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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hello, Nice to Meet You

I have to apologize for my little absence, but you see, the holidays were a blur and there’s very little left of 2008. Christmas turned out to be deliciously lazy, as hubs and I stayed home instead of driving the 8-10 hours to visit the fandamily. We enjoyed every slothful moment!

Speaking of delicious, I made some Peppermint Candy ice cream courtesy of David Lebovitz and Williams and Sonoma. Every year, we pick up a jar or two of the Chocolate Filled Peppermint Snaps from W&S, as they are very addictive, perfectly minty without being too much so, and have a sinful chocolate center. Earlier this year, it dawned on me that these darlings would make an AWESOME ice cream. I was right.

Peppermint Candy Ice Cream
Recipe adapted from The Perfect Scoop

1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp peppermint extract
½ cup crushed, hard peppermint candies (or more or less depending on your taste)

Warm the milk, sugar, and 1 cup of cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Pour other cup of cream into a large bowl with a mesh strainer on top. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and temper the egg mixture into the warm milk mixture. Stir warm milk and egg mixture until it thickens and coats the back of a spatula. Pour warm milk and egg custard through the mesh strainer and into the bowl of the remaining cream. Add vanilla and peppermint extract. Chill mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, add crushed peppermint candies.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Perfect Weekend

I think I quite possibly had the perfect weekend. On Friday night, I baked up a big-ol-batch of Cinnamon, Chocolate, and Egg Nog bread that was destined to be delivered to the staff and volunteers at the SPCA.

So Saturday, hubs and I got up, did exactly 1 hour of yard work (which is unheard of…we usually work until we drop of exhaustion, heat, or bugs), we cleaned up, delivered the bread, and then went to go have a ONE! HOUR! MASSAGE!

Le sigh!

Feeling all loosey-goosey, we then had a nice, late lunch, came home, and I proceeded to take a NAP! Later, we went to go look at Christmas lights.

Yesterday, we went for an hour long bike ride, drank coffee and read the newspaper, did more yard work, THE! DOLPHINS! WON!, and then we met some friends for a festive German dinner.

What’s wrong with this picture? Shouldn’t we be running around like chickens with our heads off right about now?

I’m gonna go have another cup of coffee.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Things that Make Me Laugh

Every time I look at one of these Scared of Santa pictures, I think of that scene in "A Christmas Story" where the kid is plopped on Santa's lap and he immediately lets out an ear-piercing scream.

Call me evil, but I can't help but laugh every time!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Things that Make Me Feel Good

I know I’ve been a little MIA this week, but life has been a blur. The holidays are acoming and I’ve been busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest! Not to mention that I have a brand new camera that I need to figure out how to use before the return policy expires, and I’ve yet to take one picture!

But I have a lot to be grateful for, and no I don’t need any cheese to go with my whine!

Hubby and I completed the 5K run last month and I’m proud to say I wasn’t the last person over the finish line! Actually, he ran his in a little over 30 minutes, and I ran/walked mine at around 40 minutes. We’re very grateful that we are healthy enough to participate in such a thing and want to do more in the future!






I am also grateful that another loverly blogger, Sol, elected me for a blogger award. This makes me feel all sorts of tingly inside. Thank you Sol! And to spread the love, I am nominating the following bloggers for the same award:

FC over at Pure Florida: He’s a teacher, philosopher, critter wrangler, handyman, and an all around neato kind of guy. Ch-ch-check him out!

Gina at Lindsey’s Luscious: Another teacher over here. She lives precariously close to Canada in northern New York and is an exceptional pie maker, canner, and promoter of all things yummy.

Jojo at Goodness Gracious Acres (a.k.a Goings on at Jojos): Another Florida blogger who loves all critters and anything in the form of a dragonfly! She’s a marketing designer with a knack for bringing up controversial topics or in a jiffy, she’ll learn ‘ya about some goats!

Ohiomom at Cooking in Cleveland: Another yummy blogger who seems to have an endless supply of enthusiasm for good, old fashioned home cooking! A supporter of her community in Ohio, she promotes green living, healthy fare, and helping others. Don’t pass up on the Granny Cake!

Here are the rules for the recipients:

1. The award may be displayed on a winner’s blog.
2. Add a link to the person you received the award from.
3. Nominate up to seven other blogs.
4. Add their links to your blog.
5. Add a message to each person that you have passed the award on in the comments section of their blog.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Another Mouth to Feed - Chocolate Amish Bread

To make a segue from Pricey the Home Seeking Squirrel ~ We've temporarily started parking the car in the garage and have removed the tempting bird feeders from the back yard. We think his/her fuzzy little butt was sleeping in a warm bed at night and setting his/her little squirrel alarm to commute to the back yard every day.

We've placed Havahart traps to capture and release somplace else. I know, KNOW! I'm not going to kill these buggers even though I'm very tempted! Let them live out overfed lives in some park versus squirrel stew or swimming wit' da' fishies. Right now they're doing drive-bys in the Havahart and taunting my husband.

O.k., back on the ranch.

Someone gave me some Amish Bread Starter a few months ago and I've been feeding it and giving away it's offspring like unwanted kittens and puppies. "Take one home, pleeeeease!" I've exhausted my workplace like some sort of twisted (yet yummy) chain letter.

The original Cinnamon Amish Bread recipe is DEVINE; me gusta mucho! But, I've been playing around with the recipe and have been making Chocolate Amish Bread. Incidentally, this is the same starter for the infamous Amish Friendship Bread. I've not seen any recipes online for a chocolate version, so I'm hoping to start something new.

If anyone is interested in a cup of Amish Friendship Bread starter, let me know and I'll mail you some!

This chocolate version, BTW, is fabulous! Dark and chocolatey without being too sweet.

Chocolate Amish Bread

2 cups of Amish Bread Starter
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup light brown sugar
2 T of instant expresso powder (I use International Delights Swiss Mocha)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp of baking power
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 box Jello chocolate instant pudding
Cocoa powder sugar (explained below)

For cocoa powder sugar: mix 1/2 cup of regular white sugar with 2 rounded tablespoons of cocoa powder and set aside.

Mix all bread ingredients in a glass or plastic bowl using either a plastic, wooden, or rubber spatula. Do NOT use any metal utensils or bowls!! Mix well until there are no lumps in the batter. Preheat oven to 325 °.

Take 2 regular loaf baking pans and spray with Pam, add just enought cocoa sugar to coat the bottom and sides of pans. Pour bread batter equally into both pans and sprinkle the remaining cocoa sugar over the batter. Bake for 1 hour, or until butter knife inserted comes out clean.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Squirrel Ate My Car!

So, I drive a PT Cruiser. I love that car! It's small, but big when I need it, and it's cute with lot's of tailgating potential. I take good care of it, so when it started acting funny the past day or two, I told hubs to take it in to Chrysler for an oil change and to have it checked out.

He called me later and told me that a squirrel had gotten under the hood and decided it looked awful homey, so it built a nest using ohh, insulation and wiring it managed to gnaw from the ENGINE!

WTF? I drive my car everyday, so it's not idle. We don't have any trees around our house and we live in a subdivision, not the boonies. This is going to cost mayjah $$ to fix, but the worst part is the little *&%^$#er will come back and rebuild! This isn't New Orleans, you squirrely little bastard!

I've heard of this happening up north, but not in Florida! Does anyone know what I should do?
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