Thursday, December 20, 2007

Time to Wind Down...

and get away from blogging for a while. Our children begin their Christmas break early this afternoon and will not return to school until early January. Their grandmother will be here for a few days beginning Saturday and I'm planning on doing a little cleaning for the next few days and getting the house in order--although I don't plan on working too hard at it today after yesterday--I'd been painting our living room wall and all the cleanup that came with it. The tea in the photo above is a really good tea to relax and wind down with. I've had some good teas before, but I do believe this is one of my favorites--Vanilla Caramel Truffle from Lipton. Also, love the design of the teabag--it's a triangle shape made of a fine mesh-like material. It comes very close to tasting like a candy bar--YUM!! To you and yours, have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Busily Cleaning

...and the Clorox Ready Mop is ready for action. This is one of my favorite cleaning products and has been since it came out. I think the reason I like it so much is because it is not waxy. We have laminate flooring throughout the main level of our home, except for the bathroom floors and the icky kitchen carpeting we have. I try not to overdue it on the cleaning products, and usually prefer hot soapy water for the bathroom floors. I have found this product to work just great for the laminate flooring. I could be more diligent about mopping, but if I were I would be mopping all the time with the boys shoe prints and all. I do need to do a thorough mopping, hopefully tomorrow, before Christmas break. If you haven't found the right product for your laminate floors, give this a try. I'm sure you will like it. Have a blessed day!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Appetizers Anyone?

This is an appetizer my dear husband made this weekend. He had it at food day at work and tried to replicate it. It tastes great!! I'm not sure I even have a name for it, so let's make something up.

Bacon-Wrapped Smokies (okay that works)

1 package bacon, thin cut
1 package beef smokies
brown sugar

You will need to cut the bacon in half. It's easier if it's still in the package and then take a knife and slice the bacon right down the middle. Wrap a piece of the bacon around each smokie and seal with a toothpick. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar. Bake at 375 degrees on a rack you can set on top of your baking sheet until bacon is crisp, but not overdone. That way the grease will drip on the bottom of the baking sheet. You'll need to keep checking these.

We polished these off in no time at all. When you get to be older, you also realize that grease has an effect on you. So, maybe eat these in moderation if you can. Enjoy!!

Okay, I've got to start posting something other than recipes. It's just that we've been doing so much cooking lately and I'm always on the lookout for new recipes, that I just assume others are also. Have a blessed day!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Spiced Beef Stew

Another wonderful recipe from

Spiced Beef Stew

(I made some variations to this and this is what I used)
1/4 cup butter
2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
1 can or bottle of beer
1 onion, sliced into thin rings
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 red potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 can green beans
1/2 package baby carrots
1 can or jar chopped tomatoes

I used a dutch oven to melt the butter. Then coat the stew meat with flour and cook until browned through. After browning, remove the beef from the dutch oven and set aside.

Take the 1/4 cup flour and put in the dutch oven along with beef broth (add the broth slowly and whisk flour so it is not lumpy), the beer (grabbed a bottle of one of my husband's ales), onion, garlic, brown sugar, and thyme. Heat to boil. After this comes to a boil, add remaining vegetables. Cover and simmer until done (1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours). As this was cooking, I watched to see if it needed to be thicker. If needed, mix some of the broth with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and add to stew to thicken. Enjoy!!

This is a really wonderful recipe on a cold day like today!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Delicious Pumpkin Bread

This recipe was pulled from I love that website!!

Delicious Pumpkin Bread

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Stir the above ingredients into a large bowl. Take a mixing spoon to blend.

Add the following to the above.

2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Beat until well combined. Pour batter into greased 7 x 3 pans and put into preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holiday Plates and Other Stuff

My, aren't holiday plates so pretty? Normally, I'm not one for collecting items. Every year at my husband's Christmas party they have these really pretty Christmas items for the spouses--this year was a plate on a small black stand. It really is very pretty with a snowflake in the middle, the writing around the snowflake has the names of goodies, and around the rim is decorated with holly berries and leaves. We bought a new hutch for our kitchen this weekend, and it looks so pretty sitting on it. Now if only I could get the the rest of the kitchen done--we found out this weekend that the wonderful (icky) carpet in our kitchen is glued to the floor which is laying on another piece of flooring. EEEWWWW!! It's going to be a job to get it done, and not a lot of spare time these days!! So now as you enter our kitchen, there is a piece of torn carpet with the floor showing through--looks lovely!! Have a blessed day!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cream Cheese Cookies

This is a very easy recipe from over at Making Home. It's cream cheese cookies and it only takes 4 items. I was in the mood to do some light baking this afternoon, so this recipe came in handy.

Cream Cheese Cookies

1 box cake mix (any kind)
2 eggs
1 8-ounce block cream cheese
1 stick butter

This recipe on her site called for 1 egg, but I was having problems getting all the ingredients to blend so I added another egg. Also, I used a german chocolate cake mix. It will help if your butter and cream cheese are at room temperature. Mix all ingredients together and drop by tablespoon onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 13 minutes. I like them just a little underdone. These cookies have the consistency of a cake-type cookie. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Cactus

I picked up one of these beautiful Christmas cactus' at the grocery store this past weekend!! Isn't it beautiful? I've never bought one of these before, so I thought I would give it a try. The flowers are starting to bloom. We did some Christmas decorating this weekend. Also picked up a salmon-colored poinsetta. I love plants, but am not very good with houseplants. I've tried before but typically my indoor plants always end up going in the garbage. May you have a blessed day!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Good One Was Lost Today

No pictures today--they simply aren't needed. Life is simply too short. One of my 8-year-old son's classmates--her mother was killed in an automobile accident yesterday due to the ice on the roads. It came as quite a shock!! She was much too young! It's my understanding she lost control of her vehicle on the roads and her vehicle rolled. With a husband and three children--the younger two are not yet school aged. It is such a tragedy! This is not supposed to happen--we question why did God let this happen. It just doesn't make any over your little ones.....