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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Apple Custard Tart...needs tweaking.

     This Friday night is Cooking Club and I am so sad I will have to miss. Jim is running the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis on Saturday and we will head up there on Friday. However, this month I have a dessert to bring from Come On In! and I have chosen to make the Apple Custard Tart. I like to try stuff out first, especially, something I have no experience doing, before I feed it to someone else! Let me remind you...I know nothing about cooking and you have joined me in the beginning! LOL
Apple Custard Tart
Serves 8
- Pastry for 9" pie shell, unbaked
2             apples, peeled
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs      sugar
2 Tbs      unsalted butter
3 large     eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup    sugar
1 Tbs       cornstarch
1 tsp        vanilla extract
     Preheat oven to 425. Place pastry in 9" tart pan. Slice apples into pastry shell. Sprinkle with cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar, then dot with butter. Place tart in oven and bake for 5 minutes. Mix eggs, milk, 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch and vanilla. Remove tart from oven and carefully pour in custard mixture. Reduce heat to 350 and return tart to oven. Bake until custard is set, about 40 to 45 minutes.
    WELL.....first off, I don't have a tart pan. I used a regular 9" pie plate and made my own crust. To see how, check here.  I followed all the instructions. I am not sure that it turned out right though....

     Looks good though, not sure if you are supposed to eat a custard cold or warm?
My apples almost filled the entire pie plate.

Then my custard almost ran over...probably a good idea to use a tart pan!
I think I'll chill it, try it for breakfast in the morning, then tweak fromt there!

Thanksgiving Blessings!

    We are truly grateful for a God who loves us enough to forgive us for our sins and sent His Son to take our punishment of death upon Himself so that we could Live. Father, Thank You!
      Thanksgiving weekend 2009 brought with it a broad range of temperatures. 30s-upper 60s! We actually had on shorts and had our windows open today! After lunch on Thursday (See Thanksgiving Feast post here), we got into Christmas mode. During my afternoon relief therapy, I searched through every single black Friday sale paper ad, trying to get gift ideas for the boys and family. At 10 that night, Jim decided I should go to Toys R Us to get a few things HE picked out for Taylor and Drew! They opened at midnight, I got there at 11:50, parked at TJ Maxx, got in line between there and Hobby Lobby, but was in the door by 12:20....not bad, I thought. I had told Jim that I wanted to wear a hat so no one would recognize me because I felt like a freak. He comforted me with this thought: If they see you there Candise, they are there themselves! Ah...Thank goodness I only very briefly saw one soul I knew! Can I say rednecks? And lots of them! I got in the wrong line and ended up waiting for 2 hours to checkout. I was home a few minutes after 3! Whew...will never, ever, ever do that again...probably.
     We always wait til the day after Thanksgiving to do our Christmas decorations. This year, because I move a lot slower these days, it took me 2 days to completely finish, but Jim and the boys were huge helps! Taylor picked out our tree, his criteria: green, big, triangle!

     Andrew has learned the word BALL and was very intrigued by all the balls on the tree!

Then, while I stepped away from cleaning up the mess, the vaccuum entertained Andrew! Giddy Up!

Before you think I am some kind of is what I let my boys do to entertain themselves while I worked on my wreaths and garland. They made mudpies!

GROSS.....Taylor kept coming to me saying, mommy, I smell like a horse! And they don't smell good. LOL They went straight to the bathtub!!
Here are a few more pics from our weekend. Enjoy!
Me: Finishing off Thanksgiving leftovers!

I SAID TIME OUT! Taylor's explanation: I wanted to make it snow in the living room!

My two little Indians! Andrew was trying to pose!

Andrew is just wishing I'd put this camera down and change that droopy diaper!

Tackling, of course.

Andrew is stuck between a rock and a hard place!

We still have one day left of this great holiday weekend and no idea what fun that it will bring!

Curious George Live!

     We have had an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving weekend that has flown by. Fine by me, sooner February gets here the better! Our celebrations started Thursday evening when we surprised Taylor and Andrew with tickets to Curious George Live.
     We were very unsure how Taylor would react because when i took him to see Curious George at Barnes & Noble last year, he pooped in his pants he was so scared. However, I had read in the FAQ that the characters usually did not come into the crowd--whew! We didn't tell Taylor about the surprise until we were in the car on our way to avoid the million questions we knew would ensue. Check out the video to see his response.

 He wouldn't let go of his Georges

     The boys did great. Taylor absolutely loved it and had so much fun. Definitely a memory we will always treasure!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Reinvented Christmas deco!

     This year we had to put our Christmas tree in the playroom because we have a tv console where we had our tree last year, leaving my mantle and fireplace free game for some awesome Christmas decorations. However, Jim told me I could do whatever, as long as it didn't cost anything...hmmm...gee, thanks hun! I got an idea a few days ago from a craft blog, I can not find it anywhere or I'd link you, but it reminded me of a piece of wood we had leftover from our cabinets. (Here's the link...I found it here! )I had hidden it behind a shelf in the garage, thinking I'll find a good use for this someday! Well, today is the day my dear! I think it's laminate, has our cabinet finish on one side and this raw side on the other.

I cleaned the dust off and sanded it smooth.

Then I used some acrylic craft paint to paint it, but it would have taken 10 bottles to cover it, so I went back the garage and got the can of Sherwin Williams-Fenland paint that I have in my foyer and hallways (My fave btw!) I used two coats. Added some red paint (apple spice) to the edges and wrote the wording. (My original plan was to use an applique' I had seen at Hobby Lobby, but it wasn't FREE!) Here is my finished project and my finished fireplace!!!

     We get a real tree every year and every year I say I am going to use my cut off boughs to make something in the house, you just can't replicate that sweet evergreen scent! Here are 3 ideas for your leftover boughs that I used.
Made tiny wreaths and hung them on all the doors with wide gold ribbon.

Bundled up some of the boughs and made a garland piece to place on tv cabinet in front of tv. I finished it off with ribbon.

This is a Southern Living Christmas stocking I won last year. It bangs against the door and looked sort of sad and plain all by itself. I had this wood piece from last fall sitting in my craft closet waiting for a purpose, so I removed it's original decorations and repainted it gold and added some whimsical polka dots to tie it all in. I am not please witht he bow, I might just get crafty and make a new one for it too. Then I stuffed the stocking with all the little spruces I had left over from the boughs.

     I'd love to hear about your decorating resourcefulness!!!!!

New must-have T-Shirt at Reed's

     Oh, wait, Ole Miss lost the Egg Bowl to State, guess they will have a special on Humble Pie instead.
(See previous Reed's T-Shirt ad here)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast!

     We decided to take it easy this Thanksgiving by staying home and relaxing. Yeah right! As the matriarch of my little family, I felt it my purpose on Thanksgiving morning to get up out of my warm, cozy bed and get into my kitchen and prepare a yummo feast!
     Jim so graciously took the boys out with him for a 6-miler and I got to work! On the menu for today is Cornish Hens with Brown Rice Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole, Brown Gravy, Corn Light Bread, Kasey's Green Bean Bundles, Sweet Tea and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie. I started at 9 and was sitting to eat at 12...This was such an easy Thanksgiving meal! And....oh yah....I was running out of sugar and used Splenda for my Corn Light bread, Pie and half the sugar for my sweet tea--made me feel a little healthier!!
Cornish Hens with Brown Rice Stuffing
Serves 4
1 Cup            uncooked brown rice
2 1/2 cups     chicken stock
1 small           onion, chopped
1/2                yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup          dried apricots, chopped
8 Tbs             unsalted butter
1/2 cup          toasted almonds, slivered or chopped
1 tsp              dried thyme
1/4 tsp           dried marjoram
4                    Cornish hens
4 slices           bacon
     Bring chicken stock I use chicken broth to a boil, add rice, and cover. Reduce heat and cook for 40 minutes or until stock is absorbed. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325. Saute onion, bell peppers, and apricots in butter. I don't like bell peppers or apricots so I eliminated them and used a few pinches of brown sugar to replace the sweetness from the apricots Mix with cooked rice, almonds, salt, thyme, and marjoram. I thought marjoram was way too expensive, so I used the poultry seasoning I had in cupboard, it has marjoram in it Salt and pepper hens, inside and out. <-I actually forgot to do this step, LOL Stuff with rice mixture and place one bacon slice on top of each hen. Bake, uncovered, at 325 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, basting often with pan drippings. I also used melted butter because there wasn't enough drippings in the beginning  If not tender after 1 1/2 hours, cover and steam for final 30 minutes.
     I started with my Hens. Defrosted and salted them.

(Jim laughs everytime he sees this pic, for some reason he gets a kick out of it! LOL!)

     I stuffed them with a Brown Rice Stuffing that was absolutely delicious that I will make it again on its own to have as a side dish.
     I saved the drippings and used them as the liquid for my McCormick Brown Gravy mix. For the Sweet potatoes, all I did was used a can of yams, about a half cup of brown sugar, baked on 375 for 30 minutes, topped it with marshmallows and baked until brown. You can find the recipe for the Corn Light Bread here.
     The Green Bean Bundles are sooooo easy. Kasey has made them for my family twice when I had both boys and I called her specifically for this meal so I could replicate them! A can of CUT green beans, wrap about 6 beans in a half piece of bacon, I use turkey bacon, secure with a tooth pick. You get about 8 bundles from one can. Then I placed in a baking dish and poured about half a bottle of Russian salad dressing on top. Baked in oven for 30 minutes at 350. So easy, so yummy!!!
     The Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie came from my Cooking Club, Wendy made it in October and it was soooo yummo, or so I wrote in the margin of my cookbook! I decided to try it out for myself and I have to say, it was a little bland, and needed some tweaking.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie
Serves 8
-basic pastry for 9" pie shell, unbaked
Cream Cheese Layer
1 pkg     cream cheese (8 oz.), room temperature
1/4 cup  sugar
1/2 tsp   vanilla extract
1 large   egg
Pumpkin Layer
1 can     pumpkin puree (16 oz.)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp     cinnamon
1/4 tsp  ginger
1/4 tsp  nutmeg
1/8 tsp  salt
2 large  eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup   evaporated milk
     Preheat oven to 350. For the cream cheese layer, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla and blend in egg. Spread cream cheese mixture over unbaked pie shell. For the pumpkin layer, combine pumkin, sugar, sinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Blend in beaten eggs and evaporatedmilk and pour over cream cheese layer. Bake until firm. 60 minutes or longer.

     I make my own pie crust, mainly because I'm cheap, and partly because it's fun! I recently saw a tutorial by Curtis Stone on how to make a better pie crust and I think it is soooo helpful. See it here.
I use a recipe from my Better Homes and Garden cookbook.
Pastry for Single-Crust Pie
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water
     Heres what I do!....And Curtis too! Mix my flour and salt. Cut in the shortening using pastry cutter or knives. Curtis uses a blender, which I think makes a huge difference. I used my hand mixer on 2 pies this week and they had incredible crusts!  I also use butter instead of shortening. I am however about to switch to coconut oil, it is supposed to be healthier...we'll see! When mixture resembles coarse crumbs, I add water a tablespoon at a time. I form into ball, place in plastic, put in fridge for about 20 minutes, remove, roll out and whala!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Excessive Celebration?

     I'm not hating on Ole Miss at all, but, this Reed's ad I came across in the Djournal just shows you why I am becoming more of a State fan!

     I know it shouldn't, but it just makes me laugh. Don't know if it's because those Rebels are supposed to be the classier crowd or if it's because it says 'Remember ONE of the Great Victories in Ole Miss FB History.'  Maybe this special t-shirt could be appropriate if the Rebels won the National Title or even won the SEC, but it was just a regular season win for crying out loud. Sorry all you Rebel fans, I just couldn't help myself! They'll make a t-shirt for anything these days!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Graceful Discretion

     As the boys and I were leaving Walmart last week, we made our usual trip by the coke machines outside to get mama her Dr. Pepper. It's the holiday season so of course there was a charity table set up with a gentleman there who asked if I wanted to give any money to help this organization. I had never heard of this group nor did I recognize its' symbol. Then he offered Taylor a lollipop. I obliged and Taylor asked "mommy, can we put coins in his piggy bank?"  I am all for being charitable, don't get me wrong and don't think I'm being stingy, but Jim and I have made a consious effort to really know what goes on with the charities and ministries to which we give. We want to be good steward of the money God has loaned us. I didn't know what to tell Taylor. The usual, well, Taylor, mommy doesn't have any cash, wasn't going to work this time because I wasn't leaving there without my Dr. Pepper ($0.75). This has already happend quite a few times this month. Those red Salvation Army kettles are already out and that bell gets my kids' attention everytime. We've already donated and I don't feel like explaining that to a 3-year old every week going in and out of the grocery store and mall. But how do you, kindly, and in front of your kids, trying hard to teach them charity and the spirit of giving, oblige the requests of the charities and ministries that you have already given to or know nothing about? Any advice?
    I have been thinking about this for the past few weeks and then tonight I saw this article on Sphere about a so-called charity in New York City who said its' money went to help the homeless. Thing is, it didn't....everyone of those collectors were pocketing every cent people put in their jars. So, there again, how do I gracefully tell my 3-year old, no, we are not going to put money in their jar because I don't know anything about this charity and I am not about to stand here on the sidewalk and read that entire 10-page brochure!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chia Obama, not for this Mama!

     No offense to my friends who are Obama fans. And I am not disrespecting the President of our country in any way, but there is something that is just not right about the Chia Obama...Special Edition.

     It doesn't matter if you are an Obama fan or not, I find it appalling and degrading. Not to mention tacky. The commercial states "proudly display it on your desk. It makes the statement, 'I'm Proud to be an American.'" Come on, seriously? I could find a thousand more, less embarrassing chotchkies of our Commander in Chief that could tell people how proud I am to be an American. And if I saw this crazy thing on your desk, I'd probably LOL and have a hard time hiding it. I don't know why anyone in his administration would have ever signed off on this deal. It just ain't right.

These'll surely get you in the cooking mood!

     Jim, this is blog post is for you...I'll take any one or two of these for Christmas! Wouldn't you be excited to get in the kitchen if you got to wear one of these stylish and cute aprons!!  How much fun would one of these be! You can find them here. Or if you are looking for a little girl's apron with a matching mommy one, you can check out my friend Stephanie's homemade creations at Ruffled Charm.

Friday, November 20, 2009


     His words made me bawl. I had thought the same thing earlier, I thought I was being so selfish when I said it to myseslf, it just sounded different when he said it.  Two young, newlywed couples have recently moved onto our street, we can see one out our front door and the other out our living room window. They come and go, freely it seems. As I came through the foyer this evening, I glanced outside to see the lights on across the street. I wonder what they are up to tonight?  They are a constant reminder of Friday nights when Jim & I were just married, we went to Walmart...that's when we did our grocery shopping. We did everything together. We didn't do anything, but we were always doing nothing together. I can't remember much about those days, except quiet Sunday afternoons and peaceful meals. So this evening, in the midst of the usual dinner table chaos, as I stood at the counter peeling cucumbers, a plate flies, there's a pond of milk on the table and chewed chicken is making its way out of someone's mouth onto my once clean floor. Jim, coming to the rescue with the Swiffer and a towel, says to me, remember what it  was like when it was just us? I tried to hide the stream of tears that began to roll down my cheeks. He heard me sniffle, he wrapped his arms around me. A few moments later he reminded us both that we just have to laugh at some stuff and this supper was one of them!
      I saw a recent FB post of a friend that said "Mom-Up."  I find that very useful for me right now. We think, I'll get it together and grow up when I get married, then we say that once we are married-we'll settle down once we have kids. We think it's an automatic switch that just turns on-click- you're selfless....and you have "mommed-up"  But that is so far from the truth. For someone that is very selfish, I have got a lot of momming up to do. It's a process, an embarrassing one at times. A repititous request I have of the Lord in the mornings before my feet hit the floor is that I would see the shortcomings I have as a mom and that I would have wisdom to correct them-and in the process my kids are not scarred for life as a result of them! I do all the things I said pre-children that I would never do. I forget I even have kids sometimes. I get so wrapped up in myself and what I am doing or the conversation and don't even realize my child has his head stuck in the vending machine- (hypothetically speaking)! I love my little boys more than you could imagine, there's no doubt about that, but there comes a time, when I have to get over myself and mom-up! I don't have the mommy instincts that people like, Michelle Duggar have, or Jim's mom and sisters even. Gentleness, patience and caring words do not come easy for me. I came from a tough love kind of family and that's all I know. I have a lot to learn. A long way to go. I need to work harder at it. My friend and I had a conversation about this same thing this very week. She admitted she didn't have the mommy instinct either. It was great, well not great, but I realized I wasn't alone! We're both on this difficult journey of momming-up together.
     I think it's a good thing that I can't really recall the quietness Jim & I had before our boys arrived in our lives. Maybe it was too quiet.  I just hope and pray that we can be godly examples to our new neighbors and friends. Allowing them to see that there's good and bad, the journey isn't easy at times. But that having a family, chaotic as it may sound through our windows at dinner time, is an absolute joy and one of the greatest blessings in the world.


Yes, as a matter of fact, I do think he is the absolute cutest thing in the world! He is waiting for his Acorn Squash to finish baking!