Thursday, March 24, 2011

Psycho Bird And The Giggling Kids

Earlier this morning I kept hearing a dull sound, kind of like hammering. It sounded like when the kids play in the basement and run into one of the poles. With a hockey stick or puck, not ususally a body.

Finally this afternoon I mentioned it to the kids. They said it was just the people next door working on the house (that is being built, but is pretty much finished). I told them there was no one there, since I'd just been to get milk and didn't see anyone.

So I sent Sparky down to the basement "just to check and see if there was anything weird going on down there."

She found a robin pecking on one of the two windows. The video is from a little digital camera into the light so the quality isn't the best, but you can definitely see and hear well enough.

video
Hubby said it sees itself and thinks it's another bird and is vying for supremacy.

Caboose thinks it sees the Christmas tree and wants in.

The cat is thrilled beyond comprehension and hopes it gets in!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Life In Michigan

According to the Weather Channel, we got 4.2 inches of snow in the last 24 hours, which actually started late yesterday afternoon.

We are still supposed to get a wintry mix and up to another 1 inch of snow later today and tonight.

How can Memorial Day be just over two months away?

I know they are probably thinking the same thing.


(Two goldfinches and a dark-eyed junco)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cake Balls

Am I the only person who hasn't made these before?

Mine were lumpy. I didn't worry about making them all smooth, and I'm even a perfectionist. I guess I'm now a recovering perfectionist.

See, lumpy.

I had a leftover Valentine's Day funfetti cake mix without matching frosting. I baked it, sans sprinkles, in a 9x13 pan. When the cake was done I dumped it into a bowl and crumbled it up with two forks. Then I took a can of cream cheese frosting and mixed it in good. I used my Pampered Chef scoop to get the cake out and made them into lumpy balls. I put them on a waxed paper covered cookie sheet. I placed it in the freezer for an hour or so to let them cool and get a little hard. (I had 33-34 cake balls.)

I melted three cups of white chocolate chips with three tablespoons of shortening in the microwave. I put sticks in the balls and drizzled my melted white chocolate over them one at a time. I placed them back on the waxed paper covered cookie sheet to harden. I like them chilled, so I put them back in the refrigerator.

Hubby said they could cause a weight problem. Caboose thought they were one of the best things he'd ever eaten. They taste an awful lot like the $1.50 birthday cake version at Starbuck's, and yes, I paid $1.50 to try one. I was hoping they were big like the picture, maybe even cupcake sized. I was wrong.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Black Bean & Corn Salsa

I created this recipe today to try and replicate something similar I'd had in the past. Sparky and I taste-tested it after it had been in the refrigerator for a couple of hours for the flavors to blend, and I had a hard time convincing her she could wait until small group tonight to have more! It's good!

Black Bean & Corn Salsa

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel yellow corn, drained
1 can original Rotel
2 T lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
16 oz homemade salsa

Stir everything together in a large bowl and chill for a couple of hours for the flavors to peak. Serve with tortilla chips. Tostitos scoops work great!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Cuteness Is Hurting My Eyes

I had a couple of dedicated Valentine's Day wreaths, so I decided that one dedicated Easter wreath was in order.

I was fortunate enough to find a grapevine wreath at Hobby Lobby that was misshapen. It had and oval/egg shape. It was perfect for a starting point. I actually had no idea what my plans were.

I found the bright pastel colored garland and got two lengths of it, one package of sequined egg ornaments, one package of stemmed felt flowers, a stuffed bunny ornament, and a resin chick.

I put the white ribbon at the top first, then I wrapped the two strands of garland around the wreath. I just tucked the ends under some of the vines. I tucked the flowers in, and then I cut the ribbon hangers off the eggs and hot-glued them on. I also used hot glue to attach the bunny and the chick (lots for the chick since it's heavy).

That's it! Pure cuteness!

I'm linking up at Skip to my Lou.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Salad

I like to have my lettuce in smaller pieces in my salads. It makes for easier and neater eating.

I also like to have a little stuff in my salad. Stuff like tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, hard-boiled eggs, and even sometimes some crumbled bacon, shredded meat, or shredded cheese.

The problem I find with having some of that stuff in my salad is that unless it's cut up pretty small, you don't get some with every bite. And I kind of like to have it with every bite where I can taste it.

I got creative last night. I got out my new food processor (thanks in part to CSN Stores which I'll tell you about later) and started working on my lettuce first. I wasn't sure what would happen, but it came out in small, shredded type pieces. (I put it through the chute and it passed one time through the large blade.) I used one bunch of regular organic green head lettuce and one bunch of organic romaine. Then I passed through a tomato that I'd cut up into about six wedges, some baby carrots, a cucumber I'd peeled and cut into wedges, and one head of broccoli.

Here is what one bowl of it looked like.

The other thing I like is croutons, but I never buy them. They get stale quickly and they are expensive. But since I'd just been reorganizing my pantry recently I thought about my bread crumbs. They are basically like croutons. I had a couple of different flavors, but I chose Parmesan. I sprinkled it on the top with some ranch dressing and stirred it all up (although I hadn't yet in this picture).

I loved it and a couple of the kids tried it with different dressing choices and liked it too. Hubby was already in bed when I put it all together last night, so I packed some up for his lunch today. He called after he'd eaten it and asked to have it every day. He likes salad, and he really liked the bread crumbs (although he couldn't quite figure out what they were). He also commented that because the lettuce was cut up like it was that a lot more fit in his container.

It was a hit all the way around. I can't wait too try it with a bunch of spinach leaves in it and some different lettuce blends. It would be easy to hide from picky kids that see the leaf and know what it is! I think it will also be great this summer with leftover grilled meats sliced up on top.

This whole post made me start thinking about the Seinfeld episode about "The Big Salad." I had to go find it and watch it tonight!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Projects

I'm guilty! I have too many going right now.

Last week I decided that my bottom kitchen cabinets just weren't working. They'd been bugging me for a long time, so I pretty much pulled everything out and reorganized them. They are much better. In doing so, I have several old plastic cereal containers that I can take to Salvation Army.

But as is my usual pattern, starting one project usually involves getting another one going in some way or another. This time it was the skinny bottom cabinet that holds my cookbooks, binders with recipes, and a plastic shoebox with recipes, as well as a couple of binders with important type papers.

I've been wanting to go through my recipes for some time and type them all out, print them, and slide them in page protectors, just for ease. I currently have some written in lined notebooks, some on cards, some on scraps of paper — you get the idea. Plus I have ones I've torn from magazines or already printed from the internet in page protectors. (The OCD in me is typing those so they look the same!)

That project got me going on my other loose papers that have been piled and were waiting to be filed. Mainly ideas, things I've torn from magazines, printed from the internet, etc. I had a giant notebook where some were in page protectors, but I still had file folders with things that needed to be gone through to see if they were worth keeping and putting in the notebook or tossing. That giant notebook was also too big and one of the rings was off-center, so I got two smaller ones. I also put everything related to Christmas in its own binder.

And of course my pantry closet, which is shelving but not walk-in, can't seem to function just right for me. I still haven't gotten it right. And since I'd worked on the bottom kitchen cabinets, it made sense to work on it. It was a little chaotic anyway.

I also made some little felt hearts that I thought would make a cute garland for my fireplace mantle. But it was too cutesy and since we live in Michigan and are still using the fireplace, I was worried that hanging down it might get too hot. So I'll save it and use it on the Christmas tree next year. But I'll need more, because there are only eight hearts on this string.

That's a project that can wait!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Caramel Brownies

I'm working on my recipes and there are so many that I've forgotten about. Tonight was small group at our house so I made these for our snack.

Caramel Brownies

1 pkg German chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
6 oz chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
50 caramels

Combine dry cake mix, butter, and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Spread 1/2 of the mixture in a greased 9x13 pan. Bake 6 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts over cake. (You know I didn't put those nuts on.) Melt caramel and 1/3 cup evaporated milk and drizzle over nuts and chips. Add remaining cake mixture and spread gently with a spatula. (Mine ended up kind of mushy with the caramel layer since the cake mixture is thicker. I couldn't figure out how to spread it without mushing them together.) Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. It won't look like regular brownies. It's going to be kind of gooey looking.

Cool before cutting.

Very yummy!
 
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