of baking....measure and lay out all your ingredients first.
When you need something quickly it's already there and ready.

So get this stuff out and measured and ready:
1 cup sugar
1 cup light Karo syrup
1/2 warm water
1 cup raw unsalted peanuts
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp baking soda

(on a butter note...please use butter really is it worth a couple of extra calories using all those chemicals in that weird margarine stuff???)

Boil your water, sugar and Karo syrup until it reaches 238 degrees and spins a thread

(side note on thermometers....sorry if you make candy you need a thermometer and if you are like me and middle age has crept into your eyesight then visit Williams- Sonoma they have a delightful digital oil & candy thermometer which I have since purchased)

Now when you have extra hands in the kitchen it's super nice because one person can be buttering up the wax paper.  And butter it but goooood people, otherwise you have wax paper stuck to your candy and that is not tasty no matter how you slice it!
I just butter the wax paper and then place on top of a cookie sheet for stability

Keep cooking that sugar syrup mixture

see it gets to boiling up real good too

My lovely assistant who was less thrilled about her dad shoving the camera in her face than making the peanut brittle.  Oh to be 17 and have that youthful glowy skin again!!

Once that hits the 238 degree mark

toss in the peanuts 

Stir and boil until mixture reaches 300 degrees and turns an amber color

ours probably could have ambered up a bit more but it hit 300 and we panicked.
no kidding three people in the kitchen can panic a lot when it comes to peanut brittle
Did I mention, I'm not sure I've ever actually made peanut brittle without my momma??!!!

Stir in the butter, remove from heat

Then stir in your baking soda
Now you need to move quickly...no tom foolery at this moment
Stir that baking soda up really good

Then dump out onto your cookie sheet spreading it thin 
Two sets of hands are especially nice right now

all dumped out now spread thin

and leave it alone

just let it hang out and cool

then bust it up into bite size pieces

then eat and enjoy
or if you have restraint package up in an airtight container
we have no restraint
we do not apologize for this 

See, not hard, just precise.  I seriously believe that when you measure out and line up your ingredients you have a greater success rate when candy making and baking.  Now, if I can just remember that and wait for low humidity and try that divinity again!! 

What are some of your favorite family Christmas treats?   I love baking and as soon as I get these decorations up I'm going to bake something new everyday!  Yes I am and then I should get on the treadmill ....**Sigh**

Peace, Love & Christmas Yummies!

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