Wednesday, December 13, 2017

SWEETS AND STUFF

I just need to share that I'm head over heels in love with Walker Hayes right now.  His music is amazing, he has the best sense of humor,  and really seems to be all about family.  Speaking of family, he and his wife are expecting their 7th child soon.


Are you caught up in the all the deliciousness of the season and still want more?  Here's a few recipes that are perfect for you or Santa and come from The Southern Cookie.

CHAI TEA EGGNOG COOKIES

INGREDIENTS
1 Chai Teabag
1 17.5 Oz. Package Sugar Cookie Mix
1/2 Cup Butter, Melted
1 Large Egg
4 Tbsp Eggnog, Divided
Parchment Paper
Cinnamon Sugar
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 Tsp freshly grated nutmeg, or the kind in a jar





INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, remove the tea leaves from the tea bag, and throw away the bag.

Combine the tea leaves, cookie mix, butter, egg and 2 Tbsp Eggnog into a medium bowl, blending until combined.  Drop the dough by spoonfuls on the parchment lined baking sheets.  Flatten the dough slightly with the bottom of a glass dipped in cinnamon sugar.

Bake in batches for  8-10 minutes or until slightly browned.  Transfer to wire racks or a plate, and cool completely for about 10 minutes.  Whisk together the powdered sugar, nutmeg, and remaining 2 Tbsp eggnog  until smooth, then spoon over the cooled cookies.


CHOCOLATE-DIPPED PRALINE PRETZELS

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 Cups Coarsely Chopped Pecans
1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
Butter
Parchment Paper
2 4-Oz Semisweet Chocolate Baking Bars, Chopped
16 Pretzel Rods

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then combine pecans, brown sugar and cream in a medium bowl.
Spread mixture in a single layer in a lightly buttered -in round cake pan.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until the sugar is slightly crystallized, stirring once.  cool in pan for 10 minutes, then finely chop.  Spread mixture in a single layer on parchment paper.


Microwave the chocolate in a microwave safe measuring cup on HIGH for 1 minute or until melted, stirring at 15 second intervals.  Immediately dip 2/3 of the pretzel into the chocolate, twirling to cover all sides.  Then roll into the pecan mixture.  Gently place on parchment paper, allowing it to set.  These can be stored in airtight containers for up to 4 days.

CRACKERS
For some reason, I can never eat just one cracker.  Has that ever happened to you?  Nabisco released the saltine cracker in 1876 with the slogan, "Polly Wants a Cracker", but it didn't get really popular until The Great Depression.  How do those holes get in the cracker?  The super thin dough  is docked precisely to allow the steam to escape while baking, therefore creating that crispy cracker we've all come to know and love.


MAYBE YOU DON'T HAVE TO COUNT STEPS
If you live somewhere cold and want to rev up that metabolism from eating all those cookie, stand outside for just 15 minutes.  Doing this is the equivalent of 1 entire hour of exercise!!!!


BE CAREFUL
Clearing snow from the walkway/driveway is supposed to protect everyone from slipping as they head to your house for those cookies. According to recent studies, 11,000 people go to the emergency room because they get hurt while shoveling snow.  Just like lifting heavy objects, experts encourage us to use our legs instead of our backs. 


Christmas Photos by Ken Cedeno/Verbatim Photo Agency
I really enjoy looking at Christmas decorations all over the country, and every year a special is shown on HGTV on how the White House decorates.  You can stream the show, or watch it On Demand.  It's really cool to see what 159 volunteers can create in one week of nonstop decorating.





Summer on Blossom Street-Debbie Macomber
HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THIS?
A few weeks ago there was a paperback giveaway which I was thrilled about.  I went inside with my bag, prepared to load up on lots of goodies.  Imagine my surprise when I realized that all the paperbacks had no cover!!!  What in the heck?

Hardcore readers already know that the inside has a disclaimer that if the book was purchased without a cover, it's considered stolen property, and was reported as unsold.  


This is what I'm used to seeing, and what I'm reading right now.
The books weren't being sold, so does that make the people who gave these away feel that it was okay to strip the cover? I'm super grateful for that giveaway, because I saved a ton of cash, and added to the ever growing pile.  It was also very kind. By the way, if you happen to pick up Summer on Blossom Street, which was published in 2009, the front of the book has instructions on how to knit a cable scarf.


If I purchase a book, or one is given to me, I'm pretty much expecting an intact book, which includes the cover.  So really I'm wondering if anyone has ever experienced this, and if it means something special that I'm missing? 




Friday, December 8, 2017

FRIDAY STUFF & MORE STUFF

THIS SOUNDS UNBELIEVABLE
I don't get it.  What would possess a woman to go on LIVE television in a police news press conference and PRETEND to use sign language?  We depend on these ASL interpreters to share news and other pertinent information to those who may be hearing impaired, so when I heard this happened in Tampa Florida, I was shocked.  Apparently, she just asked to do the job and was hired immediately!


Even worse, Derlyn Roberts defrauded a private school from 2004 to 2009 of close to $350,000 for her own personal use, and was just released from prison on that charge in 2016.  After careful study, it was determined that Ms. Roberts (she actually had a whopping 41 aliases!)  has had problems with the law and various other charges for close to 24 years, so it's a mystery of why she would actually walk into police headquarters to offer her services.  Psychiatrists say she may have been seeking credibility as a way to get new jobs or to work on other potential scams.


These are the two cards I've received so far
WHERE ARE ALL THE CHRISTMAS CARDS?
From 2009 - 2012 I distributed and received close to 380 Christmas cards per year which was a compilation of family & friends, romance authors and book reviewers.  This was during the time when there were lots of groups on Yahoo which have pretty much disbanded, and not many active blogs.
I almost felt like a celebrity when people would ooh and ahh over all the cards on display at my house during the holidays. (lol) From 2013 - 2015 I wasn't able to send any cards, and in 2016, I think I may have sent out about 7 or 8.


This year, another blogger did a holiday recipe exchange (Waving at Anna) and suggested that cards be included, so I thought this was the perfect time to get back on board with mailing out Christmas cards once again.  

It quickly became clear that no one sends out physical Christmas cards anymore!(lol)  Maybe it's because technology has taken over, and people send notes via email, or holiday wishes are just made via blog. Perhaps it's also a safety issue as well.  I also think that postage is just too dang expensive, right?  Have you noticed that stores don't even seem to stock as many cards to choose from?


So now my list  this year is composed of 52 whole people.  This includes family & friends, and a few bloggers.  By the way, that very first Christmas Card Exchange which started in 2009 was massive and initiated by a super, super famous New York Times best selling romance author.  So this year the group is down to just 34 people, and the list was distributed once again. Out of the 34 people who are still left,  I recognized 6 of  the original members from back in 2009 who wanted to exchange cards.  Wow, times sure have changed.


By the way, tomorrow, December 9 is National Christmas Card Day! (lol)

WOULDN'T YOU LIKE TO BE A PEPPER TOO?
Dr. Pepper was developed by a pharmacist who worked at The Old Corner Store in Waco Texas in 1885, but it didn't become a household name until it was served at the St. Louis World Fair in 1904. Another interesting fact about that fair is it also popularized the hamburger, the ice-cream cone and the  hotdog.  
Even today, the ingredients remain secret, and rumors indicate that the recipe is kept in 2 different safes located in Dallas TX.  Snapple (which I do drink) is also part of this group. Another interesting fact about the St. louis World Fair is that is also popularized the hamburger, ice cream cone and hotdog.


CAT LOVE
Do you like cats and haven't picked up your 2018 calendar yet? 
Visit  https://www.papersource.com then do a search for catitude and you'll find all kinds of goodies like this really neat planner.


MAGICAL MUSHROOM MEDLEY

I have to be honest and tell you that I'm no fan of mushrooms, (I should be because they are fat burners-lol), but since a good portion of my blogger friends are veggie tarians,(yes that's a ROism-heh) I decided to sneak in this super simple recipe which takes about 20 minutes to prepare.  For those who have room for a little more, feel free to add meat, green beans or broccoli as desired.


INGREDIENTS
4 Tbsp Butter
2 Large Shallots, finely chopped
1 Lb. White Mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
 Oz. Shiitake Mushrooms, stems removed, cut into 1-in thick slices
 Oz. Oyster Mushrooms, cut in half
2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 Tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves, plus sprigs for garnish



DIRECTIONS
In deep 12-in skillet, heat butter or medium high.  Add shallots, cooking and stirring for 1 minute.  Stir in the mushrooms, garlic, thyme 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper.  If you like some heat add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.  Cook 12 - 15 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender and brown and the liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently.  If you serve it just like this, there are about 85 calories and 7 carbs.






BROWNIES EVERYWHERE
You saved so many calories with that mushroom dish, now you can splurge on the really important stuff like chocolate - brownies to be exact because today is National Brownie Day!!!! 

Eat a brownie, give a brownie, share a brownie, bake a brownie.



Monday, December 4, 2017

FRUIT COCKTAIL PIE & AND SOME OTHER STUFF

Before we get started, many apologies because I need to play catch up on blog visits, and I miss my friends.  Once again, I've taken on too many dang projects and am behind.  And yes, I'm guilty of watching way too many holiday movies. (lol) I can't believe December is here already! The plan is to get myself together this week.  

Most of us have probably had some form of fruit cocktail in a can, but I sure never knew it could be used in a pie!  That's what I found in the cookbook, Sweetness by Christy Jordan. (I love the recipes in this book)  *Waving at Katherine P from  iwishilivedinalibrary.blogspot.com/ * This is a vintage recipe that's very simple to make with minimal ingredients, but there are also other versions on the Internet.


FRUIT COCKTAIL PIE
INGREDIENTS
1 Can (15 Ounces) Fruit Cocktail w/juice
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Self Rising Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Large Egg
1-inch Deep Dish Pie Crust

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, then stir together the fruit cocktail, brown sugar, flour and egg in a medium sized bowl until well mixed.  Pour the mixture into the pie crust.

Bake until the top is browned, and the pie is set, 30-45 minutes.  Allow to cool before serving.  When covered and refrigerated, this yummy and creative pie can keep for up to 5 days.

TALK SHOW HOST
I was quite fascinated to know that in all the years David Letterman did the Tonight Show, he NEVER wore the same necktie twice.  That's 33 years of brand new ties, along with the record for being the longest night time host, beating out the great Johnny Carson.



CRANBERRY NEWS
Now that I've found all these fantastic recipes, I no longer eat cranberry sauce from a can. Something about it just doesn't taste the same as real cranberries. 


According to research done by Ocean Spray, an amazing 76% of people prefer store bought cranberry sauce, which includes the type served from a can.  Southerners are 50% more likely to want canned cranberry sauce, Northeasterners prefer relish made with uncooked berries, Westerners prefer cooked sauce, and those in the Southwestern hemisphere like to add something spicy.  


TITO'S CRANBERRY MULE
1.5 Oz. Tito's Handmade Vodka (or another vodka of your choice)
2 Oz. Ginger Beer
1 Oz. Cranberry Juice

Fill a copper mug with ice, then add the vodka, ginger beer, cranberry juice, and stir to combine.  Apparently using this type of cup maintains the cool temperature. Garnish with lime wedges and cranberries.  If you want more sweetness, sugar the cranberries first before using as a topping.

WRITERS TAKE OVER CHRISTMAS!
This year the focus is all about authors and journalists on 6 Christmas (if you celebrate) movies this year.  Watch on cable or stream these goodies:
The Mistletoe Inn - this movie was so hilarious!
A Joyous Christmas
The Christmas Train - get out the tissues
Snowed Inn Christmas
A Christmas Cruise
Christmas Getaway





STUMPED FOR IDEAS?


If you or someone you know is a fan of the Game of Thrones, this gift will bring lots of joy
There's actually a world globe puzzle and other 4d versions available from www.4dcityscape.com, Walmart or Amazon.  This looks pretty neat!


Get the Stranger Things Ouija Board (I didn't even know the Ouija
board was still around!) for just $20 from www.Target.com.  By the way, they've renewed this program on Netflix for Season 3.



ENTERTAINING MYSELF
I just love the spirit of Christmas because people seem kinder and full of joy, so whenever possible, I wear a Christmas hat that's usually a conversation starter.  There are a few comments when I wear the Veteran's hat, but the all time fave is the Naughty hat.  Some of the things people say are super crazy and never cease to make me giggle. 


This is the latest work on my Planner for this month, which has been fun.



WHO IN THE HECK IS THIS PERSON?
I'm a fan of movies and watch them whenever I can, but occasionally, I hang around to watch the credits at the end.  I don't know about you, but I've always wondered what in the world a Key Grip is. 
Apparently this employee is super important and in charge of equipment like dollies, tripods and cranes which support the cameras. This person also makes a ton of money.  His/her salary starts at $25-$35 per hour for television programs, or movies that are considered low budget, and a college degree is not needed.  But some training is.  If he or she is fortunate enough to work on a movie that's big budget, those earnings increase to almost $120,000 annually!