A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Daily Ramblings, recipes, photos and whatever else I like to share along the way.

We Are Penn State...

In just a few short hours it will be time to curl up and watch the game.

I simply can't wait!!

I will cheer for the team as if I was there, then again I will be in spirit. :D

I cheered when I was a student in the stands; I still cheer and watch no matter where I am.

Bring it on!

We Are Penn State!

This is what football is all about.



Time to look ahead....


A quick look back at 2009-

I am thrilled that all my father's surgeries went well this year (bypass,heart valve,and later a pace maker) and that he is doing great!

My children are finally happy with school (as much as one can be) and are enjoying their online learning.

We still have Autumn doggie with us, you see she is 17 yrs old. She is deaf and has very poor eye sight but keeps on amazing us. :)

I have slowly begun to put myself first. eep.. not easy to do but I need to slowly learn and take time for me. Some weeks are better than others but small steps right?!

Was introduced to Thai food and absolutely love it!

I look forward to seeing what is ahead for myself, my children and my DH next year.


(Missing Sashafoo who we lost late this year.-above photo)



The Day has Come....



That dreaded day has arrived in our household.

The younger brother is now taller than the big brother.

*gasp*

We have one ecstatic son and one who keeps saying it won't last long just wait and see.

Looks like we will have to wait and see.

They are 13 and 11, so there is plenty of time left but for now one has the upper hand on the height issue.

Sherlock Holmes - Movie Review...

I have been waiting so long to go and see Sherlock Holmes.
We tried yesterday by stopping for a few wings and nachos before the movie.
Then we were off to the theater but the line was out the movie theater.

*groan*

No way was I going to wait and see if we could get in so we opted to go today.
One of our gifts this year was movie tickets (thanks Omi & Opa) which worked out perfect.

Four words for you...

Go.See.The.Movie!!!!

Excellent acting by Robert Downey Jr. (on of my fav actors as you know) and Jude Law, they both portrayed their characters very well

This is not filmed as you would expect a traditional Sherlock Holmes movie but then again this is not your normal movie for Sherlock Holmes.

The angles of the camera keep you interested and present you with different ways to look at the characters.

Excellent.Excellent.

Sure hope that there is a follow up to this one, it does seem that there could be.

*crosses fingers*



I would not recommend this movie for children under 10.

Oh! the music is also quite catchy. ;-)


U.S. Navy Bean Soup


After our Christmas dinner DH mentioned to me that we should try to make some soup with what was left with the ham.

Sounded like a plan!

At that point I knew that I would be using a bag of navy beans that has been sitting in our cabinet for quite some time.

Next up was to find a recipe.

Easy.

Used my BigOven App and searched for a navy bean soup recipe.

The recipe found below was the first one I found, decided to use it and I am so glad that I did.

This soup is absolutely perfect and has already been added to my recipe book to make again, and again.

You will not be sorry.



I used the servings as one cup but you could easily double that per serving.

This soup is great for this time of year.

original recipe
from BigOven (I found the online site)

* Exported from MasterCook *

U.S. Navy Bean Soup

Recipe by: LadyJay
Serving Size : 11 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Soups

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 pound navy beans -- soaked
1/2 pound ham bones -- or ham
3 quarts water
1 cup mashed potatoes -- prepared
2 cloves garlic -- chopped
2 stalks celery -- chopped
2 tablespoons parsley -- chopped or dried
1/2 large onion -- chopped fine

  • Soak beans overnight and rinse.
  • Place in large stock pot with ham/ham bone or bacon ends
  • Add 3 quarts of water.
  • Bring to a boil then simmer for 2 hrs. (the longer you simmer-the more flavor you will have)
  • Stir in mashed potatoes, onions, celery, garlic and parsley.
  • Simmer another 1-2 hours.
  • Remove meat/bone and dice meat.
  • Return meat to soup, stir and serve.

Source:
"Big Oven App"
Yield:
"11 cups"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 212 Calories; 5g Fat (20.3% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 28g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber; 22mg Cholesterol; 78mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat.

Serving Ideas:

Nice crusty bread on the side

NOTES :

* I added some pepper in while the soup was cooking.

When I removed the ham bone, I placed the beans and broth in a crock pot to finish cooking.


Merry Christmas...


Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.


Nutcrackers...




I adore nutcrackers.
I'm not sure what it is about them, I have always been drawn to them.
Yup, that is my collection on out mantel in the family room.
Next year I will have to branch out and find a new spot for any new ones that I may receive this year.
Oh! I have even started a small nutcracker tree for Christmas in the kitchen. :)

This and That....


Well, the cookies have been baked.
The house is cleaned up and ready.
Laundry is done until the weekend.
One dog needs her holiday bath but that should not take very long.
DH has given me tomorrow night off from cooking-all I will need to do is pop our meal in the oven, serve and enjoy!
Santa will need to hire a few extra elves to make sure that the gifts are wrapped. ;-)
I'm sitting here not doing much, which is so very much unlike me.
Since all is pretty much done, I think I shall go curl up with my new book and take in some me time.

Snow Fun....


Some hearts were set upon perhaps having a bit of snow late last week with the storm that headed up the coast; unfortunately we did not have any.


The boys were totally disappointed that we did not have white stuff and that their grandparents (who live in PA) were covered with it.
What to do?!
Take them to the snow!


Yes, you read that right.
We drove to the snow.
We left the house for a quick 40 minute drive (leaving our 48 degree weather) and headed to the mountains of NC for a few hours of fun.


Our outing took us to Hendersonville, NC (one of our favorite places) where we were greeted with snow.


It was cold (33 degrees) and snowy!
As soon as the boys were sprung from the mom mobile they instantly headed for the snow to make....
snowballs!
Off we went strolling around the town, stopping in some stores along the way but most importantly enjoying the snow.


Now the boys are asking when we are going back. lol...


Holiday Baking....


I am running a bit behind with the holiday cookie baking this year.
Last week I whipped up some gingerbread men and today it was press cookies.
Spencer helped me decorate some of the cookies. :)
You can never go wrong with a spritz cookie as a tiny treat.

Congratulations PSU Women's Volleyball Team!!



These women are amazing!!

They were able to battle back against Texas to win for the third year in a row the
national championship.

Read more @ ESPN.

We Are Penn State

Bleep, Bleeps...

I found my favorite candy.... Bleep Bleeps! You can guess what I am
now enjoying.

What Christmas Character are You?? Quiz Time....

Tis the season for a little quiz.
You know you always had one or two right before Christmas break so.....

Which Christmas Character are You?


My results:

You're Santa Claus!
You’re the true spirit of the holiday season. You love everything about Christmas—the snow, the colorful lights, the baking, the family feasts, the caroling, the gift giving…even the chestnuts roasting on an open fire! You can’t get enough! People turn to you when they need a little boost of Christmas spirit. So keep up that holly jolly attitude!


My inspiration for this post?

Currently watching A Christmas Story-a classic

:D


Healthy Chocolate Cake - Recipe



*raises hand*

Yes, I am one who was a bit skeptical about this recipe but I have to say it totally rocks!

The cake is a bit heavier but is moist and full of that wonderful chocolate goodness. *yum*

This recipe was sent out by Hungry Girl in an email earlier this year and I have to say she makes some excellent healthy recipes.

Healthy Chocolate Cake

1 Box Chocolate Cake mix
1 can (15 oz) Pumpkin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the two together, it will be really thick but keep mixing until thoroughly mixed through.

Place the batter in a 9x9 inch pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

You will need to smooth out the top as best as you can.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until cake tester inserted comes out clean.

Cool and cut into 9 pieces.

I dusted mine with a little powdered sugar.

Mmmm.....

Winner!!

Congratulations to Ms. D. Gormly for winning the $25 gift certificate to Oh! Nuts.

Enjoy!!

Gingerbread Men & Recipe


I decided to start a little of our holiday baking today.
Gingerbread men were on the list first.
Simple to make, tasty to eat and always a hit.

I use the McCormick recipe for making Gingerbread Men and it has yet to fail me.
This year is the first year that I decided to decorate them.
Normally, I simply use raisins and cinnamon candies.
Spencer even joined in the decorating fun.
Fun, fun, fun!



Makes 2 dozen or 24 (1 cookie) servings.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Refrigerate Time: 4 hours

Cook Time: 8 to 10 minutes per batch

INGREDIENTS

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons McCormick® Ginger, Ground

1 teaspoon McCormick® Cinnamon, Ground

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Nutmeg, Ground

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1 egg

DIRECTIONS

1. Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes with 5-inch cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies as desired. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.

You can go here for variations of the McCormick Gingerbread Cookie Recipe.

Gingerbread Men Time....

Baking Gingerbread Men.
The house smells so yummy!

Special Treat for Me....


I bet you were thinking it was something rich, thick and full of chocolate.

Nope.

Sorry.

Though now that I think about it, that does sound quite yummy.

The earrings above were special treat to me.

If you are looking for some lovely jewelry or need a special gift for that special someone I highly recommend Ice.com.

I do online surveys on the side, I cashed in some of the money I earned and decided to treat myself to a little something special.

Ice.com has always caught my eye with their selection and prices.

So....

I found the perfect pair of earrings and waited anxiously for them to arrive.

When they arrived I ripped opened the box, slid out the blue box and popped it open.

WHOA!

The earrings were full of sparkle, stunning light blue aquamarines and shiny silver dazzled my eyes.

These earrings are everything I was hoping for and more.

They came with a certificate of authenticity; I guess I missed that in the description.

I am absolutely thrilled with my purchase, so happy to have finally tried this website.

If you give them a try, I hope you are as happy with your jewelry as I am with mine.


What do you see in the watermark?



So, Spencer and I were cleaning up after his school day.
I remove his glass of water from the table and I hear....
"Hey mom, look quick there is a smiley face on the table."
My reply, "Pffft... yeah, ok."
Go back over to the table and get out!

There is a Smiley Face!

Now most people will see Jesus or the Virgin Mary we get to see a smiley face.

:D

Time left for the $25 Gift Certificate Give Away to Oh! Nuts

You still have plenty of time left to enter to win a $25 Gift Certificate to Oh! Nuts.

Oh! Nuts offers a wonderful selection of nuts, and candies that could fill quite a few stockings!

Excellent customer service and products, you will not be disappointed.

Click here to read how you can enter for the $25 Gift Certificate.

Winner announced on 12/15/09.

Good Luck!!!



Taco Soup - Recipe



I am really trying to turn over a new leaf with what I eat, some days I will admit are easier than others.
Soup really does make the perfect lunch.
With the colder weather we are having I decided to try and find some "spicy" soups.
This one is not too spicy, excellent flavor and is very filling.
I have been eating it all week long. :)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Taco Soup

Recipe By: Lubie - Recipezaar.com
Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time: 0:10
Categories : Soups

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 pound lean ground beef
1 package ranch-style dressing mix
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 can great northern beans, canned
1 can pinto beans, canned
11 ounces rotele Tomato -- ** with chilies
28 ounces diced tomatoes -- canned
4 ounces green chilies -- canned
11 ounces Del Monte Corn Salt Free

  • Cook meat and drain.
  • Shred if needed.
  • Add all ingredients to crock pot. DO NOT DRAIN CANS.
  • Stir.
  • Cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours.
  • Keep on low until serving to keep hot.
  • Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped green onions, or tortilla chips.

Source:
"The Tippy Toe Diet.com"
Copyright:
"2002"
Yield:
"8 "
Start to Finish Time:
"4:00"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving : 245 Calories; 12g Fat (45.2% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 43mg Cholesterol; 482mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Serving Ideas:

corn bread
nice crusty loaf of bread

NOTES : Can use ground chicken if desired.

Christmas Songs....

I am sure that we can all sing a Christmas carol or two or hum a few lines.

Now, in the category of Christmas songs that might be a little different.

12 Pains of Christmas

This is one song that the boys are enjoying this year.

I can recall hearing it way back when but never thought much about it since then.

That was until last year going to PA for Christmas.

We were all in stitches laughing and it brought a flood of memories of my dad arguing with the lights.

Our lights never seemed to work from year to year and my dad had a HUGE margarine container full of replacement bulbs for the just in case moment. Yeah, there was always that moment once the lights were half way up or finally put up that we had to find the right bulb to make the string work.
Ah, the words we heard during that time.
lol...

The boys had me search for a good rendition of the song and I have to say the one below is just how I imagine it.

Enjoy the 12 Pains of Christmas....





Colleen's Buttermilk Chicken - Recipe




What to do with a bit of left over buttermilk?
I thought about making a cake but not enough and not enough to whip up any other mouth watering goodies.
So...
I discovered this great recipe online and opted to give it a whirl.
Fast, tasty and a total hit with everyone.
Dh infact said that this one should go in the make again file.
*jaw drops open*

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Colleen's Buttermilk Chicken

Recipe By: Colleen
Serving Size: 4
Categories: Dinners

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
4 boneless chicken
1 1/2 cups buttermilk -- divided
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup butter
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup 98% FF
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder

  • Combine flour, salt and pepper.
  • Dip chicken into 1/2 cup buttermilk.
  • Roll in flour, salt and pepper mixture.
  • Melt butter in a baking pan, put chicken in pan.
  • Bake at 425 uncovered for 30 minutes.
  • Turn an bake 15 more minutes.
  • Turn over again.
  • Combine 1 cup buttermilk and fat free Cream of Mushroom soup over chicken.
  • Heat again for 15 minutes or until soup has been warmed.

Source:
"About.com"
Yield:
"4 "
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 484 Calories; 16g Fat (31.2% calories from fat); 58g Protein; 23g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 166mg Cholesterol; 640mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 7 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Non-Fat Milk; 2 1/2 Fat.

Serving Ideas:

  • Side Salad
  • Green Beans
  • Buttermilk Biscuit or Mashed Potatoes

NOTES:

As usual I added in some garlic powder. :)

I would add more black pepper than what is called for in the recipe.

Oh, so simple Christmas Tree....

Alright, I grew up with always having a natural tree for Christmas.
I can recall going out in the deep snow, chilling wind blowing, freezing my butt off begging for my parents to hurry up.
Yes, there is nothing like having a real tree and the great aroma of pine through the house.
Ahhh....

Yet, living in the South and getting your holiday Christmas tree is just not the same.
Yeah, we have a few local areas to find a tree (cut your own) or we could drive to NC to cut one down.
We also have the local lots where you can pick a tree out, only issue with that is not knowing how long ago it was cut down.
I mean, you don't want to get a tree that was cut down at the end of November, with no water for a week to two because the needles will be all over the place.
Ask me how I know.
So, for the past ten years we have had a fake tree.
The first three years here were with a real tree and not the best tree memories.
Anywho, it was time to replace our old tree so today we opted to by a prelit tree.
OMG!
Spencer and I had that tree up in less than five minutes.
Take out of box, insert parts 2 and 3, undo sting, fold down branches and plug in cords.
That is all it took.
No fuss, no muss, and best of all no messing with stringing the lights.
The whole process was oh, so simple.
THANK YOU to the person who invented this type of tree.
Now to go and get the rest of the house decorated.

$25 Gift Certificate to Oh! Nuts...

Don't forget to enter my Christmas giveaway for a $25 Gift Certificate to Oh! Nuts.

Excellent way to purchase some wonderful nuts and yummy candy for this holiday season.

The products are fresh and arrive to your door in record time.

Go here to read how to enter the giveaway.

Good Luck!!

Oriental Flank Steak -- Recipe

Mmm..

A quick beef dinner that will become a fast favorite in any household. :)

Yummy!

BTW- I used a Foreman Grill to make this and it was totally perfect.


* Exported from MasterCook *

Oriental Flank Steak

Recipe By: Favorite Brand Name Chinese Cookbook
Serving Size : 6
Categories: Main Dinner

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1/2 cup Italian Salad dressing
2 tablespoons brown sugar -- packed
2 tablespoons soy sauce, low sodium
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 pounds Flank steak -- or a top round steak

  • In a large, shallow non aluminum baking dish or plastic bag, combine all ingredients except steak. Add steak , turn to coat.
  • Cover, or close bag, and marinate in refrigerator, turn occasionally, 3 to 24 hours.
  • Remove steak, reserving marinade. grill or broil steak, turning once, until steak is done.
  • Meanwhile, in small saucepan, bring reserved marinade to a boil and continue boiling 1 minute. Pour over steak.

Yield:
"6 "
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 307 Calories; 21g Fat (63.2% calories from fat); 22g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 58mg Cholesterol; 434mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 2 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.



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