Blog Index List

Here is a list of ALL my blogs listed in reverse, chronological order (newest first).

Nostalgia

10 days ago I scanned a few old pictures to compare myself with my younger sibling, and now look what it started! I have not stopped scanning photos since! That little task got me motivated to pull out my 2 giant boxes of old pictures and start organizing and scanning them into digital photos. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for years, but could never quite face the daunting task!

So far I have scanned almost 500 photographs, and still have thousands left to go. I suspect I will run out of motivation before I finish them all, but my first goal was to pull out all the photos I could find of me. This wasn’t too big of a chore, since once I hit my teenage years I started hiding from cameras, and there aren’t all that many photos beyond my grade school days.

I managed to find most of my school pictures, although a few years are missing. Try not to make fun of me! (Click the first picture to open the gallery full-size)

My Hobbies

My favorite social activity came about thanks to my son… I have an adult son with Asperger Syndrome, and since the age of 12 he has been obsessed with games. In an effort to bond with him at that age, I decided to learn how to play some of the games he enjoys. My choice was between video games, or geeky strategy-style games, and I chose the latter (video games are just not my thing).

So now I hold game-night dinners at my house once a month or so. I’m still not terribly good at the games; I don’t have that Spock-like logical brain that my son has, plus I’m too anti-conflict to play anything even remotely resembling an effective strategy, hahaha! We still have a lot of fun, and it indulges my need to play hostess. If I had to choose, I would say my favorite game is Dominion, a deckbuilding game.

This year I decided to join my local Community Garden, Garner Grows, and this has been another great social activity. This one actually gets me out of the house, and even forces me to face the dreaded outdoors! My EDS causes fairly severe temperature intolerance, and summers get very hot and humid here in North Carolina! I’m enjoying the garden activities now that it’s still spring and the weather is cool, but I’m not sure I will be able to tough it out come summer. Thankfully, I am still able to contribute to the garden by maintaining their website. It’s my first foray into web design for almost 20 years, so it has been a learning experience, and I am really enjoying it!

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS  flour
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 oz finely grated parmesan cheese (approx 1 cup)
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 12 oz Pictsweet frozen spinach, cooked as directed and drained
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • [optional]
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese grated

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in saucepan, then add flour and to form a roux. Stir over medium-to-low heat for 1 minute, do not let turn brown.
  2. Slowly stir in cream, whisking continuously to prevent lumps.
  3. Add garlic salt
  4. Add grated Parmesan to saucepan and cook on low until fully melted.
  5. Add cream cheese and cook on low until fully melted *1
  6. Combine cream sauce with spinach and artichokes
  7. [Optional]
  8. Place in baking dish and sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly and browned on edges.

Notes:

*1 To make cream cheese easier to blend without lumps, microwave in a bowl for 60-90 seconds to soften. Mix a small amount of cream sauce into the bowl until smooth, then add to the pot with the rest of the sauce

Image by Rebecca Humann from Pixabay

Recipes Index List

Blast From The Past

So this past weekend at the Garner Grows Plant Sale, my Dad pulled out some pictures of me from elementary school, talking about how much you can see the resemblance between me and my youngest sibling Layla at that age. It got me thinking… we looked even more alike when I was a teenager. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of photos from that era because that was the age I developed my camera-shyness (bordering on a phobia, LOL).

So I contacted my Aunt and Uncle, remembering that I was a bridesmaid at their wedding, to see if they had any photos of me. Sure enough, they had a couple, and here they are!

Here is a comparison of Me and Layla at around the same age:

Layla has more freckles from their Mom, but we both definitely have a lot of our Dad in the mix! I don’t have any pictures of Dad that young, but here’s one of him at 19, and another in his 20’s.

Chocolate Chip (Secret Maple) Cookies

These cookies add real maple syrup to keep them nice and chewy even after a few days! I like to make a double batch, and use my 1½ inch cookie scoop to scoop the whole batch, then freeze them so I can pull them out and do a few freshly baked every time I want some… because who doesn’t think cookies are better hot out of the oven?

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter melted and then cooled for at least 5 minutes
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar packed (300g)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
  • 2 large eggs room temperature preferred
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (60ml)
  • 3 ¼ cups all purpose flour (415g)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, stir together melted butter and sugars.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring until combined.
  3. Stir in vanilla extract and maple syrup.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients, stirring until completely combined.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Cover bowl with clear wrap and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes
  8. While the dough is chilling, preheat oven to 350F (175C) and prepare cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper (if you don’t have parchment paper, you can bake directly on an ungreased cookie sheet).
  9. Scoop about 1 ½ Tablespoons of cookie dough. Place them at least 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet.
  10. Bake about 13 minutes (cookies will appear to be a bit underdone, but edges should be just beginning to turn golden brown).
  11. Allow cookies to cool completely on cookie sheet. If desired, gently press a few chocolate chips on top of the hot cookies.
  12. Keep unbaked cookie dough in fridge while waiting to put the next batch in the oven, and do not place cookie dough on a hot cookie sheet.

Nutrition:

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 119mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 500IU | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1.3mg

Recipe Source: Sugar Spun Run – The WORST Chocolate Chip Cookies by Sam
Image Credit: Jette’s personal photo

Wedding Cookies

This was technically my Nanny’s recipe, although it looks pretty much like every other Wedding Cookie recipe out there with one exception… all the sifting! It’s not strictly necessary, but I’ve found that in the cookie dough, the sifted ingredients make for a more tender, crumbly cookie that melts in your mouth! And in the topping, sifting the powdered sugar seems to help it stick to the cookie better. Your choice!

These cookies are great for dietary restrictions! They swap out well with many Gluten Free varieties of flour since they don’t rise. And I’ve even made them with Sugar Free powdered sugar. The only thing I haven’t tried yet is swapping out a vegan butter substitute… let me know if you try it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cups butter , softened
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • ½ cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cups chopped walnuts
  • extra sifted powdered sugar for rolling

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar together on high with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla and flour,  mix well on low. Dough will be dry and crumbly.
  3. Fold in nuts.
  4. Scoop using 1½ Tablespoon-sized cookie scoop and place on ungreased baking sheet about an inch apart. Since these cookies don’t rise, they don’t need much space. Bake at 350 for 13  minutes.
  5. Roll in powdered sugar while still hot. OPTIONAL: Roll a second time once cool

Makes roughly 28 cookies using 1.5 TBS cookie scoop.

Image Credit: Haqmar from From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Pawprints On My Heart (& Skin)

My kitty Cali left an impression on me this morning… quite literally! Because EDS affects my skin, making it fragile and prone to being easily marked, it doesn’t take much to leave a lasting impression, or even a bruise or scar.

This morning Cali was feeling a bit insecure. She suffers from severe anxiety (treated with Prozac) as well as PTSD from a previous abusive living situation, so it’s not unusual for her to need a little extra attention. She planted herself on my knee for about 10 minutes wanting some reassurance, and left these adorable paw imprints in my skin! My friend Aimee pointed out that the 3rd toe on her right paw is shaped like an adorable little heart (click here to zoom to full size)!

Bourbon Chicken

Bourbon Chicken comes in so many varieties, it took me a while to find one I liked! I’m not fond of the versions that have a thick, sticky-sweet glaze. My favorite mall version is “grilled” bourbon chicken in a light, thin broth-like sauce. This recipes comes pretty close!

This is one of those dishes that started out with a recipe I found on the internet, but by the time I finished tweaking it to my liking it doesn’t really resemble the original at all! But I still linked to the inspiration recipe at the bottom of the page; fair is fair!

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    [Marinade]
  • 1/2 cup finely minced onion
  • 1 TBS fresh grated garlic (1 tsp garlic powder = 1 TBS fresh)
  • 1 tsp oil or butter
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger (1 tsp powdered ginger = 1 TBS fresh)
  • 1/2 cup Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil

Directions:

[Marinade]

  1. Sauté onions and garlic in a saucepan with oil or butter until soft and caramelized.
  2. Mix all remaining marinade ingredients and simmer on med, stirring until sugar is dissolved and onions are soft.  Allow mixture to cool,  then pour through a sieve to remove solids and pour strained marinade over chicken pieces in a bowl or other container.
  3. Cover and refrigerate (stirring occasionally) for several hours (best overnight).

[Cook The Chicken]

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Remove chicken from marinade and place on large broiling pan (to contain juices that will render) in a single layer. Switch oven to Broil and cook chicken for 15-20 minutes until cooked through and browned/charred on edges.
  3. While chicken is cooking, pour remaining marinade into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to med-low and simmer until chicken in oven is done. (This ensures the raw chicken juice gets cooked and the marinade will be safe to mix with chicken and eat.)
  4. Cut cooked chicken into bite sized pieces and add to pot with marinade. Keep warm until ready to serve

Notes:

I cook the chicken separately in order to achieve the “grilled” consistency of my favorite restaurant version. However, to make the dish less labor intensive you could simply place the chicken AND marinade in a deep dish and bake at 350 for an hour.

Original Recipe Source: Key ingredients – Cajun Cafe’s Bourbon Chicken by Kimvess
Image Credit: Combo #2 at Bourbon Street Grill by mtan14, CC BY-SA 2.0