Friday, January 19, 2018

5 thing Friday - dabs, beer, Ted, lotion, birthday dinner

I hate throwing the last dibs and dabs of stuff away, so I almost always am on the lookout for how I can use stuff up completely when cooking.  The last bit of ketchup can go into the stew, that bit of leftover veggie can be added in to a soup or casserole, and so on.
And the last few spoonfuls of almond butter, peanut butter, and pumpkin spice cookie butter can be made into a giant peanut butter cookie with the last bits of chocolate chips sprinkled on top.  It was a warm from the oven treat that hit the spot!
Hubby and I took our growler to Whole Foods Market on Sunday to enjoy the spring-like temps on the balcony in advance of Inga.  We also had oysters and smoked salmon nuggets.  Bonus points for this particular venue being about two minutes from Camp Rustown.
Teddy has been a good houseguest and is warming up to all of us nicely.  Though I'm pretty sure he's asking for me to stop reading and pay attention to him here.
 
I have containers of lotion in every room of this house, and my tote bag and purse, and I use it liberally and often and yet still my hands look like a crone's.  I am trying to limit the time I have them immersed in cleaning products, and even the shower, but I fear I am fighting a losing winter battle.  I even bought new gloves for driving because the bite of the dry cold kills me...
 
Firstborn's birthday dinner last night was delightful: Baked Rigatoni, Caesar salad, garlic crescent rolls, Texas sheet cake with roasted pecans, and ice cream.  It required that I prep it all in advance before leaving for work, but it was a snap to heat up and serve. 
Happy Weekend, everyone!  I feel like we earned it this week in Texas!



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Remembering a past January, 28 years ago

Hubby and I became parents at age 28 with the birth of  our first baby.  (which is, by the way, how old he will be tomorrow!)  We had married just three years prior, had bought a house two years before -  we knew it was time.  And we felt ready.  When I think back on that, I am so glad we approached parenthood that way we did, even though I think you can never fully prepare yourself.  It was a bumpy road at times, and we learned so much from this very first baby.  We were as green as they come.
It's amazing to me to look back on these photos - all the hopes and dreams of  new parents casually posed and placed into a simple film image.  Nothing fancy, not composed or staged or lit in any certain way.   Neither one of us ever holding a baby, much less diapering and feeding one.  But we felt like we had a lot to offer and were so grateful and excited to be given this perfect little baby!
There were three others that followed, but there's something magical about the first.  Looking forward to so many milestones, having so many plans, getting know that baby through the years...it's a wondrous process.  And Firstborn was a wondrous and much-loved child.  So these photos, showing us on the brink of our adventure?  They remind me of a time that seems both far away, and yet so recent. (Weird, huh?)
He might have outgrown Hubby's shoulder, but he will never outgrow our hearts.
Happy Birthday, Spencer Austin!  We love you so much!



Monday, January 15, 2018

Mealplan Monday #53

Monday - Sammie night (last week was honey ham on apple bread with Havarti- so good!)
Tuesday - Leftovers night
Wednesday - Happy Birthday dinner for firstborn!
Thursday -   Turkey Taco Casserole (instead of chicken), salad 
Friday - Chipotle and Onion Shredded Beef on tortillas, sour cream, pico de gallo, etc.
Saturday is TBD.  Sunday will be Baked Beans and Elgin Sausage, garlic toast
Yesterday I made a whole new batch of freezer pie crusts and  ranch dressing mix, too!


Friday, January 12, 2018

Eggnog pie

Cleaning out the fridge in advance of my Monday grocery run, I spied a half-full jug of eggnog that was to expire the next day.  Which is weird, because I only bought two of them, and that was several weeks ago...
Firstborn, December 2007

Such a thing used to never happen at my house!  Firstborn LOVED eggnog.  I mean, if you didn't get yourself a cup of it right when you saw it, it would be GONE the next time you went to the fridge.  The kid loved eggnog, I tell you.
Fast forward to now, and he barely had a cup or two of it.  I guess you can "grow out of" foods, too...however, it being so close to expiring, I thought, why not add it into something instead of just tossing it?  Stir it into hot cocoa? Bake it in a cake instead of the milk the recipe calls for?  Make a quick bread recipe with it?  What about a pie?  Pie it is!
I pulled out the very last pie crust from my freezer and let it come to room temp while I assembled:
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
3 eggs
the rest of the eggnog (2 c.)
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 c. butter, melted and cooled
 
My pie crusts weren't perfect but were they good!  (no more Pillsbury for me) I fold the blob of crust over several times, coat it with more flour, then roll into a ball and use my rolling pin to make a big circle.  After I fit it into the pie plate I let it chill while I mix up the filling.
 Dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another.  Stir the butter in at the last.
 I actually had too much filling for the crust - it was dangerously close to spilling over.
And when I pulled it out of the oven (350, about 45 min), it was puffed like a souffle!  But I figured it would settle down, and it did.  I left it to cool a bit, then stored in fridge.  And it was the second best pie I made this holiday season!
And a piece of it makes a nice companion to my morning coffee today!
Happy Friday!




Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Random bits of Christmas - a recap

I feel like I barely talked about anything Christmas-related on my blog this year.  (except for random rants about being under the time gun)  So I went back into my phone to find all the many, many pics I had taken of Christmas and Bubbie's birthday and New Year...and guess what?  I had pitifully few pics of any of it.  Note to self;  do better documenting next holiday season!  So, here's a tidy recap of Christmas and New Year:
 
The Girl was my helper on decorating the trees this year - blue, gold, and naturals for the family tree; red for the kids' tree.  I tried not to put too much stuff up this year - I knew I wanted a simpler look.  The house was so cozy and pretty this year.
We just literally put all of the Christmas stuff up on Jan. 9th.  I kept wanting to get it done, everyone else wanted it up longer.
 We ate "slapatizers" on Christmas Eve during the day.  (don't know why The Girl calls them that, but it has stuck)  We had smoked trout with sliced Asian pear, Thai chili lime spiced cashews, and some mini freezer pizzas and such from Trader Joe's.  All of the food this holiday season was delicious - brisket, coleslaw, and cornbread casserole the Saturday before, homemade tamales from a friend at work with queso and crockpot pintos for Christmas Eve night, spiral sliced ham for Christmas Day with a creamy broccoli and cauiflower casserole, Buche Noel for dessert ...all soooo good.
 Along with our Christmas sangria of (very) cheap cabernet, sprite, and brandy.
It went down a little too easily...
 People were super thrilled to be eating and socializing.
 As you can tell.
Hubby enjoyed sitting around the firepit with his peeps, enjoying a pipe or two with some brandy.  {Note:  I have not one single pic of Bubbie at either Christmas or New Years...super weird.  He was there, in fact. I know someone video'd him blowing out his birthday candles, I just have to get that person to send that to me}
 Poor Dutch is learning how obnoxious we can all be after a full day of snacking and drinking.  But I think she had a good Christmas with us.
Puzzles were put together!  I have zero pics of Bubbie's girlfriend and Dutch helping us build these, but they so did.  As I mentioned before, I spent $1 each on the puzzles and they are quite pretty so I mod-podged them and now need to figure out what to do with them...also cards were played half to death. 
Teddy is still here - The Girl left him at our house until March 1.  We will either decide we love having a dog and get one of our own, OR we will decide a dog is not for us.  Either way, he will be well-cared for while she works many many hours during their busy season.
 Santa brought me anti-snake boots.  Come at me, snakes.
 
 We stayed in on New Year's eve and played cards and drank wine, while eating slapatizers of BBQ mini sausages, eggrolls, and baked cheese sticks, and enjoying smooth jazz and the fireplace.  The Girl and Bubbie both went out, so Firstborn had us all to himself.  Lucky him as we were having a wild time at the kitchen table...
On New Year's Day, we had our usual feast, along with this walnut raisin pie which was THE BEST PIE EVER.  I know it sounds like all we did was eat, play cards, make puzzles, enjoy the firepit and each other's company, and have a great Christmas, but that's only because we did!
{and now if I could just kick this rotten cold I have!}




Monday, January 8, 2018

Mealplan Monday #52

It promises to be a long week...
Monday - Sammie night
Tuesday - Beef Stew in the crockpot, rolls
Wednesday - leftovers or take-out
Thursday - Gumbo Sausage Pasta, green salad
Friday - Sticky Chicky, rice, peas
Saturday and Sunday are TBD


Friday, January 5, 2018

5 thing Friday - eating out, plans to sew, puzzles, plans, Teddy

Early in December, Hubby and I visited this cute restaurant that we always pass on the way to Highland's - Cafe Twenty Three Hundred.
I had the catfish, he had the chicken fried steak.  The place was decorated cute - lots of  mismatched wood chairs and tables, wood planked or metal sheeting walls, and the food was filling and service friendly.  I read a couple of bad reviews about the place since then - but really, we enjoyed it a lot.
 
My sister and I are checking in on my mother more often.  The week before Christmas I took a ham lunch from Central Market, and we moved her ferns indoors, cleaned up the front room, and set up her quilt frame, among other chores.  Note to self:  when I get some down time I need to sew some pretty homemade placemats like these.
 
Puzzles were the rage at my house over Christmas.  I got three of them from Dollar Tree and they were HARD.  So, I mod-podged them to keep forever.  Now just need to decide what to do with them.
Hubby and I decided to fast-track our plans for Highlands beginning this month.  Up next to do:  buy a trailer so we can start gathering big trash for the next dumpster delivery.  In the winter, you can more easily see the stuff that needs to be gathered because the vegetation dies back.  It's amazing some of the stuff we noted when we visited last.  We've owned the property 15 months now - we discover something different every time.
Teddy will be vising us until the busy season ends for The Girl.  I'm sure both of them will be overjoyed come March first.  And either Hubby and I will decide we can't wait for a dog of our own, or we'll know for sure it'll have to wait.



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