Sunday, May 31, 2015

Silent Sunday....5.31.2015


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday Spotlight

Kris, at Junk Chic Cottage, has been kind enough to feature me in her Saturday Spotlight!  I've posted what I sent here, but you can also check it out on her blog, Junk Chic Cottage.  Kris is so sweet, has a beautiful home and writes a lovely blog. You really should check it out!  I know you will enjoy it!

So, here's what I sent to Kris....

Facts about me:

My first blog post was January 31, 2015.  I was terrified.  I’m still terrified!

I’m Alabama born and raised.  I do not like the colors orange and blue. ;-)

I moved from Birmingham to Dallas in 2011 and from Dallas to Nashville in November 2014.  The hubby is giving me a tour of the country – in no particular order.

I’m currently in menopause. It started when I was 2 years old.  I don’t remember reading about the curse of menopause in the Bible.  I think it was skipped.....on purpose.

I’ve been married to the current hubster for 7 years.  We met at a “haunted barn”.  We wanted to get married on Halloween and have everyone attend in costume.  The bestie nixed that so we got married on the 4th of July. We like that the entire United States celebrates our wedding anniversary! Here is a photo from our wedding…sheesh, look how skinny.  Menopause took care of that! 

Menopause started 6 months after we were married…send my hubby gifts and lots of “poor guy” messages.  He doesn’t know the “real me”  only the menopausal maniac I’ve become.  He is 10 years younger and doesn’t deserve a menopausal wife, but here we are.  Sorry about our little Samsung camera automatically airbrushes your face.  I don't understand why it thinks everyone's face has wrinkles!

I’m a pinner not a tweeter.  I can’t say anything in 140 characters or less. 

I’m a girly girl.  I don’t like to get dirty.  Maybe that’s why my craft projects fail.

I wear gloves for everything…washing dishes, dusting, vacuuming, painting, potting plants, watering plants, mopping the floors, washing my car, emptying the trash…you get the picture.  The gloves are pink.

I will not play sports.  The fear of a breaking a nail is just too great.  I do ride a bike.

I’ve never had a broken bone, but when I was little my dad ran over me with the car.  My aunt opened the car door while we were going somewhere and I fell out.  To this day I remember being embarrassed in the ER because the doctors and nurses saw my panties when they cut my pants off.  I was about 5 or 6…all that drama over a little (a lot of) blood.

Some strange men joined my bachelorette party.

One kept trying to kiss me.

I finally let him kiss my cheek after these men gave me money… a wedding gift. The new hubby-to-be was not happy when he saw all the photos.

I chewed gum during my entire wedding.  I was nervous.

I like getting people to pose for unusual family photos - like this...

And this.  The young girl in this photo, who looks like she’s about 17 was 12…yep, 12.

I didn’t look like that at 12…this is what I looked like…UGH…that nose…that hair…those freckles, those eyebrows.  I saw someone from school many years after graduation.  She asked if I had a nose job...nope.  She said "you must have grown into it then."  Yep!  I still laugh.

I have 2 boys and 2 step-children – 1 boy, 1 girl.

And one granddaughter.

The first time around I was married for 25 years. The first hubby died during the divorce ordeal…at my feet.  I was confused as to whether I was a widow or divorcee.  I still don’t know, but that was 11 years ago.  I’ve moved on.

I’ve been to New York City and Las Vegas twice. 

I’ve been out of the country once.

I’m a Marilyn Monroe, not Marilyn Manson, fan (go ahead, Google him). I miss Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, William Powell, Henry Fonda, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Dean Martin (this list could take a few days).

My youngest son has Loeys-Dietz Syndrome (similar to Marfan’s). We've spent many years in hospitals and doctor's offices.  He almost died once.

I love my lifelong friends (we all went to church and school together).  I HATE having my picture taken but do not miss an opportunity to pose when it’s a good hair day – those silly girls totally messed up this picture, but I rocked it (good hair day and not too big in the mouth area).

I’ve been a photographer for about 20+ years.

The hubby and I love plays.  Our first play to see together was The Full Monty.  I. HAD. NO. IDEA what it was about (honestly) because I had never seen the movie. We sat at a table next to the stage - I didn’t see the ending…my eyes were covered.  The hubby did and described it in great detail...all the way home!

Now you know more than you EVER wanted to know about me!


Sugar and Spice....

....and everything nice.  That's what these pork chops are made of....well, not the pork chops, just the Sugar & Spice rub ON the pork chops.

Happy Memorial Day!  Yes, I know the day has passed, but we were sick and didn't feel like grilling out.  So we post-poned our lame celebration until later in the week.  Lame, because we are still not running at 100%, therefore, there wasn't a lot of celebrating.  The hubster wobbled to the grill while I propped myself up on the stove.

This is a new recipe for me.  I found it on the website.  Since we enjoy the flavors of sweet and spicy, and more importantly, had all the ingredients on hand, I thought I would mix this up and give it a try!

Without further adieu, here's the recipe and a couple of photos of the end result!


2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Grated zest of 1 orange

Directions:  Blend all ingredients together in small bowl.  Rub both sides of 4 pork chops with mix.  Let sit 15-30 minutes uncovered.  Place on grill and cook until desired doneness.  Let chops rest for about 3 minutes before serving.  (printable copy here)

The meat was so tender and the rub flavored it very well.  And color?  Perfect!  You can see that the rub didn't fall off during grilling.

Letting the rub sit on the meat before tossing it on the grill was a helped keep the spices on while cooking and infused all of those flavors into the pork.  I kept the meal simple and paired the chops with some Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Lemon-Pepper Green Beans.

So what will I change about this recipe?  I may add a little less cumin or a little more cinnamon and brown sugar to balance out the cumin.  It did seem a little cumin-heavy to us.  Of course, in my not-well state, I could have rubbed more cumin on the chops in some places and not in others.  Or, I might not have blended the spices together well in a small bowl.  The variables are many.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.  I would be interested to know if it was our still-too-sick-for-this-meal taste buds or if the amount of cumin needs to be adjusted.

Happy Belated Memorial Day!


Friday, May 29, 2015

Are You Making Mistakes....

....with your dishes?

According to this article from House Beautiful, if you do any of these things, you are abusing your dishes.

ONE.  Storing your stemware with the rim down.  These glasses are fragile people.  Turn the rim up!

TWO.  Do not pre-wash your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher.  My mother-in-law has been telling me this for years.  I finally stopped.  One more time.  DO. NOT. PRE-WASH. YOUR. DISHES.  If the dishwasher detergent cannot find food to eat, it eats away at your dishes.

THREE.  Use a spatula, not silverware, to scrape the heavy food off of your dishes. Scraping silverware across your dishes will eventually mar and scar.

FOUR.  Use a buffer, such as a coffee filter or shelf liner, between plates and bowls while they are stored in your cabinets.  A coffee filter a day will keep chips away...or something like that.

FIVE.  Place glasses between the dishwasher tines, not ON the tine.  This will ensure they are as "snug as a bug in a rug" while getting clean.

Who'd a thunk it?!!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Easy Taco Seasoning

Earlier this week, I shared the recipe for EASY TACO SOUP.  Today, I will share the recipe for Easy Taco Seasoning that can be used in the EASY TACO SOUP!  I found this recipe on the website.

I made a change here and there to personalize it.  No recipe is ever written in stone...well, except the one for Red Velvet Cake.  If you make too many changes to that recipe, it is no longer Red Velvet Cake, but something more in line with a hot mess.

You can mix this together any time (it will store safely for quite a while) and you don't have to make any special purchases, as the spices are already on hand.  It is a versatile recipe and easily increased for more seasoning or reduced for less.

EASY TACO SEASONING (printable copy here)

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:  Blend together in a small voilĂ !  Store in an airtight container. Yield: 1 ounce.

I don't have to tell you that this seasoning blend can be used for more than one recipe.  It will work in your chili recipe, you can mix it into your hamburger meat for hamburger patties, mix it in your pasta sauce, use it as a dry rub on chicken or pork, or add it to your hamburger meat for tacos or will give a little kick to any recipe.  Since I add a little cayenne pepper to my mix I use it in jambalaya and red beans and rice.

There are no rules...experiment to see what happens.  If you don't like it, try adding (or omitting) a spice or two.



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wordless Wednesday...5.27.2015


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Easy Taco Soup...

The hubster and I have been sick since our return from Chicago.  Whatever this sickness is, it has kept us down for a few days now.  Unfortunately we had to eat, which meant I had to cook.  It wasn't unfortunate on the eating part...just the cooking part.  Cooking while you are sick is not fun!  It is rare that we are both sick at the same time, but here we are nevertheless.

I needed something that was quick, easy and didn't require a lot of brain power to prepare.  I pulled out a few loose recipes and my "homemade" recipe book and found the perfect meal...


I found this recipe a few years ago on Kraft's website.  I added the word "easy" because it is so easy to prepare.  It quickly became a family favorite.  It has wonderful flavors and a deep, rich color.  It's silly to talk about the color of this soup, as I'm sure people usually don't think about the color of their food, but I'm one of the weirdos who does.  After all, you eat with your eyes first, right?  A little side note:  the word weirdo was first used in 1962.  A synonym of the word weirdo is quaint.  Another synonym of weirdo is eccentric (the post on The Almost Chair).  See how it all it all ties together for me? :-)

I normally serve this during the fall and winter, but I needed something simple for us to eat.  As usual, I made a few modifications to the recipe.  You can make whatever changes you like to suit your taste.

TACO SOUP (serves 12)

1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
3 cans (15.5 oz each) chili beans
1 can (14.5 oz) whole tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14.25 oz) corn, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 package (1.25 oz) taco seasoning mix
1 1/2 cups water

Directions: Brown meat with chopped onions in large saucepan.  Drain.  (Sit on the sofa because you are tired from standing in front of the stove.) Pour mixture into a soup pot. (Get something cold to drink because your throat is really scratchy.)  Add all remaining ingredients.  (Let the flavors meld while you sit on the sofa for another 10 minutes.)   Stir with spoon, breaking up tomatoes.  (Breaking up the tomatoes has sapped the last remaining bit of your energy, so you return to the sofa). Simmer on medium low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (Go lie down in bed while this cooks and pray that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot while you are away from the kitchen.)

Serve with tortilla chips and shredded cheese for garnish.  For a printable version of this recipe (without my whining), click here.

Here are the modifications I make to this recipe.  Instead of chili beans, I use ranch style beans.  We like the flavor of the ranch style beans better.  Also, I do not use whole tomatoes, but diced tomatoes.  I reduce those down in my small blender. (This action required quite a bit of energy from my pointer finger -- I'm surprised it functioned well enough to snap photos!)  I usually let the soup cook for 30 - 45 minutes on low, still stirring occasionally.  This recipe serves 12.  As there are only the 2 of us, leftovers freeze nicely.   It is one of those recipes that if refrigerated overnight tastes better the next day.

Needless to say the warmth of the soup felt wonderful on our sore throats.  The chips were a little scratchy, but we suffered through it and went back to bed after dinner! (We ate some of the leftovers for breakfast, but I won't tell if you won't. You do what you gotta do when you're sick!!)

You and your family will enjoy this recipe.  It takes no time to prepare and is one of those that works well in a pinch!


Monday, May 25, 2015

If You Are a Blogger..... you have a "worst post ever"?

If so, was it your first blog post, your last post or several of the "in between" posts?  Although I haven't been blogging that long, I have one that I feel was my worst post.  You can find that post here.

I have to constantly remind myself to NOT pull the plug and put it out of blog misery.  I don't think I can even give you a specific reason why I dislike it so much, I just do.

I keep it as a reminder to never write a post like this again!

Happy Monday!


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Silent Sunday.....5.24.2015


Thursday, May 21, 2015

This Is What.... looks like in the back of an "L". 

I have issues with objects that move from Point A to Point B rather quickly...and that rock back and forth...and that fly at high altitudes....and that bounce across water.  Can you guess what issue I have??!!  :-)


Monday, May 18, 2015

Goals and Dreams...

Since I'm traveling, I'm not able to do any cooking or Dr. Death destruction on some poor unwilling object, so I'm finding other topics on which to post (sorry for the formal sounding sentence - I just hate ending sentences with prepositions if I can avoid it).  By writing a different type of post, it allows me to get to know you better (by asking for comments) and to share a few other things about myself.

I can't recall any specific dream or goal I had when I was a child.  I don't remember wanting to be a Prima Donna Ballerina, even though I took tap and ballet lessons.  I do remember wanting to be Barbie and to marry Ken when I grew up, but I don't really classify that as a goal or dream, just a horrible nightmare from playing with too many dolls.

When I became an adult, I had a few goals and dreams, I still do.  One of them involves my photography.  I am passionate about photography, specifically Documentary Photography.  I drool over photos from the greats - Richard Avedon, Eudora Whelty, Annie Leibovitz (NOT her celebrity work), Diane Arbus, Dorthea Lange, Helen Levitt, Gordon Parks.  My list of greats is so long, I do not have enough blog pages to provide all of their names.

What I love about Documentary Photography is that you not only get to photograph a person, but you are allowed to sit down and talk to them to get their story and a glimpse into their lives.  I dream of having a gallery exhibit one day.  I've had some images exhibited in local galleries and I've been published in a magazine, the newspaper several times and have even had one of my photos used on the inside jacket of a book cover.  Some of my photos have been used for stationery cards.  But a large gallery exhibit still eludes me.  So that is a goal and a day.

One of my most unique experiences was to be able to go inside a local jail to interview and photograph 5 inmates.  These guys ranged from the occasional check kiter to two murderers.  The interviews were to take place "behind the glass", which is what I named the series.  However, the day I went to the jail, there had been a power failure, so I was able to sit in a jail cell, face-to-face, and interview these guys, one at a time.  An armed officer was right outside the door in case things got out of hand.

I tried to be nice and I was, until it came to speaking with the killers.  They had stolen someone's life and I wanted to know why ...why they felt justified in doing so.  Needless to say, I'm glad the armed officer was right outside the door.  Here is one of the shots from that day.

You are not allowed to show their faces to protect their privacy and while this is not a great photo, it is one of my favorites from that day.  I had set up the camera on the tripod and the officer stepped inside to make sure I was safe (since there were 3 alone in the room with me) and accidentally kicked my tripod just as I snapped the photo.  I named this image "Distorted".  Obviously, it is distorted, but also blurred and "broken" matches the feelings I left with that day.

So what about you?  What are some of your goals and dreams from the past, for the present or for the future?

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share one of mine!  Have a great Monday!

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