Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Southern Comfort

If you know me, then you know that I have been on a "diet" and a pretty strict exercise routine for about a year now. What is it about the cold weather that makes me want to not exercise and eat this
I made this meatloaf and mashed potatoes last week and it almost killed me it was so good. I thought that I would share the recipe with you so that I would not be the only one gorging myself in southern comfort food :)

Amazing Meatloaf:

1 whole Medium Onions
8 cloves (to 10 Cloves) Of Garlic
6 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 Tablespoon Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Optional: A Few Shakes Of Hot Sauce
2 cups Ketchup
1/4 cups Whole Milk
1 cup (to 2 Cups) Breadcrumbs
1 pounds Of Lean Ground Beef (92% Lean)
1 pound Ground Pork
3 whole Eggs
2 Tablespoons Honey

Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Chop the onions into a small dice and mince the garlic. Over medium-high heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter. Once butter begins to start browning, add the diced onions and garlic. Add about 1 tsp. salt. After these have cooked for a few minutes add 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. If you like it hot, add a couple shakes of your favorite hot sauce. Next add about 1/4 cup of ketchup. Continue cooking and stirring for a few more minutes. Remove from heat.
After allowing the mixture to cool for a couple of minutes, add about 1/4 cup of milk. Stir until combined. Next add at least 1 cup of breadcrumbs. Continue adding breadcrumbs and stirring until mixture is a nice, thick paste. In a large mixing bowl place the ground beef and pork. Whisk 3 eggs and add to the meat. After allowing the pasty vegetable mixture to cool down a bit, begin incorporating it into the meat. Keep working all of the Cajun-Vegetable mix into the meat until all is blended well.
Spray a sheet pan with some non-stick cooking spray. Next, using your hands, form your meat mixture into a loaf on the sheet pan. Make the loaf around 6-8 inches wide and about 1 ½ inches thick. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together ¾ cup of ketchup with about 2 tablespoons honey. Slather this sauce over the whole meatloaf.
Place in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes.

Monday, December 28, 2009

I'm Back!

I took a short hiatus from the blogging world for Christmas, but I'm back in action! Did ya miss me? I have so much to tell, but I will start with the most important. Cinnamon Rolls! Yes, I did it, I made The Pioneer Woman's famous cinnamon rolls! They weren't the prettiest things, but they were finger lickin' good!
Of course, I couldn't have done it without my cookin' sidekick. My little cousins come to visit from Las Vegas for the holidays. This is K, she stayed at my house for a few nights before Christmas. We had a blast! We went shopping, baked Christmas cookies and of course the famous cinnamon rolls. She was great to have in the kitchen, she would read me the directions from the cook book so that I didn't have to stop what I was doing to go read! I wished they lived close so we could see each other all the time!
Our Christmas was great, filled with lots of bad-for-you food and family. But that's what it's all about right? Sometimes being with family can get a little crazy, but I wouldn't trade mine for the world.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Homemade Christmas: Ornaments!

So this year for Christmas I decided to get a little crafty. I always see stuff in stores or online and say "I could so make that". Well this year I am. I saw these cute little ornaments on Kelly's blog last week. They are super fun, cheap, and EASY!


I got the glass ornaments at Michael's. They were on sale for 50% off so they were under $2 for a pack of four! The "stuffing" is just shredded paper that you can find in the gift wrapping section of any store, you could do any color that you want. Pick out ribbon that matches your stuffing, the letters are stickers that you can find in the scrapbooking section, and voila! Cheap, fun, and easy!

Friday, December 11, 2009

5Q Friday-Christmas Style!

Dang that week went by fast. It's Friday...and you know what that means. Mama M.'s Five Question Friday. Here goes 'nuthin...

1. Does Santa wrap the presents he leaves at your house?
Well, that's an easy one. Since we don't have any kiddos yet, we don't really put much out. We "stuff" each other's stockings and that's about it as far as Santa is concerned.

2. When is your "big" Christmas celebration...Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Tell us about it...
We have three celebrations...are you ready for this.
On Christmas Eve Eve I make a special dinner and the hubby and I have our own little Christmas and exchange the gifts we got each other.
On Christmas Eve we go to church with my family and then have dinner with the in-laws
And then on Christmas day we do the Christmas morning thing with my parents.
I'm exhausted thinking about it!

3. Are you big on keeping tradition every year?
No ifs, ands, or buts about it

4. Do colored lights or white lights tickle your fancy?
I like all white lights. There is something about them that brings peace to my soul. And let me tell you I need peace in my soul during the crazy holiday season

5. Do you decorate outside your house for Christmas?
You guessed it! All white lights and a few red ribbons here and there!

Show Us Your Life- Christmas Cookies!

OOOOOOOHHHH.....This week's Show Us Your Life is my favorite thing...Cookies! I can't get enough cookies, I eat, sleep, and dream about cookies! I have kept the cookie monster in check over the past year while I have worked hard to loose weight, but lately I can't stop eating cookies! And I have gained 5 lbs.-which means that I need to stop eating so many cookies ASAP. (Or maybe just after Christmas! ha!) I went to a cookie exchange at church a couple of weekends ago. It was so much fun and I got to taste so many different kinds of cookies, it was heaven. Here is a picture of my cookie tray after the exchange...

Yummo!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside

There is something about crisp cold air that makes me crave...COOKIES! I know weird right? Most people want chili or soup, but not me. Bring me cookies baby! And my favorite kind of cookie is good 'ol chocolate chip. I found this great recipe on Tasty Kitchen that I have been making non stop. I almost know it by heart, almost. It it a perfect blend of melty chocolate and moist goodness. It makes my mouth water thinking about them. So for your pleasure here is the recipe...I will warn you that these will make you do a song and dance right in your kitchen!





The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!

½ cups Shortening
¼ cups Sugar
½ cups Brown Sugar
½ teaspoons Vanilla
1 whole Egg
1 cup All-purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
½ teaspoons Salt
½ teaspoons Baking Soda
6 ounces, fluid Chocolate Chips

Cream shortening, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until well mixed. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture slowly while mixer is on a low speed. Add egg. Make sure it is well mixed. You can put it on a higher speed to make sure it is mixed. Just keep it on low while you are adding the dry ingredients! You can either fold in the chocolate chips or put them in and turn the mixer on a low speed to mix in.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 8 minutes on greased cookie sheet. Enjoy, and trust me, you will!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I HEART CHRISTMAS TREES!

I can't even begin to describe to you the fuzzy feeling that I get when I see a Christmas tree. There is something about a decorated tree that just warms my soul. It doesn't even have to be decorated, just the tree itself. I USED to be very traditional when it came to decorating the tree, red, green, silver, and gold. That's it, nothing else. But I am coming around, I really do like purple on a tree, even pink! I saw the most adorable mini hot pink tree with black decorations that I just hit the floor for! It was kind of like this one...

If you read my blog regularly, then you know that I have stepped out of my tiny Christmas tree box this year and got me a purtty white tree, and I love it more 'n chocolate cake! I have decided that I love Christmas trees so much that I love them in any color, shape, or size.



What I would Really Really love, is to go next year to see the Grandaddy of all Christmas Trees...

Hello Beautiful. That's right, I WILL go to New York next year to see this baby live! Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

16 days 'till Christmas!

I can't believe that this is the second week of December and there are only 16 days left until Christmas! I feel like I have so much to do! But I am not going to let that ruin my Christmas spirit. I will not be a bahumbug! I am going to do my best to just relax and enjoy the holiday season with my friends and family. I am going to slow down and feel the cold crisp air on my cheeks. I am going to slow down and enjoy my eggnog lattes. My two little cousins live out of state and they are coming to visit this year for Christmas, I can't wait to see them! I am not going to let my busy hustle and bustle ruin my time with them, I am going to SLOW down and enjoy it all!

Friday, December 4, 2009

5 Question Friday!!

I just can't get enough of Mama M.'s Five Question Friday!

1. Favorite gift you are GIVING this year?
UMMMM...let's see my favorite gift that I am giving this year would have to be a yoga set. Nothing says Merry Christmas like yoga!!

2. How many parties are you attending between now and Christmas?
Four...WooHoo party girl!

3. What is your favorite Christmas song?
That's a very good question. I really love Oh Night Divine and Mary's Song. But my favorite fun Christmas song would have to be "Merry Christmas from the Family" (Google it, it's hilarious!)

4. Who was your favorite elementary school teacher and why?
Ms. Melton. She was my third grade teacher. She treated us more like friends than kids. She was great!

5. If you had a choice to live in any other period of time (other than now) what era would you choose and why?
I am totally a Flower Child at heart. I would so be protesting with a sign that says "Make Love Not War". Peace Man.

Merry Christmas!! Only 21 days left!!

SHOW US YOUR LIFE- CHRISTMAS TREES!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas! Just the holiday season in general brings joy to my little life! So this week's edition of Show Us Your Life is christmas Trees! There is a little back story to my Christmas tree this year. We had to retire our big tree last year because the top was litterally falling off. I have always been a traditional girl when it comes to Christmas, Red & Green, maybe a little silver. This year I decided that I was going to be a little spunky and get a different kind of tree. This is what we came up with...


Yes it is a WHITE tree with red decorations. I didn't like it at first but it quickly grew on me! We only h ave room for one this year, but next year (we are planning on moving) I will put this one in a different room and replace our "big" tree. I think I am going to go to the after Chirstmas sales and get black ornaments and do black and white! What do ya think? And I just have to throw in a picture of the new Christmas wreath that I found at Kirklands...



I did a little jig in the store when I found this baby. Not really, but I wanted to.
MERRY CHRISTMAS YALL'!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

worth the wait

This is what the Borders looked like when I got there at 5:00 p.m. last night


People everywhere

What were they all waiting for you ask....Her

That's right. THE Pioneer Woman in the flesh! I was going back and forth all day and could not make up my mind whether I wanted to go stand in line or not and I am so glad that I did! We waited for about three hours to see her and let me tell you the 10 seconds that I got to spend with her was worth the wait. She is so stinkin' cute! Signed my book and everything, even after an hour of signing (I know her hand had to be about to fall off) she was still all smiles when it was my turn. I told her that I read her blog every day and that she made me fat with all of her deliciousnesses. And she didn't even look at me like I was crazy! Love her! And her girls are just as pretty in person as they are in her pictures! So I just want to shout out to P-Dub, thanks for puttin' up with all of us crazy fans who wait in line for hours just to get a glimpse of you!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Be Thankful & More...

Hello all! I hope that everyone had a safe a happy Thanksgiving! I know I did, and gained about 12 lbs. in the process! If you read my blog regularly then you know from a recent post that I am fortunate enough that I get to spend Thanksgiving with both my in-laws and my family, at the same time, even in the same house! Amazing right? I know! So it was a great Thanksgiving day with lots of food and laughs! I even got to test out my newly acquired cooking skills with these little devils!
I always eat way too much of this...And this....

Here is a SHORT list of a few things that I am thankful for...

  • My health
  • A roof over my head
  • My job
  • My wonderful husband and Family!
  • Great Friends
  • That my grandma could travel to come spend the holiday with us

There is so much more, I could go on and on! So I have NEVER gone out on Black Friday, but I decided that this year I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so we held our noses and dove in. It wasn't that bad. Sure, there were crowds, but nothing that I couldn't handle. Now I will admit that we didn't go out before 10 AM so I don't know what it was like for the early birds, but I'm not much of an early bird so I stuck to 10 AM. I will dare to say that I would do it again! The rest of the weekend was spent catching up on things around the house. Of course being the SUPER organized gal that I am (ha!) we got all of the Christmas decorations up and they look great! And now sad to say, back to work!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Show Us Your Pets!

I am a little late with this post but I figured that I would join in anyways. If you read my blog then you know that this is my baby Dewey:

He is a cock-a-poo and he is the most spoiled little puppy that you will ever lay eyes on. He follows me EVERYWHERE. We got Dewey a few months after we got married
in 2007. I swore that I would never have a dog sleep in the bed with me. Dewey spent the first two nights in his crate crying, I gave in and he has been sleeping next to me in my bed since. It's so funny, he sleeps right in between the hubby and me! Not long after that my parents got Dewey's brother and named him Dublin. As they grew we started to notice that Dublin kept growing and growing. He is quite a bit bigger than Little Dewey. Here is Big Dub:

They are best friends and LOVE to play together!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

FAVORITE THINGS THURSDAY!

I don't think that I will ever get tired of this post. I love sharing with you what my favorite things are. And if you feel like sharing something please feel free to leave some of your favorite things in the comments section! I would love to hear what you love, maybe I will love them too! It just started getting cold here-cold for the south anyways-and I have always loved the cold weather because I can get out my winter coats. And when I pull out the winter coats that means that it's scarf season! Yes, I love scarves and this year they are out there in fabulous bright colors!
Aren't these great? I love 'em!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

T minus 2 days!

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it! I'm so excited that in less than 48 hours I will be sitting in the movie theater watching this...
I know that I am such a dork! ha! I just can't help it. You just don't know until you read the books...you will be hooked I promise!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fiesta!

I feel like I haven't even had time to catch my breath. We went to Houston over the weekend. That's where I grew up (or that's my old stompin' ground as we in Texas like to call it) Anyways I went there because I was hosting a 'couples shower' for my best friend who is getting married in January. I did fiesta theme because I wanted something that could be neutral for both guys and girls, it worked out well.

The weekend was kind of a blur. I was SOOOO busy that I didn't even really get to visit any other friends or family. I am plum tuckered out! Oh well, there's always next time.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

FAVORITE THINGS THURSDAY!

Did you love my leaves pictures from the last post? Those are trees right outside of my office window. I think that they are just dazzling!

Now on to one of my favorite things. I am in love with a new show, Eastwick, on Wednesday nights on ABC. It is the cutest show about three friends who have witchy powers. And the little town they live in, Eastwick, is soooo adorable. It makes me want to pack my bags and move to the Northeast.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Leaves are Falling On My Head....



Monday, November 9, 2009

Crafty

Boy I'm glad it's Monday. I never thought that I would say that, but I am. It's Monday and that means that I have one more event under my belt. Over the weekend I hosted my very first craft fair for work. I decided to do an event that I could donate a lot of money to charity. I thought that a craft fair/bake sale would be perfect. It was a lot of work. We raised a lot of money. I'm tired today. This is what my kitchen counter looked like Friday night...


I made chocolate chip cookies, banana, blueberry, and chocolate chip muffins. And I that last minute I decided to make pumpkin muffins (recipe courtesy of Tasty Kitchen, I don't know what I would do without you.) They were every easy to make, tasty too! And thank you so much to my Mama for baking up a storm for me! The event went well but I'm glad it's over. Now on to the next one...wedding shower for my best friend this weekend. Does it ever end? I'm beginning to think...no. That's ok though, I enjoy it! Here is the pumpkin muffin recipe that I tried...


In-a-pinch Pumpkin Muffins

package of vanilla cake mix

1 can Pumpkin Puree

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Mix all ingredients together. Grease muffin pan. Fill muffin tins 1/2 way. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. That's it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Show Us Your Life- Thanksgiving Recipes and Traditions!

When I was growing up my family always has the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, green bean casserole, dumplings...etc. When my husband an I got married a new tradition was started. Our parents practically live in the same neighborhood and we thought it was so stressful to have to go from house to house and try to fit them all in in one day. So three years ago we all started going over to my in-law's house for Thanksgiving. It is so nice to be able to have both families there together all getting along. I know that is not very normal, so I feel blessed that we are able to do that. It always works out so well. My mother-in-law makes the things that she normally makes and then my Mom and Grandma bring things that they normally make, so it's like having a little bit of both families. It really is nice. I am going to try a new recipe for Thanksgiving this year...here it is:

Chocunkin Muffins!
(Chocolate muffins with Pumpkin Frosting)
(Do you like the name that I gave them? Ha!)

For the muffins:
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Coco
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
2 sticks Unsalted Butter, room temp
3 cups Sugar
5 whole Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup Buttermilk

For the Pumpkin Frosting:
1 stick Butter, softened
8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese
3 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 cups Pumpkin Puree

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease muffin pan or line with paper liners.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream the butter, then add the sugar and beat until fluffy. On medium speed, add one egg at a time to the butter sugar mixture. Don't over-beat, just mix enough to blend well. Add vanilla and mix.
Alternate adding flour/cocoa mixture and buttermilk until combined. Mix well on medium speed for about 30 seconds until smooth.
Fill muffin tins 1/2 full.
Bake at 325 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake these.
Let muffins cool in the pan for about 2 minutes and carefully remove to cool on a rack.

Frosting:
Beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth, add all other frosting ingredients and mix together on medium speed. Add more powdered sugar or cream cheese for a thicker consistency if desired. Put in refrigerator for 10 minutes and then ice the muffins.

YUUUUUMMMY!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Long overdue!

It's been a while since I have mentioned anything about taking pictures of anything. My apologies. I have still been practicing ALOT! Here are just a few from a practice shoot a couple of weeks ago. I was pretty pleased with how these turned out:






When I first started taking pictures almost a year ago the very first thing that I learned was the different settings on the camera. They differ among different cameras and brands but for the most part they are pretty universal. So for this post I would just like to share the functions of the different settings. Every camera has a Mode Dial. On that dial you can choose what setting you want to shoot in.


Auto- Auto mode, "the point and shoot mode" the majority of the setting are controlled by the camera in response to shooting conditions. This means that you have limited control over the outcome of the picture.

Auto Flash Off- the built in flash turns off. Use where flash photography is prohibited. For example, you can use this setting to photography infants or in low light settings. The camera selects the focus area containing the closest subject.

Portrait- This setting is used for portraits with soft, natural looking skin tones. the camera selects the focus area containing the closest subject, the built in flash and AF illuminator turn of automatically. Focuses on the closest subject.

Child- Clothing and background details are vividly rendered. Great depth of field. Camera focuses on the closest subject.

Sports- Fast Shutter speeds to freeze the motion. The camera is continuously refocusing while the shutter release button is pushed 1/2 way. Camera will focus on whatever is in the center of the frame. The camera will focus on the center of the frame and this uses a great depth of field.

Close Up- Usually a picture of a flower. Used for close up shots of flowers, insects, and other small objects. Camera automatically focuses on the center of the subject. Tripod recommended.

Night Portrait- Used for a natural balance between the main subject and the background in portraits taken in low light. The camera selects the focus area containing the closest subject. Tripod is recommended to reduce blur. Slow shutter speed.
Advanced Modes:
P- Programmed auto. The camera automatically adjusts the shutter speed and aperture for optimal exposure in most situations.
S- Shutter Priority- You select the shutter speed and the camera will automatically select the aperture that will produce the optimal exposure.
A- Aperture Priority- You select the aperture and the camera will automatically select the shutter speed.
*M-Manual- You control the shutter speed and the aperture. You also have the option of BULB in this setting. I mostly shoot in Manual mode. Some would call it control issues :)
I hope this helps you get started. The best advice that I can give is to refer to your camera manual and read everything!








Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm still here!

I know I haven't posted since last week, but I'm still here. Working on updating the NEW recipe blog (check it out on my sidebar)! And....wait for it....a long overdue photography post! Be back tomorrow!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Five Question Friday!!

I know it's a little late...but I just couldn't miss Five Question Friday!

1. What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh?
Last night I went to see This Is It with a good friend and she always makes me laugh!

2. Who was your first CELEBRITY crush?
Leonardo Dicaprio ALL THE WAY!!

3. What is one talent that you wish you had?
There are so many things that I wish I could do...if I have to pick just one I would really love to be a talented artist!

4. How often do you and your spouse go out w/o the kids? Is it frequent enough?
All the Time...we don't have kids yet! Ha!

5. What colour(s) is your bedroom?
My bedroom is where I like to unwind from the day...so I picked the tranquil colors...brown and seafoam....and yes I said Seafoam.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Favorite Things Thursday!

UPDATE: I just read MckMama's blog and baby Stellan needs your prayers. To read about his story click on the Stellan button on my sidebar.

In honor of the upcoming holiday this weekend, I thought that I would make this post my favorite holiday...HALLOWEEN! I love everything Halloween, the tricking and treating, dressing up, the scary movies that come out, Eating chili dogs. Don't ask...my mom made chili dogs every Halloween for as long as I can remember and now I have carried the tradition on in my house! Since we don't have any kids yet, we are going over to a friend's house and going trick-or-treating with them and thier kids! I can't wait! What's your favorite holiday?

Have a safe and SPOOKY Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How 'bout them Cowboys?

Ok so I have never been a huge football fan. I like it, but I am not totally in LOVE with it. We got to go to the Cowboys game over the weekend, and I was excited to see the NEW stadium. All I could get out of my helpless mouth was...WOW! I just can't put into words how enormously huge it is...and it happened to be a good game too, the boys actually won.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness most of the football players (from both teams) were wearing pink gloves and shoes. It was really cool to see. They also had a fabulous "pink" half time show. At the end of the show the had breast cancers survivors come out onto the field and they formed a pink ribbon on the field. It was so AWESOME!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BIRTHDAY SHOUT OUT!

I just want to wish The Hubby a very Happy Birthday! He is the best hubby and I love him tons!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Up, Up, and Away!

Last week I had the rare occasion of having the day off from work. It was completely unplanned so the normal list-making me had nothing on the agenda. So I spent the day with the Hubby running little errands that needed to be caught up on. On our way home we noticed that there were some very low flying jet planes. We live just a few miles from a large cargo/military airport. The Hubby realized what they were and said "those are the Blue Angels!". He turned the car into a empty parking lot to watch. We watched them for a while and then decided to head home, we were amazed that when we got back home the planes were flying right over our house! So we watched some more...ha! We realized that they were practicing for the air show that was happening over the weekend. I have never been to an air show so I was so excited that we caught it and were able to make planes to see it! We called a friend who has a little boy that we knew would totally enjoy it and they went with us. Here are some pics of what we saw....

I wanted to take this pink helicopter home!! This was the cutest little plane flying all around!

I am so glad the we got to go. It was a great time and I will definitely go again next year! Hope everyone had a great weekend!