Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Chips are free.....and so is the HEAT!

Happy Valentine's Day!
As with every year, I tried to find something clever to give for Valentine's Day!  For the last two weeks, I've been scanning Pinterest and yes, I did find some cute ideas.  But I didn't find THE idea!
Enter one chips and salsa lovin' husband (he is crunching in the background as I type!) and I came up with an idea I think will be perfect. 
I've been wanting to try making my own salsa and while looking for a good recipe, I stumbled on a quick one and decided to just wing it and see what I came up with.  Well, I'm here to tell you it's pretty stinkin' good! Wait!  Should the words 'pretty' and 'stinkin' be used in the same sentence to describe something you are going to eat? 
Quick rundown of the recipe.....really this could not be easier!
  • 1 can Great-Value Fire-roasted diced tomatoes - Salsa ready
  • 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes (I like it HOT!) or you can get the sissy can called 'Original' or 'Mild"
  • 1 can diced green chilies
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Cumin, to taste
Before you start...drain the cans of tomatoes but SAVE the juices in a small bowl. 
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients, except for the onion, garlic and Cumin.  In medium pan, saute' onion, garlic and Cumin in olive oil until slightly browned.  Just before ready, add enough of the saved juices to deglaze the pan (get all the good stuff off the bottom of the pan) and continue to stir for another minute or two.
Add onion mixture to your salsa and stir well.  It's good right away, but even better if you put it in an airtight container (mason jars work great) and let it set overnight in the refrigerator. D'lawd...some good eatin'!
OK - back to business for my Valentine treats!
Off I went to Walmart - again!  I needed to buy the goods and the cute little mason jars!
After the salsa was added to the jars, they were placed neatly in the 'frig.  The HEAT needs to permeate throughout all the 'maters in the jar.   In a perfect world, I would have tried canning the jars of salsa.  That's another day! 
I sat down at the computer and tried to come up with a cute little poem that would be appropriate to give co-workers, but all in fun for Valentine's Day too.  Here's what I came up with....
I'm showing you the entire page so you'll see how easy it is to do a bunch of tags at once. And, instead of white paper (which would be fine too), I used a piece of leftover scrapbook paper. It reads.....Valentine's are red-Chocolates are sweet-The chips are free-And so is the HEAT!
These small brown envelopes were in my stash of "Ya Nevah Know!" and worked perfectly! 
I also found cute plastic bags at the Dollar Tree with red hearts and for each jar of salsa, I'll give them a small bag of FREE chips (get it?)...the Chips are Free!

I'll probably check out my stash again for some raffia to tie around the jar, but if I don't have any, that's fine too!  I'm learning not to sweat the small stuff!
I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day and someone or something will happen tomorrow to touch your heart!  This doesn't have to be a day of spending lots of money to say you could really just be a post-it note that simply says....You make my heart smile!
WARNING:  If you are on my team at work and reading this before tomorrow...bring milk! (Just kidding - it's not THAT hot!)
Love ya...mean it!

Monday, February 10, 2014

E-I-E-I-OH this was so much fun!

And on that farm he had a bull.....E-I-E-I-O!  Meet my new friend, T-Bone!

You might remember several months ago, James City County made the national news when this handsome fella decided to explore Forge Road.  Such an innocent face!

We recently had the opportunity to visit Toano Stables and our friend, Tonya Meadows greeted us with open arms to show us around.  Here stands a woman who's hair salon is decorated with her favorite posters of Marilyn Monroe  and with the quick flip of a switch (or change into brown farm boots), her own beauty starts to shine.  She's home....she's on the farm!

Since moving into our new home, I've wanted a photo of a cow, herd of cows....something to commemorate the once active farmland, we now live on.  So far, I've been drawn to paintings, but when Tonya & Todd added two beauties to their own farm, I knew I had to go visit....with camera in hand!

I threw on my best high heels and off we went!  Ha! Ha!  That's surely a joke!
I wasn't even five steps from the truck and there were already wonderful sights to capture on film!

You know I love the truck!
And let me introduce you to Lola & Millie.......just adorable! I wanted to reach in and just rub on them, but the barbed wire prevented that from happening.  Having a bucket of grain helped coax them to the fence, but they were very interested in what that strange lady with the camera was doing.  And, I love those long white eyelashes!

Millie & Lola

Miss Lola was the first to come to the fence.  She stepped back a little with the click of the camera but didn't take long to come back for me.  Photo hog!

Millie...that face is going to take you places!

T-Bone is definitely boss of the pasture!

And then there were chickens!  They were cool too, but just look at those awesome colors. I love the teal hen house, brown hens and let's talk about that mean rooster!  Todd tried to introduce another rooster and it was quickly discovered that would NOT be happening....No! No! No! Not today! 

Star!  Another one of God's beautiful creatures!

Such a great afternoon and I want to thank Tonya & Todd for allowing us to come look around and take some photographs of their wonderful creatures....and their amazing life on the farm! 

I'm not sure yet whether I want to try my hand at painting or play around with the different enhancements to the digital photos.  I'll probably try both!

Great day!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Craft Challenge #1

Craft Challenge......What's a girl to do with a set of horns?

A little horn history.....Growing up I thought my Uncle Jesse was the absolute coolest (and he's still pretty awesome!) and when he moved out of Grandma Susie's house, he left these behind.  For the life of me, I cannot remember why in the world I snatched them up, but here they are!

Now here's the dilemma..."as is" they are a little too giddy-up and yee-haw for my flavor.  They've been sitting on my dining room table for a few weeks now and we put dinner around them, sit and drink our morning coffee around them.......but what in the world am I going to do with them?

Here's why I'm even considering it.....As you know I'll soon have a deer head mounted on the wall and I've been looking at decorating possibilities that will not only please my husband, but make me happy too!  

I've seen several white ceramic deer heads that are considerably smaller and thought I'd start looking for one to hang with ....ummm...let's call him "Bubba".  Then I came across these lovely horns and my mind started spinning.  Here are my thoughts and I'd love your feedback....(click on the blog and leave me your ideas!)

  • Leave them alone (let me clarify too - they are NOT real horns!)
  • Spray paint the entire piece a glossy white
  • Spray paint the horns white and then wrap a jute twine around the center suede pieces.
  • What else?
I'm anxious to see what ideas you come up with!

TGIF - enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Will You Be My Valentine?

Valentine's Day....the most beautiful or dreaded holiday of the year!  The time of year when flowers, especially roses are priced way to high and who really NEEDS a box of chocolates?  (Of course, I've just learned that you can purchase genuine German chocolates here in our sleepy town of Williamsburg!)  I thought I needed one, or two, or four earlier today but managed to fight the temptation and had some strawberries instead.
Personally, my ideal Valentine (let's see is my husband really does read my blog!) is one that's handmade.  Even if on a piece of notebook paper with the torn ruffled edges.  Why you ask?  Because whatever is written on the coffee stained napkin are your words and I know they came from your heart. 
Flowers? I think all women love flowers and gentlemen....the flowers don't have to be perfectly arranged (even though my favorite florist, Seasons of Williamsburg, will create a most beautiful arrangement for you!).  Picking your own bouquet and walking into your Valentine's job or even at home after a busy day.....priceless!
I enjoyed Valentine's Day as much as the kids did and for weeks I'd search and try to come up with a clever idea for them to hand out.  Now they are all grown, with the exception of Andrew.  But, he's too 'grown' to handout a monster shaped cut out with one eye on it reading.....I only have EYE for you!
This isn't a monster, but I think it is adorable!  So cute and clever!  Bookmark this!  Brown craft paper, the giggly eyes can be found in the craft section at Walmart or any craft/fabric store, and the hearts are cut out of red craft/scrapbooking paper.
How cute is this?  This is for the parents of my grandchildren....So easy and adorable! You could even do one hand print of each child, making sure the connect to make the heart in the center.  And, if it were MY project (I don't want to tell you what to do and all!), but I'd do one and then run down to Kinko's and make copies.  Otherwise, they'll need to put red paint on their hands over and over again.
This idea is for the amazing writers in my life....what a catchy idea!  Most of your larger department stores, or even grocery stores carry neat mechanical pencils that are cheap too!  And I know Janet has already thought of at least two more clever saying using the word 'write'! Love it!
This is my favorite!  Of course, if you are buying for a class of 20 students, it could  be a little costly.  But, if you have a favorite this and tuck it in his coat pocket, lunch box, etc.  You can use your computer to make the catchy little card, but you don't have to.  Get you some card stock and draw a race car and write the message.....You make my heart race!  If your little guy is doing these for his classmates, you could change it up a little to say....I'd RACE to be your Valentine (that way he won't be totally embarrassed).
Who am I kidding?  Even though my kids are all grown up and no longer making a box for receiving their secret notes....I still give away Valentines and yes, I've been looking for a few weeks trying to decide exactly what I want to make. It might just have to be something sweet!  Hmmmmmm.
Bottom line - you don't have to break the bank to show someone you love them on Valentine's Day.  Just please don't send a text or an email pouring out your innermost feelings....B.O.R.I.N.G!  Aim for the fence....get out the scissors and paste and make one! 
Love ya...mean it!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Good vs Evil....It's a food thing!

Well, if there is a diet out there....I've tried it! (Bet you've heard that before!)  And if I'd kept off all the weight I've lost over the years, I'd most definitely be the Biggest Loser!  But...that hasn't happened.   

What I have learned is .....Eating healthy doesn't have to be boring AND I feel 200% better when I'm not only eating healthy, but eating clean too!  I used to have to take a diuretic every day to help with the edema in my ankles and lower legs.  I haven't taken one since August of last year. 

I think the biggest difference is eliminating sugar, artificial sweeteners, caffeine (that's a hard one!) and white flour.  I haven't had a diet coke in ages and to be honest, my Soda Stream has been a huge help to fill that void. 

The other difference is with this change in eating habits, I don't deprive myself.  If I want a piece of pumpkin cheesecake (Mercy!  That was some kinda good!), I'll eat it.  I just know that if I have a piece for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the pain will gradually creep back in.

So....the whole purpose of my blog today is to include two recipes.  Good vs Evil.

Good:  Paleo Bread
Evil:  Biscuits & Gravy Casserole

Cindy mentioned the B&G Casserole in a Facebook post and I knew right away the boys would be in Heaven if I fixed it for them!  And if I'm being 100% honest....I wanted to try it too.  Love me some biscuits and gravy...the more sausage the better! 

I started thinking ...I can cook this and enjoy some too.  My way of thinking is completely different and I know me better than anyone.....If I don't 'cheat' every now and then....I'll kill something else in much greater quantity down the road! 

I'll start with the Cheater! Cheater!  Biscuit Eater! Recipe....(credit given to Just A Pinch Recipes and Cindy Wilder Clark for sharing!)
Obviously, some of the ingredients are not in this picture


  • 1 lb. sausage
  • 1 (1.5 oz) package pork, gravy mix (I used Country Sausage Gravy Mix)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (I used a little more)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (8 oz) can biscuits
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9x13 pan and spray it with Pam or whatever you like to use.  Cut each biscuit in quarters (1" pieces) and line bottom of pan.
2.  Cook sausage (drain) and scatter over biscuits.
3.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
4.  Whisk eggs and milk with a pinch of salt & pepper and pour it over the ingredients in the pan.
5. Make gravy according to package directions and once thickened pour over ingredients in pan.
6.  Bake in oven for about 30-45 minutes.

Don't even worry about a napkin because this is lick your fingers and lick the plate good!

Today, it's back to business and I was going to make the Paleo Pancakes, but didn't have the recommended shortening.  So, plan B is the Paleo Bread.

Now, this is not like slicing off a piece of homemade bread by any means.  However, a warm slice with a slather of almond butter was quite delish!
And, it works great with both sweet or savory toppings.

Love this cookbook!
Here we go....(Recipe credit here going to Elana Amsterdam's cookbook....Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry (Great Christmas gift from Kathy!)


  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup golden flax meal
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted over very low heat
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Grease a 7x3 inch loaf pan with coconut oil (I used the coconut oil spray and it worked fine)
3.  In a food processor (or by hand), combine almond flour, flax meal, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. 
4.  Add the eggs, coconut oil, honey and vinegar and continue mixing until thoroughly combined.
5.  Scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
6.  Let the bread cool in the pan for about an hour - then serve.

I know what you are thinking....the ingredients just don't match up and they aren't supposed to.  The first recipe (as wonderful as it was) is full of processed foods and that's what does a number on my body. 

Here's something you might find interesting and I'll end on this note:  Most of you know we moved into our new home around the end of October.  During one of the many trips back to the old house, I found half a loaf of bread sitting on the counter.  I almost threw it away, but took note that this bread was purchased mid-October and here it was the end of November and this bread is NOT moldy.  No mold whatsoever.  So, I decided to do my own is still there and I'm here to tell you....the bread is still mold-free!  Not that I would eat it now, but these are preservatives that I'd rather not consume.  At this point, I'm not even sure I want to save it for my next ride on the ferry....poor seagulls!
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