Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Who is this person?

The Deerslayer seems to be moving toward adulthood at lightening speed. I rarely capture a picture of this kid. If I catch him still, then he refuses to have his picture taken. So, today when he invited me out to his new, "structure", and told me to bring my camera, I could not refuse.

He decided to replicate a survival structure that he had seen on, The Discovery Channel. He was doing a great job, until our Jack Russell Terrier crashed through the roof. But, he took it all in stride.

When I came back in the house and looked at this picture.....well, it just seemed like a whole new person looking at me.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chicken Supreme

Now that it is the weekend, some of you may be settling back into the regular routine. Christmas is winding down, (for some of us), and New Years is just around the corner. The following recipe is a family favorite around our house. Easy to make and also a crowd pleaser, it is also a wonderful cold weather casserole.

Let's get started.....

You will need:

4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
6-8 slices Swiss Cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup white wine
1 stick butter, melted
2 cups stuffing
Garlic, salt and pepper to taste

For this go around I used Moscato wine that I happened to have on hand. Any type of white wine will do for this recipe. If you object to the alcohol, apple juice will serve the purpose.

Place chicken in a baking pan and place slices of cheese on top of chicken. In a separate bowl, mix the soup, melted butter, wine and spices. The mixture will be thick and lumpy.

Pour mixture over chicken and cheese. Sprinkle stuffing on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

The chicken stays quite moist under the bread crumbs.

The stuffing is almost as good as the chicken....Secret Agent Man thinks it is better.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Heartfelt wishes from our family to yours for a very Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Very Grannie Christmas

A few days ago several members of my family gathered together to celebrate Christmas with our beloved Gran. She has been having some trying times, health wise, but has persevered and is now walking with some assistance.

Good times were had and Toots showed some photographic promise by snapping this mother/daughter shot during the festivities.

I will say that most of us really enjoyed passing around the newest addition to the family.

Toots especially loved holding the baby.

Secret Agent Man even took a turn.

Although, he really had the easy duty of holding her while she was sleeping.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

When you're cool like me....

Last year, around this time, I traded in my aging SUV for a smaller vehicle. A car, no less, that I quickly dubbed my, "midlife crisis car". Small, red, and sassy, it serves its purpose by getting me around Smalltownland using minimal gas.

However, I have a bit of an antique habit. I love the odd piece of rusty junk and quite often will cart something home, even if I don't know what I will end up doing with it. Take yesterday, for example. The chiclets and myself were out and about, running errands and doing a little Christmas shopping. I came upon a large star made out of old tobacco sticks and a a refurbished garden cart.

I decided that they had to come with me.

Even if I had children and packages in my car already.

It was quite a feat of engineering to get those two pieces in the backseat....and someone still had to ride back there!

Not to worry, everyone arrived home safe and sound.

For now the star is propped up in the "red room".

Secret Agent Man was especially excited about these purchases. Whenever I arrive home with such purchases his traditional statement is typically, "Where are you going to put that?"

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas to The Bird

This weekend we gathered together to have a holiday celebration for The Bird. Grandmother, snuff dipper, lover of vodka-laced cake, (shhhhh...don't tell), and all round fabulous woman. Here she is pictured with Toots and little Gracie, who happens to be her great-great granddaughter.

Many relatives came to the mid-day meal including the organizer of it all my aunt, affectionately known as, "Mater". Food was eaten and gifts were exchanged. After those things were accomplished this group likes to hang out together and play a rousing game of BINGO! You have to bring a gift, (no more than $2 maximum), to contribute to the bingo prize loot.

The Bird received many nice gifts and she was grateful for them all. But if you know The Bird, then you know this jar was her most prized gift of all.

A dipper of snuff since she was around 9 years of age, The Bird likes to keep up her supply.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Frost on the barn boots

Here in Kentucky, we have been having some pretty chilly temperatures. Frosty mornings and chilly nights have been the norm for quite a while.

But, tonight that might change.

We are under a weather advisory and just might get a bit of the white stuff. Yes, that would mean some SNOW!

We just might get to dust off the sled and speed down the hill. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dark Italian Creme Cake

My friend, Southern Fried Momma, lives in a wonderful old house that used to belong to her husband's grandparents. One of the best parts for her is the collection of items that were left in the house. Everything from furniture, to holiday decorations, to cookbooks have been found in the nooks and crannies of her home. A couple of weeks ago she passed along a cookbook that she found. It is from the early 1970's and has an excellent collection of recipes in it. And yes, it is a, "church lady", cookbook. They are the finest, you know.

I already have several recipes marked that I will be trying, but this was is my first. I have had your standard Italian Creme Cake, but never the, "dark", variety. So, let's get started, shall we?

Judging from my cock-eyed, ariel view of the ingredients you will need the following:

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter
5 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
5 tbsp cocoa
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup raisins (I used golden raisins that I soaked for 20 minutes, and drained before using)
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Cream sugar and butter together until light. Add eggs and beat thoroughly. Sift together flour, cocoa, and cinnamon. Blend the buttermilk with the egg mixture, alternating with the flour. Beat well with each addition. Blend in the vanilla. Add the coconut, raisins, and nuts. Mix lightly, but thoroughly.

At this point I am going to go all Pioneer Woman on you and show you how it really goes down in my kitchen.....it's a mess when I bake.

Turn batter into two 9-inch layer pans which have been greased and floured. **I greased my pans and then dusted them with cocoa. Something I usually do when baking dark and/or chocolate cakes. ** Place in a cold oven, then turn on the oven, set at 325 degrees and bake for 35-40 minutes.
I misread this last step and preheated my oven. However, they baked just fine for 35 minutes.

Caramel Icing
1 stick butter
1/4 tsp salt
2tbsp evaporated milk
1 cup brown sugar
powdered sugar
Mix all ingredients in saucepan, except for the powdered sugar. Heat just to melt butter and dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and add enough powdered sugar to obtain the desired spreading consistency. Spread on cooled cake.
I preferred to make a thinner icing, almost achieving a glaze-like consistency for my cake. You should also take this to mean that when I reached in the cabinet for the powdered sugar I realized that I wouldn't have quite enough to achieve spreading consistency. Not to worry, the flavor was unaffected and it still turned out great.
*This is a great/easy/flavorful icing recipe that I will definitely use again.

A few hours after the cake was complete, it was quickly disappearing. Hope you try this recipe....good luck!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

Yesterday, while reading through my favorite blogs, I came across a recipe for Cinnamon-Applesauce Christmas Ornaments on Tipper's blog. When I mentioned this to The Toots, she told me they were the same ornaments they had made in class on Friday.

We proceeded to make a trip, "to town", and buy some extra cinnamon. We followed Tipper's recipe and Toots did all of the mixing and creating. She did a fabulous job.

We used 1 cup of applesauce, 1 cup of cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of white glue. We were much like Tipper, in that we found some spices that were 2 for 1 dollar at our local Dollar General Store. Toots mixed all the ingredients and used some holiday cookie cutters to create.

Please note that you must roll out the dough rather thick, so the ornaments won't break when they are dry. Ours were at least 1/4 inch thick....a few were a bit thicker.

Here is one of the gingerbread men Toots made. She made a hole with a skewer before they started drying. Actually, they will take a few days to air dry. They are very fragrant and make great gifts.

Thanks Tipper for a fun holiday project!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A heartfelt thanks

Last week I posted about the passing of our oldest dog. His name was Brisco and he had been with us for eleven years. I received many touching comments and many other people stopped me in Smalltownland to express their sympathy. Funny how a dog can become a part of your family. Trust me when I say he is still being greatly missed. I have even caught myself looking for him when I was passing out treats this week.

I should mention that we still have four other dogs who continue to reside with us on our farmette. They spread much love, joy, slobber, and dog hair everywhere they go. So here's to the Jack Russell who sleeps under my covers, hides her dog chews in my daughter's bed, and bosses everyone around.

Here's to a Lab/Pointer mix who thinks he owns the couch, has feet the size of King Kong, and often thinks he is a lap-dog.

Here's to Border Collie #2 who rounds up cows, attempts to sort dirty laundry, and must sniff/inspect any food you attempt to give her.

And let us not forget out Australian Shepherd mix who is the guardian and protector of us. So much so that I now must pick up our UPS packages at the will call office.....

Hoping that each and every one of you have a dog to share your life's joys and sorrows with!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I am my own Santa....

When I was little....Santa was a magical figure. On Christmas Eve The Babs would declare that we should go look at some Christmas lights after supper. Of course, Mr. B would be too tired/full to go with us and stay at home. We would drive all over the Air Force Base looking at the decorations and lights on the houses. I always enjoyed it. Upon my arrival back at home, I would find gifts and fruit/nuts in my stocking. On one such Christmas there was a lovely little hamster under the tree....in a lovely hamster cage, of course.

These days, I am afraid, the holidays are more business like since I am an adult. Take, for instance, my Christmas gift from Secret Agent Man this year. Upon telling him that I wishing for a certain new camera lens he gave me a totally unknowing look.

I knew what that meant......I had better get on my own gift and pronto.

A quick visit to Amazon and a new camera lens was on the way. I waited and waited...and waited. But, still no box from the company.

I contacted the company only to discover my package had been lost in shipment. Merry Christmas to me.

Not to worry, the company sent me a new camera lens, via overnight express at their cost. Sweet. I have spent my morning attempting some shots with the new camera lens on the Christmas tree ornaments.
Many thanks to those of you who left a comment when our dog passed away. Much appreciated.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Goodbye Dear Friend

Once upon a time I was the young-ish mom of a toddler, who happened to be spending a couple of weeks of summer vacation with her parents, (The Babs and Mr. B), in sunny Florida. One afternoon, while The Babs was watching The Deerslayer, I high jacked her car and drove to a local animal shelter. There I adopted a tiny, yet very handsome, Border Collie pup. I then drove to my parent's home where my mother proceeded to have, "a spell", when I showed up with a surprise dog. I promised to hole up in the spare bedroom with the over-active toddler and pup for my remaining few days. It still didn't go over well.....Mr. B thought he was quite handsome as well.

A few days later I threw that toddler in his car seat and put a kerchief on that pup, and away we all went. Life went on and it was good.

The boy and the dog became fast friends.

The dog didn't even mind if you tried to dress him for the weather. He was very understanding.

He even loved a good trip floating down the river. Through the years I think we have taken him many, many places. He has been a wonderful companion to our family for eleven years.

Today he passed away and I cannot tell you how much he will be missed.

Here, gentlemen, a DOG teaches us a lesson in humanity.
Napoleon Bonaparte