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Archive for April, 2012

Captain Cavedweller and I ran away for the weekend to a big city. It was wonderful and special and just what we needed after a particularly challenging week.

1. In the city, the sight of people playing music on street corners never ceases to make me think that I’d never have the chutzpa to do such a thing – even if I had any marketable musical talent.

2. In the city, they have things like multi-level shopping malls, where yours truly sighs in bliss before frantically trying to hit as many stores as possible in a very brief amount of time.

3. In the city, we get to eat at one of our favorite restaurants and I devour their chicken marsala and chocolate mousse cake with glee.

4. In the city, we strolled around the park, watched the water rushing from the spring run-off down the river and your truly wished she had packed a coat. That spray-filled air was cold. Bitingly so.

5. In the city, we stayed at a hotel across the parking lot from a mall. It made me sigh in bliss again as I ran from the hotel across the parking lot, dragging CC along for the ride.

6. In the city, CC got to spend an hour or so wandering his favorite store left alone by me. I took my Kindle and sat reading in front of a display of wild animals. I hope the grizzly bear fully enjoyed the romance novel I was reading.

7. In the city, CC stopped to get hot, fresh doughnuts that made the trip home somewhat challenging with the smell of maple bars filling the car.

8. At home, piles of laundry waited, hungry cats meowed at the back door, the mess in our backyard hadn’t magically disappeared and we momentarily considered running away again.

She Who Enjoys a Good Escape

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If you want a fast, yummy dessert that will make your family smile. Here it is!

This peach crisp comes together in a jiffy but tastes like bright bites of summer in your mouth.

Ingredients for Peach Crisp

Sprinkle peaches with corn starch and sugar. I added in cinnamon, just because it sounded like a good idea. It was.

Mix remaining ingredients until crumbly.

Sprinkle topping over peaches.

Completely cover the crisp with the crumb topping.

Bake until bubbly and the crumb topping is a golden brown.

Peach Crisp

3 cups of peaches (fresh preferred, canned works, too)

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon corn starch

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup oatmeal

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup butter – softened

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix corn starch and granulated sugar with peaches. (If using canned peaches, drain completely.) Let rest for about 10 minutes.  I mix this right in the baking dish – using a square 8-inch pan. While the peaches are hanging out with the sugar and cornstarch, mix the remaining ingredients together. You want the mixture to have a crumbly texture. Sprinkle on the peaches  and bake until fruit bubbles and topping is a golden brown.

Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping.

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My Spring Savvy Entertaining ebook just became free on Amazon and is working its way up the bestseller list!

I’m pretty excited!

If you, or anyone you know, would like a copy, just go to Amazon and download it.

It’s got spring decorating ideas, party tips and some yummy recipes!

Check it out – and please let your friends know about it, too!

 

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I’ve been on jury duty this month. I will freely admit I was dreading it, as most of us do.

Years ago, I served on a jury for a two-week trial that was awful, heart-wrenching and due to one juror’s personal issues, the guilty party was found not-guilty. I felt sick for days afterward and to this day, still wonder about what happened to the victims of his crime.

Because of that experience, I would rather do just about anything than serve on another trial. So it was with a decided lack of enthusiasm I reported for my first day of jury duty.

I sat in a room overcrowded with people feeling much the same way – they had other things they needed to do, places to be, people to see. But for one day, just one day, we were being asked to set all that aside and do our civic duty.

Watching a 20-minute film while we waited to be called to the courtroom, by the time it was finished, I think most of us were in a different frame of mind than when we arrived. Whoever put it together, did a great job of not only relaying important information, but relaying it in a way that made you feel inspired and excited to be a part of the jury selection process.

Called in again yesterday, I was again taken aback by what a good film they present that makes you want to serve on the jury, to take this service seriously and do a great job.

One of the attorneys said something that really resonated with me. She said, “Can you come out here today and be the kind of juror you’d want sitting here if it was your spouse, your sibling, your child? That’s the kind of juror we need you to be.”

Wow!

While it is easy to brush off this duty, to discount it as something that sucks up time we would rather spend somewhere else, look at it as an opportunity to do good and be of service to your fellow-man.

She Who Appreciates This Opportunity

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In case I have failed to mention it before, Captain Cavedweller is a really awesome guy.

He went above and beyond this weekend, humoring me with a project that started out small and soon snowballed into two days of work, drudgery and chaos.

I’ll post more about all that fun later, when I’ve recovered and am able to fully move both arms and legs again.

For today, since the weather is positively summer-like here, is my favorite list of condiment does and don’ts. Whip out that barbecue and enjoy!

1. Do not fear the family-sized bottle of ketchup. Unless you are serving dignitaries, your guests will be happy with the big bottle.

2. You can please most of the people all the time if you have a good assortment of mustards.

3.  Plan to have mayonnaise handy at all times. Yes, it’s salty, and yes, it is bad for you, but everyone likes a dab now and then.  And don’t substitute salad dressing! I’ll hunt you down and slap your hand!

4. Find your own special sauce and serve it proudly. This could be something you make from scratch or a blend of pre-made favorites. Create a great sauce with plain yogurt, finely chopped cucumber, garlic and lemon juice.

5. Nothing tops a hot dog better than relish.  Have an assortment of  sweet relish, yellow relish and onion relish on hand.

6. Pickles are important and not everyone likes the same kind. Have an assortment of dill and sweet and make sure you identify them!

7. Have plenty of salsa – it goes fast!

8. Grill the onions for your guests’ burgers. The grill is already hot and it just takes a minute.

9. Explore several barbecue sauce recipes, find your favorite, and make it your signature.

10. Don’t be afraid to serve coleslaw. It’s not just a side dish. Try it on your hot dog.

Here is a handy-dandy download: 10 rules of condiments

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Captain Cavedweller brought home some delicious strawberries the other day. They were big, plump, juicy and ripe. They actually tasted like strawberries  – not like the somewhat bland picked-green variety we usually find in the stores this time of year.

Since I can’t leave well enough alone, I decided to stuff a few berries for fun. That was a tasty decision.

This is a fast and easy way to make your berries look super fancy and divine.

You'll need berries, whipped cream cheese, powdered sugar and chocolate for dipping. Chocolate is optional. Unless you're me. Then it is mandatory and necessary.

Cut the tops off the berries and hull. Mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar and then use a teaspoon to stuff filling into berries. I got involved with the stuffing and forgot to take pictures. Sorry!

You can melt some chocolate and dip the ends of your berries in it. You can also melt chocolate and make some fancy little swirlies to top the berries. All that is completely optional.

Or you can eat them plain and enjoy!

She Who Loves Fresh Berries

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A few weeks ago I was lamenting the fact that I wish I had purchased more new clothes hangers to Captain Cavedweller.

(Aren’t you jealous of the intense, completely stimulating conversations that take place at my house?)

Anyway, having a strong dislike for my closet full of plastic hangers that have seen better days, I bought a package of the new slim flocked hangers I’ve seen everywhere.

I love them. As in LOVE THEM!

If you haven’t tried them yet, they are, like, totally awesome, dude!

They have this great flocked coating which means your clothes cling to the hanger instead of slithering off as they tend to do with the plastic hangers. They are also super slim which means I can get about three of them in the space of one plastic hanger.

Not sure that I would like these hangers, I bought one package to give them a whirl. They whirled quite wonderfully and I wish I had purchased several packages.

I was completely surprised the other day when Captain Cavedweller came home from a trip to the city packing an entire case of these hangers.

“What’s this?” I asked, wondering why he bought the hangers.

“You said you wished you had more of them,” he said with a shrug and went back out to finish unloading the car.

When I finally scooped my melted self up off the floor, I quickly changed out all the hangers in our closet, realizing that not only do I have one of the best husbands ever, I now have a lot more room in my closet for more clothes. I see a shopping trip in my near future…

She Who Loves CC

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