Friday, March 29, 2013

Homemade Reese's PNut Butter Eggs

One of J's favorite Easter treats is Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs. He discovered he liked the (slightly cheaper) Palmer's brand Peanut Butter Eggs from Dollar General, too.

We looked a couple weeks or so for them at our local DG up the street but didn't find any, and then he just didn't bother trying to find them at any other stores because 1) didn't need to spend the money and 2) didn't need them to add to his weight he's kindly trying to watch.

Well, I saw a recipe for making your own homemade Peanut Butter Eggs at - where else? - Pinterest, and it was easy and the ingredients were all things I already had in my kitchen, so I figured I'd make up a batch for him, being it's Easter.

First I put 1 cup of peanut butter, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and 1/4 cup (half a stick) of I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Butter in a pan. (The recipe calls for unsalted butter, but some people said it was too sweet and they added salt anyway, but this is what I had, so it's what I used.)

I melted the pnb, sugar, and butter all together until it was creamy and started bubbling a little bit. Then I removed it from the heat and started adding the powered sugar 1/4 cup a time. It called for 1 & 1/4 cups, so that would be five 1/4 adds, but I'm not sure if I lost count? After I added 1/4 what I thought was four times, it was thick and didn't seem like I'd be able to mix another 1/4 cup in. So I added 1 cup or 1 & 1/4 cup, not exactly sure which.

Made a thick peanut butter dough which I let sit for a bit and cool to room temperature.

I covered a cookie sheet with some wax paper, and formed "eggs" out of the peanut butter dough (they look more "egg-like" than they do in this picture).  I put them in the refrigerator to set for about 30 minutes.

The recipe says to melt the chocolate chips and shortnin' in the microwave, but it's way easier to do it in a pot on the lowest heat setting.

Then I dipped the "egg" into the melted chocolate chips with a fork. Don't stick the fork into the "egg". Actually I just tossed the "egg" into the chocolate, used the spoon to cover it, then lifted it out with the fork to allow it drain off most of the excess chocolate. It wanted to stick to the fork so I used a butter knife to help wriggle it off the fork back onto the wax paper covered cookie sheet.

Then I put them back into the fridge to set awhile.

My son Kevin is my other connoisseur of Reese's, though he prefers the Cups, so I gave him one to test out and he gave his approval.
He did say it might be better eaten while drinking milk because it was creamy, so I might have maybe needed that one last 1/4 cup of powdered sugar to make it more like a real Reese's.

Otherwise, this was probably one of the easiest recipes I've done to make one of the guys something they really like, and it kinda blows my mind that people pay $1.00 each, or $4.00 for a box of six.

For a printable version of the recipe, visit Brown Eyed Baker Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Make It Monday

Awhile back I saw this fire hydrant planter on Pinterest and thought, 'I think I can make that'.

via Pinterest

As a certified hoarder, of course I have a stockpile of empty coffee cans, which I thought would make a good base for this project.

J tried to drill the holes for the (sticking out parts) of the hydrant, but as I'd thought, we first needed to fill them with water and freeze them, so he had something solid to drill into without collapsing the side(s) of the can.

After drilling the holes and melting the ice, we used a PVC "T" inside the can to anchor the three (sticking out parts) on the sides and front. We didn't use any pipe glue, they just stuck together good enough.

For the covers and front of the (sticking out parts) I used the lids from the Prize containers from bubblegum machines. (Which used to be 25¢, but are now 50¢ or 75¢ each.)  I just hot glued them on to the ends of the PVC pipe.

The front cover of the hydrant in the original picture is different from the sides, but I never could think of anything that looked like that to use, so for the prototype we just used the same thing and maybe I'll figure something else out eventually. But I'm not too concerned about it because I think it turned out fine using the Prize container lid same as the sides.

 For the base, J traced around one of my kitchen bowls and cut a circle out of some scrap plywood with his jigsaw.

I hot glued the can to the wooden circle, then Ryan hot glued on the Nuts.  The hot gluing didn't work very well, maybe because it was a breezy day and it kept drying too quickly, I'm not sure. Ryan glued and glued and re-glued before he was able to get the Nuts to stick to the wooden circle base. J ended up running a screw up through the bottom to secure the base to the can.

Then they hung it up and spray painted it bright red.

J gave it another coat of paint this morning, and said he thought it needed another coat, then we'll spray with it clear sealer.

I was too excited to be able to wait for all that to happen to show it off, lol.  Later I'll post a pic with it with a plant in it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Way Back Wednesday

Twenty years ago today, we awoke to the "Storm of the Century", "100 Year Storm", "Blizzard of '93".

Here in the Deep South, it was unlike anything we'd ever seen or experienced before. In fact, we had no idea it was an actual Blizzard until some time later.

We lost power early that morning. We had a wood burning heater, but our old house was uninsulated, and in fact our bedroom didn't even have interior walls. It was so cold, and our kitchen stove was electric so we didn't even have that.

My oldest son, Daniel, was at my parents house. Ryan was only 2point8 at the time. He and I walked - more like heaved and pushed our way - across the road to my in-laws place because they had a gas stove, and MIL fixed us some breakfast.

After that, we went riding the roads in J's brother's 4-wheel drive.

This was my pre-digital camera days, but even having to use film, I still used to take a ton of pictures.

I guess it's testament to the Shock of the event that I only took like two pictures of it.

Now I wonder, What was I thinking?? Perfect opportunity for beautiful, once in a lifetime photos, and I took a picture of BIL's truck and some people standing on the the side of the road. D'oh.

Funny story about this picture, or maybe you had to been there, but anyway, we had come up on a man stuck in the road in his regular truck and BIL said he'd pull him out, or home, or whatever.

I got out of the truck to go take a picture and stepped off the road, headed into a yard where I could get a shot of both the trucks and the action.

I stepped off the road and one minute I was there, the next I was thigh deep in a ditch that I didn't know was there because it was filled with snow, making the yard look level with the roadway.

Everyone got a big laugh out of that. Hahahaha.

It sure doesn't seem like it was 20 years ago. Wow. I remember it like it was just a few years ago.
A couple of years ago I was talking to my Aunt...something something about the weather, or weather cycles, I can't exactly recall the conversation now, but I remember telling her They'd said it was a "Once in a Life time", or a "100 year Storm", and we'd just had that Blizzard like 10 years ago....and something something.
She says, "That Blizzard was 17 years ago."
Whaaaaat?  I couldn't believe it had been so long. And now it's been 20 years.

Check out this neat art illustration of this guy's Blizzard experience:
Patrick Dean Comics & Illustration

This video was shot further South of us, around Griffin, Georgia, where another of my Aunt's live. It shows how hard the wind blowing and the Blizzard-conditions.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Make It Monday

A few years back, I had been sick with a sinus thing, which wasn't any big deal, I get those about once or twice a year and usually don't even have to see a doctor for it.

But this particular time, a few days after my sinus thing, I developed an awful sore throat. Worst I'd had since I don't remember when.
I was pretty sure it was Strep throat, and headed off to my local Urgent Care for a Test and a Script.

Well, it wasn't Strep. Turned out, the sinus drainage has caused an Ulcer in the back of my throat. Ever had a canker inside your cheek or lip? Like that, but about 10 times bigger.

Hurt like a mm-mmmm-mmmm.

What the Doctor prescribed for me that day was something called "Magic Mouthwash".
It's a mixture of three ingredients, I'm not exactly sure of, except that it contains an antacid and some sort of "caine" like Lidocaine or Novocain. The third ingredient might be an anti-fungal.

It cured my throat right up, and then afterwards whenever I would get a canker sore or my (false) teeth rubbed sore spots on my gums, the MMW fixed it right up.

After I ran out of the first bottle, which took a couple of years, I asked my Dentist for a Script and he wrote me one, with 2 Refills. Well I didn't need a Refill before the expiration date of the prescription. By the time I used only the one bottle, the Script was expired and I had to ask for another one. And the same thing happened again.

At this point, in like 6 years, I've only gone through three bottles of the MMW, and after the original throat ulcer I just rinsed and spit and didn't swallow it because the taste is horrid. But I don't know if my Dentist believes me when I tell him that, or if he thinks I'm some sort of Magic-Mouthwash-aholic, guzzling down bottles of the nasty stuff like some kind of Wino.

Well, I thought, there's a recipe for everything else, maybe there's one for MMW and I can make my own at home.

I found one that said her child's pediatrician recommended mixing Children's Bendryl and Maalox only.

I didn't see how only Benedryl and Antacid made her daughter's throat numb, but someone commented, yeah, that's the "magic" part.
Someone else made a comment suggesting using throat spray like Chloroseptic and that made more sense, so I got a bottle of it, too.

I started out mixing only the Benedryl and antacid in equal parts to try. It was Pink, alright, but it didn't do anything for me.

A little later I went back and added a part of the throat spray.  It made it taste, if possible, even nastier than the original MMW, and still didn't seem to do any better.

Maybe it's because I've used the original Rx strength kind and know how great it works, but maybe if I'd never used it, and had a sore throat, this might provide some relief which is probably better than no relief.

What eventually healed, or helped anyway, was a $1.00 tube of Analgesic Gel from the Dollar Tree.
I don't know if it healed the mouth sore, or just helped me tolerate it until it healed on it's own.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Today didn't go exactly as planned. Not that that's real unusual for a Firefighter/EMS wife/family, but usually it goes more like this:
 FF (calling from fire station before shift change this morning): "Hey, they need me to go work on the ambulance until they can find someone else to come in."
Me: "Ok, see you later."
I mentally erase today's (tentative, because I learned long ago never to count on anything) plans and think about other things I can do instead.

Today, this happened:
FF (calling back fifty minutes later): "Nevermind, (the guy that called out) decided he was coming in. I'm on the way home."
Me: "Ok, see you soon."

He comes home and we discuss the things we had originally planned to do today, which included changing the oil in the car, seeding some veggie plants to sprout for the garden, and yard work since it was supposed to be such a nice day, up in the high 60's.
He gets ready to go to town to buy the oil/filter when his phone rings.
FF: "Gotta go to work, (the guy that had called out that decided to come in) called out again."

So ok, no biggie. I can still work out in the yard by myself. There's a million sticks and limbs and other yard debris after the storms and winds we've had recently that needs picking up and putting in the burn pile, I can handle that.

Until I go outside and it's freakin' cold. Temps in the 60's might feel like Springtime compared to the temps we've been having, but not without the Sun. It's cloudy and breezy today, and feels colder than 60's.

Oh well. I decided to get some of my own seeds started.

We've discussed the garden we want this year and decided on a "Salsa Garden".
Even after several years of trying and practice we're not very good gardeners. Maybe it hasn't helped that we've been gardening during a drought for the past few years, but I'm sure a lot of it is probably just us, too. For most of my life I couldn't even keep a houseplant alive, so this still a fairly new venture for us.
We've learned we don't do so well when try to grow a garden with a lot of variety of veggies, and we do better when concentrating on raising fewer things.

We still have corn on the cob and okra in the freezer, and plenty of jars of dill pickles. I'm running low on canned tomatoes, and I want to can some Salsa. So, tomatoes and peppers (maybe onions?) are going to be our main focus this year.

J has his own heirloom tomato seeds he raises, and of course those peppers that set me on fire and made me nearly burn dinner the other night.
I decided to try to grow some Beefsteak tomatoes for fresh salads and sandwiches this summer, and I can use any we don't eat for canning or Salsa. I also planted a few Sweet Banana peppers, just for no real reason. I thought they went in Salsa, but the recipes I was able to find online, they didn't.

And then there's Pumpkins. Again. Nearly every year I try to grow Pumpkins. I only ever succeeded once, and those didn't even get as big as a basketball. I don't know what it is with me and Pumpkins, but I'm not giving up.

When I started learning to garden, I bought a mini-greenhouse kind of thing for a buck or two that came with little Peat Pod Pellets. You just add water and seeds.  Last year I attempted to use what I had, compost soil, and the newspaper seed pots I'd made, and one or both turned out to be a disaster.
So this year I went back to the Peat Pods, and hopefully things will turn out better this year.

I poke holes in the Pod with a bamboo skewer (kabob stick) and poke in three seeds per Pod. Hopefully at least one of the three sprouts.

To be able to remember which seeds I planted in what Pods, I wrote the names on paper and "laminated" them with packaging tape.

Covered the trays with plastic wrap and sat them on my kitchen windowsill, where the morning sun shines in bright and warm.  Most days. Not today. Probably not tomorrow, either. And there's rain in the forecast for Monday.


Thursday, March 07, 2013

Thankful Thursday

I am Thankful that J still has not only one, but two (or three, if he chose) jobs so that we've been able to continue to live a relatively comfortable life and haven't lost our home, even if we're not able to replace the roof or furnace, or take the family vacations we used to enjoy and actually earned, as opposed to people who feel they are entitled to something for the simple reason that they deserve it.

I am Thankful for my health, and the health of my family, my kids and my parents, even if they (my parents, not my kids) mostly ignore us, it's still nice to know they are at the other end of a phone or email.

And I am Thankful for Rand Paul. I may not agree with everything he's about, but what he did yesterday, fighting for our Constitution and Bill of Rights was amazing.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Way Back Wednesday

The regularly scheduled "What's Cooking Wednesday" has been cancelled on account of J is working on the Ambulance and I don't cook real meals when he's not home. We eat leftovers, a frozen meal, sandwich, cereal or whatever.

I was trying to think of some Catchy-Name blog title for Wednesday and somehow ended up watching vintage commercials on YouTube.  Due to my advanced age, I don't recall how I got there, but wow, do these commercials bring back some memories!

I got a set of Wonder Woman UnderRoos for my 12th birthday in 1979.

♪♪ Two-All-Beef-Patties-Special-Sauce-Lettuce-Cheese-Pickles-Onions-on-a-Sesame-Seed-Bun ♪♪

I swear this is why I can't stand litter/littering to this day!

♪♪ I'm drinking up Good Vibrations, Sunkist Orange Taste Sensations ♪♪ Good, Good, Good. Good Vibrations ♪♪

♪♪ Lite Brite, Makin' Things With Light! ♪♪

I remember a lot of old ad Jingles from the old days and I'll end up singing the tunes at random times - especially these next ones. The boys think I'm crazy sometimes when they ask for something and I'll break out singing ♪♪ Have it Your way, Have it Your Way ♪♪  lol

Want a baloney sandwich? ♪♪ Mm-My bologna has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R....My bologna has a second name, it's M-A-Y-E-R...Oh, I love to eat it everyday and if you ask my why I'll say....Cuz Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A ♪♪

I don't know how long this ad played on tv, but I was only 4 years old in 1972 and yet to this day, sometimes I'll come away from the table holding my stomach and moaning "I can't believe I ate the whooooole thing".

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Time to Read Tuesday

Currently I'm reading Mistaken Trust (The Jewels Trust Series) by Shirley A. Spain.

I started this book a few days ago, but am still only 10% into it. The reviews at Amazon are great...but there's only two, and they could as easily be the Author's family and/or friends. Who ever knows about these things?

The first chapter (Epilogue) was pretty gritty, but, and it may be just me, some of the things just didn't gel in my mind.  And in the next couple of chapters, some things happened that just didn't seem altogether logical to me either.
When I get "thrown off" by stories like that, I have a hard time moving on. After a little while, giving myself time to "get over" that parts that bothered me, I'll go back and try again and hopefully the rest of the story will either be better, or exciting enough that it doesn't really matter if some parts aren't logical.

Book Description
Publication Date:February 7, 2013

NOTE: Contains strong language, violence and some sexual situations. This is the first novel in the series where trust spells MURDER.

THE COMMANDER would stop at nothing to have her. Deception. Torture. Murder. Masterminded and executed in preparation for taking possession of his Sweet Cheeks: Jewels.

Just for the practice of honing his self-taught surgical skills, he had kidnapped, cleansed, and killed four women; lab rats he called them. Like his lab rats, Jewels would have to be cleansed. Her sex button cut out. Forever preserved in a special jar joining his collection of secret treasures.

His plan to acquire her was foolproof. Cleverly elaborate. Insanely detailed. Criminally brilliant. Jewels would be his, one way or another.

Or would she?

Violently captured and held prisoner in the remote mountains of Utah by a radical militia, Jewels’ defensive handgunning expertise, journalism experience, and strong-willed personality could either help or hinder her chances of survival.

An ally would almost guarantee her escape. But whom should she trust? The FBI agent who had been hounding her for a date since the death of her husband? The rough-handed handsome he-man designated to keep her imprisoned? The militia’s kind-eyed doctor? Or...?

Will she make the right choice in time to be spared the savage mutilation her captor ... the mysterious Commander ... has planned for her?

Or will mistaken trust lead to her torturous demise?

Monday, March 04, 2013

Make It Monday

Today I made our "Mexican Cheesy Fiesta Dip" for dinner.

My sister made this for us for dinner during one of our visits, and we loved it. Even though she/we call it a Dip, it has all the ingredients of a dinner, so we eat it as an entree'. We dip tortilla chips in it, but it could probably also be served on taco shells.

The original recipe that she adapted her version from was "Tostistos Super Nacho Fiesta". The recipe doesn't appear to be at the Frito Lay website anymore, but I found the same recipe here.

The recipe calls for 1/2 pound of ground beef and 1/2 of sausage. My gb and sausage are in 1 pound packages, so I just go ahead and brown it all up and then freeze the rest of it for the next time.
(Yes I do brown them together. Don't know a reason why not.)

The original recipe and my sister browns chopped onion in with meat also, but I don't love onions and don't cook with them much, so I hardly have any in the house.

Spread a can of Refried Beans over the bottom of a glass baking dish, I think mine is 9x11.

Spread a layer of the browned meat (onion) over the Refried beans.

 My sister loves cheese, so she uses about every kind she can in her recipes. Her recipe called for cheese in a jar like Chez Whiz, or Walmart's Creamy Cheese Sensation. I had Velveeta that I got while coupon/deal shopping so I used that. I just slice it up into pieces.
Spoon on Cream Cheese (mine is crumbly because it had been frozen).

Spread a layer of Shredded Cheddar cheese over the top.

Bake at 350* for not as long as I cooked mine today :\

Bake at 350* for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

What happened was, last summer we visited with some of my cousins in St. Augustine and Cousin L gave J some peppers called Datil and Bishop's Crown.  J dried the peppers out, and this evening he broke them open to get the seeds out, to get ready for sprouting.

I picked the seeds up from the table and put them in baggies and labeled some point I rubbed my nose with my hand and set myself on fire.  
OMG it hurt. Nothing helped, I washed with dishwashing soap and put on lotion and held a piece of ice wrapped in a napkin on it to relieve it.

It finally quit burning about 15 or 20 minutes later, and I remembered dinner was in the oven.

Oh well, not like they're not used to "well done" dinners around here, lol.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Sunday Sermon

Last week I said that I was for Gay Marriage, which wasn't exactly accurate. More correct would be that I'm not against Gay Marriage.

What I am for is Personal Freedom.

Freedom is the very basis of America.

The United States' Declaration of Independence states pretty clearly that our Forefather's believed that People are born with certain Rights, including "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness".

Following the Revolutionary War, there was a controversy over the ratifying of the Constitution of the United States because the Writers of the Constitution intended for it to be like a Government Rules & Regs paper.

They intended that the Constitution outline the Powers of Congress, and that any Powers not granted to Congress belonged to the People.  To include a Bill of Rights would be redundant, and even dangerous, ie. limiting the Rights of the People.

(Here's a good article talking more about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.)

However several of the Statesmen weren't convinced, and too deeply mistrusted large Government.  They felt that the Constitution gave Congress too much power by listing what it could do, but not specifying what it could not do. They wanted a more solid guarantee of the People and States' Rights and the Limitations of the Government.

A compromise was made, and a Bill of Rights was passed.

The 1st Amendment appears to be a conglomeration of all the Rights they felt people were born with: Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Press, the Right to Peacefully Assemble, and the Right to Petition the Government with grievances.

Amendments 3 - 8 appear to have probably derived from their troubles with their ex-Monarchy that ultimately led to the American Revolution and War.
In reading the list of grievances in the Declaration of Independence, you see a complaint of Citizens being forced to quarter soldiers even in times of peace.

Judging by Amendments 4 - 8, all dealing with Searches and Seizures and the Taking of Property and Due Process and Trials and Juries...these people were obviously hard used by their former Monarchy (Government).

Amendments 9 reiterates the protection of any Rights not enumerated in the Constitution.
Amendment 10, again, assures the Limited Powers of the Federal Government.

Our Forefathers lived under the thumb of Tyranny, and they really, really, really wished to ensure that this kind of thing didn't happen again, to them or their future generations.

"...and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity..." - Preamble of the Constitution of the United States.

Thomas Paine said, "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value."

We are a couple hundred years removed from the Tyranny our Forefathers (and Mothers) suffered and the battle they fought to free themselves - and us. 
Sadly, it seems many people take Liberty and our Freedom too lightly.

When anyone - Liberal/ Progressive/Conservative/Democrat/Republican/Left-Right/Neo - whatever label fits at the moment - distorts the meaning of "We the People" to "Me the People, and I want the Government to tell you that it's going to be my way", it puts all of us on a very slippery slope.

The issue of Gay, or Same-sex Marriage is a real hot button in America these days, and it really shouldn't be.

Mainly being the only real reason(s) anyone can give for being against it are Religious reason(s).
Which is a big no-no.

When Christian-Conservatives support things like the Defense of Marriage Act, they feel like they are doing what God wants them to be doing, when it actuality, they are unthinkingly opening doors to Government Tyranny.

If the Government can be allowed to use Religion to make Laws to control others, then that same Government can be allowed to use Religion to control THEM.

I've read that Christian-Conservatives fear that in allowing Gay/Same-sex Marriage, the Government will force Churches to perform Gay/Same-sex Marriages.

Well, if Christian-Conservatives set precedents of allowing the Government to make Laws "respecting (regarding) an establishment of religion (a Church)", then that fear might not be unfounded.

The best way to try to keep the Government out of Church, is to keep Church out of the Government.

In order to do that, every person needs to read, learn, understand, and Uphold our Constitution/Bill of Rights to the letter.

That means not allowing - much less demanding! - the Government to make Laws that doesn't treat Everyone as Equal, even if they are Black or Gay.

"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." - Thomas Paine