Saturday, December 20, 2014

Shrimp-Filled Cream Puffs

If you are imagining sweet, custard filled cream puffs, you're going to have to look somewhere else. These Shrimp-Filled Cream Puffs fit in the appetizer category and are most definitely not a sweet dessert.

Shrimp-Filled Cream Puffs are a family favorite, especially at this time of year. The recipe comes from my late grandmother, who faithfully made the delectable hors d'ourves every Christmas, and I am continuing the tradition with my own family.

Cream Puffs

1/2 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Oil
1/2 Cup Flour
2 Eggs

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium pan, bring water and oil to boil. Lower heat and add flour all at once, beating by hand until mixture forms a ball.

Remove from heat and add eggs, one at a time. Beat with a hand mixer until dough has a satin sheen.

Drop by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 30 minutes. Increase heat to 425 degrees and bake 5-10 minutes longer.

When cool, hollow cream puffs for filling. Cut each puff in half and take out the gooey dough in the middle as shown below...

Cream Shrimp Filling

1 (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, Softened
1/2 Cup Miracle Whip (* DO NOT USE MAYONNAISE!)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Finely Grated Onion (juice)
1 Tablespoon Reserved Shrimp Juice 
1 (4 1/2 oz. can) Broken or Tiny Shrimp

Drain liquid from shrimp, reserving 1 Tablespoon.

Mix first 5 ingredients until smooth. Stir in broken shrimp...

Fill individual cream puffs and refrigerate.

* Mayonnaise will not taste right in this recipe! You can use another brand of salad dressing if you do not have Miracle Whip on hand, but the latter will definitely taste better.

**One batch of Cream Shrimp Filling will yield enough for a double batch of cream puffs.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

If You're ______ and You Know It

This is the best commercial I've seen in a long time and definitely blog worthy. Oh, how I can relate!

"If you're human, eat your feelings. Eat a snack."  :)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Embellished Old Fashioned Candy Cane Gift Idea

While feasting my eyes on the many, many things for sale in the country store at Cracker Barrel, I spotted some gorgeous old fashioned candy canes and knew I had to buy some. I chose this Gingerbread flavored one to embellish and give a co-worker. 

The candy canes come from Hammond's Candy. The embellishments- from my scrapbook stash.   :)

...and if you visit the Hammond's Candies link, you will see that they have a large array of unique flavors to choose from-- Apple Pie, Clove, Pomegranate and Chocolate Filled Cherry, to name a few.

So, there you have it...a nice little gift idea. 

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 can chicken broth
2 cups water
2 or 3 bouillon cubes
2 stalks broccoli (approx. 1 lb.)
3 carrots
1 small onion

Cut broccoli, carrots and onions into small pieces. Cook until tender in the chicken broth, water and bouillon cubes. 

Strain broth from vegetables into a large bowl. Add water, if needed to make 3 cups broth.

White Sauce-

6 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup flour
1 cup milk
3 cups broth (from vegetables above)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Melt butter or margarine. Add flour and whisk in broth, stirring constantly. Mixture will thicken quickly. Whisk in milk until desired consistency. Stir in shredded cheese until melted. Add cooked vegetables and serve.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Whoville Christmas 2014

With my husband having two back-to-back surgeries on his arms (a long story that I can't legally talk about), he has been out of work...which means, for the first time in years and years and years, we do not have a lot of money to spend this Christmas. 

As I was sitting on the sofa, contemplating my adoration of the Christmas season and gift giving, a strong feeling came over me that I do not want to sulk or feel sorry for myself. In fact, if my husband and I have to go through this trial (we don't really have a choice), I want our children, family and friends to see that we are going to be OKAY. Christmas 2014 will come and go. A few weeks from now, how much money I was--or wasn't--able to spend will not matter, but the memories we will share by spending time with our loved ones will remain indefinitely. 

My thoughts then turned to the book and film How the Grinch Stole Christmas and I was reminded of Whoville and this endearing quote...

"It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."

Then a brilliant idea came to me and, after running it by my husband, the two of us decided to embrace the magic of the Grinch and go with a Whoville themed tree this year.

This is what we came up with...

Subway Art from scootapie Etsy shop

And yes, my tree is up the day before Thanksgiving, but I have a wedding to go to this weekend and Monday is December 1st. TOTALLY justifiable!!    :)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chocolate Pudding Cake

This recipe for Chocolate Pudding Cake comes from my grandmother and it is a favorite in our family. You will notice that there is no pudding mix in the recipe. The "pudding" texture comes from the marshmallow bottom and the way the recipe is prepared. Fellow chocoholics, prepare your taste buds for the divine!

Miniature Marshmallows (1/2 of a 16 oz. package)
1 Chocolate Cake Mix
(Ingredients on Cake Mix Box)
1/2 Cup Cocoa
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Cups Hot Water

Butter the bottom of a 13 x 9 cake pan. Cover with mini marshmallows. (DO NOT use regular size marshmallows or you will end up with a dripping mess all over the bottom of your oven. Unfortunately, I speak from experience.) Mix chocolate cake mix according to the package directions. Pour cake batter over the marshmallows. 

Quickly whisk together the cocoa, brown sugar and hot water in a bowl.

 Pour the mixture over cake batter. 

Bake at 375 degrees until the center of the cake is done (test with toothpick). Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Kindergarten Writing Assessments/ #prettyfunnystuff

Mrs. B. gave our class a writing assessment this week. She orally instructed them to write this simple sentence, "The dog sat in the sun." After the children wrote the sentence, they were allowed to draw a picture at the bottom of the page, then Mrs. B. asked me to write the proper sentence in pen underneath the box before filing their papers. At the end of the year, the students will be given the exact same assessment, hopefully showing improvement.

As you can guess, Kindergarten students enter the school year with varying levels of ability, especially when it comes to writing. Here are a few papers that I deemed worthy to share...

The paper above is a perfect example of typical Kindergarten writing. This little learner obviously knows the sight word 'the' and was able to hear some beginning and ending consonant sounds in the words 'dog', 'sat' and 'sun'.

This child did a pretty good job as well, except his poor dog has too many legs and a sore, tailless bum.

With a little help learning the correct use of upper and lower case letters and punctuation, I imagine this Kindergartner will write a near perfect assessment at the end of the year.

I love this picture. Most kids draw dogs standing on four legs, but this little guy made his puppy lay on the grass, belly up, with paws in the air AND holding a flower. Adorable!

NOW--- I saved the best for last. If this one doesn't put a smile on your face, something is wrong with you.

At first glance, it looks like this sentence says 'The dog shit', but let me share with you how to decipher Kindergarten writing...

#1- You can see that this little girl knows the sight word 'the' and the word 'dog'.
#2- You can tell that she heard the 's' sound when Mrs. B. said the word sat. 
#3- She also wrote the word 'in', she just wrote it backwards and the 'n' happens to look like an 'h'. 
#4- Obviously she started to write 'the' again, but for whatever reason, didn't get it finished. 

And THAT, my friends, is how 'The dog sits in the sun' can easily be mistaken for 'The dog shit'.  :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cody's Kind of Cursing

On weekday mornings, after Cody eats breakfast and has a bath, he plops down in the recliner, listens to the morning news on television and waits for a ride to his day program. 

This morning, as I was cleaning the kitchen, I heard Cody repeating, "Dumb something....(pause)....Dumb something....(pause)....Dumb something." 

Undoubtedly he was trying to get my attention, so I decided to stop and ask Cody why he was using the word dumb over and over and over. This his how our conversation went...

"Dumb what?" I asked.

"On TV." Cody replied.

"What about it?" I coaxed.

Cody, in his typical autistic manner, responded with clues rather than a complete sentence... "On TV. That person." 

"What person? What are you talking about? I don't understand." I continued.

Cody hinted, "WELL, you and dad call people that when you're frustrated." 

At that moment a little light went off in my head and I guessed, "Dumb shit? Are you calling someone on TV a dumb shit?" 

Cody smiled, then he readily admitted, "YES!"

And now you know that my husband and I are the kind of people who talk to the TV screen while watching reality television, game shows and news programs. :)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Grandma's American Hamburger Soup

This is my mother's hamburger soup recipe, so she deserves full credit (although I tweaked ingredient amounts a tad bit). I'm going to get strait to the process, because it bugs the living crud out of me when fellow bloggers post recipes and I have to scroll and scroll through several pictures and waaaay too many words to find instructions. So, without further ado...and yes, it's ado, not adieu. Adieu is French for good-bye and I am not ready to say good-bye... yet. I'm stating without further fuss or excitement. (sigh) 

American Hamburger Soup

2 pounds lean ground beef
2 cups cubed potatoes
3 medium carrots, sliced
2 Tablespoons minced parsley (optional)
1 cup celery, sliced
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 quarts canned tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic button, chopped
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 quarts water
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
dash of Allspice
 1/4 cup rice (optional)

Put hamburger into a large pot and cook until it barely loses its color. Do not brown. Drain off fat. Add all other ingredients together with meat and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer several hours, until vegetables are tender.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween Pumpkin Witch Craft

My niece, Kelsie, crafted this adorable Pumpkin Witch.

Clearly, Kelsie gets her talent from her aunt DeeAnn. :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Goblin Goodies (from my 2011 archive)

2 cups salted peanuts
1 cup Chocolate Teddy Grahams
1 cup Candy Corn
1/2 cup Goldfish Crackers
1/2 cup raisins

Mix and store in airtight container. Makes 5 cups.

Don't be afraid to change the ingredients of this recipe up a bit. Here are the products that I chose to use...

My family doesn't care for peanuts, so I picked up chocolate covered almonds from Costco. You could also use plain or chocolate covered pretzels, miniature Oreos, autumn colored M&M's, Almond Joy or Mounds candy bits, etc. I even wanted to add green and purple gum drops, but my husband wasn't going for it. The point is, be creative!

After I mixed the ingredients in a large bowl, I divided it into cellophane bags. Then I printed these cute tags that I found at Anders Ruff Custom Designs . 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Carolina Cousins and Coca-Cola

Have I ever told you how awesome my husband's family is? Well, I will tell you now...they are. Marrying into a family with southern roots just might be the best decision that I have every made. 

Recently, my children and I were able to meet some of Don's "kinsfolk" from South Carolina... Don's cousin Greg and his lovely wife, Bonnie. I instantly fell in love with them! Bonnie walked in the house, immediately approached Cody and initiated a greeting that was so appropriate, it caught me off guard. It wasn't until the next day, when I stalked Bonnie on facebook, that I learned she was a registered nurse for the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind. No wonder she was so at ease with Cody! How did we not know this about her?

Our family spend a few fun-filled days with Greg and Bonnie and we hated to see them go. The entire time that they were here, I kept having this nagging feeling (in a good way) that I had known them my entire life.

This evening, UPS stopped in our cul-de-sac and left a package at our front door. Don, upon bringing the box inside, looked at it carefully and commented, "I don't think this package was suppose to come to our house." You can see from the picture below why he would make that assumption...

After further inspection, Don and I noticed that the package did indeed have my name on it and that it was sent from Taos, New Mexico, one of the many places Greg and Bonnie were visiting on their drive home. 

Imagine my surprise when I opened the box and saw this little note...

...and this awesome Coca-Cola phone inside!

Have I ever told you how awesome my husband's my family is?    :)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Katelyn's Breakfast Burritos

Since graduating with her bachelor degree in the spring, Katelyn (my daughter) landed a job in her field of expertise and moved directly into the 40 hour a week workforce. Because she is now a busy career woman and wife, Katelyn now plans ahead for harried week-day mornings by preparing and freezing breakfast burritos on the weekend. Last night, she sent me these photos and a link to the website that gave her the idea.

For ingredients and detailed instructions, click here .

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dresser Turned Vanity

Recently, my husband and I were victims of water damage caused from a hot water heater. Because we had to replace some of the flooring in the house, we figured it would be a great time to get rid of our old, dated bathroom vanity (that you will not see a photo of because it was horrid).

Whomever built our house sucked at math, because the space allotted for a vanity is 1/2 inch off from the prefab vanities you can find at home improvement stores such as Lowe's and Home Depot. Don and I decided, after looking on Pinterest, that our best option would be to find an old dresser that Don could transform into a vanity. We happened to find this one at Downeast Outfitters and it fit perfectly into our bathroom space, so we purchased it.

Neither of us were particularly fond of the light colored wood OR the sage green knobs, but that's what paint and stain are for! :)

I won't go into great detail about each and every step, because there are many websites with instructions that you can Google if interested. You can see in the photo above that Don did modify the drawers for the plumbing and cut a hole for the sink.

...and he used a few coats of Minwax Indoor/Outdoor Helmsman Spar Urethane Clear Gloss (above) on the top of the dresser to protect it from water.

I like the way the MINWAX Gloss made the top of the vanity a little darker. We also painted the hardware Oil Rubbed Bronze to match the rest of our home.

We both are pretty pleased with the finished product.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Peach Pie with a Splash of Bourbon

8 fresh, large peaches
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup tapioca
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1 (2 pack) package of Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts
3 Tablespoons Bourbon
1 Tablespoon Milk

Place a jelly roll pan in oven and preheat to 425 degrees. 

Peel and slice ripened peaches into a large bowl. Drizzle with Bourbon. In a separate bowl, whisk together brown sugar, 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, salt, tapioca, flour and oats.

According to package directions, prepare bottom pie crust for a 9" dish.

Sprinkle dry ingredient mixture over peaches and fold gently. (Do not over-stir and make the peaches mushy.) Toss into prepared bottom pie crust. 

Situate the top crust over the peaches. Tuck edges of top crust under the bottom crust. Crimp edges and cut slits in top. 

Lightly brush milk onto top crust and sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon sugar.

Cover pie crust edges with foil to prevent burning. ( Click here for nifty tip! )

Place pie on preheated jelly roll pan in the oven. (I set the oven rack lower than center, but not at the very bottom.)

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn oven down to 375 degrees and bake 40 minutes longer. Take foil off of crust 20 minutes before removing pie from oven.

Cool completely.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Turning 50 Part 4

Katelyn's husband, Matt, wrote this one. Don and I love having him as our one and only son-in-law. It makes us happy that, after being around our crazy brood for a couple of years now, Matt will still claim us. By the way, if you saw Katelyn's rock, you would approve as well! :)

This one is from my aunt Cindy. I am blessed with some pretty wonderful aunts, but I've got to admit, Cindy is my favorite. She is only seven years older than me and, for that reason, I spent more time with her than any of the others. I have soooo many fond memories of her! Obviously, she was a great sport to include me on her dates. 
Best girl trip ever...up to that point. 

We were at this mall in Rancho Cucumonga, CA...

and, as we left the H & M store, I noticed one of the zippers on my backpack was down. I searched my backpack for my wallet and couldn't find it. I was sure someone had unzipped the backpack and stole it. Beverly, Jennica, Katelyn and I looked everywhere and Bev was really close to jumping a guy that "looked guilty" standing by the trashcan. I phoned my husband back home and had him call the bank to put a stop on our credit cards. Then, when we got back in the car, I looked in my backpack one more time, and there was my wallet. 

I think it was Jennica who took this photo of me from the back seat. As you can see, the girls still won't let me forget that moment in time. 

Talitha is my daughter-in-law. She is a fantastic cook and such a good mom! Talitha must also have a great sense of humor and a lot of spunk to be married to my son Chase, who is a big kid at heart and loves teasing everyone.

Much like my brother-in-law's note on the last post, this is another "you had to be there" moment. John is a co-worker and good friend. 

Susan is John's wife. We DID have a great time watching the taping of Wheel of Fortune! You can read about it here .

Bridger is my great-nephew (my sister's grandson). Reading children's handwriting is my favorite! I am so glad Bridger had a good time at my house eating pizza. :)

Of all the teachers I've worked with over the years, I've been with Susan the longest. She is amazing! Never has she made me feel inferior or asked me to do anything I am not comfortable with. Consider yourself blessed if your child was/is lucky enough to have her for a teacher.

If you missed the previous "Turning 50" posts, here are the links...

Turning 50 Part 1

Turning 50 Part 2

Turning 50 Part 3
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