Friday, September 30, 2011

I Won Eggs!

So I entered this contest at In Katrina's Kitchen where you can win all this stuff from Eggland's Best.  And guess what????  I won!  Wanna see what I won?
A coupon for 2 dozen free eggs, a coupon for 6 dozen hard boiled eggs, an apron, a reusable grocery bag, a whisk, a spatula, egg timer, 4 little ramekins, and a plush little egg.  Pretty neat eh?

Incidentally, Blockette LOVES the plush egg.  She has named him Eggy and insists on sleeping all snuggled up with him every night.  What a nut!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thankful Thursday 38.11

1. Peppermint tea isn't toxic to cats.

2. Blockette took her punishment like a big girl.

3. Having some nice grown up conversations with people from church.

4. Mrblocko squooshed Jiminy Cricket for me.

5. Not using the sour cream for a cheesy bread recipe when I already had it slated for use in Tuesday's dinner.

6. Mrblocko remembered to leave me the big golf umbrella so I didn't get soaked waiting with Blockette for the bus.

7. Blockette said that her sticker board reward (a necklace) was better than a DS (what she thought she was getting).

8. My cats gratitude when I turned the heat on.  (Of course I did it for least that's what they think.)

9. I was already awake when Blockette slammed her bedroom door after going to the bathroom in the wee (no pun intended) hours of the morning.

10. Mrblocko leaving just a bit later than usual so Blockette could spend some time reading to both of us.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sugar Free Butterbeer Pops

What is Butterbeer? Well, in the Harry Potter Universe it is a popular butterscotch-esque flavored drink that gets house elves, but not humans, intoxicated. They sell this drink at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando Florida.
It tastes sort of like a combination of butterscotch, ice cream, shortbread and cream soda.  It's very rich and sweet.

I found this recipe in my little black recipe binder.  It was right below the recipe for Orange Dreamsicles. I have no idea where I found this recipe, but it's been in that binder forever. The Popsicles are titled Buterscotchsicles, but I think Butterbeer Pops sounds much more betterer. Don't you?

Below is the original recipe, with my changes in parenthesis.

1 pkg Butterscotch Instant pudding (I used sugar free)
1 c rootbeer (I used Diet)
1 1/2 c water (I used milk)

Mix all ingredients, pour into molds and freeze.

Blockette was obsessed with touching the popsicle.  I'm not sure what that was all about.  Maybe because there were bits of pudding powder that didn't fully dissolve?  They left little tiny tan polka dots all over the frozen pops. 

The next time I make this I will use cream soda.  I think that would make them even more butterbeer-y.  But I just happened to have root beer on hand so that's what I used.  I will also churn the concoction in the ice cream maker before pouring them into the molds. The pops were sort of crystallized and icy in the center.  They weren't so icy that it was hard to bite into, but more crunchy that a Popsicle should have been.  Maybe that was from the carbonation in the root beer? 

Iciness aside, these were a big hit with Blockette.  I will most definitely make them again.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Maple Oatmeal Bread

Ah bread. I missed the sweet tempting fresh-out-of-the-oven mouth watering aroma this summer.  Aren't you glad it's not insanely hot anymore and it's actually nice to turn the oven on for a change? 

Funny thing about this particular bread was that I made it way back in May.  Yup.  Kept this little gem from you all summer.  The thing was that it made two loaves.  Oh me and the rest of the Blockos devoured the first loaf like a swarm of locust.  But the second loaf?  I stuck that bad boy in the freezer.  I was curious how he would hold up.

So I waited. And waited.  And waited.   Finally, at the end of July, I carefully let the precious loaf defrost in the fridge.  It was no where as wonderful as the fresh loaf, but it made some kickin toast. 

Head on over to The Fresh Loaf for the Maple Oatmeal Bread recipe.
2 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup rolled oats
1 package dry yeast
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon oil
5 cups flour

Put the oats into a bowl. Pour the boiling water over the oats and set aside for an hour.Mix the yeast, syrup, salt, and oil into the oats. Mix in 3 cups of the flour. Cover the bowl and let rise for an hour. Add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is the correct consistency. Knead for 10 minutes. Cut the dough into two pieces, then shape it into loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise another 45 minutes. Bake at 350 for 40 - 50 minutes. Makes 2 loaves

Monday, September 26, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Feast your eyes on that baby. That little masterpiece, my friends, is Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream from Ezra Pound Cake. Aw yeah.

Not bad for my second attempt at ice cream.
This ice cream tastes exactly like what it says it is. Strawberry cheesecake, in ice cream goodness. Have mercy.

This ice cream takes a tinsy bit more work than your average ice cream as you have to bake a graham cracker crust, and let it get cold in the fridge.  It's worth it though.  Trust me.  That crust is half the cheesecake party in your mouth.

This recipe calls for the zest of one lemon and 1/2 c frozen berries.  I omitted both of them.  I didn't have a lemon and Mrblocko and I aren't big fans of huge chunks of fruit in our ice cream.  The next time I make this I'm going to add the lemon zest to see if it adds anything special to the mix.  As for the fruit, I think if I put frozen berries into a blender to chop them up, that might be ok.  Although, then I'd have to worry about seeds.  I don't want no stinkin' seeds in my ice cream.  Maybe a chunkier seedless jam verses a jelly would be a better route to take.

In case anyone is wondering, I used full fat versions of both cream cheese and sour cream.  I was worried if I altered the fat content, the ice cream might not set up properly.  Next time I think I'll risk a low fat version.

It's such a shame that I've got to do some more experimenting with this recipe.  Oh the things we do in the name of food.

Mixed Berry Cheesecake Ice Cream from Ezra Pound Cake Makes about 3 cups
Graham Cracker Crumble:
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 5 crackers)
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Ice Cream:
Zest of 1 lemon
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup half-and-half
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup red jelly (strawberry, raspberry or currant), warmed in the microwave until melted
1/2 cup frozen berries

For the Ice Cream: Place lemon zest in a food processor .Cut cream cheese into small pieces, and add it to lemon zest. Then add sour cream, half-and-half, sugar and salt. Blend til smooth.
Transfer mix to a bowl, cover it, and chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

For the Graham Cracker Crumble: Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter til moistened. Transfer to a 9" springform pan, pie plate or cake pan. Press crumbs into bottom of pan. (Don’t worry if they don’t cover the entire bottom of the pan.) Bake 7 min. Cool to room temperature. Using a fork, gently break crust into small crumbs. Set aside.

Once the ice cream mix chilled for at least 4 hours, freeze in ice cream maker according to  manufacturer’s instructions. During last few minutes of churning, add 1/4 c Graham Cracker Crumble.
As transfer ice cream from machine to a freezer-safe container, place half of ice cream into  container. Sprinkle half of frozen berries onto ice cream, followed by a few spoonfuls of melted jelly to create a thin layer over the ice cream. (Do not stir.) Then spoon rest of ice cream over jelly. Sprinkle  remaining berries on top and a few spoonfuls of Graham Cracker Crumble. Place a layer of plastic wrap over ice cream, fasten a lid on container, and place container in freezer for at least 4 hours before serving.

To serve, top ice cream with any remaining Graham Cracker Crumble. Or, make a topping for the ice cream by warming leftover jelly in microwave and tossing remaining berries in jelly til well mixed.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Two Strand Twisty Braid

I saw the neatest looking braid on Girly Do's by Jenn.  It's called a two strand braid and it is awesome.  I couldn't stop thinking about it.  How it would look, how I would hold the hair while twisting and adding hair, etc.  So I just put the silly braid in Blockette's hair so I could go about my life not thinking about the two stranded twisty braid.

It turned out so much way better than I thought it would. And it didn't take any longer to do than a regular French Braid.
This is the picture you get when you are running out the door for church and realize that if you don't take a picture of the child's hair RIGHT now you will never get a picture because it could just fall out completely by the time you get home.

Blockette's hair stayed surprisingly well in this style, even after a day of being stuck inside and rolling around on the floor, and under blankets.  The next time I put this braid in, I think I will put some mousse or gel in her hair before I style it, and somehow convince Blockette to keep the hair binders on while she sleeps.  If we had done this she would have had some really cool looking waves in her hair the next day.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

'11 Unhappy Dance #24: Cardboard Cat Scratcher

I found directions for a Corrugated Cardboard Cat Scratching Mat at Design Sponge and thought, "Why not give it a try?" I find it highly amusing that it is made from a box that held kitty litter. 

Sadly, it has been an epic fail with the kitties.  The only time the cats paid any attention to it was when I took this photo. They only to sniffed around it to check it out, not to use it for its intended purpose, scratchin'. 

I think they don't care for it because the rows of cardboard aren't even.  I did my best, but the box cutter we have has seen better days.  I'm surprised it cut the cardboard at all. 

Oh well, it was a fun little experiment.  The only thing I was out was some tape, a box destined for the recycle bin and a bit of my time.  Would that all my crafting flops turn out this good.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Chocolate Chip Prezel Bars

I made these Chocolate chip pretzel bars from Brown Eyed Baker for Mrblocko's family reunion.  This recipe was of Mrblocko's choosing.  I gave him 5 or 6 recipes to pick from and this one struck his fancy.  I think it was the combination of the salty and sweet.  I liked this recipe because I had all the ingredients on hand.
Or at least I thought I did.  When I got ready to make these bars I realized I was short on chocolate chips.  So for the chips in the dough I used 1 cup semi sweet chips, 1/2 cup butterscotch chips and 1/2 cup white chips.  It worked out wonderfully.

For some reason these bars didn't set up exactly right.  They were slightly gooey/doughy, which leads me to believe that I should have cooked them longer.  After 35 minutes in the oven the edges had browned which lead me to believe they were properly done.  The bars tasted great, they just didn't want to hold together like they were supposed to.  Luckily, it didn't stop anyone from chowing down on these tastey treats.  People just ate the bars with a fork!

Chocolate Chip and Pretzel Cookie Bars from Brown Eyed Baker  Makes 32 squares
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12-ounce bag bittersweet (or semisweet, if you prefer) chocolate chips
1½ cups mini pretzel twists, coarsely chopped
¼ cup chocolate chips, for drizzling (optional)
¼ cup peanut butter, for drizzling (optional)
¼ cup pretzels, crumbled, for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt. Using a mixer, beat the butter and both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and pretzel pieces. Spread the batter evenly in the pan and press it down evenly with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool completely. In separate sandwich size baggies, melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter. Cut off a small corner on each bag and drizzle the chocolate and peanut butter over the top of the bars. Sprinkle the extra crushed pretzels on top. Let set and then cut into squares.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thankful Thursday 37.11

1. The internet problem fixed itself.
2. Free download of Portal on Steam.
3. The spider landed in Mrblocko's lap, not mine.
4. Nothing noticeably wrong with Basil's insides.
5. Blockette's soccer game was neither blazing hot or freezing cold.
6. I'm caught up on all the episodes of The Guild (a web based show about computer gamers) so I can quit wasting my morning watching old episodes.
7. I slept all night in my own bed.
8. Sleeping all night in my own bed meant I didn't have to sleep downstairs with Jiminy Cricket.
9. Basil had the rompies...he is feeling better!
10. Remembering Blockette's school library book before the bus came.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Bread...Now with Toffee

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know my relationship with bananas.  Yeah, they aren't my best buddy.  But, my family loves bananas and I am forced to co-exist with those varmints. (The bananas, not my family.  Well, I'm forced to live with them too, but that's a whole 'nuther ball o' wax.)  Sometimes, as much as they like bananas, they don't eat them before they get brown, so I wind up with random bananas in my freezer. 

The banana situation had  gotten a bit out of control, so I took matters into my own hands and made this Peanut butter Banana bread.  I found this recipe in Penzeys Spices back to school catalog. The recipe was submitted by Meredith Wittmann.
I was concerned that this bread was burning while it was cooking.  The edges got so super dark, while a toothpick tester in the center was still coming out gooey.  I had to cook this loaf for 75 min.  The dark edges?  They were surprisingly tasty, and not burnt at all.  The dark color of the bread may or may not have been from my use of toffee chips. 

Why toffee chips?  I had them in the pantry and was sick of looking at them as well.  The bag had been partially used for Blockette's cake LAST year!  Time to use those bad boys up.  I didn't measure how much I used, so if you are going add toffee chips, use 1/2 to 3/4 of a bag.  I think cinnamon, chocolate, or even peanut butter chips would make a good addition too.

Even I, banana hater extraordinaire, loved this bread.  Cause, guess what?  There was only a whisper of a taste of banana.  So if you love stinky banana-y banana bread, this is not the recipe for you.  Oh, go ahead and make it, you'll love it anyway.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread
3 ripe bananas, sliced (mine were frozen, so I defrosted and mashed them)
2 eggs
1/2 c vanilla yogurt (I used light and fit)
1/2 c peanut butter(I used creamy, but I bet chunky would taste just as yummy.)
3 T melted butter
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c ground flax seed (You can leave this out, but it adds a light nutty flavor and it's good for you too so you should just put it in anyways.)
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon (mine was heaping)
1 t Penzey's baking spice (I used 1/4 t nutmeg, 1/8 t cloves and heaping 1/2 t ginger)
1 1/2 c flour
Whatever amount of toffee chips/bits o brickle you have left in your bag (1/2 c -1 c)

Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.  In a large bowl combine bananas, eggs, yogurt, peanut butter, and melted butter.  Beat on medium speed until well blended.  Add sugars.  Beat til blended.  Add flax, baking soda, and spices.  Blend on low speed.  Mix in flour until combined as well.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 65-75 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before turning out of pan onto a rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cake Batter Ice Cream

It was pink. It was creamy.  It was cold.  It was just plain good.  So, how in the world did I manage to not get a picture of the first ice cream I ever made?  I haven't a clue.  It's just not right.  Of course I realized this on the day that I, personally, ate the last of my wonderful frozen concoction.  I can't even blame it on my husband.  I mean I guess I could.  I'm sure if I thought long and hard about it it would somehow be his fault.  So let's just go with that.  ::shakes fist at Mrblocko:: How could you?!

I found the recipe for Cake batter ice cream on Plain Chicken. What better ice cream to make for the first time, in an ice cream maker that was a birthday present, than cake batter ice cream.  I had bought a pink strawberry cake mix on sale a few months before Blockette's birthday, thinking that she would want a pink cake.  That was before we decided on a rainbow theme, and before we were inviting "M" who would rather not have anything to do with pink.  This seemed like a good way to use up the cake mix.

Incredibly, the ice cream tasted just like an ice cream version of cake batter, without the added bonus of salmonella.  The texture was a bit on the grainy side, which was weird at first, but I got over it by the second bite.  I'm not sure if the texture was due to the fact that I substituted skim milk for whole and half and half for cream.  Or maybe I didn't incorporate the cake mix into the dairy properly.  Or possibly that's just the way it was supposed to be.

As we had a plethora of sprinkles leftover from Blockette's party, this became our favorite way to eat the ice cream.  It was like eating pink funfetti cake.  The sprinkles also masked the slightly grainy texture. 

I'm definitely going to make this version again with other cake mix flavors.  I can't wait to experiment some more with this recipe.  I wonder how the ice cream would taste with muffin or cookie mix added in!  The possibilities are endless. 

If you took a look at the recipe on Plain Chicken you will have noticed that the recipe only called for 2/3 c of cake mix.  So what am I going to do with the rest of the cake mix?  Oh.  I have several evil plans.  Muhahaha!  Keep a look out for more cake mix posts in the not too terribly distant future.

Cake Batter Ice Cream from Plain Chicken
1 cup whole milk, well chilled3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup cake mix

Place freezer bowl of ice cream maker into the freezer. It is better to keep it in there 24/7 that way it is always ready. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla to taste. Stir in cake mix, making sure there are no lumps. Pour mixture into the freezer bowl and let mix until it has thickened (about 25-30 minutes). Remove ice cream from freezer bowl and place into a separate container. Place freezer bowl and the ice cream into the freezer to further harden.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cooked Dried Beans

It seems like I'm making Pesto bean dip every week now.  This is super awesome because it means that we are all eating lots of veggies.  I wondered how hard it would be to make this bean dip totally from scratch.  It seems like it would be at least a little bit healthier in the sense that canned beans contain a LOT of salt. In addition to being healthier, dried beans are loads cheaper.
Meijers doesn't carry cannelloni or great northern beans in bulk. They do carry something called Peruano Beans.  They are sort of yellowish, but as you can see from the photo above they cook up on the brownish side. 

Since I had never cooked dried beans I used my handy dandy internet to find out exactly how to go about doing it. I knew that some dried beans contain a toxin that has symptoms like food poisoning if the beans aren't cooked properly. I found this informative recipe for cooked pinto beans from Tammy's Kitchen.  I wasn't sure if Peruano beans needed to be cooked any differently, so I referred to this recipe on how to cook mayocoba beans from  (Mayocoba is another name for Peruano Beans.)  Yup.  Pretty much the same directions.

Apparently, there is a debate as to weather or not to add salt to the beans in the cooking process.  Some people say that it is the only way to flavor the bean, and others say that adding salt increases the toughness of the bean.  Since I was adding lots of flavors to the bean dip, and salt, I decided to omit the salt in the cooking process.  I think if I was making refried beans, where the beans are the highlight of the dish, I would boil them with salt.  For the purposes of this dip, it just isn't necessary.

The first time I made beans I cooked them for a whole hour and a half.  I have found this to be overkill for the purposes of making dip.   I'll usually boil them from anywhere between 20 minutes to a hour, depending on how much time I have, and other activities that are going on in the kitchen.

When I cook up beans, I make up somewhere around a whole to a half of a pound, depending on how much room I have in my freezer.  I use a generous cup of cooked beans per batch of dip, and I freeze the remaining beans in similar portions.  The cooked beans freeze wonderfully.  They just need to defrost in the fridge the day before, and they are ready to be zipped around in a food processor.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

11' Happy Dance #23: Bias tape on Embroidery Hoop

I have been wrangling with this embroidery hoop for probably 15 years. I had heard a while ago that you get a much nicer tension on your fabric if you wrap the hoop with bias tape.  I finally up and did this after being reminded of this (again) on Stitching Away.
How sad is it that it's taken me years and years of fighting with the hoop, and 15 minutes of wrapping the hoop to solve the problem?  Sheesh. 
I used this weird looking Christmas themed bias tape my mom gave me a while ago.  I know she had it for years and years.  I'm not sure what it has originally been purchased for, but I had no clue what I was going create from it.  It's nice to know that I found a use for at least part of it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

'11 Happy Dance #22: Blockette's Purse

Blockette got her very own real live wallet for her birthday. She even has her very own real live library card to put in it.  It's a very real live big deal.  Blockette had been temporarily using her fish bag as a means for transporting her wallet to and fro. But sometimes, you just don't feel like toting around a fish bag.  Variety in one's accessories is essential for someone so fashionable as Missy Ma'am. So being the awesome mom that I am, I told her that I would make her a purse. 

Several years ago, I had the brilliant idea of making a string quilt.  The project sort of fizzled as I got tired assembling the blocks.  It's a great way to use up fabric scraps, but for me, it was really, really boring.  Since I already had a stack of these quilt blocks assembled I decided to use them for the outside of the bag.

The string quilt blocks were essentially strips of fabric that formed a diagonal stripe across the square.  I took two of the blocks that I thought would have the most pleasing color combinations to Blockette and placed them right sides together.  Then, I drew a line down the center and sewed 1/4" on each side of that line.  Then I cut on the line that I drew.  This gave me 2 blocks with a "V" shaped stripe. 

I repeated the process again, matching up the blocks at the center seam, with the fabric right sides together.  Only this time, I made the center line perpendicular to the first seam.  After I drew the center line and sewed 1/4" on each side of that line, I cut down the center line I had just drawn.  When you do this, you get a block that makes an "X" and a block that makes an "O". 
I wanted the purse to be a little more sturdy than just an outer layer and a lining, plus I thought this would be an excellent way to practice doing some free motion quilting.  I mean I've only had that stupid free motion foot for a year.  I've been scared to use it.  Living in fear that I would ruin whatever it was that I was going to stitch on.  Well that is just down right silly.

This whole free motion thing is going to take a bit of practice, but it was not as hard as I thought it was going to be.  I made sort of a squiggly maze like pattern on the "X" and a loopy pattern on the "O".  It's not exactly how I intended it to come out, but I am happy with it as my first real attempt at machine quilting.

Originally, I had thought about using batting, but I thought that might make the bag too thick and poofy.  So, I used part of an old flannel receiving blanket from when Blockette was a baby as backing/batting.  I'm tellin' you if you are a crafter with a newborn, don't throw these suckers out. (The receiving blankets that is.) You'll find a plethora of uses for them down the road.  Don't throw your baby away either.  You'll find loads of uses for them down the road as well.  (Like fetching kleenexes when you are horribly stricken with allergies.)

I opted for just one layer of the flannel.  I didn't want the fabric to get too stiff after it was quilted.  As it was, once the fabric was quilted together, it provided the perfect amount of stability for the purse.  Hooray for an educated guess!
I wanted to add as a side note about free motion quilting...they sell these special gloves with grippy bits on them that help you hold onto the fabric as you quilt.  I think these gloves are awesome, but most of them won't fit over bracers.  As I have carpal tunnel, bracers are essential for machine quilting.  After Halloween I found these stretchy gloves on clearance in the boy's section at Target.  Since they are stretchy, they fit wonderfully over my bracers. They have a great grippy surface exactly where I need it.  I think the design is supposed to go on the outside of the glove, but who cares!
So here is the finished bag. I made the lining an inch or so taller than the exterior of the bag and just folded it over and stitched it down on the outside of the bag.  I was originally going to cut the lining the same size as the quilted outside, and cover the seam with bias tape.  Then I realized I was creating a lot more work for myself. Plus, I love the fabric I used for the lining, and I think it looks cute peeking over the opening of the purse.

To attach the straps I used a scrap of bias tape I had leftover from another project.  One of the buttons is hiding the seam where the fabric was joined.  I left some slack in the fabric so I could "thread" the straps through the sides.  The blue bias tape is only attached on the front and back of the purse to allow for this.

The straps were made from a strip of fabric 2 inches wide.  I folded in a scant 1/2 inch seam on each side, just like you would if you were making bias tape.  The only real difference is I didn't cut the fabric on the bias.  I thought that would make the strap too stretchy, in addition to being a lot more work.  A double knot on each side of a white wooden bead keeps the straps in place.

I used a little circle of velcro as a closure.  I thought it would be the easiest way to make sure the bag stayed properly shut.  The bag is small enough that it seems like the bag shuts itself when it's not being rummaged through.

When I got to this point, I thought the bag could use a little glamor.  I went through my button box and thought the rainbow button, the hearts and stars made the perfect final touch.  Besides, Blockette LOVES buttons.  (Blockette always manages to con my mother into buying some for her every time we go to JoAnn Fabrics together.  How come she never buys me any buttons?  Wah!  Wait, she brings me cool stuff like Nutella and peppery pistachios.  NEVERMIND!)

So there you have it, a little purse for Blockette that cost me zero dollars to make.  I love it when that happens.  Crafter stash to the rescue!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cornbread Biscuits

Once upon a time there was a sweet little buttermilk biscuit.  Sweet little buttermilk biscuit was walking through the forest when she came upon the hunky cornbread muffin. It was love at first sight.  They had a whirlwind courtship and a shot gun wedding.  They probably shouldn't have listened to Barry White, or Sade for that matter.  Tisk. Tisk. Naughty, naughty little quick breads.

Seriously, these cornmeal buttermilk biscuits from Liv Life are half biscuit and half cornbread muffin.  If a biscuit and a cornbread muffin could have a baby, this would be it.

These biscuits may look like cornbread in their coloring, but the texture is that of your run of the mill buttermilk biscuit. They taste similar to cornbread, but instead of the usual gritty mouth feel of  cornbread, they have the light airy meltyness of a biscuit. I think I would have been weirded out after the first bite, had I not prepared myself for the flavor hybrid.

I think I may have over handled the biscuits. They didn't rise like they did on Liv Life.  This may have also been because I cut the biscuits with a pizza cutter.  After I did this, I remembered that when you cut biscuits you should use an up and down motion, not side to side or you will lose some of the loft in your biscuits. 

Luckily, my cutting, or over handling error, did not result in super dense, rock hard biscuits.  They were denser than they probably should have been, but were still easy to break apart and chew.  Not too shabby for my first attempt at biscuits from scratch.

Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits from Liv Life
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives til mix resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk; stir just til moist. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat dough into 8x4" rectangle. Cut dough by making 1 lengthwise cut and 3 crosswise cuts to form 8 biscuits. Place biscuits, 1 inch apart, on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 12 min til golden. Serve biscuits warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday 36.11

1. The sound of crickets doesn't drive me bonkers at night.
2. Deferred payments.
3. Chocolate frozen dairy concoctions.
4. Amusing zombie books.
5. I'm not a zombie.
6. My meeting this Wed got moved.
7.  Blockette's best friend's mom took her to Church on Wed when I wasn't feeling so great.
8. Blockette was so interested in the story for her reading homework she read 2 more chapters than she needed to without realizing it.
9. Nice cold nights that are great for sleeping.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Banner Fix

When I changed my blog template around in June, my best friend suggested I fix my blog header as well.  It wasn't centered, and just looked weird.  At the time, I had no idea how to make it look nice.  A few weeks ago I saw this tutorial over on Clover Lane.  Wow!  Was it ever easy to understand, and fun to play around with.

What do you think?

Thanksgiving Hash

Is it bad that I'm just now finally using up the last of the turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving...and it's September? Yeah. The last of the shredded up turkey had worked its way to the very back of the freezer. When I came across it I thought, "Sheesh! I'd better use this ASAP!"
I originally found this recipe on, but for some reason, the website wasn't loading at the time I wrote this post.  The recipe originally comes from Martha Stewart's Mega Media Conglomerate Empire. So, if you want to make this Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash you can find the recipe here.

Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash?  Really Martha?  You couldn't come up with anything more creative than that?  I think you're losing your touch.  It should have been called Thanksgiving Hash, because that's exactly what it is.  All the great and wonderful foods of Thanksgiving having a hash-y hootenanny.  You've got your sweet potatoes, turkey, cranberry sauce, apples and sage.  If those flavors don't scream Thanksgiving, nothing does.

I'm glad that I saved this recipe for last in my leftover turkey recipe queue. I don't think we would have appreciated this recipe close to Thanksgiving itself.  It would have felt like just eating Thanksgiving leftovers.  Eating this at the end of summer, when we're wishing for fall was a perfect culinary fit.

I decided to dice my apples and potatoes.  I was going to have to cut them up for Blockette anyhow, so I figured why not do it while I was chopping things up anyway.  I also browned the potatoes before adding them to the rest of the ingredients.  Mrblocko and I both prefer our potatoes to have a nice crispy exterior.  I also used stock for the wine and milk for the cream.  I'm sure the meal would have been even better if I had used those rich and flavorful ingredients.

Even with the cheapo alternatives, the meal was quite good.  The turkey was a bit on the dry side but what can you expect with it sitting in the freezer for so long?  Normally, I'm not a big fan of Cranberry Sauce, but I thought its sweet and tangy flavors really helped hide that the turkey was so dry.  Or maybe I'm starting to like cranberry sauce?  Or maybe the key to cranberry sauce is to not eat it by itself?

If you have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving lurking about in your freezer like I did, please make this recipe.  Or make it if you are jonesing for the tastes of a full Thanksgiving spread, but just don't have the gumption for all that work.

Martha's Sweet Potato and Turkey Hash
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick, 1 1/2-inches-long wedges
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for toast
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
1 medium onion, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 ounces cooked turkey breast, shredded (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 to 6 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until just tender, about 7 minutes. Drain; set aside. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add apple; cook until golden, about 11 minutes. Transfer to a plate; set aside. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, the onion, and celery to skillet; cook until slightly softened, 9 to 10 minutes. Add wine; cook until liquid has almost evaporated. Add turkey, potatoes, cream, and stock. Simmer until sauce is creamy and vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in sage and apple; season with salt and pepper. Spoon onto buttered toast, and drizzle with sauce.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Marinaded Dogs

I saw this recipe for marinaded grilled hot dogs from Good. Food. Stories. and thought it would be fun to try out.  I let the dogs swim in the ketchup-y based marinade for a whole day.  Mrblocko thought I was weird, marinading a hot dog.  I said, "Just humor me.  If it doesn't turn out, it doesn't turn out."

So what was the verdict?  Aside from getting some nice charred bits, there was absolutely no difference in flavor.  It was a fun experiment, but I see no need to repeat it.  Since the dogs tasted exactly the same as the un-marinaded variety, I felt the need to top the dog with my usual grilled onion, dill relish, mustard and yes...ketchup, which apparently is a class 1 felony in Chicago. 

Grilled Hot Dogs from Good. Food. Stories.
1/2 cup Heinz ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 splash sesame chili oil
1 splash worcestershire sauce
1 dozen hot dogs

In a casserole dish or other shallow pan, whisk together the ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, and worcestershire sauce. Score the hot dog by making three rows of angled cuts down each hot dog with a sharp paring knife—you’ll get about 7 or 8 cuts per row. Roll the hot dogs in the ketchup marinade until they’re completely coated. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. When you’re ready, preheat a gas or charcoal grill, and toss those puppies on to grill them up right. Serve with condiments of your choice.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mint Cookies N Cream Bars

Doesn't it look like Slimer from Ghostbusters attacked a pan of brownies?
I swear they are the exact same disgusting shade of green.  Yum.
I first saw the cookies n cream no bake bars over at Picky Palate. They are basically Rice Krispie Treats, but instead of the puffed rice, you use crushed up cookies. You can really use any kind of crispy crunchy cookie.   Baker girl used what look like Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Cookies.

It was my intent to use Chocolate chip cookies as well, but Blockette saw the mint "Oreos" and convinced me otherwise.  (Read, begged and pleaded and whined and promised me the sun and the moon if only I would just please buy the mint oreos.)

Aside from looking bizarre, the bars tasted really really awesome.  My mother-in-law thought they tasted like they had Rice Krispies cereal in them.  I don't know why they tasted that way, but they did.
Maybe it was the buttery marshmellow combination?  I swear to you that no actual Rice Krispies were harmed in the making of this dessert.

I recommend cutting these into at least 12 bars, not the 9 the recipe suggests as they are really super sweet. If you think about it, there are more than 9 servings in a box of Oreos, then you add on the butter and marshmellows...ugh.   Besides, I don't know about you, but when I eat Oreo cookies out of the package, I only eat one at a sitting.  Oh yes.  I only want one.  Right now.  When I finish this cookie I am going to get up and have another one.  Lather. Rinse. Repeat.  The having to get up from the couch, walk upstairs and into the kitchen to get a second or third, or fourth cookie expends enough energy to justify the added caloric intake.  Right?  So cut the bars on the small side if you are like me and don't feel satisfied until you have had "second dessert".

No-Bake Chewy Cookies and Cream Bars from Picky Palate
One 16 oz package of Oreo
5 cups Large Marshmallows
4 tablespoons butter

 Place Oreos in food processor and pulse until ground. Melt marshmallows and butter in microwave until puffed, about 1 1/2- 2 min. Remove and pour in ground Oreo Cookies. Stir to combine then transfer to a foil lined 8×8" baking pan. Let set up for 10 minutes. Remove bars out of pan with edges of foil and cut into squares. Makes 9 large bars

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thankful Thursday 35.11

 I've been having a hard time remembering to actually post these on Thursday.  I guess today is a day that is as good as any.  I didn't think the 10th anniversary of 9/11 would get to me as much as it has.  I'm not a weepy mess or anything, just pensive and reflective about everything that was going on in my life 10 years ago. (And everything that has happened over the past 10 years.) I really do have a lot to be thankful for and it makes this list seem a bit "fluffy."

1. Realizing the molasses had fermented (even though the jar said they were good until 2014) before I used them to make bars for church.
2. Having the courage to apply and go on the interview.
3. At no point during the interview did I cry, get weepy, sneeze, fart, pee myself, stutter, or say something incredibly stupid.
4. Making the decision to stick Blockette on the bus vs driving (why waste the gas) or walking (it's chilly out and I'm super sneezy). 
5. I decided to go to Blockette's soccer game instead of taking a nap.
6. Blockette letting Mrblocko and I sleep until nearly 8AM.
7. Not freaking out when my latest kitchen experiment started to act all funky.
8. Not having to have the heat, ac or house fan on.
9. Blockette really seems to have a great teacher this year.
10. Clearing up a misunderstanding.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hair Band Wrangling

Since Blockette has been allowing me to braid and style her hair on a semi-regular basis, the little hair bands have been an ever increasing problem. Once upon a time I kept all the hair accessories in a plastic storage drawer thingie in the bathroom. Then, last year, we had a huge problem with earwigs in our bathroom.  So almost everything in the bathroom migrated to various other locations throughout the house.  This year did not have me earwigging out, but I never really put everything back where it was originally.  I mean what if they come back like that again next year?!  Ew!

Fixing Blockette's hair in the morning required me to remember to get the hair bands from the storage box in my closet.  This shouldn't have been a big deal, except I would frequently realize I had forgotten the hair binders once I had already started braiding.  Doh!

So what I started doing was leaving a few hair ties in the bathroom medicine cabinet.  But the little suckers liked to migrate around in there.  It seemed like I could never find them when I wanted them.  Then there was the problem of what if I needed 3 bands for the hair style I was doing, and there were only 2 in the bathroom.  Or if I broke one?  I was back to my original problem mentioned earlier.

Then, I saw this idea for Hair ties on Carabiner from Lifehacker. Hooray!  Nice and neat and easy to find when I need them.  I sure wish I'd thought of this first.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pepperoni Macaroni and Cheese

Pepperoni mac n cheese from Jam Hands was a bit of a roller coaster ride.  Of course Blockette was excited that we were going to have macaroni and cheese AND pepperoni.  Oh she was so super jazzed.  At least until she realized that the macaroni was NOT the day-glow orange stuff in the blue box, and the pepperoni was NOT the exact same as the stuff that is on her favorite brand of pizza.  How could a mother be so cruel?

Mrblocko ate dinner at work the night I made this dish, so he didn't have any until the next day.  After eating his portion, he told me he was surprised the meal didn't have any red sauce.  In fact he seemed quite disappointed it didn't have red sauce.  Why he was surprised, I don't know.  I mean I only showed him the recipe a minimum of two times before I made it.  I reminded him that macaroni and cheese doesn't usually contain red sauce.  I also stated the recipe was called Pepperoni Mac n cheese, not Pizza mac n cheese.
By the time we got around to eating the leftovers, both of them had come around, especially Blockette. She had gone from a vineyard of whine to "You should make this everyday!" 

I quartered my pepperoni so it would be a bit easier to eat, since the slices were on the large size.  The mini pepperonies (or is pepperoni plural?) would have been the perfect size.  Originally, I had thought about only using half a pound of pepperoni in the recipe.  I actually had a "discussion" about this with Mrblocko.  In the end, I agreed to using the full amount of meat stated in the recipe.  I was glad that I did, even though it made the dish on the greasy side.  I wonder if turkey pepperoni would help eliminate this problem.

Next time I make this dish I will just use mozzarella and cheddar in the dish, and sprinkle some Parmesan on top.  I couldn't taste any of the Parmesan in the body of the dish, which seems like a waste of a more expensive cheese. Next time I'll also make half a recipe as this, and a side salad, fed us for nearly 4 meals!  It's great that the meal fed us for so long, but after the third time around, we get sick of the leftovers, even if we eat them every other day.

Pepperoni Macaroni and Cheese from Jam Hands  Makes 8 servings
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound lasagna
Olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or other good-quality Parmesan
4 ounces grated Cheddar
8 ounces grated mozzarella
1 pound pepperoni, sliced thin
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1 Tsalt carefully add lasagna noodles. Return to a boil, reduce heat to a low boil and cook for 5 min, otil pasta  al dente. Drain in a colander, rinse slightly and drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking.In a heavy, medium saucepan melt 4 T butter over low heat. Add garlic then flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 min. Increase the heat to medium and whisk in half-and-half little by little. Cook til thickened, 4-5 min, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add 2 c grated Parmesan. Season with salt, pepper and stir til cheese melted and sauce is smooth. Cover and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a large bowl combine 1/4 c Parmesan, Cheddar, and mozzarella. Toss to combine. Grease a 3-quart baking dish or casserole with 1 T butter. Spread a ladle full of sauce on bottom of pan. Cover sauce with a single layer of cooked lasagna noodles. Spread another ladle full of sauce on top of noodles. Sprinkle with 1/3  mozzarella cheese mix. Top with 1/3  sliced pepperoni. Repeat with remaining ingredients for 2 more layers. Sprinkle 1/2 c bread crumbs onto top of lasagna and top with remaining grated Parmesan, 1/4 c. Bake, uncovered, 40-45 min til lasagna bubbly and hot and top golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to sit 5 min before serving.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Skinny Taco Dip

Whoops! No picture for the skinny taco dip. I made this for a cook out at a friend's house and it was a big hit. I actually brought my camera to the party to take pictures, but did I remember to take the camera out of its case and actually take pictures?  No.  Of course not!

The recipe for Skinny taco dip can be found on, along with a nice photo.

I altered the recipe slightly.  Here is what I did:
Mix 1 package (8oz) Neufchatel cheese with half a container of fat free sour cream (8 oz).  Stir in 1-2 cups of salsa.  (I only used 1 cup of medium pace picante because it is a bit more liquidy than regular salsa.)  Add in 1 packet of taco seasoning or 2-3 T of your own taco mix. (I used 2 T.)  Spread this mixture in a 9x13 pan.  Layer with shredded lettuce.  (I used 1/4 head of ice berg lettuce.)  Top with a layer of diced tomatoes. (I used 2 smallish sized tomatoes that I seeded to eliminate excess moisture.  Add more if you actually like tomatoes.)  Next add a layer of shredded cheese.  (I used about 1 cup of longhorn colby and 1 cup of sharp cheddar because I really like cheese.)  Add black olives on top.  (I only used a few olives because Blockette hates olives.  If I was making this just for myself I would have put the entire 2.25 oz can of black olives on top, because I really like black olives.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Flashback Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Talk about a blast from the past.  I was going through junk on my computer, when I came across some pictures of Blockette back when she was two, before I started this wee little blog.

It was December 2007 and Mrblocko had gone away for a week long training, I think in St. Louis. At the time, I remember thinking, "How on earth was I going to manage being alone for a whole week with Blockette?"  Even if Mrblocko would get home after Blockette had gone to bed, I would always talk to him about my day to decompress. Sure I got to talk to him every night, but it wasn't the same as having him there.  Especially when I would remember I had just one more thing I wanted to tell him, after I hung up the phone.  I think it was a rough week on all three of us.  Little did we all know it was just the calm before the storm.

So I had this idea to experiment with this recipe for Double Chocolate Banana Muffins that I found on  Since Mrblocko wasn't home, I had some bananas that were on the verge of rotting away on the counter.  Blockette was still having texture issues with Bananas at the time and the thought of eating a banana by itself makes me want to hurl.  (I'm getting queasy just writing about it.) Making chocolate banana muffins just seemed like the right thing to do. 

It was. Chocolate makes everything all better.
She was a little ham for the camera even at 2.
Can I have some more please?
No, seriously.  I must have more!!!
Double Chocolate Banana Muffins from
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In a small bowl, combine bananas, oil and egg. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups three fourths full. Bake at 350 deg F for 20-25 minutes or until muffins test done.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Rosemary Ranch Chicken

Are you tired of marinades for grilled chicken yet? You shouldn't be. I mean it's been almost a month since I last posted a chicken marinade recipe. And it's Labor Day.  You know, the last big grilling weekend.  It would just be wrong to not talk about a grilling recipe today.  So, whether you like it or not, I present to you Rosemary Ranch Chicken from Plain Chicken.

I really love the blog Plain Chicken, oh and not just because she gave the cute chicken on her masthead a lightning bolt scar and round glasses when the last Harry Potter movie was released, or that she posts pictures of her orange marmalade cats every Monday.  Those things are uber cool and all, but for reals, she's got some really neat recipes on there. There are more recipes from Plain Chicken on my recipe to do list than from any one other blog.  And that's saying something, cause I stalk a LOT of blogs.
So yeah, yadda yadda about the Plain Chicken blog. How does the Rosemary Ranch Chicken actually taste?  Yum yum yummers.  The chicken didn't taste like ranch dressing, like I think we were expecting.  Don't mistake this for complaining, cause we all enjoyed the chicken.  It just wasn't *POW* in your face ranch dressing flavor. Maybe because we used Hidden Valley Light for the ranch dressing?  Maybe that was the reason why our chicken was such a different color from the one on the Plain Chicken website as well.   

Rosemary Ranch Chicken from Plain Chicken
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ranch dressing
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon white sugar, or to taste
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves -

In a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. Pound chicken breast to 1/4" thickness. Place chicken in the gallon size ziplock bag, and stir to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (all day). Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Grill chicken for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Kickin' it HP Style

I am sort of mildly obsessed with looking at stuff on Pinterest. I don't actually have my own account because that would mean I'd need to be on Facebook, and I don't wanna do that. Plus having a pinterest account would be even more of a time waster than surfing Pinterest itself.

Anyhow, I found this posting that took me to a link that lead me to this You tube video.
It's a Parody of Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night(TGIF)" The video isn't the most creative compared to some parodies, but the lyrics are pretty awesome. OK. Awesome if you are freaky on HP.

Then I started looking at more Harry Potteresque videos on You tube and came across this one:

It's not a parody, but contains scenes from the movies set to Ke$ha's " Blow." The video is edited really well. Not to mention the song pretty much rocks.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Why do people always come up with cool ideas before I get around to thinking of them myself? Campfire cones from Chef Jessica Bright definitely falls into that category.  I think I would have gotten around to inventing them myself, given enough time...and sleep.  Ok, so it never would have happened, but I think I have established that I live in my own happy little fantasy land.   Don't ruin it for me!

I've decided to rename them S'mo'nes, as they are s'mores in a cone.  Yeah!  We are far to suburban to have a campfire, so we just stuck them on the grill.  Grill Cones just sounds weird.  Makes me think traffic needs to be diverted around our grill or something.  So S'mo'nes it is.

We weren't sure how long to cook them on the grill so we had to keep opening them up to check for doneness.  I think with enough practice we, and by we I mean Mrblocko, will know exactly how long to cook them for.
If you are going to fill your cone with chocolate bits, please remember that when chocolate melts it retains its shape until you "disturb" it.  If you keep the cone on the heat thinking that the chocolate is going to get gooey, you will burn the chocolate.  This is not a good thing.  In fact, it is chocolate abuse and I will come to your house and beat you about the head and neck areas with a foam noodle, which may or may not be decorated like a lightsaber.
Also remind your munchkins that the insides of the cones are going to be molten hot, more so than a regular s'more.

I think Blockette had as much fun creating her s'mo'ne as she did eating it!

Friday, September 2, 2011

August Reads

1. The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan.  This is the sequel to the Forest of Hands and Teeth, that I read last month.  This book was not as good as the first, but I'm a sucker for sequels. There was an interesting concept of immunity to the zombie virus.  Why not.  Not everyone gets the flu, so why would everyone get zombified?  There is a third book in this series that I'm sort of interested to read, but they don't have it at my library.  I wasn't jazzed enough in the second book to request that they get the book, or attempt to get it on inter library loan.

2. Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede.  This is the second book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles.  This was another case of the sequel not being as good as the first.  I enjoyed this sequel better than I did the one from the series I mentioned above.  I liked that the main character in the first book was independent and in this one she falls in love.  It seems out of character, and now if she is married she isn't going to be living with dragons anymore.  I thought that was one of the best parts of the story.  This series has 2 other books which I may or may not read.  This book has not made me want to rush out to the library to read it as well.

3. Ghost Story by Jim Butcher,  What is up August reads? Why are you just so blah?  I love Jim Butcher, especially the Dresden Files series, but this book was soooo slow.  Even Mrblocko thought that it took a good halfway into the novel for the story to pick up.  Very much out of character for this author. Usually I'm 2 pages into the book and I just can't put it down.  I finished this book the day before it was due.  Which, if you know how I read is really saying something.  I wanted to renew the book, but as there were 9 holds on the book, I couldn't.  Do you have any idea how long it would have been for me to get this book again if there were 9 holds on it.  So I kicked the reading into turbo and finished just in time.  I know there is going to be another book in the Dresden Files series which seems like it will be better than this one.  Hopefully this series/author isn't running out of steam.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday 34.11

1. Blockette working out a sharing issue all on her own.
2. Scoring some super deals on groceries.
3. Finding things to occupy my day while Blockette is at school.
4. At least Blockette told the truth when she got in trouble.
5. Getting the nerve to talk to our neighbor in Spanish.
6. Remembering enough Spanish to actually have a conversation. (Even if I can't conjugate my verbs properly.)
7. It's hot again so I have an excuse to turn the AC back on.  (Stupid Allergies.)
8. My Roma tomato plant has lots of little tomato-lings popping up everywhere!
9. My mom. (Thanks for letting me vent and complain, and yes you are the smartest.)
10. Sleeping almost the whole night in bed.  (Yay AC!)

11.  I don't live in a climate where they have bigger spiders than the one that was in the bathroom last night.

12. I didn't scream and wake up Blockette when I saw a fore mentioned spider.

13. Mrblocko smooshed that bad boy.

14. I'm not a boy who has to smoosh icky bugs for his irrational wife.

15. Mrblocko didn't fall in the process of removing the offending monster.

16. I don't really have arachnid incontinence.