Things That Make Me Say Yay!

December 31, 2016

It's the last day of 2016. 

Seems like yesterday it was the last day of 1999, but who's counting. 

In the same token I keep seeing stuff about how bad 2016 was for everyone, it really wasn't for us. 2014 & 2015 were the bummers. This year, even with Jeremy's surgery, has been good. It's been a year of toddlerhood, finally fixing Jeremy's ears, and nothing that eventful in cancer land. Yes, my Dad's treatment has changed a bit due to cancer growth, but he's still hanging around and doing it well. It could always be worse. 

It will likely get worse one day, but this year wasn't as "worse" as it's been so let's just take it as it is. It could have been worse. 

In other news, the 20 bucks spent on this tent at Ikea was the best 20 dollars ever spent in our house. Harrison has basically taken to living in it as a second home. Money well spent for days of toddler fun. 

Fact, my hair is too thin for long hair so every few years I get sick of keeping up with the long haired Jones's and chop it all off. Only problem, I can't curl this mop to save my life. Shorter hair just makes me happier, bangs as well. Bangs cover up a lot of age. Primarily those forehead creases I've had forEVER! Dang being expressive. On the downside if I ever got botox I think it would be too obvious. Emily's face suddenly quit moving? That's unusual. 

Y'all, a winter garden is my jam. The lizard population is drastically decreased this time of year and it appears I can actually grow things. 

The funny part is the toddler than doesn't understand weeds vs. plants and has tried to pull up my beets more than one time. If I'm seen pulling weeds for more than a hot second he immediately starts digging and pointing at everything. 

If you follow us on Snapchat you would have seen him using a M&M Christmas Tree thing as a shovel this week. The carrots have begun having nightmares about that first 5 seconds of The Nutcracker song. 

Proof that I can do winter... which has been my beloved season for as long as I can remember... I actually have a growing plant.

I think I managed 2 tomatoes and maybe 3 zucchini this summer. The basil plant that needed little attention and actually preferred my neglect was the only thriving plant last season.

I can't quit dreaming of cauliflower roasted in nutritional yeast. I need more nutritional yeast.

To cap off today's post, here's a little funny situation that happened. 

Much like his mother, Harrison is a nudist toddler. Clothing and diapers are terribly constricting and have the potential to ruin a perfectly good naked day. 

He somehow convinced Jeremy to let him eat breakfast yesterday sans diaper. All was going well until I was getting dressed and heard Jeremy yell out "Harrison just R. Kelly-ed Ellie!" If you're at all familiar with the R. Kelly that Dave Chapelle made skits about, then you know that he had a penchant for peeing on people. Harrison did in fact pee on the dog. 

Which serves her right. She stands directly under him hoping for food at every meal. 

Now in the land of things that don't make me say yay, or any version there of. We had to get new appliances, but icing on the money draining cake was that the water line didn't work, so now we've got a few plumbers out today working on things. We should really consider standing on the corner and just writing checks to everyone. 😝

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Pimento Cheese & Spicy Crackers

December 28, 2016

Now that I've made this a few times, and my mother has now tried to find the recipe on here, it's probably high time to post this recipe. 

A restaurant here started serving Spicy Ranch Crackers with Pimento Cheese as a appetizer, so why not put my Pimento Cheese recipe with my Ranch Crackers. It was heavenly by the way. 

Spicy Ranch Crackers with Pimento Cheese

Ranch Crackers 
3 sleeves of Saltine Crackers
1 cup canola oil
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch
3 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes

Soak red pepper flakes in oil for 24-72 hours, depending on how much time you have. The longer the oil soaks the pepper the spicier it will be. Afterward, strain the pepper flakes out of the oil. Combine the oil and crackers in a large bowl and stir until crackers are thoroughly covered in oil. Sprinkle over the ranch seasoning and stir until crackers are evenly coated. Continue to stir a few times an hour for about 2-3 hours. After the oil has soaked into the crackers and they are evenly coated in ranch, store in a large Ziploc bag or container. Serve with Pimento Cheese. 

Pimento Cheese
2 cups of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz diced pimentos
1/2 cup (or one small container) of plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp paprika
salt & pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients, chill, and serve with Spicy Ranch Crackers. 

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200 Year Old Pound Cake

December 21, 2016

Today's recipe is one that when I started searching for Southern cakes to try out it just stuck out at me. I initially thought this was a 150 year old recipe, but after reading the cookbook more closely, I realized my grandmother's Acadian Bi-Centennial cookbook was actually from 1955, making this recipe from the early 1800s. 

It was honestly a lot of fun to make a traditional pound cake, although I subbed the requested brandy for vanilla. Who actually had that on hand? Not I. 

The directions cracked me up with how to cook this in your coal burning stove, and then other suggestions in case you have ventured past coal burning. 

Honestly my friends probably got sick of hearing me talk about this recipe the night I made it. I tend to get more excited about older things than other people do. 

In case your wondering, my favorite time to eat this was steaming how straight from the oven when the crust was still crunchy. Jeremy said the flavor reminded him of shortbread. 

200 Year Old Pound Cake Recipe

1 lb butter
1 lb sugar
1 lb flour (all purpose)
10 eggs (large)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
wine glass of brandy

or skip the nutmeg and brandy and use a few teaspoons of good vanilla

Beat butter and sugar until very creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, alternately with the flour. Each egg should be work in for at least 5 minutes (I found that I could get the same outcome in less time with a stand mixer... this was all done by hand in the recipe). Should there be any flour left, add it to the mixture. Add nutmeg and brandy (or vanilla). Put into a deep pan, lined on sides and bottom with greased paper. (I used a bundt pan because I didn't have a pound cake pan and just buttered the pan and dusted it with flour) Bake at 325 for 2 hours. (or on a small stand in the lower part of a moderately slow oven, if you use coal watch the fire carefully) 

I baked mine for 1 1/2 hours, it was ever so slightly damp in the middle, not enough that others would know, but Mary Berry would call me out on it. Go for the full two hours. Even at 1 1/2 a toothpick came out clean, but it was clearly lying to me. 

Another note, be sure to measure out all the ingredients with a scale, you can't always trust the bag or a measuring cup. 

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The Year Without a Christmas Card

December 18, 2016

This year has been good, but the past several weeks have been hectic. The plague hitting at Thanksgiving interrupted the usual Christmas pictures I drag everyone in the family out to do. 

There's just not taking what was our sick selves around the chemo patient. 

I'm noting to be responsible for a hospital visit. 

That then led to several Sundays of rain... and I can only shoot natural light. No big light set up here people. 

Then finally, FINALLY 👏  we had one pretty morning before church... and more important, before Jeremy's ear surgery. 

So this year's card is simply a blog card, because there was neither time nor extra money to send the suckers. Although I'm sure thanks to use our amazing ENT can send holiday cards. 😂

It only took 3 rounds with the camera propped up on a stool & a bible with the cover taped down, and the self timer to get one picture we could live with. 

Let's also just be real honest with ourselves these days, toddlers don't photograph well. Especially a toddler in need of a haircut with his mother's yellow-olive Puerto Rican passed down skin tone. It lends itself to a jaundice look more often than not. 

Which, totally off topic, but that's exactly why you'll see me wearing cool tones and never a trace of yellow or orange. It makes me look sick. Even worse our school color is orange. Notice the blue red on me doesn't look bad on my skin, but the orange red on Harrison makes him look yellow. 

Say what you must, jewel and cool tones for life over here. 

While I'm way off Christmas card topic, Jeremy's surgery went really well. The trick will be to see how it looks in a few weeks when the packing is removed, and then for the next few months to find out how much hearing he regains. 

People often ask if this is something new, but it's a childhood problem that got progressively worse with age. By the time we got to surgery the left ear only had 20% of an ear drum and the right ear that we just worked on had 0%. Hence the constant need for cotton balls and non stop ear aches that no one can do anything about for years. 

I really think the craziest part of this whole thing is just what Jeremy is now able to hear that he couldn't before. For instance, he thought the washing machine was broken, nope that's just the noise it makes. He also realized just how shrill the baby is. It will be nice for him to be able to speak to people who don't speak loud and actually hear them. 

In case you're wondering the cause of the whole thing, the doctor told me Thursday that neither of his Eustachian Tubes work. He had tubes as a kid and some other junk that didn't work and just made this get way out of hand. Imagine 8 straight years of an ear ache. He's basically had an earache in one or both ears continually since we met. 

Anyway, that's basically a Christmas, life, and everything update. Which should also explain my absence last week. I'll be back Wednesday with the 200 Year Old Pound Cake recipe. 

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Meal Pinning Monday

December 12, 2016

It's surgery week over here, so there's definitely a excited mixed with surgery combo going on. This surgery, if it works, could mean that Jeremy will now hear from both of his years. 

The last surgery worked, so there's just one ear between him and not having all the complications that go with not having eardrums anymore. So until then, here's my crazy dinner schedule for the next 2 weeks... because I didn't make everything last week. 

[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Monday - Brussel Sprouts with Sausage and Parsnip Pasta (last week)

Tuesday - Chicken with Bacon Green Beans (again... last week)

Wednesday - Turkey Taco Chili (as expected, last week)

Thursday - Surgery Day = Take Out

Friday - Chicken with Broccoli Salad & Red Potatoes

Saturday - Lomo Saltado

Sunday - Chipotle Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps with Spanish Rice

Monday - Chili

Tuesday - leftovers

Wednesday - Christmas Break food...
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Friday Favorites?

December 10, 2016

On a Saturday? Yes. 
1. It's cold and there's nothing on earth that could beat that... besides snow. Snow would be nice. I'm really wanting to bribe my people into getting a cabin in the Ozarks next Christmas and hoping for snow.

2. After wanting a Kavu Rope Bag for years I finally broke down and bought one, it came in last night and I just want to pack it up and go somewhere just to use it. The main use is for works though, I needed something larger than my purse and smaller than my bag. Plus I'm a crossbody queen and you'll probably rarely if never see me carrying a designer type bag. Hippie bags for life people, just toss in a few Lara Bars and we are game. Sadly the Garden Rose pattern I had my heart set on is no where to be seen so I settled on Fable.

3. I haven't forgotten about the cake series... it's just be a procrastination coming type of event. This weekend I'm testing out a 150 year old recipe and will be surely posting it Wednesday or Thursday. Here's your hint, I have a pound of just about everything. 

4. Korean beauty products. Who's tried them? After the great Hand Foot Mouth plague of 2016 I got my hands on the Baby Feet foot peel to speed up my foot peeling situation, it worked like a charm and I can now say if I ever get a pedicure again it will simply be just for the foot rub. 

If you follow me on SnapChat (@labride) I posted another one I tried this week. I would like to get more products from the Milky Piggy line to try, but so far I'm liking the Collagen Jella Pack. It's a sleep mask that if I read correctly is made from pig collagen. Not exactly PETA approved, but I don't really care what goes on my face if in 10 years I don't look like a wrinkled up old bag. Say no to tanning beds, after doing this high tech facial thing this past summer and the lady showing me what my sun spots would like like in a few years thanks to whatever imaging that machine had it's safe to say I highly regret every minute in the sun I ever spent. My close friends can tell you the words "I told you so" has left there mouths many times concerning me and sunscreen. I've had more than one burn that I whined about for days. 

5. Any old bloggers out there remember the Not Me Monday posts from McMamma? I'm feeling like that needs to come back. I've been a Not Me Mama quit a ton lately. Maybe we'll have a Not Me Tuesday. There's a reason why I didn't have a girl, I'm not a details person. I'm really hoping that God sees fit to keep the boys coming, please don't make me have to figure out hair. That's why mine is so simple. I'll do one Not Me and then I'm signing off to finish cleaning before the child awakes. 

 - I did not take my child out into public with crazy hair. He didn't have a rat's nest that would make a professional stylist cry and his hair surely wasn't bothered by the cold weather and straighten out halfway down his back causing a rat's nest on the top/party in the back mullet combo. It wasn't even remotely embarrassing and I didn't spend the entire outing trying to finger combo that mess, praying that no one assumed my no-makeup-sweat-pant-self was a neglectful mother. Nope not me. 

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The Pumpkin Patch That Never Posted

December 8, 2016

As soon as I gave myself a break from posting monthly pictures of Harrison I dropped the ball hard. First I was going to take 18 month pics... then 19... and that never happened.

So to sum it up, we went to the Pumpkin patch when he had just turned 19 months old. So this is from then.

I realized in doing these this year that I'm not one of "those moms." You know, the ones who think to dress their child in something seasonal. We had a harvest themed shirt... my kid is in a tank top and Toms. 

I also make a ton of stuff from scratch but sent Walmart cupcakes to the sitter for his birthday. 

Santa pics... when we got there I realized people dress their kids up for this... mine was in a football sweatshirt. 

 He went through a spell when he wanted to back his booty up into everything, thats the face you get with that action.

Drumming on pumpkins. 

Notice all the bumps and bruises? I seems like month 18-19 were full of bloody knees. 

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Meal Pinning Monday

December 5, 2016

I went on a Skinny Taste binge this week. Back in the day I made a lot of her recipes, but haven't in a few years. So this week we're trying out a few new recipes that I haven't tried yet. 

[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Monday - Stuffed Baked Pork Chops with Prochuttio and Mozarella with Salad

Tuesday - Tortilla Crusted Chicken Tenders with Avocado Salad & Salsa

Wednesday - Sprouts with Sausage Parsnip Spiralized Pasta

Thursday - Tacos

Friday - leftovers

Saturday - One Skillet Chicken with Bacon and Green Beans

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Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls

December 3, 2016

Not long after moving into our house our neighbor gave us a bread machine she wasn't using. That old machine made me immediately look like super wife around here. I can bust out a loaf of bread in no time and the house smells amazing. 

Then I discovered it could make me look like a rock star baker with anything involving yeast and I really fell in love. 

Which brings me to yet another update to my cinnamon roll recipe... the bread machine version. 

Make note that these are not meant to be made immediately, I took two days, and the vast majority of that time was hands off. 

Why so much hands off rising time?

Well my love of Paul Hollywood lead me to the idea that a slow rise yeast was better, and let me just say that he was completely right. Allowing these to rise in the bread machine, rolling them out, and then allowing them to rise overnight in the fridge... then again when I let them come to room temp allowed me to get the best rise I've ever had on a bread. 

I've been converted people, no more fast rise bread. 

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls

makes 16 cinnamon rolls
1 cup warm whole milk
2 eggs room temp
1/3 melted butter
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 white sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1 stick of butter, melted
1 cup or more white sugar

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp maple flavored extract
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp strong coffee 
2 tbsp melted butter
4 oz softened cream cheese

Place dough ingredients into the bread machine in the order listed. Be sure to keep the salt and yeast separate. I find that making a well in the center of the flour for the yeast works well for me. Set the bread machine to dough cycle and press start. 

Once dough has risen turn it out onto a floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle. Brush the top with melted butter, be sure to reserve a bit to butter your baking dish. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon generously over the dough. Roll the dough from the long side of the rectangle and slice using unflavored floss or a piece of thread. 

Place rolls into the buttered 13x9 baking dish, cover with cling film, and place in the refrigerator over night. 

The next day remove the rolls from the fridge and allow to rise again at room temperature, I let mine sit for several hours but less would be okay. 

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. 

While rolls are baking beat together the frosting ingredients, adding more or less liquid to get the thickness your desire. 

Remove rolls from the over, frost, and enjoy! 

This recipe looks long because of all the ingredients and steps, but I made this without making a trip to the store and it probably come together with about 30 minutes total of my time. The bread machine really takes out the kneading time and allows you to looks like you did a lot more! 
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