"No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best" -something I saw on my mom's kitchen wall as a kid, author unknown

Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

I Lied… I’m In the Mountains…

…but only because I flew back to Colorado Springs for the weekend. Let me share with you what I see when I go to the grocery store (or Office Depot). For some, it’s no big deal – for me? It’s majestic. No, not the stores, the amazing, snow-capped Rocky Mountains that sit as the back drop for everything I see when looking to the West. I don’t think I will ever get used to the view.

Coffee was lovely this morning. I’m not sure if it was more because I didn’t have to make it, or that I was able to use my pirate mug… ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Working Diligently... maybe

So, here I am. It’s cold here people… very cold compared to Phoenix. So when I go back, I’m going to be thrilled to be wearing tank tops again. Anyway, Bff and I were conspiring today. Another friend of ours is having a birthday at the end of January but sadly, I will not be home to help celebrate. In order to remedy this, we decided to throw a party together for tonight. The theme? Socks.

Those of you who know Birthday Friend will totally understand the theme. We plan on making a center piece from socks and maybe decorating some socks with faces and hair to give them… personality. He may be interested in socks with a mouth… who knows?

Are the teeth too much, maybe? >.>

I’ll be sure to take pictures of our creations and post them in a future post so you can see the silliness.

For the event, Birthday Friend decided upon lasagna for dinner. Normally I would endeavor to make an amazing, home made lasagna – however, my time is limited and Bff suggested that we use the frozen stuff to save time. So up on the menu for tonight is ‘ok’ food, and LOTS of fun – with socks. Birthday Friend will be thrilled.

Speaking of such festivities reminds me that it’s time to finish school work and prepare for the evening’s adventures. Thanks for stopping by!



Small hiatus

Good morning and happy holiday season! I’m blogging from my phone today so, sadly, it will be short.

I had been blogging from work since it was slow and such, but the girl I was covering for is back and I now have no computer … for sad.  I do have pictures of my failed bread pudding. Failed according to me, but my Michael ate nearly half of it himself. He does however, eat mostly anything… so I’m not sure he counts when it comes to a baseline on my cooking ability.

I will have lots to say regarding holiday baking … cookie day is quickly approaching and I’m looking to try new recipes.

Until then, bear with me, and happy holidays from my kitchen to yours!

Monday’s Potatoes

On Tuesday I started out with this plan to write about the OsmPotatoes I made for dinner on Monday night… somewhere along way the thought derailed into this hippie-love post for those who have been very influential to me lately. (Love you guys!) And then there was Wednesday… I wanted to get the scrap book out for you as promised… once again, putting the potatoes on the back burner. (lulz?) So today I give you OsmPotatoes! (fully illustrated with photos that made the making of said potatoes take TWICE as long – good thing Michael is patient!)


Firstly, start out with some firm taters, peel them and cut into bite-sized chunks. I can never remember what kind of potatoes I use… generally the ones from Idaho, I think – just not the ones you can buy in singles for the microwave. (That’s just weird, I think) Use the number of potatoes that will accommodate the meal that you are making… I used 6 in this example and it allowed for a few leftovers! (hurrah!)

Once your potatoes are peeled, cut and washed, soak them in a bath of slightly salty water on the stove… and boil! You will want to boil them to a firm, but not crunchy texture. Since I didn’t time it I have no idea how long it takes – also I was busy fiddling around with my camera… You don’t want them to be soft like you would for mashed potatoes or they will just fall apart in the next step and at that point, really, mashed potatoes would be a better choice.

While I was working on my photos making the potatoes, Michael was busy outside doing the grilling. (Something I stay away from) The grill is Michael’s domain. I think one time he said that grilling is therapeutic for him after an awful day at work (and, unfortunately, he has many of those) so I leave him to it. It’s pretty quiet out there, so I imagine it to be kind of like a zen time for him. Here is what he walked in the house with while my potatoes were STILL in the pot boiling. (I still deny that it was due to my trying to get a good picture to blog with…) He IS a grill master…

Okay so after fiddling with the camera and while the potatoes were still boiling I got to thinking about WHAT to season the yummy chunks of starchy goodness with… what I came up with was a mixture of Plain Bread Crumbs, unsalted herbal seasonings mix and about one or two teaspoons of salt to counter-act the unsalted herbs. (huh?!) I don’t know – it was what came to mind…

Anyway – I drained the taters and put them into a huge bowl and drenched them in butter… maybe about 1/2 cup worth. I just mixed the potatoes around until they were all well-coated. Once the tots were all glistening in buttery goodness, I poured the seasoning concoction over them and mixed – again until all the little chunks were coated. The aroma was divine and drew Michael into the kitchen from the living room. I hadn’t even gotten to the last step yet! It was a good sign… or maybe he was just really hungry and I was just taking way too long?

Once the potatoes were coated with seasons, I moved them to a frying pan on a high heat setting. The idea was to make them crunchy on the outside and to cook the butter IN to the chunks a bit. Also to brown the potatoes. It reminded me a bit of homefries… but for dinner. The frying took quite a bit longer than I had anticipated… I think it was due to the fact that I was frying SIX chunked potatoes in a smallish frying pan. Next time I will probably use the Wok or at least a larger frying pan… (I love my Wok, have I ever mentioned that?) The potatoes were a bit ornery and were refusing to brown… so I put the heat up a bit higher and added another tablespoon or so of butter to try to make the difference. When everything was done, this is what we ended up with:

Yes, I know there are no vegetables there – it’s not that we aren’t fans, we just forgot to make them and so skipped them this one time. My friend (and future house mate), Mark, insists it’s the Irish part of me… ha! I love making dinner with Michael. We turn out some pretty yummy stuff when we try. I’ll have to make sure to include adventures in partner cooking in future blogs.

Thanks for coming out today – if you try potatoes like this, let me know how they come out!

Inspiration and Evolution: my blogging journey

Recently I’ve been inspired.

It’s a funny thing – inspiration – it comes about at the strangest of times and sometimes by the oddest of things. Some people think of this as a muse even. Sandy Ackers has a great blog and brings her muse into a lot of the posts I’ve read recently. MY muse has come to me in the form of fellow bloggers (Sandy being one), or perhaps more appropriately, their blogs.

My bff, Teresa was my first inspiration – back before she was my bff and before we were Altaholics-Anonymous even. Her writing NEVER fails to bring a smile to my face, or even a ‘LoL IRL’. Also, Apple – ever the word of encouragement, she’s always happy to offer up feedback or even play along when I’m writing improv. So a GREAT.BIG.THANKYOU and many more hugs to these two lovely ladies for their inspiration, great reads and continued support in my endeavor to become a better writer.

I love you guys!

 (Note: I do NOT think of you guys as elephants, or heffalumps even… I just could NOT resist the cuteness that IS this picture)

Debra is the better half of my friend Jim and I love her blog. One of her more recent posts has inspired me to be a more social blogger. Reading that post made me realize that other bloggers like to know that they are being read too. Also, who DOESN’T love some comments?! What a great, innovative way to meet new ‘pen pals’ of sorts. Thank you, Debra. (Also, I’m seriously delinquent on making some layouts for you… have you seen the new, highly customizable layout now offered right here in WP? – It’s the one I’m currently using though I’m still working on a custom background).

Touching back on Sandy’s blog for a moment… the passages I’ve read from Strangling My Muse have inspired me to write – not perfect. (Which is something I found to be a huge hinderance to me – even in constructing THIS post). I love the challenges she presents and have tried them out on more than one occasion – sometimes even more than once just to observe the different results. What a great resource for writers in general. Thank you, Sandy!

Another recent, interesting inspiration came from sssourabh. I found him on Freshly Pressed one day when he posted an interesting spin on a ‘Top 10’ list… yeah, you know the kind! Having recently read Debra’s post related to commenting, I felt particularly inclined to leave my mark. A wonderful thing happened – sssourabh, in return, not only responded to my comment but visited MY blog and made comments of his own. Wow, I thought, THIS must be what Debra was talking about! One of sssourabh’s comments was an encouragement to include more photos within my blogs. That comment had me grabbing up my somewhat dusty Nikon case and toting that thing with me EVERYWHERE. (Also, my phone camera has been getting a huge workout) If I was going to include photos in my blog, I wanted them to be my own. (note: I genuinely WANT to learn more about photography, but for some reason have been resistant to reading many books on the subject – I think I’d rather learn by doing with a mentor).

Incidentally, I’ve had an odd inspiration this week for a weirdly interesting photo study (if that’s what they are called)… I’m just not certain how to go about it as it would require a number of volunteers  – with facial hair… Any suggestions are very, very welcome.

While reading his recent post about chocolate, sssourabh encouraged me (likely without knowing) to put more thought into what I write. I read and re-read and re-read again his delicious descriptions – I love (and live very near) Philadelphia and had to applaud him for making me think of ‘my’ city in a whole new light… and the chocolate… his words had me tasting the chocolate and feeling it’s textures without taking one bite! Thank you, sssourabh, for some fantastically descriptive words and for inspiring me to pick up my camera again and shoot the world.

Thank you ALL for helping me to evolve as a writer and artist… your contributions, comments, feedback and just coming to read – whether you know it or not – have been very important and meaningful to me.

Thanks for visiting my kitchen today – and to think this post was supposed to be about the potatoes I made for dinner last night…

All photos are © of their creators. Links to the source are included.

Photo Op!

It’s scrap-book day!! =) Inspired by Debra’s amazing photos, I’ve decided to make today my scrap-book day. I may make every Wednesday scrap book day – I haven’t yet decided. You guys can let me know with your feedback, whether or not it’s a good idea. ❤

Something that I adore doing to destress and find myself among the sometimes chaotic debris of life is to take my camera and shoot things. (Which, I think is a better solution than shooting things with a gun?) I’m striving to take more and more interesting pictures as I grow my inner artist. These are a few of the pictures I took just after Michael got me my first Nikon.

…Except the first one… since Debra asked, and because I don’t have my faire pictures yet, here is a shot taken with a cell phone of me out at Rend Lake while I was in Illinois this past year.

Early morning at Lake Rend - Loving the icy breeze

My go-to place that I found some years ago, is a small, secluded lake near(ish) where I hail from. Here is a shot of where I usually stand to shoot photos over the lake.

I usually set my case and such on the picnic table and carry my tripod as close to the lake as I can get.

These cattails are actually in the photo above as well… they are just mixed in with all of the other brush.

These are some lovely, frozen cattails I shot while experimenting with focus.

Earlier in the year when I was staying in Illinois, I would get up very early to watch the sunrise over Rend Lake and watch the wildlife begin to stir. (Whatever wildlife was willing to come out in the icy weather) One of my favorite mornings was when I was early enough to watch the sun slide lazily up over the horizon as if struggling to wake. Here is just one shot that I took as it was finally almost completely over the horizon.

There's nothing more peaceful than listening to the tiny waves of a lake wash gently over the rocks of the shore while silently watching the sun rise.

Here is a photo I shot in early January while visiting my friends in Colorado Springs. I am very very excited to be moving to a place where I have such great friends and that it is so full of amazing beauty is a major bonus.

Breath taking view of the Rocky Mountains from a small road... somewhere... near(ish) Pike's Peak

Speaking of great friends… Here is Mark feeding his poor poor Jeep my Fiji water…

Please note that the car ran VERY WELL after consuming my Water of OSM

I do have more photos to share, but I think I’ll leave them for another day. Let me know if you enjoyed this feature, and I’ll see about posting 4-5 photos each Wednesday from the digital scrap-book.

Thanks for visiting today!

Back to Baking

I finally remembered! The Legendary Snickerdoodle Recipe™

I grew up in an area that was heavily influenced by the Mennonite/Amish-type culture and as such many fantastic ‘family’ recipes were made into books and available locally. My mom always baked her cookies and pies from these books and always they were the best. Several of my guild members across the country can even vouch for this, as one year I baked and sent them out to some of them around the holidays. I always thought these books came from somewhere local, but I’ve just found them out on the interwebs; I highly recommend checking out Cook Books by Good Books for some really amazing recipes.

One other thing… for those of you who have trouble getting those “perfectly browned on the bottom” cookies (something I was NEVER able to do) – try a baking stone. Really! And season it well… the more seasoned, the better the cookies turn out. My stone is mostly black now, with only the clay color coming through in a few areas (and on the bottom, of course). It was the ultimate cure for my burnt cookies… I never baked a cookie I didn’t burn, until I got my baking stone. If you’re a lover of cooking with cast iron – you’ll love baking stones, and likely never go back to those metal pan thingies.

And without further ado, The Legendary Snickerdoodle Recipe™

(Makes 4 dozen)

1 cup Shortening

1½ cups sugar

2¾ cups flour

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. soda

½ tsp. salt

  1. Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs and beat well.
  2. Sift together flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt. Gradually stir into creamed mixture.
  3. Chill dough 2 hours or more. Form into balls the size of walnuts. Roll each ball in a mixture of 2 Tbsp. sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon.
  4. Bake at 400° for about 10 minutes. (Cookies should be lightly browned but still soft)

And there you have it folks… the best cookie recipe you will ever own. Please, please let me know if you try it. I’d love to hear feedback.

Please remember, this is not my own recipe and the book may be found by following the link above.

Thanks for coming out today – happy baking!

Adopting Dragons

So, I owe you all apologies! As you can see, the maintenance is still underway. However – it’s for good cause!

Friday evening, Michael and I went out with friends and family and had those grape bomb things, remember? They also come in cherry, fyi. I will say this… if you don’t like either grape flavored Dimetapp or cherry flavored Robitussin – I don’t recommend trying these. (I, for the record, don’t like either.) Suffices to say that my drink of choice for the remainder of the evening was NOT anything related to any flavored-bombs. I swapped between Corona and water. Sadly, whether it was a virus or perhaps the mixing of alcohol, Michael became very ill and we headed for home… unfortunately stopping several times along the way. I felt horrible for him. It certainly wasn’t the volume of alcohol, because to be truthful, he didn’t drink all that much. After tucking him into bed, I began to wonder if we’d be hitting the faire at all on Saturday with him feeling like he did.

Saturday morning came and Michael was groggy and ‘meh’ – so I let him sleep. I went to check on him late in the morning and he said he was feeling better and ready to head to the faire! I was excited! We headed out, me in full faire garb and Michael in his jeans and /spit t-shirt. Upon arrival, our first priority was to get that man dressed! And so we did…

(Forgive the poor quality of the picture – it was taken in horrid lighting and with my phone)

He’s adorable, I think. All he needs is a good pair of boots so that he doesn’t feel like Aladdin anymore. (Also missing in this shot is his belt and pouch.) We arrived late to the faire and spent a good deal of time getting him all set and finding proper accessories – such as a pouch to hold our magic pixie toys (i.e. cell phones) and I.D., money etc. Once we had finished and put all of his clothes in the car, we wandered about looking for a good place to eat and then settled into ‘our’ seats at the pub. (I say ‘our’ seats because it seems to be the same place we sit every time we visit.) As last call approached, we decided to find a place nearby and crash for the night so that we could come back in the morning and maybe see some shows (for a change).

The highlight of my Sunday trip to the faire, was the visit to the Dragon Hatchery. Oh, they were so very adorable! These darlings have very expressive faces and jeweled eyes. There were so many and in a rainbow of colors. I had my eye on a black and red. These adorable pets also love to sit comfortably on your shoulder and take in the sights while making the most darling little noises in your ear. I wish I had been able to snap a picture, but alas, I didn’t take my camera along.

I wanted so badly to adopt one of my very own. Unfortunately, dragons come at a pretty penny and I wasn’t able to. However, I have confirmed that the good folks from the hatchery also set up shop at the faire in Colorado – so all is not lost! I’m very much looking forward to giving a home to an orphan dragon next season – and hoping that Mark’s cat doesn’t much mind.

The busy weekend ended nicely with spending some time with my friends slaying some Seriously Angry internet dragons and introducing a new friend to the Lich King. (Also, Evie is now officially a King Slayer – F.T.W.)

I’m really promising to get faire pictures up – this weekend coming, Phoebs and I are going back… her outfit nearly complete! So, perhaps pictures at the house before heading out. Also… that Snickerdoodle recipe? ARGH, if I don’t keep forgetting it at home. It’s sitting out on my kitchen counter and I walk by it nearly 20 times each evening. Maybe tonight I will manage to remember to place it in my bag… or my car even.

Thanks for coming out today! ❤