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Monday, December 28, 2009

We have a NEW winner!!!

Congratulations to Mrs. Pear!!!! She is the winner of the book A Life That Says Welcome by Karen Ehman!!!!

Mrs. Pear, please email me as soon as possible with your mailing address so that Mrs. Ehman can send you your autographed copy of her wonderful book!!!

Congratulations!!!!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

And the winner is.......

Update: kimlessig, please email me by this Sunday, December 27th, so that I can get your mailing address. If I do not hear from you by then, I will need to draw another name.



Congratulations to......

kimlessig said...
This looks like a really nice keepsake book.
Hope to win.

I am confident you will love this book, kimlessig!! Please email me with your full name and mailing address so that Mrs. Ehman can get the book mailed to you!!

Merry Christmas!!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Corn Chowder and a GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!



Mmmmmmm... nothing warms me up better than a bowl full of soup, stew or chowder. Today's recipe isn't just any old regular corn chowder, however. It's from an awesome book I just finished entitled A Life That Says Welcome by Karen Ehman- a book about hospitality and welcoming others into your home and your life.

Mrs. Ehman kindly shared some of her favorite recipes in her book. Corn Chowder is just one of them and it is DELICIOUS!! All four of us LOVED it!!! Let me get to the recipe...

Corn Chowder
In a large pot combine:
4 cups chicken stock (or 4 cups water with bouillon cubes to taste)
6 cups diced, peeled Yukon Gold potatoes
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced celery

Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Then add:
3 T butter
1-2 cups finely chopped leftover ham
1 1/2 cups leftover corn
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese

Just before serving, add:
8 ounces sour cream

Thin with a little milk, if needed. Stir well. Serves 8-10.


YUMMMMMM!!!! Warm and delicious AND my family loved it. What can get better???

Okay... so there's the recipe.... NOW for the GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For everyone that leaves a comment before SUNDAY NIGHT, DECEMBER 20th, before 8:00 pm EST, you get ONE entry.

If you blog about this on your blog, too, then you can be entered TWICE!!!!!

What is the giveaway???? Mrs. Ehman is graciously giving an AUTOGRAPHED copy of her wonderful book, A Life That Says Welcome!!!!







Y'all will be so encouraged and challenged with this book! I love it and I am sure y'all will, too!!!!

Please enter right away!! Sunday night will be here before know it!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Southern Living at Home...


My real life friend, Melissa, at Desiring to be a Godly Woman, just started selling Southern Living at Home!!!

If y'all have never seen any of their products, please go visit her website. WOW!! Lovely things for your home, for sure!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Perfectly Easy Dinner Rolls...

I know I'm not the only one around the web to have discovered Pioneer Woman's cooking site called Tasty Kitchen. There are some seriously YUMMY looking recipes on there!!!

Recently I made the Perfectly Easy Dinner Rolls and they are just that- perfectly easy!! They are definitely the easiest rolls I have ever made AND they were tasty, too!!!

Here they are before rising and baking. And remember, the recipe says to roll these into smooth balls. But hey, I had a 3 1/2 year old helper and, well, this is as smooth as they get. (And I'm pretty sure they were extra tasty because Elizabeth was helping! smile!!!)



Perfectly Easy Dinner Rolls...

Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes
Servings 24
Difficulty Easy

Ingredients
1 cup Warm Water (105F To 115F)
2 packages Active Dry Yeast
½ cups Butter, Melted (1 Stick)
½ cups Sugar
3 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Salt
4 cups To 4 1/2 Cups Unbleached All-purpose Flour
Additional Melted Butter (optional)

Preparation Instructions
Combine the warm water (I usually go to 115F) in a large bowl. Stir in the yeast and let stand for 5 to 8 minutes for a good proof. Stir in butter, sugar, beaten eggs and salt. Beat in 1 cup flour at a time (I use a wooden spoon) until dough is too stiff to mix (some flour may not be needed). Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 4 days in a lightly greased bowl.

Grease a 13- x 9-inch baking pan (I use butter). Turn out chilled dough onto a lightly floured board. Divide dough into 24 equal-size pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth round ball; place balls in even rows in the prepared pan. Cover and let dough balls rise in a warm location until doubled in volume, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake until rolls are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Brush warm rolls with melted butter, if desired. Break rolls apart to serve. You can obviously make clover leaf rolls from this recipe.

And here is the end result. Seriously yummy dinner rolls!!



Sunday, December 13, 2009

So sorry...

To all of you that comment on my blog as "anonymous", I am so sorry, but I have had to stop allowing anonymous comments. I've gotten TONS of comments with links to businesses, places of ill repute, even just plain old weird comments. All of these I have had to go back and delete. I am simply tired of going MANY times a day and deleting the comments. Perhaps in the future I will be able to allow anonymous comments again, but for now, I will not.

I am very sorry. I do pray that all these spam comments stop posting on blogs. So sad.

His,
Mrs. U

Friday, December 11, 2009

Table manners...

(photo found here)

Since the Christmas season is upon us and many of us will be invited to other homes for meals, I thought it might be of interest to read up on table manners.

Thank you, Mrs. S., for sharing this on your blog!!

Table Manners

1.) A meal begins when the host or hostess unfolds his or her napkin. Guests should then do the same. Place your napkin on your lap, completely unfolded if it is a small luncheon napkin or in half, lengthwise, if it is a large dinner napkin. The napkin rests on the lap until the end of the meal. The host will signal the end of the meal by placing their napkin on the table. Once the meal is over, you too should place your napkin neatly on the table to the left of your dinner plate.

2.) When your host or hostess picks up their fork to eat, then you may eat. Do not start before this unless the host or hostess insists that you start eating.

3.) Once used, your utensils, including the handles, should not touch the table again. Always rest forks, knives, and spoons on the side of your plate or in the bowl.

4.) Pass food from the left to the right.

5.) Always say please when asking for something. Be sure to say thank you to your server or host after they have removed any used items.

6.) Taste your food before seasoning it.

7.) Do try a little of everything on your plate.

8.) Don't blow on your food to cool it off. If it is too hot to eat, take the hint and wait.

9.) Keep elbows off the table. Keep your left hand in your lap unless you are using it.

10.) Do not talk with your mouth full. Chew with your mouth closed.

11.) Do not blow your nose at the dinner table. Excuse yourself to visit the restroom. Wash your hands before returning to the dining room. If you cough, cover your mouth with your napkin to stop the spread of germs and muffle the noise. If your cough becomes unmanageable, excuse yourself to visit the restroom. Wash your hands before returning to the dining room.
This rule is especially important as we are able to enter a bad flu season!
12.) Whenever a woman leaves the table or returns to sit, all men seated with her should stand up.

A few General Rules

1.) Arrive at least 10 minutes early unless otherwise specified. Do not arrive earlier as your host or hostess may not be ready for you yet.

2.) Turn off your cell phone or switch it to silent or vibrate mode before sitting down to eat, and leave it in your pocket or purse. It is impolite to answer a phone during dinner. If you must make or take a call, excuse yourself from the table and step outside.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Challenge for TONIGHT!!!!


Anyone up for a challenge tonight? Why not take a few minutes and do the 27 Fling Boogie from Flylady!!!!


27 Flling Boogie....

We do this assignment as fast as we can. Take a garbage bag and walk
through your home and throw away 27 items. Do not stop until you have collected all 27 items. Then close the garbage bag and pitch it. DO NOT LOOK IN IT!!! Just do it.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A job for a "big girl"...



Yep, that's my sweet Elizabeth carefully putting all the cleaned silverware back in its proper place. She LOVES to do this!! She is a "big girl" now with a big girl bed, wearing panties (even during nap time!!!) and getting big girl jobs to do around the house. She couldn't be happier!!!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Gingerbread Scones...


Thanks to Heritage Schoolhouse, we had a yummy breakfast this morning of Gingerbread Scones and piping hot coffee. Mmmm! Definitely the best way to start off a day!!!


Gingerbread Scones
8 servings

2 cups flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup plus 2 T milk
1 egg, separated
sugar

Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside. Combine the molasses, milk and egg yolk until smooth; stir into the flour mixture just until moistened. Turn the dough onto a floured surface; knead gently 6-8 times. Pat into an 8 inch circle; cut into 8 wedges and place 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet. Beat egg white until frothy; brush over scones. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to wire rack. Serve warm and enjoy!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Question for fellow Blogger users...

For those of y'all that have blogs with Blogger, have you had problems lately with people commenting on old posts? Some comments are super weird and some are a bunch of links to strange websites. Some of them have been names you can click on and go to a not-so-decent blog and some have been from "anonymous". Thankfully all comments, no matter how old, all come to my inbox so I immediately delete all odd comments from my blog. Still, I'd love to know if I'm the only one experiencing this problem.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thai-Style Chicken Pumpkin Soup...



I can't even begin to tell y'all how WONDERFULLY DELICIOUS this soup was!!! It was soooo good that I have no picture to show you. It smelled so incredible that I had to get it in bowls as soon as possible so we could eat!! No time for bloggy photography today!!!

This is a picture of the recipe in the magazine. So good! So fresh! All of us LOVED it!! It has all the flavors that our family adores- garlic, ginger, lime, cilantro (I'm a big time cilantro fan!!!!). This definitely will be on our table again soon!!!


Thai-Style Chicken Pumpkin Soup
(from Crock-Pot’s Slow Cooker Recipes “Crocktober 2009 Issue”)

1 T extra virgin olive oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large white onion, thinly sliced (I used a yellow onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T minced fresh ginger
½ to ¾ t crushed red pepper
2 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
2 carrots, peeled, trimmed and diced
1 can (15 oz) solid pack pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling!!)
½ cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
½ cup mango nectar
½ cup fresh lime juice (I used the stuff in a bottle)
3 T rice vinegar
½ cup minced fresh cilantro, divided
½ cup heavy cream
1 T cornstarch
2 to 4 cups hot cooked rice (We used Basmati. Jasmine also recommended)
3 green onions, minced
½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Lime wedge (optional)

1) Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add onion, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes; cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to crock-pot.
2) Stir in celery, carrots, pumpkin, peanut butter, broth, water, mango nectar and lime juice. Cover; cook on LOW 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
3) Stir in rice vinegar and ¼ cup cilantro. Stir together cream and cornstarch in small bowl. Stir into soup. Turn on HIGH. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes or until soup thickens.
4) To serve, put rice in soup bowls. Ladle soup around rice. Sprinkle each bowl with remaining cilantro, green onions and peanuts. Squeeze fresh lime juice over soup, if desired.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wrong Thyme of the year....




Just what IS this jumbled mess of a dead plant? It's supposed to be the herb thyme. Oh dear. Obviously I've done something wrong. HA!

I had wanted this to grow indoors in my eastern facing kitchen window. Y'all have any ideas about growing thyme indoors? I LOVE this herb!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What a happy face...




I snapped this as Elizabeth took her very first bite of a Krispy Kreme doughnut. What a happy face!!!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Adoption update...

I know I mentioned a while back that we are in the process of adopting again. This time we are going to be pursuing a domestic adoption. This means our next child will be born here in the USA.


Today we had our home visit with our caseworker. BOY WAS I NERVOUS!!! But she is such a sweet lady who clearly loves the Lord, it is so easy to talk with her. She visited with us for our official in home meeting and then she even stayed for lunch with us. What fun!!


What's next? Well, our paperwork is all done now and we will be waiting for the official letter from our agency saying our homestudy is complete. Once that happens, our family profile (basically a scrapbook with pictures of our family and basic information about us) will be made available for birthmothers to look at. In this adoption, a birthmother will actually have to choose our family (with China, the huge government agency, CCAA, matches up a child's file with a family file). It could take a few weeks or even a few years. It all depends on whether a birthmother likes our family or not.


We will also be contacting groups about adoption grants. If y'all know of anyone that handles adoption grants, would you mind sharing that with me? We would really appreciate any help we could get!! :)

Anyway, if y'all think about it, please pray for us. We do need funds to cover the adoption and to purchase things for a newborn baby (Elizabeth was 9 1/2 months when we got her, so we don't have any newborn things). If the call came in the next few weeks, we would have to say "no" because we don't have all the money we need.

I can't wait for the day when I will be able to show pictures of our new little one!!!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Flee from these things...



Yep, that's my son! Joshua has a blog up and running and, y'all know how it is, I just HAD to share with you!!!

“But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:11-12

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Betty Crocker Creed...


I found this over at Project Home Economics (LOVE it there!!!). It is from an old Betty Crocker cookbook. Oh, how I agree with all of these statements!!

The Betty Crocker Creed -

I believe homemaking is a noble and challenging career.

I believe homemaking is an art requiring many different skills.

I believe homemaking requires the best of my efforts, my abilities and my thinking.

I believe home reflects the spirit of the homemaker.

I believe home should be a place of peace, joy and contentment.

I believe no task is too humble that contributes to the cleanliness, the order, the health, the well being of the household.

I believe a homemaker must be true to the highest ideals of love, loyalty, service and religion.

I believe home must be an influence for good in the neighborhood, the community, the country.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spiced Apple Cake...



I surely have been baking a good bit lately!! I can't help myself, it's just so much fun!! This was another tasty recipe from Joy the Baker. Yum! Elizabeth LOVES apples so this cake really made her happy!!!

Spiced Apple Cake
(from joythebaker.com)

Sauteed Apples

2 tart apples (about 1 pound)
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons sugar

Cake

12 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon clove
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sour cream
1/4 cup raw sugar (or granulated if you don't have raw on hand)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Butter and flour an 8-inch spring form pan and set aside.

To sautee the apples: peel, core and dice the apples into 1/4-inch cubes. Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat until butter beings to bubble. Add the diced apples and cook for one minute, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the sugar and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Turn the heat to low and cook the apples, uncovered for 4-5 minutes until they are softened. Remove from heat and allow to cool. You'll only use the sauteed apples for the recipe so you can discard any liquids that may have accumulated.

To make the cake: cream the butter, sugar and spices in a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment until light in color and fluffy. This may take 6 to 8 minutes. Stop the mixer occasionally, to scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy.

Add the egg yolks one at a time and continue beating until fluffy and glossy.

Measure out the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. With the mixer set on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients to the batter. Mix until no flour streaks remain. Add the sour cream all at once and incorporate. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until no traces remain. Fold in the cooked apples with a rubber spatula. The cake batter will be thick.

Spread the cake batter into the prepared pan and distribute evenly. Take a knife and run it in a singular circular motion through the batter 1-inch from the edge of the pan. This will help the cake to rise evenly. Sprinkle the cake with the raw or granulated sugar and bake for 60- 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing the sides of the spring form pan.
(I added the glaze on top. 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 T milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla and a sprinkling of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice to taste! YUM!!!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ah Caramel!!!!!



When we were in Ontario visiting friends, we were introduced to Ah Caramels. Y'ALL!!!! GO TO CANADA AND BUY SOME OF THESE LITTLE BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Soft cake inside with a creamy white filling and an oozing middle of caramel all surrounded by chocolate!!! Oh my!!! Why hasn't the good ole' USA shipped these in yet???

Our wonderful friends sent us home with a Costco sized box of them. We left their house Sunday afternoon and were home Tuesday night. The box was empty Wednesday morning. Oh my.

Could this little girl have played a part in eating all of them? Hmmmmmm.....

Friday, October 16, 2009

Small town living...

You know you live in a small town when the latest big "thing" to do is visit the new grocery store that just opened!!!

It's been the latest talk around town for a week and a half now, so this morning we headed into town to visit the new and improved grocery store that now offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, too!!! We each had our choice of biscuits and Elizabeth had her beloved bacon and grits. FUN!

What's the new big "thing" going in in your town??

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Extreme Chocolate Fudge Brownies...

I'm not sure what it is about vacation, but after we get back from a trip, it always seems to take a while to get back into the swing of things. And so the blog has not been updated because we were visiting friends just outside of Ottawa, Ontario. It was WONDERFUL to see our friends and really get to spend time with them. They are a godly family, for sure, and it was well worth the long drive to see them.

So to get life back to normal, I HAD to make something sweet, right? :) Here's a TO DIE FOR brownie recipe that I found over at Arlene's blog. Y'all, GO MAKE THESE TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Extreme Chocolate Fudge Brownies


1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs. water
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325* Grease an 8x8 dish.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring butter, sugar, and water to a boil; stir often until sugar is dissolved (about 3 minutes). Remove pan from heat. Mix in chocolate chips. Stir until melted. Beat in vanilla. Carefully whisk in eggs. Add dry ingredients and stir 'til just moistened.
*add 1 cup chocolate chips here, if desired*

Spread batter into dish. Bake 35-40 minutes. Don't overbake these babies! Start checking 5 minutes before earliest bake time. Sides should just be pulling away from edges of the pan and the center should be set.

These definitely taste better if allowed to cool completely. But, seriously, who has that kind of willpower?! ;o) Enjoy!



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Snickerdoodles...


It's no secret, I love cookies!! Elizabeth, unfortunately, has the same gene in her body- the Cookie Monster gene!!!! It's just something we must bear, I suppose. Sigh.

Smile.

To cope? We bake, of course!!! And as much as we enjoy baking, we also enjoy giving them away, too!! Keep a few for yourself and gift a neighbor with a few!! Fun!!

These Snickerdoodles are WONDERFUL!!! Thanks to Smitten Kitchen for providing such an incredible recipe!! They were still crispy the day after we baked!! YUM!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Whoopie Cookies...


I do realize that most people that eat these little lovelies call them Whoopie Pies. However, I make them small, so we refer to them as Whoopie Cookies around here.

These are T-R-O-U-B-L-E, I'm telling ya! Don't say I didn't warn you!!!!!


Whoopie Cookies

Cookie:
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup hot water
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Frosting:
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
3 to 4 T milk

To make the cookies, heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, stir together flour and cocoa and set aside. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water and then add the milk and set aside. In another bowl, beat the shortening and sugar with a mixer until fluffy. Add the egg and beat another minute. Mix in half of the dry ingredients and then half of the wet ingredients; repeat.

Drop the batter by heaping teaspoons, about 2 inches apart, onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool thoroughly before removing from cookie sheet and make sure they are completely cooled before icing.

For the frosting, use a mixer and cream the butter, shortening, vanilla and powdered sugar until fluffy. Add the milk, 1 T at a time until the frosting has a creamy consistency.

Fill the flat side of the cookies with frosting and put two together to form a sandwich cookie.

Makes 2 dozen. And BOY do they disappear FAST!!!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fall Surprises...

Almost 3 years ago, I asked y'all to help me with the name of a flower that suddenly popped up in my yard. Tammy was smart enough to google it and found out that it was a Spider Lily!! I never planted any of these, but one just suddenly popped up in 2006!!

Lo and behold, y'all! It's happened again!! The Spider Lily wasn't here in 2007 or 2008 but this year it not only popped up again, but it brought friends!!!! Look!!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mushroom Beef Pizza....


When I make homemade pizza, this is the one that Mr. U requests- Mushroom Beef. Yum.

The dough? I don't make the pizza dough in the bread machine anymore (I got rid of it about a year ago)- I prefer to mix it by hand. Same recipe ingredients, I just mix it all together then I knead it by hand for about 3 minutes, put it in an oiled pan to rise until doubled and then shape into pizza.

The sauce? Oh, the sauce is best if made a few hours before so all the flavors can come together. Seriously good.

The topping? Sautee 1 pound of ground beef and then drain. In the same pan, toss in a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil and let the butter melt. Add fresh chopped mushrooms and toss to coat. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and you're done in about a minute.

The order? Roll out your pizza dough in your pan (which you have lightly sprinkled with cornmeal so that it doesn't stick) and then spread with the sauce. Next even distribute the cooked beef and sauteed mushrooms. Top with the cheese of your choice- ours this day was fresh mozzarella and a lot of it!!! Bake in a 450 degree oven until the edges are brown and the cheese is melted- about 15 minutes. (But REMEMBER that ovens vary!! Be sure and watch your pizza carefully!!!!)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I love my slow cooker!!



I don't know about y'all, but I LOOOVE my slow cooker (or crock-pot, whichever you prefer to call it). Not too long ago, I discovered A Year of Slow Cooking. Y'all GO CHECK IT OUT!!! She's got some seriously yummy recipes on her site AND she created a cookbook, too!!!!

And if any of y'all try her recipes out, let me know how they turn out!!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Ceiling fans.... oh my....

I can NOT believe I am going to show y'all these photos.

Oh dear.

All summer long we've kept the ceiling fans on. If we turn them off, it's usually because we are leaving the house. So who ever noticed they were dirty? And BOY are they dirty!! Just look!!!!!!!!!!!!!


(Go ahead... click on it! You know you want to see that icky dirt up close!!!!)


And this is the dust that came off ONE ceiling fan!!!!




WHY am I showing y'all these horrifying photos?? So that this scene is NOT repeated in YOUR home!!!! Do your family a favor and go right now and look at your ceiling fans and see if they are dirty. If so, CLEAN THEM!!!!!!!!!!

UPDATE: Y'all!!! Mrs. B just left a comment and said "
One thing that I've found that helps is to polish them with furniture polish and then the dust doesn't seem to stick to them as easily." What an EXCELLENT tip!! Thank you, Mrs. B!!!!!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Italian Polenta Cookies...



These cookies from Martha Stewart are wonderful!!! The photo above is how Martha says to shape them, but I got tired of doing it that way and decided to roll them into balls and smoosh them with the bottom of a glass so they look like this...



Oops! Looks like someone snuck a little bite there!

No matter how you shape these, they are TASTY!!!! The texture reminds me of a pecan sandy but the flavor is slightly sweet with just a hint of lemon. Perfect!!!!

Italian Polenta Cookies
(from Martha Stewart)


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Italian polenta or coarse yellow cornmeal*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, polenta, and salt in a bowl.

Put butter, sugar, and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add egg and egg yolk, one at a time, beating after each addition to combine. Mix in vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 7/16-inch star tip (such as Ateco #825).

Pipe S shapes about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide, spacing 1 ½ inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Chill in freezer until dough is firm about 30 minutes. Bake cookies until edges are golden, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies on parchment to wire racks; let cool about 10 minutes. Remove cookies from parchment, and transfer to racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

*I ground my corn meal fresh and used that instead of polenta. YUM!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Things for today...

Is it Friday already? Why didn't the week fly by this quickly when I used to work fulltime outside the home????

We are LOVING the cooler temperatures that have settled in our area this week. For all I know, it could be back in the upper 90s next week, so we're definitely going to enjoy this while we can!! Windows are all wide open- FRESH AIR!!!

A cute little kitty cat wondered up to our church Wednesday night after church. Two different families said they would take her home Sunday if she was still here. So what's our family to do? Well, feed her of course!! Elizabeth LOVED discovering her still here this morning.




Mr. U and I are finishing up our homestudy work today. My most dreaded task, the scrapbook, is almost ready. I know, I know, most of y'all probably LOVE scrapbooking, but not me. I'm doing my best with our portfolio, though, because I know some sweet girl will see them one day and, hopefully, choose our family for the child she is carrying.

Some friends of ours are having a housewarming party this weekend. Hmmm. What kind of gift should we take to a housewarming party? Any ideas?

On today's menu is Sausage Lentil Soup and French bread with a dipping sauce that reminds me SOOOOO much of Carrabba's!! I'll be sure and share those recipes later on!!

I've got a little tidying to do today and then I'll vacuum tomorrow night and wipe down bathrooms quickly. I do love to take care of our home.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!! Make time to be in the Word!!!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A late summer surprise...

We were outside earlier today enjoying the WONDERFUL mid 70s weather we're having. I knew I smelled a heavenly scent!!! Sure enough, on the far end of the house, our gardenia bush is blooming again!! I LOVE when flowers surprise me by blooming unexpectantly!!


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Give This Christmas Away....

It's never too early to start thinking about Christmas gifts- especially when it involves Samaritan's Purse and Operation Christmas Child.

I'm sure many of y'all are already involved in making shoeboxes each year, but if not, please watch the video and then head over to Samaritan's Purse and read how you, your family and your church can get involved this year.

Monday, August 31, 2009

How does your family "do" breakfast?



I would love to hear from y'all about how your family does breakfast each morning. Do you always eat together? Do you have a menu for breakfast or does everyone just grab something? Do you set an elaborate table or do you eat off paper towels? Seriously, I'd LOVE to hear how breakfast is around your home!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Watkins Vanilla...



I LOVE Watkins Vanilla!! Seriously, this is WAY better than the vanilla my mother used to use (Sorry Mom!!!!). It always smelled so medicine like to me. Watkins vanilla smells like, well, vanilla.

Today was grocery shopping day and I happily strolled down my favorite Walmart isle- the baking isle. (How many of y'all LOVE the baking isle, too?). I reached up to get my beloved Double Strength Vanilla and it was not there!!!!



I just made chocolate chip cookies tonight and there are 2 tsp less vanilla in my cute little bottle. OOOOOH!! I hope they restock their shelves soon!! How can I bake without it???

So tell me, what brand of vanilla do YOU prefer???

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Today in my home.....





Yes, today is window washing day here in my home. I used to mind it terribly, but now that I do it on a monthly basis, it's not so hard to tackle!!

Also, today is the day I move furniture to vacuum underneath. Tiring work moving some of this heavy furniture, but worth it in the end to get up all the hidden dust.

It surely makes me happy to take care of our home!!!

What are you working on in your home today??

(Photo credit)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fall is slowly coming....



The past two mornings we have awoken to cooler temperatures. Granted, the coolness doesn't last but a few hours, but it is a VERY nice reminder that Fall is on it's way!!!

Anyone else excited about Fall?

(photo from here)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Weekend cleaning... do you?



I normally do not post on the weekends, but as I was getting ready to clean, I wondered how many of y'all do any cleaning on the weekends? Until recently, I made sure all the cleaning was done Monday through Friday so that I would be free on the weekends. However, I've noticed that our home on Sundays has always been in such disarray!! I decided that I needed to at least give the bathrooms a quick clean and vacuum our living room on Saturday afternoon. You never know when guests will come over after church and I don't want them to see our home all a mess!!!

So do any of you clean on the weekends? Or do you accomplish it all during the week? I'd love to hear!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Chocolate Chip Muffins...



These were perfectly wonderful!! The texture, the taste, everything. Well, everything except I only made 12 of them. Next time, I'm doubling the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (but not hot!!)
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease or line 12 muffins cups.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in melted butter, milk, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. (I use an ice cream scoop for this! Super easy!!) Sprinkle the top of each filled muffin tin with a smidge of sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until they are slightly golden on top.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Future blogger...




This is what I see each time I grabbed my camera to take a picture of something for the blog. HA! Elizabeth grabs her play camera and heads in the same direction I'm going. I definitely see a blogger in the making.

Friday, August 14, 2009

What are you reading?


(Image found here.)

What have you been reading lately? What's on your list of "to read in the not-too-distant-future"?

Me? Remember me asking about Grace Livingston Hill a few months ago? Well, I finished The Honor Girl not too long ago (my sister is reading it now!!) and am in the middle of A Daily Rate. LOVE THEM!!!!! All of you that said you loved her books, well, I completely agree with you!!!!

Along with A Daily Rate, I'm also reading Blueberries for Sal, The Big Green Pocketbook, and other fun books with Elizabeth. :)

Oh, and let me add, I have found a lot of Grace Livingston Hill's books on Paperback Swap. Let me tell you, if you haven't joined yet, DO SO NOW!!! TONS of great books on there!!!

Okay, so what are YOU reading now?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cornbread Salad...



Cornbread salad? Sounds a little strange, right? Think what you like, but WOW is this delicious!!

I discovered this yummy recipe from Harrington House who directed me to Cherry Hill Cottage. A huge THANK YOU to both of these ladies for the recipe!!!

Cornbread Salad

2 pans cooked cornbread, crumbled
1 pound bacon cooked crisp, broken up
1 purple onion, chopped
1 cup green onion, chopped
2 fresh tomatoes, diced
2 cups mayonnaise
Pecans

Mix this all together and enjoy!! But, if you mix it all together, cover, and wait about 24 hours, the taste gets even BETTER!!!!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Storing Parmigiano Reggiano...



I LOOOOOVE Parmigiano Reggiano cheese!! I love the incredible smell that hits your nose when you first unwrap it from the plastic wrap it comes in. But, I do NOT love the plastic wrap!! There's no way that thin piece of plastic can keep your cheese from drying out!! What to do??

According to Whole Food's website this is how you store it properly...


Storing Parmigiano Reggiano

Wedges: Buy pieces that will last you just a week or two. Exposure to air causes the cheese to dry out and lose flavor, so keep it tightly wrapped in parchment paper or aluminum foil. Store in the cheese or veggie drawer of your refrigerator (40°F); freezing destroys its subtle nuances.

Grated: For maximum flavor and aroma, grate your own Parmigiano Reggiano directly onto food or buy it already grated as close as possible to when you plan to use it. Store pre-grated cheese in the refrigerator in a zip bag with all air squeezed out.



How do YOU store your Parmigiano Reggiano? With such yummy cheese, you most certainly don't want it to go bad!!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

In honor of Julia Child...



I've seen a lot of "talk" on blogs lately about Julia Child. I suppose it is because there is a new movie out about her life. She was an amazing chef and I still enjoy watching her TV shows on PBS.

For years, I've heard about pate a choux dough and have definitely eaten my share of eclairs and profiteroles in my life. I've also heard how easy they are to make. "Sure", I thought. "This is the kind of stuff that Julia Child makes, not me!!" And so, I put it off. Until Friday.

Friday afternoon, I had nothing going on. Nothing planned. All my housekeeping duties were completed for the day. It was a quiet, rainy afternoon and nothing stood between me and gougeres except fear!!!!! And fear I did, until I started cooking.

Once I started, I discovered that this "fancy" recipe wasn't quite so hard at all! In fact, it is, by far, the EASIEST bread type of recipe I have ever made!!! So, if any of y'all have ever wondered about the pate a choux process, press on!!!

I used Amy Finley's recipe from Gourmet Next Door. I used half the dough and made gougeres (with Swiss instead of Gruyere) and the other half for, what will be, profiteroles. I froze the profiteroles and will make them into the real deal this week (complete with yummy cream filling) for dessert.

What recipe have you feared making and then, once you started cooking, you didn't fear it so much after all??

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Next Food Network Star...







Melissa
vs
Jeffrey












I admit it. I watched The Next Food Network Star and enjoyed it! I love to cook and love to learn about food and cooking.

Did anyone else watch it? Were you happy with the winner that was chosen?

Me? I was cheering for Jeffrey from day 1 and liked his approach to food slightly more than Melissa's. I'll watch her first episode, though, to see how it goes. I just really appreciate watching cooking shows that use new ingredients or methods of cooking so that I can learn and, in the end, cook good food for my family.

So if you watched the show, tell me what you think!!!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

YOU can help us with our next ADOPTION!!!!


Hi y'all!! I'm having an ONLINE Pampered Chef party and YOU are invited!!!

I "met" (online) a Pampered Chef consultant who is helping us raise funds for our next adoption!!! If any of you have ever used Pampered Chef, you know what WONDERFUL products they have! I've been using their line for almost 10 years and have ZERO complaints- LOVE THEM!!!

Anyway, if any of you would be interested in helping with my fundraiser AND interested in purchasing Pampered Chef, please leave a comment with a way that I can get in touch with you. I will then send you an email with all that you need to do to order.

His,
Mrs. U

THANK YOU to everyone who ordered!!! The Pampered Chef "party" was over August 2, and I truly am thankful for everyone who helped us raise money for our adoption!!!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Praying for Jennifer...



GO TO MELISSA'S BLOG TO UPDATES ON JENNIFER.

Melissa over at Desiring To Be A Godly Woman has asked for prayer for her sister-in-law today.

Jennifer, who has been diagnosed with Cushings Disease, is having surgery TODAY, y'all, so please be sure and pray for her and her family. Please go visit Melissa's blog to find out how you can pray specifically.

Most of all, pray the God is glorified through all this.

What a nice surprise!!!



Surprise! Surprise!!!

Not too long ago, I shared my blogging woes about all my favorite blogs disappearing!!! Well, have I got some GREAT news!! Guess who's back? Susan P from A Place Called Home and Mrs. Wilt from The Sparrow's Nest!!!

Oooooh, ladies!!! Be sure and go visit them and welcome them back to blogland!!

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