Monday, December 26, 2011

Brownies and cookies and frosting. Oh My!

I hope everyone had a wonderfully Merry Christmas this 2011.  I was surprised by my husband with a Canon Rebel camera for Christmas.  With the risk of sounding like I am from the "Valley" in the 90's...the only way to describe it is like totally awesome!  It has so many features that I have barely scratched the surface in my learning to use it.  I was able to take a few nice pictures with it over the Christmas holiday.  One of them being these brownies.  I thought I would share the photo and the recipe.  These are now my favorite dessert to make.  They are pretty darn easy and extremely decadent and delicious.  

Chocolate chip cookie brownie bites

1 box of chocolate brownie mix ( I get the kind with Hershey's syrup in the box)
1 packet of chocolate chip cookie mix
1 container of chocolate frosting
depending on your mixes, you will need the ingredients on the box

Make the brownies by the box directions and put them into a large rectangle pan, 9x13 is what I used.   Put them in the oven (for about 7-8 minutes) while you mix the cookie dough.   Once the cookie dough is mixed, take the brownies out of the oven and drop all of the cookie dough by spoonfuls into the brownie batter.  The cook time varies.  My box of brownies was calling for about 30 minutes.  It likely will take longer than what the brownie box says, so I started checking with a toothpick in the center at about 30 minutes.  Mine actually took about 40-45 minutes.  You don't want the center to get to firm, they may be tough if you do.  As soon as the toothpick came out pretty clean when I inserted it into the center, I took them out of the oven.   Let the pan cool slightly.  Take a fork and poke holes throughout the brownies to let some of the frosting sneak in.  Use your microwave to melt the frosting just until it is pretty easy to pour and spread.  Cover the brownies with the frosting, you can use as much as you like.  I used about 3/4 of the container.  Let the them cool and cut them with a sharp knife.  Eat them!  :)

Here is another photo, one of me with my Christmas dinner outfit on, I was happy with what I put together. 
This was one of the last outfit pictures that I took with my old camera.  Along with my new camera, I now am the proud owner of a TRIPOD!!  Yeehaw!   I will now be able to get much clearer photos because the new camera is sooo much better too. 

So the outfit, this is a long grey fitted top that I got at Rue 21 this year.  The black vest I have had for years, love it.  The brown belt came from TJ Maxx, but it has been a couple of years since I got it.  The boots I got on Ebay by Tommy Hilfiger.  The tights came from Walmart.  They are more like a really tight pair of black stretch pants.  I love them because they are much thicker than some tights.  Got them this year for $5.99.  One of my favorite items are the boot socks and infinity scarf.   Thanks to Pinterest, I have learned to cut my old sweaters into pieces.  These socks are the arms of a sweater and the scarf is from the sweater bottom!   I was so excited to find this tip.  So far, I have cut 6 or 7 sweaters into pieces and have added soo much to my wardrobe!   Love it! 

Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

French Dip Subs....

French dip sub.  Three little words describing one of my favorite sandwiches.  I have always loved the whole au jus dipping experience and flavor that goes along with the French dip.  I used to get the sandwich at Arby's.  The problem was, when traveling and eating on the go, the French dip is not very "eat on the run" friendly.  Being an experienced driver, I managed to eat it, but it definitely was a little tricky to dip and drive without wearing most of the au jus in the process. 

The Crock-Pot.  This one has always eluded me.  You see, I am a constant stirrer-watcher kind of cook.  The idea of leaving my pot at home all day to sit all alone without me watching it, drives me crazy.  So, I took the Crock-Pot to work with me a few times.  This did not work out all that well.  This pot is meant to be left alone.  The steaming from the lid and the whole process of trapping the heat in, this is how it works its magic.  Being in the same room with the Crock-Pot, I could not leave it alone.  I would still look and stir many times throughout the day.  Resistance was futile.  So, I decided to try a recipe that I found for the French dip sub and to leave my pot at home.  Although I fretted all day thinking about it, it actually worked without me being there!  I came home to a wonderful aroma that filled the house, and a beef roast that was fork tender.  It was sitting in a nice bath of au jus, just waiting for me to eat it. 

So all that being said, here is the recipe that I tweaked to my liking and photo of the results.  :)

3-4 lb roast with fat trimmed
garlic salt
Greek seasoning
1 packet onion soup mix
2 bottles of dark beer
4 beef bullion cubes
a couple of dashes of Worcestershire
water to cover roast (usually 2-3 cups)

In your crockpot, season roast well on all sides with the garlic salt and Greek seasoning.  Sprinkle in the packet of onion soup mix.  Add the 2 beers.  When adding the bullion cubes, I like to dissolve them in a cup or 2 of water in the microwave for about 30 seconds, this way they get dispersed evenly.  Pour the Worcestershire and bullion into the crock.  This may be enough liquid, depending on your roast.  If not, add enough water to just cover the roast.  Cook on high for about 8-9 hours.  The meat should be fork tender.  As soon as I get home, I use 2 forks and shred the meat while still in the au jus and let it sit for about 20 minutes in the juice.  You can turn the pot off, it will stay plenty warm.

You can use this meat however you like.  It works well with French bread or any type of sub roll.  Slice the rolls in half and cover with a layer of the meat.  Add provolone cheese and broil in the oven until the cheese is melted.  You are now ready to grab a bowl of the au jus and dip away! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

So this is me, trying my hand at fashion.  I have been looking at all kinds of fashion photos recently, and decided to put an outfit together.  I love to experiment with different looks, but I especially like the preppy look.  Being that I am not "preppy" per se, it is sometimes hard to pull off.  I think this look is a pretty decent version of the prepster, and I was very comfortable in it.  I think it looks like I could possibly jump on a horse and jockey off to hunt a fox or play some polo, which is something a true preppy might want to do.  :)

The sweater over the button up shirt is a key element to this kind of style.  At least in my mind, the preppy look is alot of layering and different textures.  Also, red/navy/white, which are very nautical, can really be used in this look.  I love the leg warmers with the boots.  I think it adds a little extra pop to the outfit.  I need to get a better spot to take pictures.  The details just do not show up in the lighting I have here.  The coat is a navy blue pea coat with the big buttons and is super cute.  You can't make out any details because of the bad lighting.   The pants are army green.  I got them at TJ Maxx a couple of years ago.  I hardly ever get rid of anything, for the fear that I might want to wear it one day.  These are super soft and comfortable.  I have seen alot of this navy/green combo in pics and I really like it. 

I am getting a little tired of my hair this way.  I am not good at making hair changes.  I have had the same look for years and years, but I have been looking at some different cuts lately.  Maybe I can make a change soon.  I know it won't be drastic though.  I'm not up for that yet. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Feelin Italian.

Okay, I am in no way Italian.  But, I love Italian food, and the whole scenario of drinking a glass of wine with a large table of family and eating Italian food.   I guess Olive Garden commercials have led me to like the idea, mainly because the food and wine always look so appealing and plentiful.

So, Thursday night, I picked up a bottle of Muscat white wine... 2 bottles actually.  I can never remember the brand I bought and liked the time before, but it seems that the Muscat variety, no matter the brand, does not let me down.  It is a simple, sweet white wine.  I have tried many varieties and found some that I do not care for at all.  My least favorite are the dry, non-sweet reds.   One sip of a dry, bitter wine, and I cannot help but make a terrible puckered face.  Therefore, when I found the Muscat, I was in love.  My only problem is being able to not drink the whole bottle, because it is quite yummy.  :)

So, here is my appetizer...

It is diced cucumbers and tomatoes, drizzled with Italian dressing and topped with Parmesan cheese and pepper Quite refreshing.

For the main course, Eric had spaghetti and meatballs with garlic cheese bread.  I had zucchini that was sliced and lightly fried in olive oil, then topped with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella and baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  I called it zucchini Parmesan, my light version of eggplant Parmesan.   It was delicious and quite healthy too!
The good thing is, I made more than enough for Eric and I.  So without the big family to eat it all up, we get to eat it again, and I don't have to cook.   I just get to sit back and sip on my other bottle of wine.  :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My to do list. Hmm..

Well, I heard of the bucket list a few years ago and honestly had to look it up because I didn't know what it was.   Seems it is basically a list of things that you want to do before you die.  Mine isn't exactly an exciting bucket list.  I don't really care to bungee jump, skydive or climb Mt. Everest.  So I decided to call it my long term to do list.  Slightly safe and somewhat plain, but things I want to do nonetheless.  :)

1.  do more winning, like pictured above
2.  pay off my house
3.  hike at least 5 miles one way
4.  have a pet Siames cat
5.  go on an overnight canoe trip
6.  hug my husband more
7.  do something spectacular for my parents
8.  organize my closet
9.  own a cabin and acreage
10. take a road trip with no plans
11. get a big doberman pinscher for a pet
12. go to a day spa
13. try wax beans
14. see Yellowstone
15. completely stop biting my nails 
16. collect less useless stuff  at least I am some better.  :)
17. listen more, talk less
18. stop sweating the small stuff (much better at least)
19. visit Niagara Falls
20. eat a 5 course meal at a fancy smancy restaurant
21. attend a big wedding  Thanks, Jason and Leyna!
22. get to the point where I can work 5 days a week instead of 6
23. expand my vocabulary 
24. get really good at pool(I still suck)
25. drive a Lamborghini
26. go to a wine and cheese tasting
27. wear the clothes that I have held back for special times
28. floss my teeth more
29. go to Hawaii
30. design my own jewelry
31. learn to speak Spanish
32. tone my flab(working on this, but older means even flabbier, ha!)
33. sew some of my own clothes
34. expand my culinary skills
35. get really good at photography(I like it to be a hobby, so I am good enough for now)
36. I actually went zip lining....should have been on this list.  :)

... this is the beginning of my list.  I am going to post it for now and expand on it as time goes by.  :)   It is now 5/13/2014.  Can't believe it has been since 2011 that I wrote this.  ha!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Howdy! Pepper people.

Okay, I know, I have not posted in months!   Forgive me.  I almost have to get in the mood to put my feelings and happenings into type.  First off, for a Wednesday, I am in a great mood!  Fall is coming and for once, I am ready for it!   I did lots of cooking this past weekend, and decided to share a recipe.   Also,  I wanted to get this in writing for the next time I make these peppers, so I can go back and see how I made them.   I have made many many bacon wrapped jalapenos, but these were by far the best I have made.  I started with the largest jalapenos I could find.  I cup the cap off and cored them, which just about killed me.  I had tears running down my face, my nose was running, and I coughed so hard that I lost my breath twice.  I decided that I might not make them again for awhile after that, but they turned out awesome! 

I stuffed them with extra sharp cheddar, diced onion and diced garlic.  I put the cap back on each one with a toothpick and wrapped each in a nice piece of bacon.  I had a Boston butt in the oven for BBQ, so I just put the peppers in the oven while it cooked on 300 degrees.  I probably cooked them for about an hour, turning them a few times and just making sure the bacon was cooked.  I think the low slow temperature helped.  The cheese did not ooze out of them like it can sometimes at 350 degrees.  They had the perfect heat to them.  My mouth waters for one now. 

So that is my post.  I will try to post more often, not that anyone reads my blog.  I think only my sister and niece even know about it, but I enjoy typing it when I get around to it, and I like to go back and read it later.  :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Blue Monday.

So this blog thing is harder than I thought.  It takes time to sit down and think about what to type some days.  Right now, I am at work on the Monday morning after setting the clocks forward an hour.  It is dark and rainy.  A perfect day to still be in the bed.  I have had my coffee and blueberry muffins for the day and could seriously go back to bed now. 

Yesterday was nice though.  I love Sundays.  I cleaned a little, got a really good workout outside since it was nice, and went shopping at the Goodwill in Union City.  For supper, I made chicken breasts with a white wine sour cream mushroom sauce.  They were very good.  I will have to try that one again.  The sauce would actually be good even on pasta. 

Here is the picture of it.  I sauteed the mushrooms in a little white wine and garlic to cook them down.  Then I added some fat free sour cream, salt, pepper, and Greek seasoning.  I baked the chicken in the oven and then poured the sauce over it.  It was extra juicy and tasty!   The brussel sprouts were just sauteed in a pan over low heat with salt and pepper.  Actually a very simple meal, that looks elegant. 

Well, I guess I will try to accomplish something at work for a while.  It looks like it will be a long day.  It is so quiet, I may fall asleep.  Until next time...remember, you are what you eat.  :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

And they're off!

Well, I got to attend my first ever horse races this past weekend.  My sister was turning 50, and I went to help her celebrate.  They have been before, so they knew all the ins and outs, which made for a perfectly enjoyable experience.  It was like having your own tour guide who was there to party with you.   It is always awkward when you're not exactly sure about where to park, the best place to sit or stand, or when something starts or happens.  My hats off to them, because it was awesome. :)

It was about a 4 1/2 hour drive, which is bad but not too bad.  We were able to get home and chill a bit before having to go to bed.  I was pooped though.  We had stayed up late every night, and when I am away from home, my body wakes me up early so I can soak up every minute of vacation.  Therefore, I slept like a rock on the night we got back.  I don't think I even moved for the whole 9 hours of sleep. 

The picture here is of my sister Selina(Sissy to me) and I at the finish line of the Hot Springs Oaklawn horserace track.  Very cool experience.

So now it is Tuesday.  I am kinda behind at the store and need to get some paperwork done and put up some parts, but I am having trouble getting motivated.  Ugh...gonna get at it.  Until next time...keep smiling!   :)

Monday, February 28, 2011

I like them boots. :)

As a woman who loves clothes, I love getting a compliment on a piece of my wardrobe.  Saturday night, I wore my new Jessica Simpson boots that I bought from Kelly.  The heel was taller than she wanted and although they are quite steep, I was able to trot around in them pretty good.  I had several female inquiries and compliments on them, which I enjoy because it makes me feel like I put together a cool outfit.  I finally got the picture of my boots to load.  I wore them with tight skinny jeans and a white tank top with a navy jacket over it.  I love to feel comfortable in an outfit, and this one was very easy going.

It is Monday and the temperature has dropped today from 69 this morning to about 40 and windy.  Yuck.  Anyway, we are one day closer to spring.  I do so much better with my exercising and doing chores when it is warm.  I got a really good workout yesterday because I was able to walk around outside, which is so much nicer than being cooped up in the garage riding a bike.   

So my sister, Selina is turning 50 next week.  I am doing my best to get a weekend away to make it over to celebrate with her and make sure she brings in 50 the right way!  We really enjoy hanging with them.  We may go to the horse races, which sounds like a blast!

Just 2 more hours in this work Monday, I think I will make it!  Ready to have a quiet time a home.  More blab soon.  :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Stormy Sunday.

Well, Sunday is here!  I have had my coffee and french toast this morning.  I am trying to drag myself off the warm couch to go walking.  The temp is 57, so it will be a good time to walk before the rain gets here later in the day.  The storms are supposed to get here about ten o'clock and last til about one.  That is going to make for a crappy night of sleep.  Hopefully they won't be as bad as expected. 

So here is what I will be grilling later, rain or shine.  I will be having salmon, and Eric has some New York strips.  Can't wait.  
It has been a really warm the sixties and feels very clammy.  Feels like it could storm tonight.  I sure hope it doesn't but it looks like we are in for a night of interrupted sleep. 

Eat well and I will see you on Monday!  :)

Ahhh, Saturday.

I have to admit, I would like Saturdays a lot more if I did not have to work, but all in all, Saturdays are not too bad.  I do get to go to work 30 minutes later and I get off at 2:00 instead of 4:30, so that helps a lot.  Admittedly though, Sunday is my favorite day, because there is nothing I HAVE to do.  I get up when I want to, which is usually still early because I want to enjoy the day, but I do not HAVE to.  I exercise and clean the house usually, but I do not HAVE to.  I may go to the Goodwill shop a little, but I do not HAVE to.  I almost always have a beer and cook a huge meal on Sunday, but you guessed it, I do not HAVE to.  This is why I LOVE Sundays.  :)  I hope everyone gets this kind of day at least once a week.  Most people have Saturday AND Sunday, but I'm actually pretty happy with my one day.  I think I enjoy it that much more since it is my only one.

I went to Ponder, my niece's birthday party last night.  There is nothing more chaotic than twenty twelve year olds running around with their shoes off, bouncing off the walls and everything else in a large auditorium.  Pretty entertaining I must say, but I was glad to be able to leave after an hour and a half.  The party was supposed to last 3 hours...the last one they had, I was told, they stayed up all night bouncing off the walls.  I could tell I am getting older.  I would have crashed for sure.  I was a super fun party though, they were having a BLAST. 

Didn't get this posted until Sunday, but I am posting it anyway.  :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Grilling before the storm.

Good Friday morning!  Well, we dodged the storms last night.  Spent a little time in the storm house because the sirens went off a couple of times.  All we got was a lot of rain.  I would estimate we probably got 4-5 inches in the last 2 days.  We needed it, but our yard is so nasty now.  Despite the incoming storms, I was able to grill because they took longer to get here than I initially thought.  They were predicting around 5:00 or 6:00, but it was more like 7:30, so I grilled salmon and steak.  Eric's ribeye was a nice juicy cut. 

Here is the pic of the steak.  I buttered and grilled a Hawaiian bun to go along with the steak.  It was cooked medium plus to Eric's liking. 

I usually have trouble getting pretty grill marks, but this one worked out fairly well. 

I had grilled salmon and sauteed green beans, one of my all time favorite meals.  It is very healthy, and my tastebuds love it. 

I topped the salmon with dill and pancake syrup.  I grill it with the skin side up at first and when it seems about half way cooked, I flip the skin side down and finish it.  It never sticks or falls apart this way and tastes amazing.

I am glad the weekend is here!  It looks to be a little warmer, but they are calling for more storms on Sunday.  :(  I am going to enjoy every minute of it, storms or not!   Later...and remember to eat what you love! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Storms are coming!

Well, it's a Thursday.  Not too bad, but we are supposed to have severe weather this evening, which I do not like at all.  They are predicting possible tornadoes and hail, neither of which I like.  Of course the storms always seem to wait until it gets dark here, so we really never know what is coming, and it makes for a dark run to the storm house.  Hopefully they will miss us.

Last night the hubs and I went to Applebee's and ate.  He got the ribs, and I got a fried chicken salad.  All in all it was pretty yum.  The waiter was a little slow, but that seems to be the norm there.  The food came faster than usual which was nice.  Afterwards we went to Java Cafe where I got a large skinny caramel macchiato and a warm chocolate chip cookie.  Heaven.  Went Krogering and got a slew of groceries.  Then stopped by mom and dad's to give mom her five buckets of ice cream.  I always watch for her fave ice cream to go on sale, and I buy her a bunch.  Five was all they had, so I will go back for more later.  The sale lasts all week.  :)

This is my picture for the day.  I love wearing a crisp white shirt with a tie and a vest like this.  I sometimes look like the waiters and the restaurant, but I still love the look.  I had black pants and knee boots on with this top.  This has to be one of my favorite looks over the years.  I think it just looks very put together.  This picture was at Lupo's Italian Restaurant in Dyersburg.   If we eat in Dyersburg, it is usually my first choice.  I love their salmon oregeratto, which is a panko crusted salmon filet over a bed of creamy tomato rissoto.  It is heavy in calories but very delicious!

Well, gonna get to work and watch it rain.  Until next time...always make a happy plate!  :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Healthy veggie cooking!

Good morning!  Well, it's a Wednesday, cold and possibly rainy soon.  But, better than Monday or Tuesday!  I have realized that this blog is basically just a diary that will allow me to talk about my day, but that is okay because I won't have to worry about anyone reading it.  It is just a way for me to look back and see what I was doing in the past.  :)

I already keep up with the foods I eat on  I have been doing that for about 4 or 5 years now.  It keeps up with the foods you enter each day and generates all kinds of reports based on what you eat.  I can go back 3 years ago and see what I ate on February 23rd of that year.  Pretty cool.  I have seen times where certain vitamins were lacking in my diet and adjusted it accordingly.  The worst time was about a year ago when I went on a strict diet/exercise routine.  I lost weight but really was too thin and my diet was lacking, especially in iron.  I did not know at the time, but it eventually led to my hair thinning, which has finally started to catch back up in growth.  I know now to watch my iron because I was borderline anemic, not good. 

Speaking of food, here is a picture of what I would eat if I were wanting to lose a few pounds.  There are a few veggies that you can eat an abundance of if you love to eat like I do.  I need big quantities of food with little calories to feel satiated.   A few of these are brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, green beans and asparagus.  I purchase these quite often and frozen seem to be just as good as fresh, with a much longer storage time and less money.  I treat them all very similar when cooking them.  I sometimes roast them, which gives them a wonderful flavor, but generally, I am in a hurry because I am always hungry, so I use the stove top and a skillet.  I use cooking spray to avoid the extra calories that oils add.   I mix a cube or two of chicken bullion with a cup of hot water and let it dissolve, this is easier than keeping chicken broth around because you can keep it in the cabinet and use as little or as much as you need.  Just spray the skillet with cooking spray, add the veggies and the broth mixture and cook on high heat, tossing often.  Add water if necessary to keep the veggies moist until they appear to be done.   I then let the water cook out and spray the veggies with a little more cooking spray and give them a good sprinkling of Cavendar's Greek Seasoning.  This seasoning is wonderful on veggies and meats of any kind.  Continue cooking to get out some of the moisture and possibly brown them a little.  This last step has to be monitored closely or they will burn, but if you can cook them on a pretty high heat, they will brown, which seems to add flavor.  This entire process may take some getting used to and is hard to describe, but I think I covered the basics of how I do it.  The more you cook each vegetable, the more you will learn about how much broth you will need and how long they will need to cook. 

Well, that was a long descriptive process, hopefully I will get better at describing how I cook.  I am not good at writing my recipes down or explaining them, since I experiment so much, there is hardly ever an actual recipe.  :) 

Until next it all.  :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It got cold again. :(

Well, it's a Tuesday.  And it got cold again.  The low was back into the 30's last night, which really makes me miss the 74 degrees we had on Sunday.  On the bright side, spring is just around the corner.  Today's picture is of cloudman.  He is a little guy I drew a few years ago on my computer, and he makes me smile just by looking at him.  It had been awhile since I saw him, so this morning, he brightened my day.  I hope he makes you smile.  :)

He really is a cute little guy.  I don't have to feed him or anything.  He just stands there all day, wanting to make me smile. 

I got a $25 gift cerftificate to Applebee's yesterday from a friend.  That made me smile too.  Now I have an excuse to not cook one night and go to Applebee's.  We also have to go to Lowe's very soon to get a new faucet for the bathroom.  Darn thing started leaking, and it appears that we have to replace the whole assembly.  So it looks like an AppleLowesbees night is in the near future. 

Well, it is morning time, and I have had my coffee and muffins.  Time to get to work, the parts are not going to put themselves on the shelves.  I know this for a fact...been waiting on them to do it for 23 years.  

Until next time. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

My first blog post!

I am starting this blog to satisfy a craving I have for writing about my everyday happenings.  I have been doing the Facebook thing and thought this would allow me to entertain myself and have a new experience.  I came up with the name, "Food, Fashion and Spark Plugs", because food and fashion are two of my hobbies and running an auto parts store is what I do for a living.  I have a few blogs that I like to read, and I am constantly looking for those which catch my attention with similar interests. 

Today as my first post, I am including a picture of a recent outfit that I put together that I think exhibits a casual yet stylish feel.

 I am wearing skinny stretch jeans by American Eagle.  Stretch denim is my favorite clothing invention ever.  Jeans without stretch are just so binding and uncomfortable.  The boots came from Rue 21 and are completely wonderful.  They are so comfortable and perfect with jeans.  I am wearing beige leg warmers underneath to accentuate the top of the boot.  The cream top is also from Rue 21.  It has nice flowy layers with alternating satin/flat textures.  I am going to try to get a better picture next time, this was just a quick photo and not a very good one.   The navy jacket came from TJ Maxx and is nicely tailored.  The necklace, which came from a yard sale, is made of 3 super long strands that I tied in a knot.  The belt matches the boots perfectly and came with a pair of pants I bought at Rue 21. 

I never know what food or fashion idea may pop in my head.  I probably will not have many posts dealing with spark plugs/auto parts, but you never know.  I get inspiration from looking at photos, blogs and from my everyday life.  Well, I guess that is it for my first post.  It may be my only post but hopefully not.  :)