Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reflection Bus

As the year quickly winds down
and the view outside is rather brown
I take a look at this bustling town
and my smile starts to form a frown

A little frown mind you me
don't go getting all crazy
for time it flies, you can agree
like one would on a shopping spee

Day by day it seems so slow
dealing with the to and fro
as our anticipation seems to grow
for certain hours to go, go, go

When we look back to times of old
it's ourselves that we must scold
we don't live in the moment truth be told
but should treat each like it were gold

As this New Year approaches us
we should consider it a plus
that we're still here, don't make a fuss
or next time around you may miss the bus

Jenny Matlock

Today we will be writing anything to do with the coming New Year! Recipes, stories, poems, pictures, resolutions, words to dedicate the New Year to. Please feel free to be as creative as you wish

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sleepless Nights Before Christmas

Twas 4 days before Christmas when all through the house
all the creatures were stirring and I was hot in my blouse.
No stockings were hung by the chimney with care
for there is no chimney, sometimes life just ain't fair.

No one was quite nestled or snug in their bed
but there were zombified sugar plum fairies at play in my head.
At certain points in the night they’d break out in rap
and I was just grateful they weren’t grinding on my lap!

Then I thought to myself “I wonder who’s fatter?”
When one just can’t sleep their thoughts are in scatter.
The next thing I knew my thoughts went to cash
and my serious lack of it, where does Santa get his stash?

Then I’m reminded that he’s got elves lined up in a row
cranking out presents like they’re all hopped up on blow.
It’s a good thing they’re in the workshop, not with us here
cause it’s always intervention time after the New Year.

Their addiction is seasonal so it they can lick
but until they do the after party is quite sick.
Santa is their pusher so he has no one else to blame
and compared to most pornos their antics are quite tame.

Wow, I’m not sure how I got there…. geez what a Vixen!
Please hold on a minute while my dirty mind I’m a fixing.
It seems like I’ve wandered beyond the barrier wall
that separates my mind from clean and dirty, what gall!

Ok I think I’m back on track with a twinkle in my eye.
Just the remnants of a tear from laughing hard enough to cry.
I often think I’m crazy, I’m sure the others do too.
Well they do speak in my head so I guess that’s my clue.

So back to my thoughts, Santa stops on the roof
which means that the dogs will go crazy and woof!
Can’t he use the door?  I know it’s closer to the ground
but again there is no chimney so he’d end up a frozen mound.

He can’t get in the windows that crazy old coot,
I live in the ghetto so they’re locked to save my loot!
Come to think of it though there is an old chimney in the back
but it’s no longer functional and an opening it lacks.

My thoughts now return to the zombified fairies
and their bloodshot eyes that resemble rotted cherries.
It’s kind of a gross thought I really do know
but I do like gross… hey, I just realized there’ll be no snow!

No snow for Christmas, in Minnesota?  Good grief!
I know that most of you are in agreement with disbelief.
For our winter weather makes you feel like lime green jelly
as in jealous with envy not sick with a giggly belly.

It’s true I tell you, I couldn’t believe it myself,
even though the thought of snow makes me want tequila, top shelf!
In a margarita of course, yep margarita I said
make me one quick or it’s off with your head!

Sorry, got carried away. I’m a lack of sleep jerk
and I have to wake up early to get myself to work!
It’s crazy that we work so the money stream flows
but no matter what that debt damn just grows!

I think sleep has found me so it’s time for dismissal
so I can wake in the morning with eyes feeling like thistle
but before I do I wish you all happy holidays and a peaceful night
and hope that 2012 is the year all your dreams do take flight!

Jenny Matlock
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22 - HOLIDAY LINK - Anything related to the holiday - recipes, decorations, stories, poems, pictures

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fantabulous Fudge and Fruit

Jenny Matlock

My computer likes to annoy me lately so hopefully it's done being temperamental and it will allow me to post this fun, fantabulous F blog!!

Today my friends F is for Fudge and Fruit Salsa.... YEA!  That's peppermint fudge to be exact:-)  Now I'm not a big chocolate fan, which may be against all rules of being a woman or something from the looks I get when I say that but it's true!  I will eat it, I prefer it when there's caramel involved though.  This fudge however has pumpkin in it.  Yeah, you heard me.... PUMPKIN!  Ok, here goes the recipes!

Peppermint Bark Fudge courtesy Hungry, it's very simple.  You can click on the name to see all the details but all you need is a box of Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie mix, 2 cans of Libby Pumpkin, 3 tablespoons of white chocolate chips and a candy cane (or 5 mini candy canes).  That's it!  You mix the brownie mix and pumpkin and stick it in the oven to bake.  While that's baking you crush the candy canes and chop the white chocolate chips.  Once the brownies are done you take them out of the oven and sprinkle the crushed cane and chopped chocolate on top.  Press it a little into the brownies and as it cools the crushed canes will settle in and the chocolate will melt to also hold the cane on to the brownies.  Then you can cover it with foil and put it in the fridge to cool overnight so the peppermint flavor settles in.  That's that.  I don't think I cooked mine long enough cause the center was a little too soft, the edges weren't too bad.  Here's the finished product:

Only 67 calories a piece.  Now I must say that this doesn't taste like fudge to me, I totally taste the pumpkin.... but it is good.  I think maybe a little less pumpkin might help curb that flavor a little and maybe a little longer baking time than the recipe lists so that middle is more solid.  I was also thinking I could use caramel flavored chips that I saw at the grocery store.... love caramel!  This may be a good recipe to experiment with in the future:-)

Next is Fruit Salsa.  I found this one on SparkRecipes and afterwards found several others there that used different fruits but I went with this one first.  Now the recipe includes cinnamon chips that you make also but I left those out and just used cinnamon sugar pita chips with mine cause they were on sale:-)  This recipe just calls for a pound of strawberries, 2 kiwi, 2 apples and 1/4 cup of orange juice.  Chop all that fruit, put it in a bowl and add in the orange juice and mix.  You can eat it right away or put it in the fridge so it can chill, meld flavors and allow the orange juice to draw out the fruit's juices.  Here's some pics:

The first is the freshly chopped and mixed product.  The 2nd is the next day and me getting ready to give it a try.  It was delish!  I used gala apples and they sort of overpowered the flavors of everything else.  My thought is that this is another one to experiment with in the future!  Maybe some pomegranate, pineapple, peaches... the possibilities are endless and it's awesome for anytime of year!  I may even make some for Christmas to snack on during the day while everyone waits for the ham dinner to be done:-)  Now I would have to say that the chips in the recipe may be a better idea for the future also because they'd be thinner than pita chips, since they are made with flour tortillas.  You bake them so the calories are kept down of course so that's a bonus:-)

So here are 2 recipes to play around with if I get in the mad scientist sorta mood, or if you do.... go ahead, give em a try!  Heck... maybe I can even mix the 2 somehow and go a little crazy!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Eggplant Reprise... Surprise... Prize Potential

Jenny Matlock

Plugging right along in the weekly alphabet blog, we are at E and today ladies and gentlemen E is for Eggplant... reprise!

Yes, I've written about eggplant in the past but that was totally different than now:-)  I mean, back then I was making fun of it.... in a fun kinda way, see E is for Eggplant if you want to check that out.  This time I figured I would cook some up for eating purposes so that's what I'll share with ya today.

I am still however puzzled by the fact that it's called an eggplant cause to me it really doesn't look like an egg at all.

The color, the look, the feel, the outside, the inside, the taste, the texture... I could go on and on... nothing about it reminds me of an egg.  Ok, there are some types that may resemble an egg but not that one.  Did you know that it's actually considered to be a berry?  Surprise, tis true I tell ya, you can read about eggplants on Wikipedia, here's a link to check out!  Anyways, I didn't cook that one there cause when I cut it open it didn't look so healthy.  Sort of brown and suspicious, which is always annoying I must say!  Luckily I had another that looked ok so that I could make Stuffed Eggplant!

I'll have to find the link to the recipe again.  I got it off the internet but I can't remember where it came from.  Here are some pictures:

There we've got the before cooking, after cooking, and getting ready to dive in pictures:-)  Now I've not eaten eggplant a lot, I could probably count the number of times on 1 hand.  Usually it's been fried or in a ratatouille that my friend's Turkish mother made (which was delish!).  Whether I did things right or not I'm not sure but I must say that the filling could have used less bread crumbs, or none at all because that made for a weird, mushy consistency that I really didn't enjoy.  Other than that it was good and I may try it again just to see if I can make it better next time... or use a different recipe to change it up some.

Since I don't have the recipe link for ya right now, or the recipe on me, I'll give ya a little info on what I remember putting in it:-) 

1 large eggplant or 2 small
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup onion
1/2 pound Italian sausage
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 pound mushrooms
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Geez, I remembered better than I thought I would... LOL! 

Ok, so it said to cut the eggplant in half (lengthwise) and then put into boiling water (covering about 3/4 of the eggplant) until tender, about 15 minutes or so. 

While that's cooking you cook up the Italian sausage with the onion, garlic & oil.  Now the recipe never said where the Italian seasoning came in so I added that in the meat mix as I cooked it up.  Of course I put the onion & garlic in the food processor to make it more of a puree rather than chunky:-) 

Once the meat is browned you add in the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and the recipe didn't say where the mushroom came in so I added them at this point also.  You cook that on low as you wait for the eggplant. 

Once the eggplant is done you hollow out the center & chop that up & add it to the meat mixture along with 1/2 a cup of the marinara.  Cook that meat mixture for a couple minutes & then spoon it into the eggplant. 

Once that's done you top it with the rest of the marinara and mozzarella cheese. Then you bake it at 350 for about 35 minutes.

That's pretty much that and this one wasn't a prize but has potential.  I can't help but wonder if the recipe was missing some ingredients or directions, well other than those I noticed were missing that is.... LOL!  It wasn't bad but it could use some improvement.  The ingredients were tasty though so maybe I'll keep it and work with it to get it to where my picky self likes it:-) 

Now to try eggplant in other ways I guess.... incorporate it more.  It is purple and I love me some purple!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Daffy for Dill But Cooked Carrots Bug Me

Jenny Matlock
It's another week of Alphabe-Thursday and we are on the letter D!  Those of you that have read in the past know that my theme this go round is recipes so this week brings us this lovely concoction:
That there is called Dilly Buttered Carrots and.... um, well.... the recipe say Rotini however those of you skilled in pasta know that isn't rotini up in there.  LOL!  Those my friends are shells cause that's what I had in the pantry and I really made this last week, which you also may recall was Thanksgiving soooooo... I was in a rush to get it done:-)  Why I'm not sure since the letter was postponed last week, I could have taken a break.  Really, I didn't think about it and just kept telling myself I had to get my D recipe in for the week!  Well now I'm a little ahead then and won't have to feel rushed or anything in the oncoming weeks I guess.... SCORE!
Ok, so this recipe came to be from a little book called Lotsa Pasta!, it's a Pillsbury Classic Cookbook.  This is one of those little books you can pick up from the magazine rack at the checkout lanes in the grocery stores.  It's one that my mom picked up for me from one of her many excursions to the 2nd hand stores when I said I was in the market for some cheap, low cal/low fat cookbooks. 
This was a very simple recipe, I'll give you their version first:
3 oz. (1 cup) uncooked rainbow or plain rotini (spiral pasta)
2 cups fresh baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill or 1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
In a large saucepan, cook rotini as directed on package, adding carrots during last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking time.  Cook until rotini is tender and carrots are crisp-tender.
Drain rotini and carrots; return to saucepan.  Add butter, dill, salt and pepper; toss gently to coat.
4 (3/4 -cup) servings
Calories ~ 130
Total Fat ~ 3 g
Saturated ~ 2 g
Cholesterol ~ 10 mg
Sodium ~ 180 mg
Total Carbs ~ 22 g
Dietary Fiber ~ 2 g
Sugars ~ 4 g
Protein ~ 3 g
Dietary Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat, or 1 carb, 1 vegetable & 1/2 fat
That's all there is too it!  Now I substituted in whole wheat shells for the pasta and I cut the carrots a little differently.  I added a little more dill, pepper & salt also cause for whatever reason the seasoning in most recipes is never enough for me:-)  Turned out pretty tasty & due to the pasta I used a little different on the nutritional info there but in a good way so I'm not worried about that.  I love dill but never know what to do with it.  I used dried dill weed cause I have a big container of it that I got at a wholesale type store.  So glad I found a use.  There are probably plenty more but in the past I've just used it for a cucumber salad that I make in the summer time.  Usually summer cause it's a cold, vinegar based salad and I'm not in the mood for it as much in the winter. 
Remember the old Looney Tunes cartoons?  They are some of my favorites!  Anyways, this recipe made me think of the ones with Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny cause I'm daffy for dill but cooked carrots sometimes bug me... LOL!  Get it???  They do though, for whatever reason I'm not a big carrot fan.  I eat them raw sometimes and do ok, especially with a dip or something.  Cooked is ok with a roast, cause they soak up all that meat fat... LOL!  I'm good with them in stews and soups... as long as they aren't to crispy, they should be a little more tender then.  I don't really care to eat them cooked plain but I will when they are in a mixed veggie combo or something.  It's a wonder that I got as big as I did with how picky I can be sometimes, that's for sure!!  Although this is veggies we're talking about and I'm sure there aren't too many who get big off those! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

C is for Scentsational... Trust Me

Jenny Matlock

Today is brought to you by the letter C.  Now my theme is recipes and I originally said that they'd begin with the letter of the week so this may be considered cheating but on the menu today is Aztec Chicken, Vinegar and Course Salt Chipotle Roasted Potatoes and Spicy Jamaican Cabbage.  So the main ingredient in 2 of the 3 recipes begins with a C and in one.... it maybe tastes like the C???  LOL... it's funny how I can eat it and not really know but it was quite the yummy meal:-)

Now the recipes for the chicken and potatoes are a just a couple from Debi, at Debi Does Dinner Healthy.  You should check her out, there are over 500 recipes and she has pictures that show off their yumminess!  The cabbage is something that I've had in Jamaica.  I used to go yearly so we had some friends there that sort of became like family and one of them would make us a Jamaican dinner 1 of the evenings while we were there so that was a dish he'd make.  So yummy and that recipe will be shared here in this blog, rather than a link, since it's written down.  Ok so on with the show....

The chicken, while it didn't look as pretty as Debbi's it was quite great!  Do check out the link above for the recipe and her pictures cause it will definitely make you want to give it a whirl!  

Above is my pictures of the Aztec Chicken before & after:-)  You marinate this one for a couple hours, according to the recipe, but because of time I ended up marinating it overnight.  It's just a mixture of olive oil, cumin, paprika, onion, black pepper.... mmmmmm.  To save space and because Debbi has it all outlined for ya I won't type out the recipe here, just click on the link to check it out.  She also has included a pico de gallo recipe that you can put on top of the chicken for a little extra boost of flavor:-)

Next is the potatoes.  Now there isn't actually chipotle in them so I'm assuming they must just taste like chipotle from what you do put in them?  I'm not sure if I've ever really had a chipotle so that I would know but my boyfriend says they do sort of have that flavor so I'll take his word for it:-)

Now these babies above are the Vinegar and Course Salt Chipotle Roasted Potatoes and Debi said they smelled great cooking... she wasn't kidding!  They smell fabulous, I couldn't wait to eat them!  Very simple recipe that uses red wine vinegar, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper... another recipe that she has outlined all nice and easy like so check out the link above.  They are awesome and I think when I make them in the future I may let these little taters marinate overnight to see if I can get that vinegar mix to penetrate them through and through... I love me some vinegar:-)

Last but definitely not least is the Spicy Jamaican Cabbage.  Now I'm not sure that's what it's really called but it's what I call it:-)  I don't really know the exact measurements of what is used either, it's one of those just winging it type of recipes since the person who made it in Jamaica just throws things in there from memory, doesn't really write recipes down or anything.  I do have to say that I love my food processor and it makes shredding a head of cabbage so much easier!!  Ok, so here is a picture of the spicy yumminess as it's cooking:

Here's how it's done:

Saute the following in a little olive oil:
1 green pepper
1 onion
2 or more cloves of garlic
1 scotch bonnet pepper

Now, I have an issue with biting into chunks of peppers and onions so what I actually did here was throw the peppers, onion & garlic in the food processor to chop it all up to a consistency I could handle.  I then put it in a wok, with the olive oil, to saute... it looked like pesto... LOL.  Beware of the little scotch bonnet cause they are very hot!  They are little but pack a big kick... I forgot to take a pic but here is one from google:

So cute and innocent looking but 1 is all you need for some good spice.  If you don't like hot then use 1/4 and then add more if that's not enough.  It really all depends on how much cabbage you have.  I used the whole thing and thought it was just right:-)


Shredded cabbage
Shredded carrot
1 plantain
1 tomato

You add in the shredded head of cabbage.  My local grocery store had pretty small heads of cabbage so it was about the size of a softball... maybe a little bigger.  It was just the right size so I'm not complaining, any bigger & it may not have fit in my wok:-)  Like I said above though, the amount of cabbage will probably be an indication of how much or how little of the scotch bonnet you want to include because of their heat.  Again, I used the whole thing but I like hot:-) 

I probably used about 25 baby carrots, maybe less, I just shredded them in the processor with the cabbage and then added the cabbage & carrots to the wok with the pesto like mix.  Now the plantain.... I've not really dealt with one of those in the past but it's like a harder version of a banana.  I simply peeled it and shredded that up in the processor too.  Nice and easy!!  It looked like shredded cheese or something but I put it in the wok, mixed it all together and then added about a cup and half of water to steam it all.

As it's cooking you just want to keep mixing it, you're really cooking it now to soften up that cabbage and the carrots to the consistency that you like.  Some like it a little crunchy but I like it a little softer.  Towards the end, when it's near being done you can add in a diced up tomato.  I don't care for cooked, chunky tomatoes so again... in the food processor it went and then I tossed it in and mixed it up.  At that point you just let it cook a little longer until all the flavors meld and you get the texture you want for the cabbage. 

So, my picture up above shows the pretty confetti like color of the ingredients but if you aren't freaked by textures and are OK with the chunkiness then yours can have diced ingredients that would stand out a little more in your mix:-)  Either way, it's good stuff! 

Here is the overall dinner for the evening:

And here it is with the pico on the chicken:

My version of the pico that is... no chunks:-)  I love the taste of peppers & onions but I don't want to bite into the chunks.  It may not look so pretty but it was an awesome dinner that I will definitely make again and again! 

This meal is rated Scentsational!  Everything smells awesome as you make it and as it's cooking and while that doesn't start with a C it sounds like it does so it works:-)

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Naked Truth

It was decided long ago
that pants are dumb so they had to go.
Then the shirt went with the flow
and so did the skivvies don't ya know.

It's so much easier to walk about
just letting everything hang out
and when the people stop and shout
it's out of jealousy there is no doubt.

Not everyone can look this good
nearly naked in the hood.
Why it's done, misunderstood
but just look within if you could.

Deep inside there's a tale to tell
some just help it to propel,
as if the world's their clientele
for their version of a living hell.

But here you see the naked truth
without the use of your local sleuth.
Honest and upfront as a bright eyed youth
divulging their sins at the confessional booth.

This write was inspired by the lovely pic that I saw on facebook a while back... LOL.  Also by the "pants are dumb" line that was provided by Miss April at 30 Before 30 when I complained that no 2 sizes are quite the same.  She put that in a comment and I just found it hilarious so now I think it every time I get frustrated over a pair!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Busy B's Recipes

Jenny Matlock

It's that time of the week... recipe time!!  Ok, so those of you that read my A blog know that I didn't actually have the recipes ready back then so I had to post it a little later.  If you want to check that out then you can click here on Apples and Asparagus... Oh My!   Alrighty, that brings us to B then doesn't it?  Yep it does and for B I have for you bread crumbs...

Ok, I'm kidding... that's not really the B recipe for this week.  I did use some old hamburger buns though that I would have normally thrown away and made the bread crumbs you see there in the 2nd picture.  They should come in handy for some meatloaves or something later down the road:-)  I just put that bread in the oven at 275 until it was dried out and toasty and then in the food processor it went.  Simple, no need to throw away old bread anymore... unless it's moldy of course.

Ok, for reals the recipe is Beef Barley Stew and it is yummy!  I figured that when I can I'll just link to the recipe I used and when I can't I'll list it.  In this case the recipe came from:

My mom loves to shop at the 2nd hand stores and keeps asking me if I need anything so one day I told her some cookbooks would be nice, low cal like preferably.  She brought me a pile of them and amongst them was that one.  There are a lot of recipes in there that sound tasty so I look forward to trying more out.  

That first picture is what theirs looked like completed and the 2nd is mine.  It may look a little gross, mine not theirs, but it's very tasty and very easy to make.  I believe mine is a little soupier because the recipe calls for a 16 oz can of whole tomatoes, crushed, but I used a little more than 16 ounces of diced tomatoes, pureed:-)  I don't like to eat chunky, warm tomatoes so I have to go that route.  It called for 10 ounces of frozen mixed vegetables but I don't really care for mixed vegetables usually.  I decided to try to go with it but I bought a bag of corn and a bag of peas and carrots and then I used about 12 ounces, to make up for the extra juice I knew I'd have.  I was so tempted to throw in extra barley cause I love it but I was afraid I'd over do it so I didn't this time.  It turned out pretty chunky so I probably won't in the future either.  Here's the ingredients they list:

1 pound extra lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
2 cups beef broth
2/3 cups uncooked barley
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can (16 oz) whole tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 oz) sliced water chestnuts, undrained
1 package (10 oz) frozen mixed vegetables

And the directions, with a little added in from me... LOL.  You preheat the oven to 350.  Cook the beef and onion in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain.  I also added chopped garlic in with the beef and onion cause I love me some garlic:-)  Then you mix the beef with the remaining ingredients, except for the frozen vegetables, in a 3 quart casserole pan.  Now the recipe says to break up the tomatoes but this is where I pureed them before I added them.  I also used flavored diced tomatoes, a can of onion garlic and some left over onion green pepper ones (just a little more flavor... which I can never have enough of:-)  You cover this and put it in the oven for 30 minutes.  Once that time is up you mix in the frozen veggies and then put it back in the oven, covered, for another 30-40 minutes... or until the barley is done.  I had to cook it for about an hour before it was done but I used some fancy unhulled, organic barley.... ooo la la:-)

The book says that it makes 6 servings of 1 1/3 cup each and that it's 215 calories per serving.  Not too bad and it's hearty.  I love this and plan on making a double batch to freeze so that I have some easy meals later down the road.  Winter's coming & this is some good winter eating!

I did make another B recipe that I'm not quite as sure about.  It consisted of butternut squash, which I've never had let alone dealt with, and millet, again.... never had or dealt with.  I thought millet was something you fed to parakeets or something but it's not just for the birds anymore.  LOL!  I laugh because the site I looked up to learn a little about it said the same thing.... and I typed it before I read it I swear.  Anyways, you can click on the word millet back there if you are unfamiliar with this wonder grain.  The recipe is simply called Butternut Squash and Millet Cakes.  You can check out that recipe and calorie info by clicking on the name there.  Here are a few pics:

Now call me crazy but when I cut into this cute little, organic, butternut squash it reminded me of cantaloupe.  It even looked like cantaloupe inside and once it was all cut up, it's just shaped a little different.  Unfortunately it didn't taste quite like cantaloupe....

Here we have the millet, looks a little bit like quinoa.  In the first picture I'm rinsing it, the 2nd it's toasting & the last it's mixed with the squash and the rest of the ingredients.  Now the recipe says that the 'mush' tastes good but I thought it was a little bitter or something.  Once the 'mush' cools though you heat up the frying pan, add some olive oil, and put in a dollop of the 'mush' and brown it on both sides as you make it into a pancake.  Mine didn't want to stick together but I think it's because the squash wasn't quite ripe.... I didn't really know, it was my first time an all.  I'll read up on the butternut squash for the future.  Here's what I ended up with.

Not too pretty but it wasn't too bad once it was cooked like a pancake.  I didn't add the cilantro that the recipe calls for but I did try it with some lemon juice on it and that made it a little better.  This one may be an acquired taste and I'm not sure I'll make it again.  I basically wanted to find a recipe for millet and went with this one since it had the butternut squash in it for B:-)  I will give each of those ingredients another try but in separate recipes in the future.  I do have the batch of 'mush' left however so I'll make those up another day to give them another go around... or I wonder if my bird will like it??  He's a cockatoo so millet is a little small for him but he loves mash potatoes so maybe he'll think that's what it is... until he tastes it;-) 

So this concludes my B blog my friends.  Beef Barley Stew is a YUM and Butternut Squash Millet Cakes are a HO-HUM... don't be afraid to give them a try though... they have a nice Indian food like smell as they cook due to all the spices you add and I myself am picky so you just may like them:-)  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Finally.... A Healthy Makeover....

I'm a homeowner who once loved her home.  Don't get me wrong, I still do but it may think I no longer do cause it's been overused and abused in the past 6 years or so.  You see, I've had some family living with me and they weren't too nice to it.  I even wrote a little poem about it, like to hear it, here it is Love Thy Home:-) 

Granted it’s an old house and all but it shouldn’t have had to go through what it has.  I mean, the house is nice enough to provide shelter and all so we should be nice to it right?  That’s my thought however the family living with me forgets that, or never agreed really, so they’ve treated it as…. well I’m not even sure what to compare it to really!  Basically my house was once clean and orderly, I had nice things, wasn’t ashamed to have people over.  Now however, I’m embarrassed to let the mailman see the inside through the front door.  Mainly because of the carpet!  It's horrendous!! 

The carpet tells the tales of what's been eaten, drank, walked in, & walked on, it’s been used for a toilet, paper towel, garbage can, gum holder and just about anything else you can probably imagine!  If it didn't happen on the living room/dining room carpet, it's pretty much guaranteed that it happened on the carpet in another part of the house. 

Today folks I will invite you in to see what this is that I speak of, only because I am finally able to work on changing it:-)

That first picture is what a person would see if/when they come in the front door.  Picture 2 & 3 are different angles.  Now I bought the house from my mom and she picked a crappy carpet for sure cause it can definitely not be cleaned but who the heck has this many stains in their carpet?  It was pristine about 8 years ago!  The 4th picture is the living room, who even knows what all these stains are exactly but like I said... you name it and it can probably be found in my carpet!  It was a dull and dreary day when I took the pictures so the first 3 are under natural light & the forth is with the living room light on. 

Now in that last picture you see a little snippet of what's left of a love seat.  Yeah, I inherited the living room furniture from my mom when I bought the house cause she wanted new stuff for her new place.  Granted I didn't really care for the couch and love seat but they were brand new and it meant I could wait to get a set I liked.  Well, after the years of having the family live with me they now look like so (along with more shots of the living room carpet):

The first is my love seat, it's falling apart as you can see.  That red thing there on the cushion is a tape measure... which we were using to measure for new carpet:-)  Then you have the couch.  Over to the left there is an old purse full of cook books that I've been going through for recipe ideas:-)  To the right is extra cushions that need to be there otherwise you feel like you are sitting on the floor, as you can see it's pretty sunken in.  The cushions don't fit right any longer, the springs are shot, there are big holes if you lift the cushions and I'm pretty sure that if my cat didn't keep the mice away they could have a feast on what they'd find inside either of them... heck, they may even explode from eating too much!  The carpet in the living room isn't quite as bad as the dining room but you can see all the stains there.  That table there in front of the couch, it had 2 pains of glass in the top of it but only 1 remains cause the other was broken when the kids forgot that tables are meant for glasses and not a$$es..... yeah... that was the 2nd time they broke one so I didn't replace it again cause I figured it was best to wait until they were gone since it's not cheap for custom made glass! 

Now I won't even discuss the room that they actually stayed in because they started a fire in there so there's some fire damage to the carpet and wall in there.  They also broke the inside pane of window to a double pained window.... how that was managed I do not know.  They didn't even tell me... I found that out the day they finally left when I went to make sure the window was locked!  The other room that I'm embarrassed about is the kitchen cause there was a pit bull puppy that was with them and she liked to chew on my kitchen chairs and cupboard corners, as teething puppies are apt to chew.  Now I am not happy about that in no way, shape or form but I am still in shock that they also chewed and scratched up the wall!  Check this out:

How crazy is that???  That 2nd pic there, on the corner there used to be one of those plastic corner thingies which is why it's all white now.  The dog chose to chew it off I guess.  I'm not quite sure why it wanted to chew up the wall but I sure hope whatever it was after tasted good!  In the first picture there you see a little snippet of one of my dogs peeking around the corner.  That's Mogli and in comparison to the other dogs that were in the house she is an angel!  Never once has she chewed up anything she shouldn't have.  Heck, I have a hard time getting her to chew things she should (unless it's food)!

Now, as if the dogs didn't do enough damage to that poor wall, there is also this lovely work that was accomplished by my nephews (I believe):

To hear the nephews tell it they aren't responsible for any of the above damage.  To any of it... not the carpets, the couches, the walls or anything else.... complete angels they are.  Well I like to tell them that the devil, he was once an angel too!  That first picture there is a lovely hole, at just the right height of my hot headed oldest nephew.  2nd picture is just a full wall shot to show the actual size or whatever.  The 3rd picture is what I believe to be a hole made by a flat head screwdriver and some nails.  That last pic is the same wall with the screwdriver hole but oh so dirty and there is that lovely big old crack going down it.  This is the same wall that the dogs scratched up so it's been through a lot of torture I guess.  I'm not sure what the need was to put the holes in the wall but my 2 youngest nephews to like to pound things into walls when they get their hands on tools... that and writing and drawing when the tools are pencils, pens, markers, crayons, lip stick, paint, spray paint... anything that can leave a mark! 

Now you may ask yourself why I didn't fix things as they happened or keep things clean on a daily basis.  To that I simply say that I did in the beginning and the upstairs, where I stayed, is clean and kept up for the most part.  The rooms they weren't allowed in (cause I occupied them) are fine but the bathroom and hall could use some work.  Also the doors aren't the greatest cause I had to keep them locked to keep my stuff safe and the oldest nephew, he liked to break in.  A door handle and frame can only endure so much!  That stuff is all minimal though compared to all the above I've shown.  Now, after a while it just got to be too much to keep up with.  I'd clean things and fix things and not long after they'd be dirty &/or broken again.  It became too depressing for me to be in the downstairs so I began avoiding it and leaving it to them (which was a mistake but ultimately the cheaper way to go).  I have a pretty good job but I can't afford to keep fixing things over and over again!  So I became sort of numb to it all I guess.  Not really numb cause I still gave them the what for when I found things but I didn't try to fix things anymore cause I just couldn't do it and I figured they'd have to be out soon!  Well.... needless to say they were here much, much longer than they should have been and things got bad as you see but that's only part of the damage that I have to fix. 

Why am I blogging about it?  To get it off my chest I guess.  To have my documented proof of how gross, nasty and embarrassing things are also cause now that the family is out I'm going to finally fix things up.  Now I was going to start small with the little patch up things and fix the kitchen cupboard hinges, door handles so on & so on but I just can't handle the carpet & couches any longer!  It's depressing to be in my own house.  I constantly feel like it's dirty and unsanitary no matter how much I try to clean it.  It probably is, that carpet is never coming any cleaner!  So I've decided to get new carpet!  The guy has come to measure and the carpet has now been ordered!  In a few weeks it'll be brand, spanking new and I can not wait!  Just in time for the Holidays:-)  Of course since I'm doing that & have to move everything out of the way I decided to move the couches right out of the house and to the nearest dump where they belong!  Ok, they are on the boulevard right now in hopes that my garbage will be someone else's treasure but to be honest, those couches just need to go to the dump.  You'll see in that first set of pictures, the 4th one, there is a TV.  Well they left that on pretty much 24/7 and the tube burned out so that will be going also!  I have a little money saved up for emergencies and I've decided to dip into that for the carpet.  I also have some saved in another account so with that and some financing I'm going to also get these little beauties:

Just the couch and love seat there in the first picture.  The 2nd is a close up of the love seat.  These are great!  Comfy and they recline, the love seat.... it also rocks!  They will go great with the new carpet too!  I should have taken a picture of what that will look like.  Well once it is in I definitely will so that I have the before and afters:-)

Lots of money slated to be spent this month for all of this but home is where the heart is right and you should feel comfy and happy in it right?  I also feel like I deserve this for all that I've gone through and the house deserves it for all that it has gone through for sure!  I figure hey, if the money is going to all of this then I can't buy as much food so maybe this is also a way to keep eating sensibly and healthy without any overeating?  Gotta look for the good in things right:-)  Not only is the new carpet going to make me and the house happy but we will be giving the dining room walls a much needed paint job before the new carpet is in and the kitchen wall will be fixed soon also.  The living room walls will be washed down, as will the kitchen and hallway walls.  Kids and their dirty hands... I bet I have the finger prints of every kid in the neighborhood on my walls!  Okay, not every one but close I'm sure.

So I'm making me happy, my house happy, and I'm sure those who have to see it happy cause everyone likes to see pleasant things right?  Who wants to walk in and be greeted by a carpet that looks like it could be a child's science fair project???  Not I, that's for dang sure! 

So this is my share for today, however embarrassing it is.  I guess my house and I are having some healthy makeovers:-)

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