Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In the Kitchen with Gram...Nut Bread!!

One of my favorite things in the whole wide world, something that, for whatever unknown psychological reason, gives me great comfort, is my Grandma's Nut Bread.




Once upon a time, she must've brought us some when I was sick, or convalescing from childbirth (I like to say that word from time to time..."convalescing". Couple that with with "poultice" and you're well on your way to a "Little House in the Prairie" episode.) or deep in the throws of child rearing.


Some sort of upheaval in my life in which I was given a loaf of Nut Bread and now I will forever associate that with comfort. A hug in the form of a delicious slice of sweet, buttered bread.


And now I'm smiling.


And now YOU will be smiling when I show you how stinkin' easy it is to create your very own "hug from Gram via a loaf of bread".


Here's how we start...this, and sour cream. Forgot the sour cream in the photo. One of these days, I promise, we'll get this whole "food blogging" thing down pat!





First in the bowl, sugars:



Next in line, eggs:



Cream those babies together, then add in some vanilla, and mix briefly. Gram says "I always add a little extra of things I like and a little less of things I don't like.", which means, there's usually a little extra vanilla. ;)



Now, find yourself a cute little munchkin to help you combine your dry ingredients.



And...AHA!! There's that sour cream! 




If I recall, the recipe originally called for sour milk, which Gram was out of one day while making Nut Bread, so she subbed sour cream and liked the results! (She does add a tablespoon of milk to the container at the end, to help get all the cream out and to add just a bit of moisture so the batter doesn't get too stiff.)

Begin adding your "wet" and "dry" ingredients..starting with the dry ingredients and ending with the dry ingredients.


Scrape the sides of the mixer as needed...



A big glop of sour cream...



And then the dry stuff:




Now, for that milk I told you about earlier...



Just that little bit helps to loosen up the dough (batter?) just enough.



And now...the nuts!! (This is another "case" in which Gram uses just a bit more than called for!) Add, and mix gently.


Grease your pans...Gram uses butter...



Divide your batter (dough?) equally among your loaf pans. We were able to get three "minis" out of the batter.



And into the oven they go!



When just out of the oven, run a knife around the sides of the bread to loosen from the pan, then remove immediately and cool on a rack.


I LOVE that this bread had a crisp crust with it's super soft, yummy inside! The "crust" softens after a bit, but we snarfed this baby down so fast, it never had a chance to get soft on us! 



Yum. *burp*






Gram's Nut Bread
Printable Recipe


1 1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c sour cream
1 T milk
1 tsp baking soda
3 c all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 c nuts (we use walnuts)


Preheat oven to 350*F. Cream together sugars and eggs, add vanilla and mix in. Combine soda, flour and salt (sift or whisk together) in separate bowl, starting with dry ingredients, alternately mix in dry ingredients and sour cream...starting with dry and ending with dry. Along with last addition of sour cream, add milk to batter (Gram adds it to the sour cream container first, to clean it out a bit, then adds it to the batter. Add in nuts, mix until just combined. Divide batter (dough?) equally among greased loaf pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes (usually closer to 60, but check it at 50!). When out of oven, immediately slide knife around bread edges to loosen from pan, then remove from pan to cooling rack. 


Enjoy with a smear of butter and a cup of coffee! And thank me later for the "comfort bread" hug! ;)







Monday, July 30, 2012

Testing...

Testing...testing...


Checking the new internet speed. Went from Clearwire (broadband?) to DSL (CenturyLink) and before cancelling the Clearwire, making sure that we're golden with CenturyLink!


Here goes...


(PS...tomorrow's In the Kitchen with Gram? NUT BREAD!! You won't wanna miss it...)


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dove Visibly Clean


Is visibly wonderful! I'm a sucker for a good body wash...love the feeling of my skin after a good loofah with some great body wash, and Dove VisibleCare did not disappoint!


BlogHer and Dove provided me with the opportunity to try out the Dove VisibileCare body wash for "visibly more beautiful skin". The new Dove VisibleCare line up is a revolutionary line of premium body washes that will give you more visibly beautiful skin in just one week.


When the package arrived on my door step, I tore into in, rushed into the shower just to try it out. Okay, so maybe it wasn't quite that exciting, but it sure did make me look forward to escaping to my shower the next morning!




I don't know about you, but I love to "get away" in the shower. It's where I solve the world's problems, have great, astounding epiphanies, and possibly, maybe, perhaps warble out a song or two. It's just a little smidgen of "me time" that I get everyday.


Armed with my new body wash, that shower was going to be even better! The first thing I noticed was the fresh, clean scent and the glorious lather that bubbled up from my loofah...even in our hard water!


My mama was the one who got me hooked on body wash and "lotioning up" immediately after a shower. Dove Visibly Clean turned out to be a major force in that "1-2 punch" combo of soft, clean skin!


I absolutedly loved how soft and smooth it made my skin feel and how fresh and clean I felt! I'll tell ya what...starting out my day feeling so refreshed is a fabulous way to kick start a day!


Then guess what? Belle got her hands on it and has also declared her love for it! Hmmmm...I wonder who she gets her good taste from? ;)



Dove VisibleCare Body Wash...two SETS of thumbs up!




Visit Dove® VisibleCare® to get a coupon for $1 off!


Enter to win one of two $500 Spafinder gift certificates!


NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
COMMENTS TO THIS POST ARE NOT SWEEPSTAKES ENTRIES. PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR ENTRY METHODS FOR THIS SWEEPSTAKES.


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a) Follow this link, and provide your email address and your response to the Promotion prompt
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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. Winners will have 72 hours to claim the prize, or an alternative winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 7/18/2012 - 8/22/2012
Be sure to visit the Dove® VisibleCare™ Crème Body Wash brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!



Friday, July 27, 2012

Five Question Friday! 7/27/12

How is it that just one week ago, I was spending my days lazing in the lake, with my brood beside me? Wanna. Go. Back.





So, I'll have to tell you about the pool idea I had. And how that went over with the Mr.



In any event, it looks like it is going to be a GORGEOUS weekend here...and I work. Fer dumb. Funny thing, though, last night we were at a make-up baseball game of Dubya's and there was a steady breeze, I grumbled to my SIL beside me, "I'm COLD!" and pretty soon, from down the bleacher bench I hear, "DANG! I'm cold! We're such wimps...a hundred degrees and we're dying, then 80 and we're all 'brrrrr, it's freezing!'!!" Truth.


Minnesotans, too hot, too cold...but always super friendly! :)


Okay, onto to 5QF...


Welcome to Five Question Friday!! You've come to the right place if you want a fun, easy post or if you've suddenly discovered your muses have been off work for 2 weeks and are having a hard time getting back into the groove.


Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky post to appear Friday morning and LINK UP!

Oh, and remember (pay close attention...this is the important one)...HAVE FUN!

Questions for Friday, July 27th: (Special thanks to Pam (@trooppetrie) from Troop Petrie, Deanna (@deannajw) from Musings, Mrs. E Schmidtz (@emschmidtz) from They Call Me Mama, Holly (@bygollymsholly) from Life in HD, and little old me for these 5QF question suggestions! I would love to link you in a future 5QF, so come on over to my community or watch for my Thursday afternoon shout out for questions on Twitter and offer up your best question suggestions! Remember to @5crookedhalos me and use hashtag #5QF if you go the Twitter route!)



1. What is the funniest thing you saw on Facebook/twitter this week?


2. What is your favorite Olympic event?


3. Do your kids to chores around the house? If so, what are they and how old are the children? Do they get paid for them?


4. If you get bad service/food do you complain or keep quiet?


5. If you could pick ONE frivolous item for your home, what would it be? (massive room sized closet? swimming pool? greenhouse? etc...)



-----------------------------------



1. What is the funniest thing you saw on Facebook/twitter this week?
Oh dear heavens...those ecards? Good gracious are there some hysterical people in the world!!

My favorite was the math word problem one...that still has me giggling, especially with Pal's "huh?!" reaction!!

But just the other night, I was browsing Pinterest, when I came across this one:


And oh my gosh. I died. Right there, in the kitchen, while my husband was balancing the checkbook.

Once I had come back to life, caught my breath, made sure I hadn't peed in my pants from all that laughter, I read it to him...

And then he died. Holy heck is THAT funny (and the man on the card...PERFECT!!)! Several minutes later, I heard him laughing again and I glanced over, curious as to what he was laughing at. I didn't see him looking at anything in particular, so I said, "What the heck is so funny?!"

And he said, through chuckles, "I'd rather shit in my hands and clap!!!"

And then we both died again.

Perhaps it takes having an "ex" (mine's not "officially" an ex, since we were never married...) to really appreciate this, but oh. my. gosh.

Laughter. Still.

2. What is your favorite Olympic event?

Gah...you hafta rub it in, dontcha? That we don't have cable? These are the (rare) times that I miss, a WHOLE WHOLE bunch, not having TV.

My favorite? I've always loved swimming. And big, hyped up races...Flo Jo anyone? And diving. Ooooh, and gymnastics.

Oh dear. That's more than one.

I can't choose...I LOVE the Olympics! From the torch being carried in to the closing ceremonies...and mostly, I love kicking Canada's butt. (Look out Kate, we're gonna beat you.)

Keep me posted, will you? On the games? Please and thank you, kindly.

3. Do your kids to chores around the house? If so, what are they and how old are the children? Do they get paid for them?

Yes, they do. This summer, I finally got smart (okay, okay, so the Mr. strongly encouraged me) and wrote up chore checklists for the kids. Daily and weekly chores.

They're all required to help. Pal, 16, has less to do, mostly due to his job(s) and baseball schedule, but also because his chores are more time consuming...he sweeps, mops and mows.

Baby Girl, 4, doesn't have a ton to do...empty and put away silverware from dishwasher, pick up her toys, and I think that's about it.

The middle kids (10, 8, 6) have kitchen duty (divided up) and various chores...vacuuming, cob web ridding, dusting, entry way picking up...

I've discovered my kids do very well with checklists...I think they like seeing their accomplishments and get satisfaction out of crossing items off their list. HOWEVER, even with their list in front of them, they STILL need redirection..."Dubya...are you done with the kitchen?" "No." "Then why are you playing with your Legos?" "I was just picking them up, mom." "Uh huh...sure, into the kitchen, mr."

No, they do not get paid. We're typically pretty generous (too generous, I think) with our kids and their "desires"...I know it would help them be more responsible with money if we paid them an allowance, but to be honest...I'm not that organized and I never have cash.

Something we should work on, but I also feel that part of being a family is pitching in and helping out, so any allowance that we would give, would be a small amount. I like the Dave Ramsey idea of assigning a "price" to each chore completed so that kids can earn money according to the chores they complete.


4. If you get bad service/food do you complain or keep quiet?

Honestly, not often. Not often at all. It has to be REALLY bad for me to complain. Sure, I'll shoot the cashier a few dirty looks if he/she's really being a jerk. 

Restaurants, not so much. I'm so afraid someone's gonna hock a loogie in my food if I send it back that I'd rather just suffer through it than risk eating someone's throat slime. (Sorry if that made you gag, mom.)

5. If you could pick ONE frivolous item for your home, what would it be? (massive room sized closet? swimming pool? greenhouse? etc...)

Guess?

Yup, a pool. Which is a whole nother post of it's own! I absolutely LOVE water. Swimming, sun, fun, relaxing.

The massive closet would be nice. Heck, a master suite would be nice...as would "grown up bedroom furniture". I need to live next to an Amish dude. I'd borrow him my (spotty) internet service and he could make me furniture for trade. 

Or something like that.

----------------------------------------------------


Have a fabulous weekend! 



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday Night 5QF Sneak Peek!

Yo! 'Sup dudes?





Okay, sorry...done with the surfer dude talk now...I'm all hopped on DQ. It was for a good cause, though. Children's Miracle Network day. It's like we HAD to go. You know?



First off, I'd like to thank the talented and fabulous Kate for hosting last week! You da best. Thanks, girl, for making sure 5QF still happened while we were on vacation!


Anyway...after having had TWO WHOLE WEEKS off of work, I have to go back for the weekend. Sad face. As much as I love this job of mine, I'd really prefer to be home with my family.


Let's get to the sneak peek!


Welcome to Five Question Friday!! You've come to the right place if you want a fun, easy post or if you've suddenly discovered your muses have been off work for 2 weeks and are having a hard time getting back into the groove.


Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky post to appear Friday morning and LINK UP!

Oh, and remember (pay close attention...this is the important one)...HAVE FUN!

Questions for Friday, July 27th: (Special thanks to Pam (@trooppetrie) from Troop Petrie, Deanna (@deannajw) from Musings, Mrs. E Schmidtz (@emschmidtz) from They Call Me Mama, Holly (@bygollymsholly) from Life in HD, and little old me for these 5QF question suggestions! I would love to link you in a future 5QF, so come on over to my community or watch for my Thursday afternoon shout out for questions on Twitter and offer up your best question suggestions! Remember to @5crookedhalos me and use hashtag #5QF if you go the Twitter route!)



1. What is the funniest thing you saw on Facebook/twitter this week?


2. What is your favorite Olympic event?


3. Do your kids to chores around the house? If so, what are they and how old are the children? Do they get paid for them?


4. If you get bad service/food do you complain or keep quiet?


5. If you could pick ONE frivolous item for your home, what would it be? (massive room sized closet? swimming pool? greenhouse? etc...)


------------------------------------------------


And there ya have it! See you in the morning!






Venus Embrace...Interview with Mama.


As part of the Venus Embrace Razor & Satin Care Passionista Fruit Shave Gel campaign, Belle and I had the opportunity to talk about fashion!
Watch now, as she interviews me about my fashion advice!

But first, a couple of notes:
1. I am no expert on anything "fashion," as evidenced by my lack of make-up and "un-done" hair. (Hey, I'm getting my hair done soon ... cut me some slack.)
2. I really DO love my Venus Embrace! Extra tips on the Venus Embrace here.
3. When did my daughter get so grown-up? And can anyone tell me where the "pause" button for life is? I'd like this time to go just a tad more slowly.

And now...ENJOY! (And no laughing!)






Would you like a shot at winning a $50 Visa gift card? Easy peasy ... just answer this question: What's the best beauty tip you have shared with your daughter to prepare her for the summer? Or share your funniest beauty mishap!

(Venus has some great tips for first-time shavers over here.)
Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 7/26 - 8/23
Be sure to visit the Venus brand feature page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!
Have you checked out the Life Well Lived section of BlogHer.com? There are some great tips and expert posts on everything from Looking Your Best to Getting Happy and Getting Organized!

Why?

Good golly, I have the hardest time making decisions.


iPhones, iPads, what to wear, blah blah blah.


Then, when it comes to something that should be black and white, I STILL can't make up my mind!


So, if you follow me on Twitter, how many times have you heard me grumble about our internet service? A few billion? Gagillion? Googelzillion? It sucks. Especially during the summer. 


We live in the woods and (up until recently) a virtual black hole. No internet, no cable, no running water. Just kidding about the water. When the leaves are on the trees, our Clearwire signal was, at best, 2 bars. Mostly one. I knew this when we signed up for it, but it was our only option other than dial up (does dial up still exisit?!) so we did it.


Winter was tolerable and I talked myself into that being okay since winter in Minnesota lasts 37 months of the year. Or something. Recently, I've been more and more and MORE (read: MORE) frustrated with the signal...so the other day I finally looked and LOW AND BEHOLD we aren't living in the dark ages any more!


Qwest high-speed (er, CenturyLink, excuse me) is now in our area...HALLELUJIA!!!


Enter: nail biting, pacing floor, second guessing, hmmm'ing and haaa'ing, asking every Tom, Dick and Harry their opinion of CenturyLink and whether they were happy and how their service was and did they think it would be faster than our (horrible, terrible, slow as molasses) ClearWire and gosh, do they ever really wonder why the sky is blue?


AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!


I've been waiting for this for SEVEN YEARS. Waiting and waiting and waiting for the option of high-speed and...NOW I'M QUESTIONING IT?!


*forehead slap*


Ugh.


Guess who's coming to install our new internet service on Monday?


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Such is life...

I've been wanting to get a new photography faux floor...if you take any photos, you HAVE to check them out. Fabulous.


Anyway, remember when I won an "honorable mention prize" for my crazy 7th grade hair in one of The Pioneer Woman's photo contests? Well, that gift certificate to B&H Photo that I won has been burning a hole in my pocket. Or my cupboard. Or, well, you know what I mean.


(Truth be told, it had sufficiently burned a hole when I first bought a battery grip for my camera that ended up making my camera malfunction so I returned it and now I have a credit to B&H that is burning a hole in my computer and holes being burned into computers is a very, very bad thing. Longest. Run-on. Sentence. Ever.)



A few months ago, I had my eye on a PepperLu faux floor at B&H, but even with my credit, it was still close to $100 and the thing that really killed me was the shipping. It was over 20 bucks! Gah. Seriously? I think you could ship a small child for less than that.




(See? Isn't it beautiful...)


So, I put it to rest for a bit. I'd peek back in every once in a while just to check on that fabulous faux floor of mine and see if, maybe, the good luck gods were smiling on me and that it was half price with free shipping and small child thrown in as an added bonus.


Never happened.


Last night I finally decided to just do it. My mind was made up. No one and nothing ANYWHERE, ANYHOW was gonna stop me. I logged on, tapped in my search, scrolled down to that sweet little floor and...


And...


AND???????


DISCONTINUED?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?


But...but...but...NO!


Ugh. Grrrrr. RAWR!!! 


Sigh.


Really?


Reload.


Yup. Really.


Reload again.


Uh huh. Still discontinued.


Reload one more time for good measure.



Yes, mama. Still discontinued.


Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! *sob* *sniffle* *pout*


Stupid floor.


Who wants a fake floor anyway?


*tear*



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In the Kitchen with Gram...Hot Diggity Dog!

When Gram and I decided to do a variety of hot dogs for this week's post, little did either of us know that we'd be cooking up a gobsmack of hot dogs on "National Hot Dog Day"!


Yup, it's true.


Our country has a wiener day. (Bwahahahahahaha!!! I can't help but giggle like an immature child when I hear "wiener". Sorry. It's a character flaw.)


So, here's what we cooked up:


1. Mustard Crescent Dogs
2. Relish Dogs
3. Fried Onion Dogs
4. Bacon Cheese Dogs


Imagine the oodles of "Dogs" you could come up with...these are just some of Gram's favorites! Most of these don't really even "need" a recipe, but I included them...just in case!


First up, the ol' Mustard Crescent Dogs. Easy. Peasy Pie.




Unroll yourself some crescent rolls and squirt them with some mustard...




Next up, roll up your dogs starting with the wide end of the roll:




Then you bake them according to the crescent roll package directions. And that's it.


Next...my favorites. Gram's "Relish Dog".




Add your ketchup, onion, relish, vinegar and sugar:






To a pan into which you'll add your "scored" wieners. (Hahahahahahahahaha!!!) See those cuts in the hot dogs above? That's how you want to score your dogs, we just forgot to take a picture of that part.




Let them simmer and while their heating up, those "scores" in your dog will open up and absorb some of that delicious sauce. Serve them on a bun with the relish sauce and thank me later. 


Third, is the Fried Onion Dogs.




Caramelize a large, diced onion.




Then, just add your dogs right on top of the onion.



Stir it around a bit, and let the dogs fry, getting some nice color on them. Don't be like us and let your onions get too dark.



Then add them to a bun with your favorite toppings (don't forget those yummy onions in there!) and enjoy!


And finally, the "Crowd Favorite"...Bacon Cheese Dogs!




Slice your hot dog lengthwise, about half way through the depth of the hot dog.




Then stuff that hot dog with Velveeta...I know, highly processed, but hey, we're talking about HOT DOGS here. Processed + Processed = Delightful. Or something.




Then, wrap some bacon around it. Gram swears by the "pre-cooked" stuff...hey, what's a little more processed food at this point, right?! If you put "real" bacon on raw, the bottom doesn't get cooked well, which ends up with you needing to fry bacon if you want to use the "real" stuff.


So, if real bacon floats your boat, go right ahead and use it. Just fry it up first. (Confession: Real bacon kinda floats my boat. Since you asked.)




It helps to put toothpicks in the through the ends of the bacon to help hold it on when it cooks...just, um, you know, make sure you remove them before you eat.


In case that wasn't obvious.


The action shot...Pal...my picky, picky, PICKY eater who was OVER THE MOON about the Bacon Cheese Dogs.



And there you have it, my friends...our (accidental) celebration and participation in National Hot Dog Day!




Gram's Mustard Crescent Dogs
Printable Recipe


10 hot dogs
2 "tubes" of refrigerator crescent rolls
Mustard to taste


Unroll crescent rolls and squirt desired amount of mustard on each roll. Wrap hot dog in crescent roll, starting with widest side. Bake according to crescent roll package instructions, adding just a couple of minutes onto bake time. Serve as is, or with your favorite hot dog condiments!


Gram's Relish Dog
Printable Recipe


1 cup ketchup
1 small onion, finely diced
1/4 cup sweet relish
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
10 hot dogs, scored several times on each side


Combine first 5 ingredients in pan, stir together, then add hot dogs. Simmer in relish sauce until scores open, and hot dogs are heated thoroughly. Serve on a bun with relish sauce on top.


Gram's Fried Onion Dogs
Printable Recipe


10 hot dogs
1 large onion, diced
3 T butter


Caramelize onion in butter, add hot dogs and continue to fry until hot dogs have some brown on them and are heated through. Serve on a bun with your favorite toppings.


Gram's Bacon Cheese Dogs
Printable Recipe


10 hot dogs, sliced lengthwise, about 1/2 depth of hot dog
Velveeta cheese
10 slices of bacon
Toothpicks to secure bacon


Stuff hot dogs with Velveeta cheese, wrap one slice of bacon around hot dog and secure ends with tooth pick. Bake at 350* for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bacon is thoroughly cooked. Serve on a bun with your favorite toppings.


And there you have it! Enjoy! 




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