Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's The Little Things

On my google homepage, I have it set to the "puppies" theme. I know. Not surprising. Everytime I get online I'm greeted by a different adorable, squeezable, squooshable, smoochable puppy. There's Labradors, Beagles, Bulldogs, Terriers and Bassett Hounds. But my favorite, the one the always puts a smile on my face, the one that always makes me think that this will be the best day ever is....

....the Siberian Husky. Again, not surprising, huh?

My puppy phase will run its course, so I need some ideas on what to pick next. What do you like? What's on your homepage?

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Friday, March 27, 2009

An Evening Prayer

This was my garden last year--2 tomato plants and 2 squash. It did okay. But this year, I'm determined to do better. This past week we have quadrupled the size of the garden and we dug out all the yucky, clay soil and we brought in richer dirt. And by "we" I mean WD. I make a much better supervisor. Well, not really. I just don't like to dig. But now for the hard part. What should we plant? Again, I'm using the term "we" loosely here. I know I want more tomatoes and more squash and even though basil is so cheap at our famer's market, I'd still like to try my hand at growing herbs, but what else? What's in your garden this year?

Hey, it's the return of Poetry Friday with one of my favorites, Louise Gluck and her poem, Vespers.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cabernet Sauvignon Hot Fudge Sauce

Okay. So these are not Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. They're green seedless grapes from Walmart. But there is Cabernet Sauvignon in the hot fudge sauce---and it's delicious. There's a local winery here that sells it and I've been trying to duplicate the recipe. Finally, after 3 failed experiments and an extra 10 pounds around my midsection, I have found the PERFECT wine infused hot fudge sauce. Once it has cooled in the fridge, it is creamy and thick and fudgy and unless you hide it on the top shelf behind that old jar of apricot preserves, your 4 year old son will find it and eat half of it while you are on the computer. Really. I know from experience.

Cabernet Sauvignon Hot Fudge Sauce (adapted from the Boulevard Cookbook).

1 stick butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup Cabernet Sauvignon wine
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup Dutch Processed Cocoa (I used Hershey's special dark cocoa)
4 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate (I used the 3.53 oz Dove 63% cacao bar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

In a medium saucepan over medium/low heat, combine the butter, wine, corn syrup and sugar. When the butter has melted, stir in the cocoa powder. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for three minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the chopped chocolate, vanilla and salt, and whisk to combine. Pour into a heatproof glass storage container or bowl. Chill until ready to use. Can be kept covered and refrigerated for up to two weeks.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Charlie Brown's Teacher

Last week, we had some nice weather here at the Home of the Lazy Dog. Temps were in the 70's so I rolled down the windows on the drive back home from school one day. I thought it might be a little too windy for the boys so I hollered toward the back of the van...

Me: Hey guys! Do y'all want me to close the windows?
Big pup (age 7): What did you say?
Little pup (age 4): She said, "Hey guys, blah, blah, blah."

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ham And Shells Casserole

I know, this isn't the greatest picture in the world, but it tastes better than it looks. I have the worst luck photographing pasta--I just can't seem to make it look appetizing. But it is. Trust me. The carmelized onions, the rosemary, and the smokiness of the ham give this dish a lot of flavor. You want to know another reason why I like this dish? Because it's a casserole and casseroles can feed a lot of people. And it usually can be made ahead. That's why. Perfect for Easter coming up.

Ham and Shells Casserole (from Taste of Home magazine)

1 pkg (16 oz) medium pasta shells
3 large onions, halved and sliced (I used 2)
1 TBS olive oil
1 pkg (9 oz) fresh spinach, torn (I used a pkg of baby spinach)
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp pepper
3 1/2 cups milk
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup (4 oz) crumbled goat cheese (I used feta)
2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to pkg directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook and stir onions in oil for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Add spinach and rosemary; cook 1-2 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir in ricotta and goat cheeses until blended.

Drain pasta; place in a large bowl. Add the ham, onion mixture and sauce; toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish; sprinkle with Parm. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.

And for the 2 people who's made it this far, what are you serving for Easter dinner!?

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Of Course It Would Be Cupcakes

Recently, Robin from Cinnamon and Honey posted instructions for making your own album cover and I thought I would give it a try. How does it look? Personally, I think it is totally me.

1. Go to Wikipedia. The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
2. Go to Random Quotations. Click on "New Random Quotations." The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
3. Go to Flickr . The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4. Use photoshop or a similar program to put it all together.

Thank you to hello naomi for her beautiful and delicious cupcake photo!

And because I've got nothing else going on today, how about a rousing game of "What's On Your iPod?" Set your iPod/mp3 player to shuffle and name the first 5 songs. Here it goes:

1. Breakaway--Kelly Clarkson
2. You Keep Making Me Ill--Pink
3. Glamorous--Fergie
4. Crash--Gwen Stefani
5. The Lucky One--Faith Hill

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Not This Year

Lexie wants everyone to know that the Iditarod started the first Saturday of March and around one thousand dogs were busy making the run from Anchorage to Nome last week in Alaska. That's a 1131 mile trip. She would also like you know that she once traveled from Houston to Little Rock in a Ford Contour. It was grueling, but after stopping at a McDonalds for a pee and water break, she made it just fine.

Lexie was rooting for the 2 all-siberian teams in this years race: Rob Loveman, a 52 year old nuclear physicist and Blake Matray, a 41 year old Air Force Academy grad. Both are rookies and not having the best of luck this year. As a matter of fact, Loveman withdrew a couple of days ago and Matray is in second to last position.

The winner of last year's Last Great Race on Earth was Lance Mackey. And as of an hour ago, his team was in the lead with just over 200 miles left to go.

In the meantime, Lexie will be on the back porch if you need her.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Tim Tam Slam

Okay, Australia, you've got your cuddly koalas, your magnificent Great Barrier Reef, and your rugged outback--must you keep all the Tim Tams for yourself? You must? Well, I don't blame you. But can you at least convince Pepperidge Farm to continue producing these cookies in the states forever and ever? Right now, for a limited time only, they can only be found at Target. But you don't understand, Australia, I NEED these cookies in my life! More specifically, I need the Tim Tam Slam!

For my Tim Tamless fellow Americans, I will attempt to explain this heavenly experience. First, head to Target and buy a package or 12 of Tim Tams.

Some folks say it's better to refrigerate them for awhile but I couldn't wait.

Prepare a hot beverage--I used green tea.

Then, bite off two opposing corners and use it like a straw to suck up the tea, and then, when you feel the hot tea on your tongue, promptly pop the cookie into your mouth, and then....

...well, this is where I lost the use of my mental faculties and didn't get any after pictures so let me just say...nothing. Because there are no words. It's indescribable--you'll just have to try it yourself. The hot tea melts the inside of the cookie and when you pop it in your mouth the whole thing just collapses into a chocolatey mess. It's a divine experience. And it's too bad that the nearest Target is over an hour away but I guess it beats going all the way to Australia.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Milestone

It's my 400th post! Is anyone getting tired of reading this drivel yet? Don't answer that! I need to send out a thank you today to 2 terrific bloggers who took the time to send me a couple of awards.

Sara from Ordinary And Awesome created this award and thought I was extraordinary enough to pass it along to me--thank you Sara! Sara lives in Arkansas, like me, and has some seriously cute furbabies, like me, and she also has the lowdown on the dude in the free credit report commercial--if you are interested, like me!

Janet from The Jumbled Thoughts of Janet sent me this award--thank you Janet! Now, pull yourself away from Facebook and start posting again, missy!

I love getting awards--thank you ladies!

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Monday, March 9, 2009

The Big 3-6

Today's my birthday and I've put together a wish list. I want:

A Kindle. I know. It's awesome, isn't it? No, don't tell me. I don't want to know. As a matter of fact, tell me it's a worthless piece of junk. Except it isn't, is it? DON'T TELL ME!
A laptop. I want one. If I had a laptop my blog posts would be 100 times better, I'm sure of it. I would also be more motivated in getting my recipes and pictures organized. Paying bills and planning a budget would be so much easier. If I had a laptop, I could be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, and blogger. And I could also watch over 70 episodes of ALF without ever getting out of bed.

I want this patio. I have a covered front porch AND a covered back porch but it's not enough. I need more outdoor living space please. And a fire pit.
Okay, that's my "wants" but here's what I got:

It will do!

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Friday, March 6, 2009

The Big Seven

Guess who's 7 today?! Yep. It's Big pup's birthday. My firstborn...my sweet baby...my little boy...my...oh, no, I'm getting a bit verclempt. Talk among yourselves, here's a topic--William Blake's use of mysticism in nature and how that relates to truth--discuss.

Infant Joy by William Blake

"I have no name:
I am but two days old."
What shall I call thee?
"I happy am,
Joy is my name."
Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty joy!
Sweet joy but two days old,
Sweet joy I call thee:
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while,
Sweet joy befall thee!

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Homemade Brownies

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I admitted that I once kept a framed print of Emily Dickinson on my desk? Well, I also used to have a key chain that displayed a baby picture of Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird. I had cut out the picture from a Sports Illustrated magazine. I had issues. Big issues.

I was just following in the footsteps of my Granny B and her love for the Celtics, although I am positive she never carried around pictures of celebrities or sports figures from when they were babies. She's much more stable than I am. She's also a better baker than I am. Every Sunday, she fixes a big dinner and she always makes dessert. One of my favorites is her homemade brownies.

Brownies (original recipe from the 1970 edition of The Home Economics Teachers Cookbook)

1/2 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
3 TBS cocoa
6 TBS cream (my grandma uses evaporated milk)
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs; beat. Add remaining ingredients except nuts and beat thoroughly. Fold in nuts. Pour into square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

El Lagarto

Yep. I like 'em. I don't know why. Maybe because I can relate to heavy bodies with slow metabolism that are capable of slow bursts of speed? I don't know. I don't want a pet alligator, I don't want to even be near one really, but for some reason, I'm just drawn to them. The alligator has become my signature animal/reptile. My MIL is from New Zealand and you would be hard pressed to not find a kiwi bird in any given room in her house. My grandma has an owl thing going on. My sister fancies polar bears and WD likes monkeys. So.....what's your signature animal?

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Laughing All The Way

This is a video of what usually happens when I sit down at the computer every morning--and why I sometimes don't get around to posting until 10 a.m. Have you ever tried getting any work done when there's a cute 4 year old running around? Impossible!

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