Monday, January 22, 2007

Diabetic Carnival of the Recipes

This week's Carnival of the Recipes is right up our alley--it's mostly full of diabetic-friendly recipes. Yeah!Check it out!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What's For Dinner?

Do you sometimes hate that question? MomAdvice has a very creative suggestion, sure to help you answer that dreaded question...maybe even joyfully!

Of course, my thoughts regarding take-out menus centered around giving them to your kids and letting them play Restaurant with them! Great math practice opportunities while they are playing, too.

Monday, December 11, 2006

"Cooking With Kids" Free, with Purchase

Monday, December 18th, will be the last day for regular-priced Priority Mail shipping on the restaurant-themed play sets that I offer for sale on my business web-site, Let's Play Restaurant!
During this last week of regular-priced shipping, I am offering a special incentive. Any orders of the 30$ Restaurant Kit will be shipped with "cooking with kids", a cd collection of over 200 recipes, with step-by-step instructions and tips for cooking delicious family favorites with your little chef wannabe! This cd has a list price of $21.95 and sells on the manufacturer's website for 10$, but is free with any Restaurant Kit orders placed from today through December 18th.

Thank you for your business!

Cookie Exchange Recommendation

I'm taking these wonderful cookies to a Christmas Party tomorrow. They are easy to make, can be customized, and will be unique.

Update: Warning! Do not cook these in a Pyrex glass dish! Use the thinnest, cheapest aluminum pan you got--trust me on this!


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Food Science Blog

News for Curious Cooks is a blog by the author of "On Food & Cooking," Harold McGee. He doesn't update often, but does include some fascinating bits of food science.


Monday, November 27, 2006

After Thanksgiving Carnival of the Recipes

There are a couple of recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers, a yummy-sounding lemon dessert at Dewey's Treehouse, and lots more!  Go check it out!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

I saw this recipe on, where it received 4 1/2 stars out of 5. I particularly wanted something to make that would use up some of the bananas in the freezer, as well as oatmeal and some yummy walnuts that I just bought. These cookies fit the bill.

After reading some of the reviews, and to use what I had, as well as to make them a tad healthier, I made a few changes. Check the link for the original recipe. I will post here what I actually did.

* 1/2 cup shortening
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 egg
* 3 medium mashed ripe bananas
* 1+ teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1+ teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground apple pie spice
* 3 cups rolled oats
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
2. In a large bowl, cream together shortening and brown sugar. Beat in egg and mashed banana, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and spice; stir into the banana mixture. Mix in rolled oats and walnuts. Drop by rounded spoonfuls and flatten with spoon or finger onto prepared cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 3-4 dozen, depending on size.

The cookies came out looking undone, but as I had just recently watched the episode of America's Test Kitchen that was about oatmeal cookies, I knew that if you cooked them until they looked done, then you would have rocks, not cookies! They continue to cook after being removed, so do not be disturbed by the look.

These are easy cookies to make. The banana flavor is very mild. The spice flavors are only hinted at. The cookies aren't really cookies--they are muffins. Bready--not crunchy or chewy. We decided next time we will try baking them in muffin tins and eating them at breakfast, hot, with butter. I think you could try increasing the spices. I think peanut butter might be good in the mix.


Guadelupe River Pie

My Grandmother used to make this frequently. It's wonderfully gooey and rich and can be made with different flavors of pudding. She even made it with pistachio one time. I have seen this called something like River Bottom Pie and also Pudding Cake.

3/4 c soft margarine
1/2 c walnuts and/or pecans
1 1/2 c flour

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 container Cool Whip
1 c powdered sugar
1 large pkg instant pudding (plus ingredients to prepare as directed)

Cut together the first three ingredients and then press into a 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, then cool.

Beat together the cream cheese, 1 c of the Cool Whip and the powdered sugar. Spread on the cooled base. Cover with the instant pudding, made as directed on the package.

Top with remaining Cool Whip. Chill, then serve. (Best to cut this into tiny portions as it is very rich.)


Carnival of Thanksgiving Recipes

In the mailbag:
"Wiley and Janet at The BBQ General have been working hard to round up a roster of recipes we should all be thankful for, and the Carnival of the Recipes is now up for your viewing pleasure.

There's something for everyone - from roast turkey accompaniments to roast possum. (No, that one wasn't from this Mississippi girl. No roadkill jokes, please!) ;) I am thankful for all of you who volunteer to host - and for those of you who faithfully read what we post each week. In a way, it's our own way of breaking bread together and giving thanks for the fellowship and friendship that our love of cooking has given us. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Next week's Carnival will be hosted by A Geek Family.

For a line-up of future Carnivals , visit our Carnival of the Recipes page on Blog Carnival. You can also review all past Carnival of the Recipes there too."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

In the Mail: The Carnival of Recipes is Up!

"Adam at Men in Aprons has been working hard to round up great breakfast and brunch recipes for all of us to enjoy, and the Carnival of the Recipes is now up for your viewing pleasure: Brunch is a late breakfast, so it's fitting that this edition is a little late. Adam was having some hosting issues - but all's well that ends well. Go grab yourself a mimosa and enjoy all of these new recipes - all in the name of research for Christmas brunch.

Next week's Carnival will be hosted by The BBQ General at

For a line-up of future Carnivals , visit our Carnival of the Recipes page on Blog Carnival. You can also review all past Carnival of the Recipes there too."

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Call for Submissions

Love trains? Love someone who loves trains? Boys, girls, young men, and old. There's just something captivating and innocently joyful about trains--and especially so about model trains.

Come celebrate that innocent joy with the Roundhouse Roundup, a blog carnival for model train engineers of every kind--from Thomas and his wooden railroad to all the scales of not-toy railroads up to and including ride-on trains. All are invited to climb aboard! You may not come away from the Roundhouse looking like this, but then again, you may get inspired!

The deadline for submitting posts to the Roundhouse Roundup is Midnight Monday. The Roundhouse Roundup will appear in this space Wednesday morning, the 28th. If you miss the deadline, never fear! The Second Roundhouse Roundup will be hosted here at the end of July (more information to come). Submit easily using either the Blog Carnival submission form here or the Conservative Cat Carnival Submit Form here. Other information can be found here. Even if you don't submit this time, please help publicize the Roundup--and consider submitting next time! Thank you!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I'm Blogging Elsewhere

Because I've screwed up this template so badly, I've decided not to try to rebuild it. Instead, I am blogging at The Thomas Institute now. Please stop by and say Hi!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"New" Computer

I have a "new" computer! DH had to build a brand new top shelf computer for his business partner and so he got the hand-me-downs for his home computer, which means I got the hand-me-downs from that computer.
I now have a bigger monitor, which is so wonderful for these old eyes, don't you know! I have a faster processor and two new hard drives. I have gone from 6 gig of memory to 50! Oh, yeah! I have room for my digital photos, now. I inherited my father-in-laws old HP scanner, which works like a dream. I have a cd drive and a dvd-r drive. And, for Christmas, I got a card reader (for my camera) that fits into the 3 1/2" slot.
DH installed Mozilla for me and I am loving that for email(Thunderbird) and for the internet(Firefox). I am continuing to use the Canon Pixma iP1500 printer and get great results with it. It is a very inexpensive printer--like 50$ new--but is a photo printer, so it turns out great photos, t-shirt transfers, transparencies, stickers, etc.
My new set-up has me scrapbooking like a maniac, let me tell you! (I use my computer to print titles or journaling, to make copies of photos, to scan DS' art and reduce it to include on a page, etc, etc. I have not gotten to the point of actually making the pages digitally. I don't know if I will--I like the scissors and the glue and the paper!)
I guess I'm through bragging now. Just wait, when we finally get a highspeed internet connection, I'll be back bragging again! LOL!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Progress Report

Well, DH got the job! They asked him on Friday last and he started this Monday! I think he's going to like it: the first day the big boss told him he was overdressed and by the second day the other guys were kidding around with him!

As for me and my 1/2 marathon goal, I am right on track. My short-term goals for this month are: move every day. Walk every other day. (A pattern that will eventually become a long run every other day.) Walk a mile comfortably.
So far: I have moved every day, except the day after I fell on the RR tracks (you should see my bruises!). I have walked 6 days out of 11.
I walked 8/10 mile today comfortably, with a tiny bit of a jog worked in.

Perhaps, most important of all, I am feeling really good, physically and mentally. I am losing my embarrassment and doubt. I am looking forward to my daily exercise. DS and DH(when he can) participate, too. I am not going overboard with enthusiasm, only to crash and burn--I know I have to take it slowly, and I am satisfied to do so. This is a huge attitude change from anything else I've ever tried.

I want to bring to your attention the runner's log at In the sidebar, I have linked to my log there. I really like it. It is easy to set up and to use--and it's free! I do not get spammed by the host. I like filling it in and seeing the totals adding up. It is a great motivator! I recommend it!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

My Other Goal

In my previous post, I told you about my first goal or job for myself in this new year, and that was to teach DS to read. Now, I'm willing to tell you what my other goal/job for the new year is: completing a half-marathon. December 10, 2006 is the White Rock marathon in Dallas. They also have a half-marathon, which I have set me sights on.

You have to understand that I am starting at nothing--maybe worse than nothing!--so that this is a HUGE undertaking and, truly, a year-long commitment. I can imagine a bit of the pride I will feel when I have done it and I am going to hold on to that feeling to help me through the year.

I am telling you about it as a symbol of my seriousness and as a sort of accountability. In fact, I am putting a link to my on-line running log in the sidebar. Please feel free to go and check it out and see how I'm doing and to needle me if it looks like I haven't done anything in awhile!

Actually, calling it a running log is a misnomer as I am not yet ready to run. At the moment it is really a walking log. I do not really know if I will be physically able to run the half-marathon--or even to follow through with this goal. I am already experiencing arthritis in my knees and hips. However, if my body will let me, I WILL do it. I am going to take it very slowly and pay close attention to any pain signals. I do not want to cripple myself, after all. I have been doing some reading though, and found one study that showed that the incidence of arthritis in long-distance runners is lower than in long-distance swimmers, for instance. Another doctor stated that weight-bearing excercise actually is necessary for the production of synovial fluid, which is what cushions your joints. So, I am hopeful.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year's Eve!

Aileen, thanks for stopping by again and encouraging me to post, again. Please give me a link to your blog, since I stupidly lost my links when I changed the format of this blog. I'm sorry to admit that means I haven't been reading your blog--but I will as soon as you remind me of it! (Insert embarrassed blush here!)

I made the Pecan Wheat muffins the other day--and I don't know what I did wrong, but something definitely went terribly, terribly wrong! They tasted bitter to the point that they were inedible!

I made the Oatmeal Cookie Bars, too, this time with cinnamon chips and raisins. Ummm, raisins! They were very good, but not so compatible with DH's diet. Raisins, after all, being concentrated pellets of carbs.

We've had a very nice holiday--I hope yours has been good, too! The in-laws were able to come here from VA. DS loves to see them! They come in their RV and park it on the street in front of the house. DS goes out to their "house" all the time when they are here. Unfortunately, we won't be seeing my parents for a while. We are not traveling because of the job situation, and neither are they.

Speaking of the job situation, DH has a second interview on Wed or Thurs with this guy who sought him out! It's a Swedish organization, which might mean some travel--but would still be right here. Closer, in fact, than his previous location. He thinks working for a company with a European mindset would be a good thing. I'm real hopeful, of course. Cross your fingers for us!

We are not going out tonight. We may not even stay up until midnight. I do, however, have a prediction for the New Year: I am 100% sure that we will wake up in the morning to news stories of raging brush fires, because, even though there are fireworks bans in place due to the drought, fireworks have still been sold and stupid people will feel compelled to use them. Sunday is supposed to a very high fire danger day, with high temps, low humidity and winds gusting up to 50 mph. How accurate do you think my prediction will be?

Do you do new year's resolutions? I don't usually because I can't even keep them for a week! LOL! However, I have things I MUST do this year. I won't call them resolutions--I am going to think of them as jobs. My homeschool job is to teach DS to read and write this Winter/Spring. He's already at least half way there, but it's not something I've ever done before. I'm going to use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and Handwriting Without Tears.

The other "job" I'm not confident enough yet to say out loud. I have to do some research. I'll let you know, though.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Oatmeal Cookie Bars

1 c margarine
1 c packed brown sugar
1/3 c sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ t vanilla
1 ½ c flour
1 t baking soda
2 ½ c oats (quick-cooking)
11-12 oz butterscotch chips (2 small or 1 large bag)

Melt margarine a bit—add sugars and stir. Add eggs and vanilla—beat. Mix together flour and baking soda, then add to sugar mixture. Stir in oats. Stir in chips.
Spray 2 8x8 pans with nonstick cooking spray. Turn batter into pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool several minutes then cut into squares and finish cooling on rack.

This is a 10 with butterscotch chips, an 8 with semisweet chocolate or cinnamon chips, and a 5 with peanut butter or vanilla chips.
Can use Splenda instead of granulated sugar.
Can use white wheat flour instead of white flour.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pecan Wheat Muffins

Mix together the following dry ingredients:
1 c. flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. pecans
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. dried orange peel
1/4 c. brown sugar

Next, mix together the following wet ingredients:
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. oil

Combine all. Pour into muffin cups (use paper liners) and bake at 400 for 18 to 20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

Note: these are best right our of the oven, buttered, or toasted and buttered if eaten later.
Note: the original recipe called for 1/2 cup honey and no brown sugar. I didn't have enough honey to do--but you might want to try it and see what flavor change it makes. The original recipe also called for 1/2 teaspoon of fresh grated lemon peel, also something I didn't have. Try that, too, and see what kind of flavor it adds.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Wow, I did not realize it had been so long!

I've really been slacking off lately, huh? I keep thinking of things I need to blog about, but I never get to it. One reason is that I have been working on ready-made scrapbooks to sell at a sort of craft fair this past weekend. I wanted to have a big selection and have been working on that almost exclusively lately. Well, the people in charge totally muffed the publicity and I dodn't sell a one. I was really hopeful, too, as we really need the money.
DH is out of work. He's looking--even I'm thinking of looking. I do not want to go back to work, but we don't always get what we want, do we? Well, times are tough right now, but I have no doubt that something great is coming our way. By the way, Dh's got a BSEE degree and 5 patents to his name--if you know of any jobs, let me know!
I made some really great pecan muffins I will share here, I promise. They are really good toasted and spread with butter--only lightly sweet and DH can eat them without sending his glucose number too high.
We had a very nice Thanksgiving. Our two surrogate grannies came over and I served roasted turkey, mashed potatoes with Boursin, green beans with bacon, squash and pearl onions. DH made a wonderful pan gravy, and for desert I made some oatmeal cookie bars. I guess I should share that recipe, too! On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, my Mom and her husband and my brother came in for the day. That was such a lovely visit!
Well, I do need to go for now, but I promise to do better in future!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

16 Free Recipe Postcards

from the California Olive people! Sign up quick!

The Little Engine That Could

"The Little Engine That Could" is one of my favorite kid's books. I just love the message and believe it to be true. Even if you don't love trains the way we love trains in our house, you'll love this inspirational kid's book!

I found some fun links related to The Little Engine that I thought I would share with you. Here's a page with some history of the story, it's versions and printings, and the various authors who have told the story. The very first telling and author seem to be lost now to the mists of time!

Here's a page showing pictures of a 15 inch gauge train that a guy has made to ride around in his yard. This scale is twice as big as the trains we have in our yard. This page loads slow on dial-up because of the pictures and of a sound file.

Did you know you can take a ride on the The Little Engine? Well, now you can! The Little Engine traveled to about 10 different scenic railroads in 2005 and surely will do so again in 2006. The Little Engine "pulls" coaches belonging to the scenic railroad that it is at and you ride on the coaches.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

More Fun Reads

Bound For Murder, by Laura Childs, was a quick, enjoyable read. The story involves a young woman about to get married, her fiance who is murdered, and a scrapbook shop owner who solves the mystery all set in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Laura Childs has a series of scrapbook mysteries, as well as a series of tea shop mysteries.

Katie MacAlister has written, among other things, a series of vampire books. But wait! They are not what you think. They are hot and steamy romance novels and the vampires are the heroes! So far I have read A Girl's Guide to Vampires and Sex and the Single Vampire. You should read these two in that order.

Kinley MacGregor has a series of hot romance novels set during the Crusades, called the Brotherhood of the Sword. Each novel has it's own set of main characters, but the peripheral characters are common to all the stories. Her characters are very well-drawn--you really like them. I'm not sure of the reading order, I have read a few in random order and not had any surprises.

Let me know if you read any of these and what you think of them. What are you reading for light entertainment?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Great Cooking Resource

Bar Charts, Inc. is the publisher of Quick Study guides, heavily laminated notebook paper size study guides. You've probably seen them in college bookstores, etc. They are inexpensive, sturdy and jam-packed with all the notes you need.
Did you know, though, that they have a whole inventory of cooking-related reference guides? Just look at all the choices!
Through a promotional deal, I received the "Chef's Math" guide. This one guide: suggests the measuring tools and thermometers you need; gives liquid and dry measuring tips; gives oven and microwave oven, high altitude, and liquid and dry conversions; gives food storage guidelines; lists equivalences and substitions; lists cookware capacities; gives broiling, braising and roasting tips along with times; and suggests serving quantities for parties. This is a whole cookbook's worth of information in a six-fold panel that would fit easily into any kitchen drawer.
They also carry a small selection of reference guides for birthday parties and games for kids.

Healthy Recipe Contest for Texas Kids

I got the following from an e-list I belong to. Good luck to all who enter!
Open to all Texas residents from ages 6-18 who have their own special healthy recipe they'd like to share.
Send an e-mail with your name and address to and they will send you details and an entry postcard for the 2005 Kids Kitchen Corral Contest.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Comment Spam

I have gotten SO much comment spam over the last couple of weeks! I wish these people could be strung up by their goolies!
I have turned on the word verification to see if that slows it down, at least. I'm sorry that that adds a step for those who truly have something to say, but what else can I do short of turning off the comments completely?
Thanks for understanding!