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Archive for January, 2012

If you couldn’t quite work up the courage at Christmas to pop the question, you’ve got another opportunity coming up that is very popular as a get-engaged holiday.

Valentine’s Day is all about love and romance – what better time to ask your sweetheart to be yours forever?

There is plenty of time to get creative with your proposal and make it uniquely special and memorable. Here are a few ideas:

• Food – you can spell out “Will You Marry Me” in any number of ways on food such as sliced olives on pizza, M&Ms on giant sugar cookie of blueberries on a pancake. You get the idea

• Toys – an Etch-a-Sketch or a Lite-Brite are perfect for spelling out those special words.

• Puzzle – order a custom puzzle with a photo of you two and the words “Will You Marry Me”. Do the puzzle together and be prepared for her stunned and excited expression.

• Treasure Hunt – make a map and hide “clues.” The treasure she will find in each location is an envelope with a card inside containing one word. Once she gathers all the envelopes, it should spell out, “Will You Marry Me?”

• Find Your Inner Poet – and write her a poem, a song or even make a video proposing to her.

• Use Nature – If you are on the beach, write it in the sand. Camping? Spell it out with rocks. Use flower petals to compose your proposal (best done on a not-windy day!).

• Get crafty – if you can cut and paste, you can make her a card using glitter, hearts, lace, asking her to marry you (she will keep this forever, I promise!). Go to  a craft store and gather up some cardstock, glue and Valentine-themed sparkles.

Dress in your best when you are doing this. If you have a shirt she loves to see you wear, put it on.

Also, most women do not want a huge audience when you pop the question so keep that in mind. Flashing it across a scoreboard at a game sounds great in theory, but think about how you’d feel if she said no in front of those thousands of sports fans.

Use your heart and your head and you’ll do just fine in coming up with a proposal you’ll  both remember for a lifetime!

She Who Loves Romance

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Maybe because it is cold and rainy outside today…

Maybe because I’ve got a walloping case of the Monday blues…

Maybe because The Heinous Cat has been missing for five days now and Captain Cavedweller and I are more than a little concerned about his return…

I need some happy.

So here are some quotes that lifted my spirits a bit.  I hope they lift yours as well.

Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it.  ~Jacques Prévert

If you want to be happy, be.  ~Leo Tolstoy

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.  ~Mark Twain

Happiness is always a by-product.  It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular.  But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.  ~Robertson Davies

Those who can laugh without cause have either found the true meaning of happiness or have gone stark raving mad.  ~Norm Papernick

What a wonderful life I’ve had!  I only wish I’d realized it sooner.  ~Colette

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.  ~James Openheim

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.  ~John Barrymore

 

Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.  ~Abraham Lincoln

Happiness is a form of courage.  ~Holbrook Jackson

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour.  ~Author Unknown

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.  ~Dalai Lama

Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower.  ~Author Unknown

There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness.  ~Lady Blessington

The best vitamin to be a happy person is B1.  ~Author Unknown

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I found the recipe for this delicious pudding pie back when I was in high school.

I wonder what the landscape of my life would be like now if I’d spent half as much time studying boys as I did cookbooks and wallpaper designs.

I digress.

Anyway, this recipe was in an ancient cookbook I found in the public library. A notation in it said the recipe was “over 100 years old” so goodness only knows how old it really is.

I mean, like, my high school days were a while ago, dude.

I digress again.

This pie filling is really simple to make and always delicious, so I’ll try to stick to the important facts from here on out. You can serve it plain, top it with fruit and whipped cream, give it a fluffy meringue topping, fill cream puffs or even alter the basic recipe by withholding the lemon and adding a little cocoa powder for a chocolate filling.

The recipe was titled “Ruby Feaster’s Prize Cream Pie.” I have no idea who Ruby Feaster was, but she did make a delicious pie filling.

Ingredients for the filling. I tweaked the recipe a little over the years and this is what I’ve found works best.

Beat the eggs slightly, just to break them up, add all the ingrients except for the lemon juice then cook over medium heat in a heavy saucepan (double-boiler if you don’t have a heavy pan) until thick.

Make sure you stir the filling constantly so it doesn’t stick. Scorched pudding is not so tasty, not that I’ve ever done that sort of thing. Add the lemon juice when it is cooked and stir it in.

Pour filling into a pre-cooked pie shell. Let cool completely.

Top with whatever fun accents tickle your taste buds and enjoy!

Ruby Feaster’s Prize Cream Pie
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon
2 tbsp. corn starch
pinch of salt

Prepared Pie Shell

In a heavy saucepan, beat eggs, just until broken up, then add milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick. (If you don’t have a heavy saucepan, use a double boiler).

When it starts to thicken you need to stir constantly. This is not the time to start daydreaming about the hunky hero in the novel you’re writing or the hunky hero who will soon be home, ready to eat the pie. (Not that this ever happens to me.) Pay close attention so you don’t scorch the pudding. When it starts to get a glossy sheen and is nice and thick, remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and pour into prepared pie shell.

Cool completely. Top with whipped topping and a fruit garnish and enjoy!

She Who Likes Pie Way Too Much

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I stumbled across these Hot-Handle holders by Lodge the last time we were at Captain Cavedwellers most favorite store on the planet.

Snatching up a set to try, I was very glad I did.

You slip this little holders over the handle of your hot skillets and it not only protects our hand from the heat, it is way easier to maneuver than trying to keep a traditional potholder wrapped around the handle.

If you’ve ever burned your hand on a cast-iron skillet handle, you can understand how important it is to keep those handles covered.

Give these a try and see what you think!

She Who Likes These a Lot

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A few weeks ago when I was writing a historical novel, I found a website that was extremely helpful in providing details about food history.

The Food Timeline offers details on everything from the history of ice right on up to Kool Aid pickles. (Yeah, I never heard of them either).

You can find out what year chewing gum arrived on the scene, when the first deviled eggs made an appearance and when Texas sheet cake became popular.

I found so many helpful tidbits of info here, but also learned a lot about food in general.

If you’ve ever wondered when or how some particular food item, came to be, check out The Food Timeline.

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After just one week of snow, ice, freezing rain and bitter cold, I’m all done with winter.

All. Done.

I don’t know about you, but a tropical escape sounds perfectly wonderful. Warm breezes, sunshine, blue water.

If you are like me with no hope of tropical escape in the forseeable future, bring the fun to your home with a Tropical Escape themed party.

Invitations

Send a simple invitation using some bright flowered paper or cardstock. If you can find something with a Hawaiian theme, even better.  Encourage guests to wear Hawaiian shirts or flowered dresses to fit in with the theme. Flip flops are a must.

Set The Scene

You don’t need to spend a fortune on decorations. Keep it simple and use things like pineapples and coconuts to decorate the tables. You can cut a coconut in half and nestle candles inside or leave whole and pile beside pineapples for a fun centerpiece.

Turn the heat up so your house is warm and has a more tropical feel. Having to huddle near the fireplace doesn’t exactly say warm and tropical.

Silk leis, grass skirts, raffia table skirts and other fun items can be found inexpensively at party stores or online. One source I use is Oriental Trading  for inexpensive party supplies. They have oodles of luau items available.

You could also use seashells for decorations. Fill canning jars with sand and top with a votive.

Make sure each guest receives a lei to wear upon arrival as well as a big “Aloha!”

Fun and Games

Hawaiian music playing in the background is a must. Whether you choose “Tiny Bubbles” or maybe Elvis’  “Blue Hawaii” there is a good list of music available here.

Encourage a hula contest or get everyone going with the Limbo. Here are a few more game ideas.

Have a flip-flop contest with prizes for the cutest, ugliest, most creative, etc.

Give each guest a tiny box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts as a take away from the party.

Food

You can have a fairly simple menu with kalua pork, sweet potatoes, tropical fruit and don’t forget the shaved ice!

To make the pork you’ll need:

pork butt

liquid smoke

salt

Preheat your oven to 325°F. Score the fat of the port butt into 1-inch squares and rub with  salt. Sprinkle liquid smoke lightly over all sides of the meat and into the fat. Wrap securely in tin foil and bake in oven for at least 4 hours. Shred the meat and serve. You can add sweet potatoes to the oven 1 1/2 hours before the meat will be done.

Have fun with this party theme and see if it doesn’t chase away the winter blahs.

She Who Needs to Find A Grass Skirt

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I know I promised to have some fabulous recipe for today.

That was before the snow, ice, freezing rain, more snow, ice and freezing rain.

Before we spent approximately an extra hour and a half scraping ice from windows and getting to and from work each day and Captain Cavedweller had to work late each evening.

Before my cupboards ran bare and we put off a trip to slide into the grocery store.

So, I will instead share a recipe that I like to make when we need a little comfort food, when I’m in a big hurry, or the pantry is severely in need of restocking.

We call it Noodle Goo (such an appetizing name, don’t you think?), but it is basically hamburger and egg noodles.

Noodle Goo

One Large Package of wide egg noodles
2-3 lbs lean ground beef
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup shredded Colby-Jack Cheese
Salt and Pepper
All-purpose Seasoning
Heaping tsp. Onion Flakes
Put water on to boil (according to noodle package directions) and while it is coming up to temp, break the ground beef up in a medium skillet and start browning. Add a sprinkling of salt and pepper and some all-purpose seasoning (I like Mrs. Dash) and a spoon of onion flakes to the beef. While it is cooking, add the noodles to the boiling water and cook until fork-tender. Drain the water from the noodles and return to stove top. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the beef. Mix in the two cans of soup, give it a good stir and cook just until it all blends and the soup is hot. You can either mix in the cheese before serving, or plate the noodles and sprinkle cheese on top. You can also serve with spaghetti sauce that has been warmed.  Serve with a  nice tossed green salad and warm bread to complete the meal.

She Who Promises to Cook All Weekend and Have a Great Recipe for Next Week!

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