December 31, 2008

Quote of the Day

December 31, 2008

Quote of the Day
"Hope is a light diet, but very stimulating."
– Honoré de Balzac

December 30, 2008

Quote of the Day

December 30, 2008

Quote of the Day
"A man can do only what he can do. But if he does that each day he can sleep at night and do it again the next day."
– Albert Schweitzer

December 29, 2008

Quote of the Day (they're back from vacation)

December 29, 2008

Quote of the Day
"It is the heart always that sees before the head can see."
– Thomas Carlyle

December 27, 2008

Our Christmas 2008

I forgot to take my camera to my ex's house on Christmas Eve, but here's just a few pics of Zach & I at my Mom & Dad's on Christmas Day.

The infamous "Night Before Christmas Coffee Cake"!



This adorable cloth polar bear bag has a foot soak 'system' from Avon in it, complete with a plastic, blow-up foot bath!

Zach's new Bomber jacket!

Zach & I

Zach, Mom & Dad (my new, large screensaver!)

December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt dies at 81

Eartha Kitt, sultry 'Santa Baby' singer, dies

Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Eartha Kitt, a sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality, has died, a family spokesman said. She was 81.

Andrew Freedman said Kitt, who was recently treated at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, died Thursday in Connecticut of colon cancer.

Kitt, a self-proclaimed "sex kitten" famous for her catlike purr, was one of America's most versatile performers, winning two Emmys and nabbing a third nomination. She also was nominated for several Tonys and two Grammys.

Her career spanned six decades, from her start as a dancer with the famed Katherine Dunham troupe to cabarets and acting and singing on stage, in movies and on television. She persevered through an unhappy childhood as a mixed-race daughter of the South and made headlines in the 1960s for denouncing the Vietnam War during a visit to the White House.

Through the years, Kitt remained a picture of vitality and attracted fans less than half her age even as she neared 80.

When her book "Rejuvenate," a guide to staying physically fit, was published in 2001, Kitt was featured on the cover in a long, curve-hugging black dress with a figure that some 20-year-old women would envy. Kitt also wrote three autobiographies.

Once dubbed the "most exciting woman in the world" by Orson Welles, she spent much of her life single, though brief romances with the rich and famous peppered her younger years.

After becoming a hit singing "Monotonous" in the Broadway revue "New Faces of 1952," Kitt appeared in "Mrs. Patterson" in 1954-55. (Some references say she earned a Tony nomination for "Mrs. Patterson," but only winners were publicly announced at that time.) She also made appearances in "Shinbone Alley" and "The Owl and the Pussycat."

Her first album, "RCA Victor Presents Eartha Kitt," came out in 1954, featuring such songs as "I Want to Be Evil," "C'est Si Bon" and the saucy gold digger's theme song "Santa Baby," which is revived on radio each Christmas.

The next year, the record company released follow-up album "That Bad Eartha," which featured "Let's Do It," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and "My Heart Belongs to Daddy."

In 1996, she was nominated for a Grammy in the category of traditional pop vocal performance for her album "Back in Business." She also had been nominated in the children's recording category for the 1969 record "Folk Tales of the Tribes of Africa."

Kitt also acted in movies, playing the lead female role opposite Nat King Cole in "St. Louis Blues" in 1958 and more recently appearing in "Boomerang" and "Harriet the Spy" in the 1990s.

On television, she was the sexy Catwoman on the popular "Batman" series in 1967-68, replacing Julie Newmar who originated the role. A guest appearance on an episode of "I Spy" brought Kitt an Emmy nomination in 1966.

"Generally the whole entertainment business now is bland," she said in a 1996 Associated Press interview. "It depends so much on gadgetry and flash now. You don't have to have talent to be in the business today.

"I think we had to have something to offer, if you wanted to be recognized as worth paying for."

Kitt was plainspoken about causes she believed in. Her anti-war comments at the White House came as she attended a White House luncheon hosted by Lady Bird Johnson.

"You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed," she told the group of about 50 women. "They rebel in the street. They don't want to go to school because they're going to be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam."

For four years afterward, Kitt performed almost exclusively overseas. She was investigated by the FBI and CIA, which allegedly found her to be foul-mouthed and promiscuous.

"The thing that hurts, that became anger, was when I realized that if you tell the truth - in a country that says you're entitled to tell the truth - you get your face slapped and you get put out of work," Kitt told Essence magazine two decades later.

In 1978, Kitt returned to Broadway in the musical "Timbuktu!" - which brought her a Tony nomination - and was invited back to the White House by President Jimmy Carter.

In 2000, Kitt earned another Tony nod for "The Wild Party." She played the fairy godmother in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" in 2002.

As recently as October 2003, she was on Broadway after replacing Chita Rivera in a revival of "Nine."

She also gained new fans as the voice of Yzma in the 2000 Disney animated feature "The Emperor's New Groove.'"

In an online discussion at in March 2005, shortly after Jamie Foxx and Morgan Freeman won Oscars, she expressed satisfaction that black performers "have more of a chance now than we did then to play larger parts."

But she also said: "I don't carry myself as a black person but as a woman that belongs to everybody. After all, it's the general public that made (me) - not any one particular group. So I don't think of myself as belonging to any particular group and never have."

Kitt was born in North, S.C., and her road to fame was the stuff of storybooks. In her autobiography, she wrote that her mother was black and Cherokee while her father was white, and she was left to live with relatives after her mother's new husband objected to taking in a mixed-race girl.

An aunt eventually brought her to live in New York, where she attended the High School of Performing Arts, later dropping out to take various odd jobs.

By chance, she dropped by an audition for the dance group run by Dunham, a pioneering African-American dancer. In 1946, Kitt was one of the Sans-Souci Singers in Dunham's Broadway production "Bal Negre."

Kitt's travels with the Dunham troupe landed her a gig in a Paris nightclub in the early 1950s. Kitt was spotted by Welles, who cast her in his Paris stage production of "Faust."

That led to a role in "New Faces of 1952," which featured such other stars-to-be as Carol Lawrence, Paul Lynde and, as a writer, Mel Brooks.

While traveling the world as a dancer and singer in the 1950s, Kitt learned to perform in nearly a dozen languages and, over time, added songs in French, Spanish and even Turkish to her repertoire.

"Usku Dara," a song Kitt said was taught to her by the wife of a Turkish admiral, was one of her first hits, though Kitt says her record company feared it too remote for American audiences to appreciate.

Song titles such as "I Want to be Evil" and "Just an Old Fashioned Girl" seem to reflect the paradoxes in Kitt's private life.

Over the years, Kitt had liaisons with wealthy men, including Revlon founder Charles Revson, who showered her with lavish gifts.

In 1960, she married Bill McDonald but divorced him after the birth of their daughter, Kitt.

While on stage, she was daringly sexy and always flirtatious. Offstage, however, Kitt described herself as shy and almost reclusive, remnants of feeling unwanted and unloved as a child. She referred to herself as "that little urchin cotton-picker from the South, Eartha Mae."

For years, Kitt was unsure of her birthplace or birth date. In 1997, a group of students at historically black Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., located her birth certificate, which verified her birth date as Jan. 17, 1927. Kitt had previously celebrated on Jan. 26.

The research into her background also showed Kitt was the daughter of a white man, a poor cotton farmer.

"I'm an orphan. But the public has adopted me and that has been my only family," she told the Post online. "The biggest family in the world is my fans."


Associated Press Drama Writer Michael Kuchwara contributed to this report.

December 22, 2008

RECIPE ~ "The Night Before Christmas" Coffee Cake

(This was AWESOME!!)

"The Night Before Christmas" Coffee Cake

From the kitchen of Kay Smittle

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup warm milk
1 pkg yeast (2 teaspoons bulk yeast) dissolved in 3 tablespoons warm water
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1/2 cup nuts or maraschino cherries, candied red or green cherries

Cream together sugar and butter. Then add eggs, milk, 1 package of yeast (2 tablespoons bulk yeast) dissolved in 3 tablespoons of warm water, flour, salt and vanilla. Beat all of these ingredients together. Then set dough aside and let it rise, until double in size. When your coffee cake dough has risen to double the size (this may take about 2 hours) put it in a 9x13" greased pan and spread with topping; Combine sugar, cinnamon, melted butter and nuts (you can use maraschino cherries or candied red and green cherries if you don't like nuts). Now place in a cold oven and leave it in there overnight to rise. The next morning turn oven to 350 degrees and bake for 1/2 hour. Take out and serve warm. This makes a large coffee cake or you can put the dough in two round pans instead.

Quote of the Day

December 22, 2008

Quote of the Day
"Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult as if they were easy; in the one case that confidence may not fall asleep, in the other that it may not be dismayed."
– Baltasar Gracián y Morales

December 21, 2008

Quote of the Day

December 21, 2008

Quote of the Day
"It is good to act as if. It is even better to grow to the point where it is no longer an act."
– Charles Caleb Colton

December 20, 2008

Quote of the Day

December 20, 2008

Quote of the Day
"Be bold. If you're going to make an error, make a doozey, and don't be afraid to hit the ball."
– Billie Jean King

I've lost another young friend to an untimely death

I went to school with Michele, but did not know her well. She was 39. She was taken off the ventilator Wednesday morning and I will be attending her funeral today at noon. What happened is so odd:

On Friday at about 3:00 pm Michele was coming home from picking up (daughter) Kelon at school. She called Troy and told him she did not feel good. She was to call him when she got home. She made it to the driveway and then she passed out. Kelon ran and got the neighbor. The lady called 911 and the man did CPR until the EMS got there. When EMS arrived she had gone into full cardiac arrest and was 'gone'. They brought her back and took her to Lexington Medical. She is in ICU (4th floor) in extremely critical condition. The doctor's do not know what happened to cause this. She is in a coma and on full life support. They have not had any response out of her since. They had put her body into hypothermia and lowered her temp to 90 to try to preserve her organs and brain cells. The initial test show that her lungs, liver, kidneys are all working fine. All the other tests show nothing wrong. Everything is working fine except her brain. They have her on a medicine for the heart and they have tried to take her off of it but her heart starts racing because her brain is not telling her heart what to do. She is still on the two heart meds. They did initial brain tests to determine a base line for activity and there was nothing. They began last night raising her body temp back to normal so that they can test for brain activity. So far there has been nothing. As of 10:30 am this morning she is the same. No change. Troy said that her body is swollen but the doctors say that that is probably due to all the fluids that they are giving her. The biggest issues are... how long was she without oxygen and why did it happen to start with. They do not know the answer to either of those questions. They are waiting on the brain doctor to determine if there is any brain activity since they raised her temp to the core they needed. The doctors have given her a 10% chance.

If I hear anything new at the funeral, I will update. Please pray for her family.

Oh, by the way, her brother Frankie had died on Christmas Eve several years ago. I do not know the details. How horribly tragic for her parents and family members.

December 19, 2008

Quote of the Day

December 19, 2008

Quote of the Day
"A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself."
– Alexandre Dumas

December 18, 2008

Beware these Holiday Hazards for Pets
Interactive Avoid holiday hazards for your pet

Nothing makes a holiday more memorable than a panicked trip to the emergency room. Too often that's the final destination when a pet gobbles down a plate full of buffalo wings or chocolate cupcakes, nabs turkey legs off the table and crunches down on glass ornaments or electrical wires.
Stephanie Risvold of Irvine, Calif., won’t ever forget the year that her Lab mix, Cookie, swallowed 13 chicken hot wings in the minute or two that it took her to escort guests to the front door.

“We rushed her to the emergency clinic and got her X-rayed. That’s when we saw the ‘belly of bones,’” Risvold says. “All we could do was to have her X-rayed again and again to make sure the bones were dissolving and not causing a blockage. We had our vigil for a few days and Cookie was fine.”

During the holidays, pet owners fret over the dangers of their dog or cat chowing down bones, chocolate or even tree trimmings, but not all holiday pet hazards are equally worrisome. Here’s what you need to know to have an emergency-free celebration this season.

Festive foods

It’s the rare dog who is as polite as Donna Nelson’s 3-year-old Irish setter, Mack. Huffing and whining, he sat in front of her, asking to keep the turkey leg encased in his mouth.
“Being an unkind old schoolteacher, I scolded and took the leg from his mouth,” she says. “Being a dog lover, I gave him a dog treat instead. It might not have been great compensation for a turkey leg, but it was a much healthier choice.”

Linda Barton, a veterinarian who specializes in emergency and critical care at VCA Veterinary Specialty Center in Lynnwood, Wash., says everyone worries about pets eating tinsel and ornaments during the holidays, but the most common reason she sees pets in the ER are related to their appetite for festive or fatty foods such as turkey, gravy and chocolate.

Rich, fatty foods can cause an upset stomach and vomiting at best, and pancreatitis — a severe inflammation of the pancreas — at worst.

“It’s hard to look in a dog’s face and say no to giving him some of your Christmas dinner,” Barton says, “but probably any change from their regular diet puts them at some risk. I think the fattier it is, the more risky it is. So probably a little piece of dry turkey is less of a concern than the gravy.”

No bones about it
Bones can cause problems, but they’re generally less of a concern than people might think, says John Berg, DVM, a surgical specialist and professor at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton, Mass.
“Once a bone gets into the stomach, it gets softened, dissolved and digested pretty quickly. Really, the only place that we see bones cause a problem with any frequency is the esophagus, because if they get stuck in the esophagus, that can be a big, bad problem,” Berg says. “But if they get on down to the stomach, they usually are not a problem. The one kind of bone that we sometimes see cause problems is big, bulky, oddly shaped bones like beef vertebrae. Those have a tendency to get stuck in the esophagus.”

Nuts to chocolate?
JR, a 90-pound brindle boxer owned by Marg Taylor of Newport Beach, Calif., ate an entire one-pound can of solid dark chocolate pieces one Christmas.
“He didn’t even leave one for me,” Taylor says. “He just left the container, wrapping and bow under the tree.”

The canine nose can sniff out chocolate faster than you can say Jack Russell, but the sweet stuff contains a compound called theobromine that can be toxic to dogs, cats and parrots. Baker’s chocolate has the highest concentration of theobromine, Barton says. Milk chocolate in candy is not quite as potent because it’s adulterated with sugar and other ingredients.

How a pet reacts to chocolate depends on its size, as well as the amount and type of chocolate eaten. Vomiting and diarrhea are common signs of chocolate toxicosis, and too much chocolate can even be fatal, although that’s rare.

“A little dog eating baker’s chocolate is probably the worst combination,” Barton says.

In JR’s case, Taylor rushed him to the emergency room, assuming he was at death’s door, but the veterinarian on duty took one look at his wagging tail and said “He’s just too happy to be sick from the chocolate. Take him home and enjoy your Christmas.”

Bowls of nuts and nut-laden fruitcakes are also common holiday treats. If your dog gobbles the fruitcake (and really, who else is going to do it?) or pigs out on pecans, he may have an upset tummy, but it won’t necessarily require a trip to the ER. It could be another story, though, if the nut bowl contains macadamias, which can be toxic in large quantities.

“It takes a reasonably high concentration,” Dr. Barton says. “One macadamia nut wouldn’t hurt them; they’d have to eat a fair number.”

One very real concern is foods containing xylitol, an artificial sweetener often used in chewing gum and sugar-free foods.

“That’s one that absolutely needs to be avoided in pets,” Barton says. “They’ll get low blood sugar if they get a toxic dose and a small population of them will go into fatal liver failure.”

Trees and trimming

The first time Audrey Pavia put up a live Christmas tree, her gray tabby Murray proceeded to smack down every ornament within paw’s reach. He also thought it would be a good idea to snack on the silver spaghetti tinsel dangling from the tree.
“I saw him grab a mouthful of it off the tree while we were still hanging ornaments and quickly stuck my hand in his mouth, pulled all the tinsel out, and then spent the next hour removing all the tinsel from the tree while Murray was locked in the bathroom,” Pavia reports.

Tinsel and ribbons are known as linear foreign bodies in vet speak. Cats love to play with those items and they’ll sometimes swallow them, either intentionally or accidentally.

“They can cause a partial or complete obstruction, and if they get in there as a linear foreign body, they can saw right through the wall of the intestinal tract and cause peritonitis,” says John Hamil, DVM, of Canyon Animal Hospital in Laguna Beach, Calif.

If your cat has swallowed tinsel, string, thread or ribbons, don’t try to pull it out if it has already started down the throat, nor if you see it coming out the other end, Hamil warns. The same goes for string hooked around a cat’s tongue.

“Anybody that’s ever pulled a string through their fingers very quickly knows that it can cut you, so we don’t recommend that people try to do that from either end,” he says.

The lure of glass ornaments
Daleen and Keith Comer of Mission Viejo, Calif., learned the hard way that dogs and glass ornaments don’t mix. Their sable and white Shetland sheepdog, Duffy, who was 8 months old at the time, picked up a round glass ornament that had fallen on the floor, thinking it was a ball. It shattered in his mouth. They were able to pick most of the pieces out of his mouth, but one was too far back on his tongue and went down.
After that incident, they "threw away the glass balls and now buy only unbreakable ornaments,” she says.

Surprisingly, dogs eating glass ornaments isn’t as unusual or as dangerous as it might seem.

“Even if they chew glass, we just let it pass,” says Scott Shaw, DVM, assistant professor and emergency/critical care specialist at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton, Mass., whose own dog has been known to snack on glass ornaments. “Most dogs don’t actually swallow it. The biggest danger is they could cut their tongue or lip and have bleeding from that. If it was severe enough, you could end up having to make a trip to the vet.”

Although inducing vomiting worked for the Comers, Shaw says it’s best not to do that with glass, needles or anything else sharp.

“They could cause more damage coming up than they would if you just let them pass through the other way,” he says.

Lighting up
Electricity can light up more than your tree. If your pet chomps down on the cords, it could suffer mouth burns or even death from electrocution.
“Cats and puppies are probably the two biggest offenders,” Dr. Shaw says. “If you’re worried that your pet may have been electrocuted, even if they appear normal, they should be checked out because there can be some delayed signs that can be quite serious.”

To be on the safe side, encase cords in sturdy covers available from home and garden supply stores.

Plant life
We’ve all heard that dogs and cats shouldn’t drink the water out of the tree stand. True, it’s probably not the best way for them to quench their thirst, but it’s unlikely to cause much more than a little stomach upset.
“If you put that tree extender stuff in the water, there’s a little bit of fertilizer and nitrates in it, but probably not at a concentration that would do much harm,” Barton says. “One of the biggest concerns is if the water’s been sitting around forever, it might be contaminated with bacteria and could probably cause gastrointestinal upset.”

Kissing under the mistletoe is a favorite holiday activity, but eating large quantities of mistletoe berries or leaves can be a kiss of distress for pets, causing oral or abdominal pain and sometimes cardiovascular problems such as low blood pressure for dogs and cats. Pretty red holly berries also have toxic properties that lead to stomach upset.

Poinsettias are widely thought to be toxic, but at most they cause mild irritation to the mouth or mild stomach upset, Barton says.
Unless your dog or cat has eaten a whole mistletoe ball, stripped the holly of all its berries or downed an entire poinsettia plant, you probably don’t have too much to worry about except for wiping away the drool and cleaning up after the vomiting or diarrhea. Serious poisoning from these types of plants is rare. Amaryllis and tulip bulbs, as well as lilies, are more of a worry. It’s not unusual for dogs to eat bulbs or for cats to nibble on lilies, and they can be quite toxic, Shaw says.

Unexpected hazards

All the coming and going and to-ing and fro-ing bring opportunities for pets to get into trouble both indoors and outdoors. Visitors who aren’t used to living with dogs or cats may leave their medications within reach. It takes only seconds for dogs to break into those childproof containers and down birth control pills, heart medication or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Warn guests to keep those things well out of reach.
It’s also not uncommon for visitors to accidentally leave doors or gates open, giving Max or Snowflake the chance to flee the house with all its strange smells and people.

“It seems like a lot more dogs escape from the house this time of year,” Shaw says. “We see a lot of dogs that end up getting hit by a car because they get out.”

And if you’re traveling out of town with pets, be sure you have a full supply of any medications they are taking.

“We often see out-of-town people who suddenly need prescriptions filled,” Barton says.

And for those who like to dress their pets in Santa hats and reindeer antlers, good news: Unless your pet chews off and swallows the jingle bells, wearing a holiday costume will hurt only its pride.

Source: Kim Campbell Thornton, Creature Comforts columnist

Updated: 8:03 p.m. ET Dec. 15, 2008

© 2008


Quote of the Day

December 18, 2008

Quote of the Day
"Your life becomes the thing you have decided it shall be."
– Raymond Charles Barker

December 17, 2008

Daily Inspiration - aka - Quote of the Day

Some have been inspirational, some have been, well, not. So I will switch and call them what they are already listed as: Quote of the Day.
Enjoy :)

December 17, 2008

Quote of the Day
"Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence."
– Lin Yutang

December 16, 2008

Finally! Adam Walsh's murder case solved!

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - A serial killer who died more than a decade ago is the person who decapitated the 6-year-old son of "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh in 1981, Florida police said Tuesday.

The announcement brought to a close a case that has haunted the Walsh family for more than two decades, launched the television show about the nation's most notorious criminals and inspired changes in how authorities search for missing children.

"Who could take a 6-year-old and murder and decapitate him? Who?" John Walsh said at Tuesday's news conference. "We needed to know. We needed to know. And today we know. The not knowing has been a torture, but that journey's over."

Suspect made deathbed confession
The suspect, Ottis Toole, had twice confessed to the killing, but later recanted. He claimed responsibility for hundreds of murders, but police determined most of the confessions were lies. Toole's niece told the boy's father, John Walsh, her uncle confessed on his deathbed in prison that he killed Adam.

The Walshes long ago derided the investigation as botched, and John Walsh has said he believed Toole killed his son. Still, he praised the Hollywood police department for closing the case, and said it was not a day to place blame.

"This is not to look back and point fingers, but it is to let it rest," he said.

Adam Walsh went missing from a Hollywood mall on July 27, 1981. Fishermen discovered his severed head in a canal 120 miles away two weeks later. The rest of his body was never found.

Authorities made a series of crucial errors, losing the bloodstained carpeting in Toole's car — preventing DNA testing — and the car itself. It was a week after the boy's disappearance before the FBI got involved.

"So many mistakes were made," John Walsh said in 1997, upon the release of his book "Tears of Rage," which harshly criticized the Hollywood Police Department's work on the case. "It was shocking, inexcusable and heartbreaking."

Case contributed to major advances
For all that went wrong in the probe, the case contributed to massive advances in police searches for missing youngsters and a notable shift in the view parents and children hold of the world.

Adam's death, and his father's subsequent activism on his behalf, helped put faces on milk cartons, shopping bags and mailbox flyers, started fingerprinting programs and increased security at schools and stores. It spurred the creation of missing persons units at every large police department.

It also prompted national legislation to create a national center, database and toll-free line devoted to missing children, and led to the start of "America's Most Wanted," which brought those cases into millions of homes.

Daily Inspiration ~ December 16, 2008

December 16, 2008

Quote of the Day
"When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge."
– Tuli Kupferberg

December 15, 2008

RECIPE ~ Family Favorite Casserole (I made this tonight, it was great!)

Family Favorite Casserole

1 pound ground beef, browned & drained
1 medium onion, chopped (Phyllis only used 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups diced potatoes
1 1/2 cups BABY carrots, cut in thirds (Phyllis substituted 1/4 cup diced tomatoes)
1/2 or so of salt
1 can (10 oz) cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups cooked macaroni pasta
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
(Phyllis added handful of partially-cooked broccoli at this time)

Combine all ingredients, except milk, macaroni pasta and cheese (and broccoli) in a greased 3 1/2 to 6 quart slow cooker.
Stir to combine. Cover & cook on low heat 6-10 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
Stir in milk & cooked macaroni during last 30min of cooking on low, or last 15min if on high.
Sprinkle with grated cheese before serving. Makes 6-8 servings.

Daily Quote - Monday Dec 15th

December 15, 2008

Quote of the Day
"To keep your character intact you cannot stoop to filthy acts. It makes it easier to stoop the next time."
– Katharine Hepburn

December 10, 2008

December 09, 2008

RECIPE ~ Don't forget about Fido! --Doggie Biscuits--

Doggie Biscuits

1 cup cornmeal
3 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons instant soup stock mix (beef, chicken or vegetable)
4 tablespoons bacon bits
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup water (approx)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Blend all ingredients thoroughly.

Roll mixture 1/4 inch thick onto floured cutting board or other smooth surface.

Cut to desired shapes with cookies cutters or a knife. Be creative!

Bake for approx 35 - 45 minutes, basting lightly with meat or bacon drippings.

Cool thoroughly before serving.


RECIPE ~ My Favorite Meatloaf recipe

My Favorite Meatloaf Recipe #338860
Hillbilly Housewife website
by Orion's Wife
1 hour | SERVES 8

2 lbs ground beef
1 cup dry breadcrumbs (see note below)
1 cup water or broth
2 carrots, shredded
1 onion, peeled and minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper (scant)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, minced or 2 garlic cloves, minced
Into a large bowl, put the hamburger, bread crumbs, water or broth, prepared vegetables and seasoning. Start mixing and mashing everything together with your hands. Don't be squeamish. Continue to mix and mash until everything is evenly distributed, and the water is fully incorporated. Press the mixture into a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan, or any pan which will hold a full 2 quarts. Smooth out the top so it will be pretty. Bake this at 350*F for at least an hour, if the meat was at room temperature, 1 1/2 hours if it was still cold from the refrigerator. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow it to sit for a couple of minutes to firm up. Drain off the fat.
NOTE: The bread crumbs are not written in stone. Depending on what you have, you may substitute dry oatmeal, cracker crumbs, or crushed cornflakes. If nothing else is available, use four slices of fresh bread torn into small bits.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 (186g)

Recipe makes 8 servings

The following items or measurements
are not included below:

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Calories 310
Calories from Fat 160 (51%)
Amount Per Serving %DV
Total Fat 17.8g 27%
Saturated Fat 6.8g 34%
Monounsaturated Fat 7.6g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8g
Trans Fat 1.1g
Cholesterol 77mg 25%
Sodium 621mg 25%
Potassium 433mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 12.8g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1.3g 5%
Sugars 2.2g
Protein 23.2g 46%
Vitamin A 2564mcg 51%
Vitamin B6 0.5mg 22%
Vitamin B12 2.5mcg 41%
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Vitamin E 0mcg 2%
Calcium 51mg 5%
Iron 3mg 17%

RECIPE ~ My Favorite Christmas Cookies recipe - Raspberry Gems

Raspberry Gems

1 1/2 c All purpose flour
1 c Margarine or butter, -softened
1/2 c Dairy sour cream
1/3 c Raspberry spreadable fruit 3 tb Sugar
2/3 c Semisweet chocolate pieces
1 tb Shortening
1/4 c Finely chopped almonds

Stir together flour, margarine or butter, and sour cream in a large mixing bowl, until thoroughly combined.
Divide dough in half.
Cover and chill for 3 hours.
Roll each half of dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness.
Using a 1-3/4 to 2 inch round cookie cutter cut dough.
Spread about 1/4 tsp. raspberry fruit on top of half of the cookies.
Top with remaining cookies.
Stir together sugar and 1 Tbsp. water. Brush over cookies.
Place cookies on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake in a 350 oven for 15 to 20 minutes or till done.
Remove cookies and cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in a small heavy saucepan melt chocolate pieces and shortening over low heat till melted, stirring constantly.
Dip one side of each of the cookies into melted chocolate.
Place on waxed paper; sprinkle with almonds.
Cool until set. Makes about 72.

December 07, 2008

RECIPE ~ White Chipotle-Chicken Chili (Phase 1)

From author Cynnara Tregarth:

I'm currently trying to get healthy before having the Lapband surgery and one of the things they recommend is a high protein, high veggie diet. Because protein is harder to break down, it actually burns more calories. So, I discovered this recipe in the South Beach Diet that fits the bill for me. Hopefully you'll enjoy it too.

Cynnara Tregarth

White Chipotle-Chicken Chili (Phase 1)

Makes 6 servings

Chipotle peppers are jalapeños that have been dried and smoked. They come canned, packed in adobo (a tomato-based sauce); you can find them in the Hispanic or ethnic-foods aisle of your market. Beware: Unless you like your chili super-hot, remove the seeds from the peppers before adding.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves (1 3/4 pounds), cut into 1" chunks
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt and black pepper
3 (14.5-ounce) cans white kidney or cannellini beans, drained (save 1/2 cup draining liquid) and rinsed
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 teaspoon canned chipotle chili, seeded and minced
1/2 cup nonfat half-and-half
Garnishes: Shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Warm oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onion; cook 4 minutes, stirring. Push onions to one side; add chicken to skillet and sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, stirring.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add 2 cans of beans and draining liquid, 1 1/4 cups broth, and chipotle; bring to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, combine remaining 1 can of beans and 3/4 cup broth in bowl of food processor. Puree until smooth, then add to soup in pot, along with half-and-half. Simmer a few minutes, stirring, until ingredients are warmed through and flavors incorporate. Serve hot; garnish with cheese and cilantro.

Nutritional information
360 calories
5 g total fat (1 g sat)
85 mg cholesterol
33 g carbohydrate
41 g protein
8 g fiber
671 mg sodium

December 05, 2008

I lost a good friend yesterday

Paul DeCrescenzio was a good buddy of mine. He was about 3 years younger than me. I'd known him since I was 17. When I was about 19, we dated for a couple of years. Afterwards, I met Mike Dennis. Over time, Mike and I married. At some point during the marriage, Paul & Mike became friends. Some time after our divorce in 2000, Paul lost a co-worker due to the job market and thought about Mike. Mike also had lost his job around the same time. They started installing cabinets together and have become the closest of buddies, sometimes working all 7 days a week. They even went on deep-sea fishing trips every few months with Paul's brother and other friends.
Mike went to Paul's house yesterday morning as always to park his car and pack-up equipment and head to work with Paul. For some reason when Mike pulled up, Paul's brother, Michael, was at the house. He had been worried that Paul wasn't answering his calls that morning about a job they were going to work on. Mike walked in, and saw Michael sitting on the couch, very distraught. Paul was dead. I will not go over what we know, but it had nothing to do with any of us, or his immediate family. Shortly after, his wife Brandy came home. Michael had called her. Throughout the day, other family members from both sides came. And the usual array of police, ambulance, etc.
It was a very rough day, and a horrible night's sleep.
Today, we'll go see his family together, and the man who handled their job bills, to help tie up loose ends with work, and to see what else we can do for the family, if anything.
Paul and Mike were independent, contracted installers. They did not have insurance to cover a funeral, nor is this considered a 'secure' job. Mike is now no longer employed. He was an apprentice. He is hoping Michael will take him on, but we know that is a slim chance - Michael has a full crew, and few jobs. He does new-home construction. Mike only knows half of what Paul knew. This leaves him in a bad position.
Brandy cannot afford to bury her husband. I cannot imagine what is going to happen. I know she'll have help, and I know some of you know what a funeral costs. It's ridiculous. She was devastated. Paul was the only man she'd ever known. She was 3 years younger than him. Mike said she wailed and wailed. I'm so glad I wasn't there. Mike cried so much while he was here last night.
Paul's father is terminally ill with liver cancer, so please keep him and Paul's mom in your deepest prayers. Also, his brother Michael, wife Brandy, 2 children by his first wife, and friends.
Please keep Mike in your prayers for a job. There's not much out there for this. New-home construction has slowed considerably here.
The viewing will be Monday night 6-8 pm Thompson's Funeral Home, Augusta Road, Lexington, SC.
Thank you so much.

December 03, 2008

RECIPE ~ Oven Caramel Corn

December 2008
Christmas Recipe:
Oven Caramel Corn

15 cups popped corn
1 cup brown sugar packed
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Heat oven to 200 degrees.
Divide popped corn between 2 ungreased baking pans, 13x9x2 inches.
In saucepan, heat sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt, stirring occasionally until bubbly around edges. Continue cooking over medium-heat 5 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in soda until foamy. Pour on popped corn, stirring until corn is well-coated.
Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Use potholders!
Makes about 15 cups.

Paty Jager, Author

More fun KID'S PAGES


December 02, 2008

RECIPE ~ Snowball cookies

I found these new cookie recipes at Kraft so enjoy!

Snowball cookies

1 1/3 cups (about 1/3 tub) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Refrigerated Sugar Cookie Tub Dough
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Powdered sugar for dusting

PREHEAT oven to 325º F.

COMBINE cookie dough and flour in medium mixing bowl. Stir morsels and pecans into cookie dough. Roll dough into 18, 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 18 to 20 minutes until light brown. Remove from oven. Sift powdered sugar over hot cookies on baking sheets. Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar, if desired.

• Dough can be made in advance, shaped into cookies and refrigerated until ready for baking.
• Create three types of Christmas cookies from just one tub of NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Refrigerated Sugar Cookie Tub Dough. Make this recipe along with two other 12 Days of Christmas Cookies recipes.
• Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a larger batch.

Raine Delight
Aspen Mountain Press Author

RECIPE ~ Berry Chocolate Tartlets

Here is one I just found that looks amazing! Enjoy!

Berry Chocolate Tartlets

1 1/3 cups (about 1/3 tub) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Refrigerated Sugar Cookie Tub Dough, slightly softened
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries, chopped

PREHEAT oven to 325º F.

COMBINE cookie dough and flour in large mixing bowl. Divide dough into 24, 1-inch balls. Press dough into mini-muffin cups.*

BAKE for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around edges and puffy.

REMOVE tartlets from oven and immediately fill with morsels and cranberries. Cool for 10 minutes in muffin cups. Carefully remove to wire rack, do not invert; cool completely.

*If making tartlets in batches, keep extra dough in the refrigerator.

• Tartlets may be filled with your favorite combination of morsels.
• Dough can be made in advance and refrigerated.
• Create three types of Christmas cookies from just one tub of NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Refrigerated Sugar Cookie Tub Dough. Make this recipe along with two other 12 Days of Christmas Cookies recipes.
• Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a larger batch.

Raine Delight
Aspen Mountain Press Author

RECIPE ~ Spiced Chai Tea

I got this from Taste of Home magazine I enjoy. I am thinking of making this for the tea/chai lovers I know. Enjoy!

Spiced Chai Tea

3 Cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup instant tea (unsweetened)
3/4 cup dry vanilla flavor nondairy creamer
1-1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Optional garnish: Whipped Cream

1) In food processor, combine all dry ingrediants, cover and process until powdery. Store in air tight container for up to 6 months.

To Prepare:

Dissolve 3 TBSP. of mix in 3/4 cup of boiling water-sir well. Dollop with whipoped cream if desire.

Owner-LoveRomance Cafe

RECIPE ~ Coquito (Puerto Rican style egg nog)

From another Author friend:

Since we are talking about different holiday traditions throughout the world, I wanted to share with everybody a recipe for Puerto Rican style egg is called Coquito. It is delicious! Some people like to add vanilla or nutmeg, but I have tasted this recipe and it is fabulous. Enjoy!


2 - 3 cinnamon sticks
2 c. water
12 oz. evaporated milk
14 oz. condensed milk
4 egg yolks
15 oz. cream of coconut
5 c. white rum (Bacardi, Don Q. etc) (Adjust to taste)


Start by boiling the cinnamon sticks in the 2 cups of water.

When the water turns yellow and has the smell and you can taste the cinnamon, take the sticks out.

Now add the evaporated milk, condensed milk and egg yolks and cook at a very low temperature. Make sure to stir while it is cooking to avoid it sticking to your pan. (If it does, see hint below.)

After it has boiled for a few minutes, stir in the cream of coconut and then the rum. Stir it very well and take off the stove.

Let it cool, chill and enjoy it.


RECIPE ~ Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes: Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes: Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free
by Yasmine Galenorn

½ cup dairy-free margarine
2/3 cup hazelnut butter
1 teaspoon hazelnut extract
½ cup rice or soy milk
1 cup maple syrup
2 cups loosely packed Cravings no-sugar added basic cookie mix OR (1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup white rice flour, ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, loosely packed
Whip margarine till fluffy.
Add nut butter and whip.
Add syrup and whip until fluffy.
Add rice milk and beat for a minute till incorporated.
Add cocoa powder and whip until incorporated.
Add flour mixture or cookie mix and whip for 1 minute on medium, then 1 minute on high, scraping bowl in between speeds.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-18 minutes (check after 15 minutes).
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.

Please vote my kitchen for a make-over!

Please vote for my kitchen by tomorrow! (It says 'voting for entertainment value only' but I bet every vote counts!)
I went thru 128 pictures just to find mine on the site so I could share with you! LOL Thank you so much!!

***********The votes aren't taking right, so thank you all anyway! :)