October 31, 2010

The Spooky Side of Salem, Massachusetts

Salem Witch Trials - 1692

Bridget Bishop 
Rebecca Nurse 
Ssannah Martin 
Elizabeth Howe 
Sarah Good 
Sarah Wilds 
George Jacobs Sr. 
Martha Carrier 
George Burroughs 
John Willard 
John Proctor 
Martha Cory 
Margaret Scott 
Mary Esty 
Alice Parker 
Ann Pudeator 
Wilmott Redd 
Samuel Wardell 
Mary Parker 
Giles Cory

Happy All Hallow's Eve!

October 29, 2010

When Skies are Great

Okay, are you ready for some to-die-for cuteness? The Granddaughter turns 14 years old today and when I was looking through some old pictures to have put on her cake, I ran across this video clip from when she was just 4.

*sigh* When skies are great ... best line ever!

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

October 28, 2010

What Has Blue Done For Me Lately?

About a week ago, I got in a snit about the blue stuff I've ordered recently that has been backordered. Here's the update ...

After I canceled my camera order with RitzCamera.com and placed it instead with 17th Street Photo through Amazon, I received it within a week. And when I emailed them asking for tracking information, they responded right away. Giant smoochy kudos to 17th Street Photo. And one more thing -- when I purchased the pink camera from Target originally, it came to $153 with tax. When I ordered the exact same camera through 17th Street Photo, I paid $118.00, no tax or shipping, so I saved $35. I adore my little blue Nikon Coolpix S3000 ...

Now, about the blue casserole dish I ordered through CSNStores.com. Once I got over the disappointment of not getting the Le Creuset dish that I wanted (because I was not willing to wait until December or later to get it), I worked with a truly wonderful customer service agent named Aubrey at CSNStores, who helped me change my order to the Emile Henry casserole dishes instead. They also arrived within a week. The total on the order was $71.90 and I had a $60 gift card (that I won through One Crazy Cookie), so I paid $11.90.

These dishes are gorgeous -- heavy and beautifully made.

And even though they're not Le Creuset, they're handmade in France. Check out the stamp on the bottom of the dish ...

There is French on the labels -- poterie culinaire -- which makes me feel like a better cook and I haven't even used them yet. Magnifique!

And best of all, I've been contacted by CSNStores.com to offer a giveaway. Stay tuned, because as soon as I receive the details on how this works, you will have the chance to receive your own lovely things, blue or not, from CSNStores.

October 26, 2010

She's a Real Cupcake

So the Granddaughter is turning 14 on Friday. Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future.

Over the years, we have hosted all kinds of sleepover parties for her ... birthday, halloween costume parties, school's out pool parties. She asked if we could do it again for her 14th and she wanted to hand-make invitations. Cupcake invitations.

We got out the scrapbooking supplies and I drew a template for a large cupcake ...

We cut a 12" square piece of purple (currently her favorite color) card stock in half, then folded it in half with the fold to the left side so it was 6" square, held the cupcake template against the card and cut around it. Also made a separate template for the frosting portion and cut a single piece from some glittery card stock. Then we used a circle punch to make a cherry.

We changed our minds about the solid pink cherry and used a cute pink patterned paper instead. Did the same thing for the little tag on the front that reads Celebrate and used a corner punch on it.

We measured out a piece of patterned paper for the invitation wording inside, rounded the corners and ran them through the printer ...

They turned out so cute!

And if that's not enough cuteness for you ...

Louie and Miles can't wait for the party ... all those giggling girls to cuddle with and snacks ... there will be snacks!

October 24, 2010

Dessert Always Wins

We had a little family get together this weekend and I tried some new recipes. I mean, if you can't experiment on your family who has to forgive you and come back for more, who can you experiment on?

They've been running really great sales at the grocery store on chicken hindquarters, which is the drumstick and thigh together. I don't remember the price per pound, but I got a package with 5 large ones for $3.88. That's pretty darn cheap. I soaked them in a citrus marinade and roasted them in the oven. Really delicious!

Citrus Chicken Hindquarters

4 Chicken Hindquarters
1 Orange, zested and juiced
2 Limes, zested and juiced
4 Garlic Cloves, pressed
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

Mix together the orange and lime zest and juice along with the garlic, a little salt and pepper and a splash of olive oil. Place chicken in a gallon size baggie, pour in the marinade, zip closed and put in the refrigerator to soak. I had mine together early enough in the day that they marinated for a good 5 hours. I actually doubled the recipe and made a big roasting pan with 9 of the hindquarters. Bake for at least an hour at 375 degrees (I had such a large pan of chicken, I ended up leaving it in for another 15 minutes.)

For a side, I had some bell peppers that I needed to use and I stuffed them with a rice mixture that I made up as I went along. It turned out very good!

Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers

3 Bell Peppers, halved lengthwise with membranes and seeds removed
2-1/2 cups of cooked Brown Rice
2 T. Canola Oil or Olive Oil
1 cup chopped Onion
1 cup chopped Walnuts
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
16 oz. Tomato Sauce
Grated Parmesan Cheese

Sauté onion and walnuts in oil for 10 minutes. Stir in Italian seasoning and salt and sauté a few minutes longer. Mix together with cooked rice, add tomato sauce and stir. Then stuff into pepper halves. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Sprinkle the tops of each with a little parmesan cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes.

My favorite part of this dish was the flavor and crunch of the walnuts. Just plain yummy!

But, of course, the dessert that I made in 15 minutes with very little trouble at all was what everyone liked the most ...

Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream Pie

9" prepared Graham Cracker Crust (I bought reduced fat like that was really going to make a difference!) :-)
7.25 ounce bottle of Chocolate Ice Cream Topping that hardens (I bought Smucker's Magic Shell Chocolate Fudge)
10 ounce jar of Maraschino Cherries, drained (set aside a few whole cherries to garnish the top of the pie with)
1 quart Vanilla Ice Cream
2 - 1.5 ounce packages of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, chopped

Leave the ice cream out to soften. Pour about half of the chocolate ice cream topping into the graham cracker crust, spread around, then freeze for a few minutes.

Chop the drained cherries. I've had this chopper for years and I love it, especially for messy jobs like this one.

Stir the softened ice cream and mix in the chopped cherries ...

Pour the ice cream mixture into the pie crust ...

Sprinkle the chopped peanut butter cups over the ice cream, then drizzle with the rest of the topping. Place the whole cherries on top of the pie (I forgot to leave the cherries until last and poured chocolate over them), then freeze until time to serve.

Oh yeah, it's definitely an easy, tasty keeper of a dessert. Hubby is already hinting that I should make another one!

October 21, 2010

The Color Blue Sucks!

Why, oh why, is my favorite color blue? And why is it so hard to get the things I want in blue? I wear a lot of blue and I pretty much live in denim so I like navy blue shoes: navy blue heels, navy blue sandals, navy blue wedges, navy blue flip flops. But I have very few in my closet because they're so hard to find. Always there are lots of black and brown and even burgundy shoes available, but forget navy blue.

If I ever wanted to do something completely asinine, like open another retail store, I would call it Blue Shoes and that's all I would carry.

Of course, it would be the size of a small closet since there would be very little merchandise in it.

Because blue shoes are so ridiculously hard to find!

I've never bought shoes on the Internet. I have to try shoes on, see how they feel, walk around in them, think about it, look in the weird tilted shoe mirror. So I have to go into brick & mortar stores to shoe shop which really cuts down on the options for navy blue shoes.

I recently got a new camera. At the last minute, we decided to buy a Nikon S3000 the night before we left on vacation last month. I got it at Target and all they had was pink which I wasn't at all thrilled about. The sales guy said take it, try it, return it if you change your mind.

This is not normally something I do. I am fundamentally against returning merchandise unless there's something wrong with it. I rarely buy anything I don't want so why would I return it? I have friends who will buy racks of clothes and then return them the next day. I don't get it. If you don't want it, don't buy it in the first place. I've always been pretty sure of what I want so indecisiveness drives me nuts. When we had our stationery store and I'd sit for hours and hours with brides going through invitation books and they couldn't narrow it down to their top 50 that they liked, it was torture. True, honest-to-God torture!

So off we went on vacation with the little pink Nikon. I took well over 800 pictures and it is a great camera. I just couldn't get past the pink. Of course, I wanted a blue one. I returned the pink camera to Target and ordered a blue one online through RitzCamera.com. A few days later, I checked on it and found out it was on backorder. For 3 weeks I tried to find out when they expected to receive the blue cameras. I called, emailed and did the live chat with customer service reps. Nope, nada, nothin'!

All I want is my freakin' blue camera!

I did another online search and found them through Amazon at a store called 17th Street Photo in New York. When I placed my order, the screen showed 4 blue cameras in stock. We shall see ...

For a while now I have wanted a pretty cobalt blue LeCreuset casserole dish. I buzzed around town a few months ago looking for one and they're $65.00. Since I didn't really need it, just wanted it, I couldn't justify spending that kind of money on bakeware. Then in September, I won a $60.00 gift card to CSNStores.com through a wonderful blog that features the best recipes, One Crazy Cookie. Talk about excited! I could just see my coveted casserole dish filled with bubbling lasagna or chewy brownies. Yum!

When I placed the order, I was told Le Creuset was a special order and would take a month. *sigh* Okay. But when I checked on it after 5 weeks, I was told it was backordered until at least the middle of December, which is yet another 8 weeks or so. For crying out loud, people! How hard is it to get a blue casserole dish?

So I cried blue tears of despair and changed my order to an azur blue Emile Henry casserole dish and the price was such that I was able to sneak in an additional smaller casserole dish to match. These dishes are supposed to ship this week. We shall see ...

I wish I liked another color as well. I just don't. Now all this backordered, unavailable, impossible to find blue stuff has me feeling decidedly blue!