Sunday, June 10, 2012

Wow!  I have to be honest....I am not liking whatever has changed with me being able to access my Doodle~Birds nest blog!  Of course, had I actually kept up with it, I'm sure this would have been a piece of cake!  It took me about an hour to get to where I can actually make a post.  I hope it doesn't take this long every time.  :-/ 
So, I'm pretty proud of myself right now.  I am probably the most shy person you could ever meet.  I've always been that way.  I don't know why I am.  My family never was or is.  Mom, dad & my little brother never seemed afraid of meeting new people or doing new things.  My kids are pretty out-going, too.  All of my friends have been very out-going!  Why can't I be like them?!?!  And the thing is, this fear that I have, it really does limit my life.  Over the last few weeks I am finally really thinking about it and realizing the negative impact it has on me.  Because of it, I have always hated doing anything by myself.  Two weeks ago I wanted to go to our local YMCA to try out their water aerobics class.  I drove to the Y-saw that the parking lot was packed (this was a weekday morning!  Why aren't these people at work?!?) and decided that NO WAY!  I'm not doing this! And I actually drove past and was heading home.  Then I thought, you know---this is crazy!  What is the worst thing that is going to happen?  What are you afraid of?  And I turned around!  And yes!  I went back to the Y and went ahead and did the water aerobics class!  I met several very nice (older-of course!) ladies.  It was great!  It was the most I've done in a few years!  And that's not all!  In January I bought a Groupon for 20 yoga sessions at a studio up the road.  And they expire in July.  It's June 10!  Not much time left to use this awesome deal I got!  So, finally, after many plans to do it, I went to a Relax and Restore class yesterday morning.  I almost didn't do it.  Again, that fear thing was getting the best of me.  But, I went anyway.  I sucked it up and went!  This is a big deal for me!  And I so thoroughly enjoyed the class.  Even more than I thought I would!  The people were so nice.  I met the owner, and talked to him a little bit, then my instructor was so kind and helpful and all of my fears, like not being able to get down on the floor then get back up, or losing my balance and falling, were all my own imagination at work.  I had no problems getting up from the floor...I guess the way yoga is fundamentally set slowly work up.  Easy-peasy!  And the balance problem?  I set my mat up beside a wall!  I was able to just put my hand to the wall to steady myself!  It was great!  And I had a very relaxing session.  I can truly see the positive potential that yoga has to help me and my MS.
So,  I have taken very big steps towards overcoming my fears lately.  I can feel those self imposed limits slowly slipping away.  Now, I've just started, so there are probably times that I will still let my fears get the best of me,  but, I am really hoping that I can think it through and not allow that to happen.  I miss out on too many wonderful opportunities and experiences if I allow fear keep me from something.  I am realizing that people really won't laugh at me.  Most people are genuinely nice and friendly and willing to be helpful.  I know that I am!  And I don't think I'm so different.  I hope that this is the beginning of a lot of new things for me.  That my shyness (which is really just fear!) can move on down the road!  I'm tired of it tying me down.  :)  Oh!  And the best news!  The owner of the yoga studio told me that my Groupon doesn't expire in July!  I just needed to activate it before then.  I still have 3 months to use the balance! 
Enjoy your day! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

A wonderful website chock-full-o'-holiday ideas!

This website is really getting me in the mood for Christmas.  It actually would take a whole lot for me to be in the mood for Christmas-since it's not my favorite holiday-but-this site has me a whole lot closer to being ready to be ready.  :)  Check it out---I'm sure you'll see what I mean.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Stuffed French Toast

I'm not sure where I got this recipe from.  But it is so delicious!  Perfect to make for a special occasion breakfast. 


Here’s a list of everything you need: a loaf of French or Italian bread, eggs, milk, butter, cream cheese, cinnamon, and jam or fresh fruit (if you’re like me, you’ll use both). I also added slivered almonds just for the fun of it, but you don’t have to … unless you want to. If you do, let me know when and where I can invite myself over for breakfast. Thanks.
 Before you can invite me over for breakfast, you’ll need to know how to make this. Slice a loaf of bread in 2-inch pieces. You should get about six pieces all together, not including the end pieces. Using a paring knife, cut a deep slit across the top in the middle of each slice, approximately 4 inches long (as pictured above). This will form your “pocket.” Once you’re done, set the bread aside.
I decided to go with strawberries for the filling. They were almost too pretty to eat. You could use any fruit or no fruit at all, but I highly recommend strawberries.
Wash the strawberries, remove the stems, and cut slices in each one. Turn them a quarter turn and slice them again, adding them to a bowl.
Next, macerate the strawberries, which is fancy way of saying add a little sugar and mix it in. Set them aside and allow the sugar to release its magic.
Next, add jam to the cream cheese and mix both of them until well combined.
The cream cheese mixture now looks like strawberry yogurt. Yum!
Now comes the fun part! Grab a slice of bread and add about a tablespoon (or as much as you like) of cream cheese filling. Personally, I like about 2 tablespoons per slice. Do the same thing with the fresh fruit. Make sure to close the opening by gently pressing the bread together. This will make frying them easier and less messy. Set the filled slices aside.
Now it’s time to make the egg bath. Mix eggs, milk, and cinnamon together until well mixed. Turn the stove top on to medium-high to preheat the skillet. While your skillet is heating up, dip sliced bread in the egg wash for about 20 seconds on both sides. Only dip as many slices as you plan on frying. In other words, if your pan can only fry two pieces at a time, be sure to only coat two pieces of bread a time.
Add a little butter to the surface of skillet. This will help prevent the French toast from sticking. I heart butter.
Fry each slice for about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from heat and serve.

If you’re interested in making your stuffed French toast a little more glamorous, sprinkle powdered sugar over the tops of the slices and garnish with fresh strawberries and almonds.

Look at how beautiful these babies are! Can you believe how easy that was, yet how fancy this looks by adding a little magic dust (a.k.a. powdered sugar)?
Final thoughts: although I loved this recipe, I would like to suggest a few things. For a whole loaf of bread, you may want to double the amount of cream cheese and jam the original recipe calls for. If you plan on using fresh strawberries for the filling like I did, I recommend using a 1/2 cup of chopped strawberries with 1 tablespoon of sugar mixed in. Also, because I found the stuffed French toast was plenty sweet on its own, I opted not to add maple syrup.

Minnie's Caramel Cake

Minnie's Caramel Cake
Makes one 9­inch layer cake
Reprinted with permission from The Junior League of Memphis, Inc. from The Memphis Cookbook , 
1952; recipe submitted by Mrs. Phil Thornton, Jr.
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 cups unsifted cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 ½ cups buttermilk
For the cake:
Pre­heat the oven to 350°F. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium 
speed for about 20 minutes, or until mixture is light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and 
add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix until 
blended. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in another bowl. Slowly alternate adding 
buttermilk and flour mixture to the butter mixture; begin and end with flour mixture and 
make sure to scrape down sides of bowl frequently combined. Mix the batter until well­
blended and smooth. Prepare two 9­inch cake pans by lining the bottoms with parchment 
paper, buttering the side then dusting with flour. Divide the batter evenly among the two 
pans. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until cake is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted 
in the middle comes out clean. Remove the cakes from pans after cooling for 10 minutes 
and then cool completely on wire racks.
Creamy caramel frosting:
2 ½ cups sugar 1 large egg, lightly beaten 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter ¾ cup 
whole milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Mix egg, butter, 2 cups of the sugar and milk in a 
saucepan and cook over a low flame until butter melts. In a skillet, caramelize the remain­
ing ½ cup of the sugar over medium heat until brown and runny then quickly add to the 
egg mixture. Cook until it reaches the soft­ball stage (or until the mixture leaves sides of 
pan), about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly, then add the vanilla. Beat 
until right consistency to spread  (if it gets too thick, add a little cream).
To Finish Cake:
Place one layer on plate and, working quickly, cover the top of the cake with a thin layer of 
caramel frosting. Repeat with the next layer. Place top layer on and frost top, then sides, 
smoothing icing. Garnish with candied pecans and small white currants, if desired.

Joe's Nana's Famous Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

 This is a family recipe and my husband's favorite.  He always gets this for his birthday.  I always buy the bananas well in advance because the more ripe they are, the more flavor that they will have. 

Joe’s Nana’s Banana Cake w/Peanut Butter Frosting

Cream together 1/2 cup shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar.  Add 2 eggs that have been beaten until fluffy.
Sift together:  2 cups flour
        1/4 tsp baking powder
        3/4 tsp soda
        1/2 tsp salt

Add to other ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on low speed.  Add 1 cup mashed bananas (2 or 3 old bananas) 1/4 cup sour milk or buttermilk & 1 tsp vanilla.  (make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tsp vinegar to the 1/4 cup regular milk)  Beat until well blended, on medium speed of mixer.  Bake 30-35 minutes in 2 greased layer pans.  Oven at 350.

1 lb bag of powdered sugar creamed with 1 stick soft butter.  Add 4 tablespoons peanut butter and mix until spreading consistency.  Add milk as needed.

Pastry shell recipe

I found this recipe in some notes from a stash that Joe had.  It says that this was used since 1939 by Joe's Nana.  I need to try this someday!

2 cups flour sifted with scant tsp salt
Add all at once:  1/2 cup oil and 1/4 cup milk
Stir together with fork then shape with hands.  Divide dough in half. 
Roll each half between 2 sheets of wax paper until they are the correct size for you pie dish.  The thinner you roll it, the more crispy the crust will be. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Home Improvement or Remodel

In case you are looking for a great company with fair prices, 5 Star service,  knowledgeable staff, professional installation:  contact Joe@ At Your Service Flooring Discounters in Ft. Worth, TX.  Office number is 817.831.3113 or email at