November 28, 2011

Tuesdays At The Table - Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

Howdy, ladies! Did everyone have a good Thanksgiving?  Mine was small - just me, my parents, my brother & his girlfriend.  Definitely different than the Thanksgivings growing up that were filled with screaming kids, barking dogs, football and laughing family.  Different...but both are nice in different ways.  :-)

Like a crazy person, I went out with Kristin to partake in some Black Friday deals.  I don't know about your state...but in MA, it's against the law for people to work on Thanksgiving.  So the employees report to work just after midnight, and most stores open between 1 and 4 AM.  I got some great deals!!!  But this one is my favorite find! (Mine has rose gold, but looks almost the same)

Despite dressing "weather appropriately" - which is completely unlike me, I have one heck of a cold.  I'm hoping that it vanishes as quickly as it appeared.


Anywho...I found these on Pinterest and just had to make them.  YUM!!!  And if you need an invite to Pinterest, let me know.  :-)

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

1 box brownie mix
(Oil & eggs as per brownie mix)
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter (creamy)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease 40 mini-muffin cups.

Prepare boxed brownie mix as directed. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups (about 1 heaping teaspoon). Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into center comes out slightly wet. After brownies are out of the oven, wait for centers to fall. This will happen upon cooling. If not then tap the centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole for the peanut butter.

Place peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds then stir. While brownies are still warm spoon about half a teaspoon of peanut butter into the center of each brownie. Top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Cool completely in pan.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

2 on Tuesday - Christmas Traditions

2 on Tuesday

As you can see, between my linky party and Andrea's, Tuesday is a busy day on ye olde blog.  :-)  This week, Andrea is asking:
What are your Christmas traditions?

For organizational sake - I'm going to break this into two parts.  You're going to notice some total overlap!

1. Traditions growing up...
  • A new ornament each year. Typically, my brother and I got to pick ours out the first weekend in December.  Then, I had the job (sometimes with, but usually without) of decorating the tree. 
  • Putting up the Christmas tree.  Always live!  Always had some sort of mishap.  Remind me sometime to tell you the story of the year we had a tree that was sprayed by a moose.
  • Drives to see Christmas lights.  Some of the communities around here go ALL OUT!!!  There are neighborhoods that charge admission and blare music as you drive through. 
  • Putting up the nativity scene. I loved putting up my mom's nativity scene!  It was 70's cheesy...but it's a part of me.
  • New shoes! Growing up, I always got a new pair of shoes for Christmas. I'm sure it was a practical gift...but it was always one that I looked forward to.
  • Advent calendars.  Growing up they were those awesome chocolate-a-day calendars.  It sure worked to get me excited!
  • Passing out the gifts.  As a kid, it was always my job to pass out the presents.  As my mom put it - "You've always been really organized and diplomatic".
  • Christmas morning pictures.  I inherited my shutterbug gene from my dad.  He was forever harassing us with the camera! As you can tell... I was occasionally less than amused!
  • Christmas breakfast. Dad always made waffles and cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast.  It's one of my fondest memories.
  • Christmas movies.  Our play list included How The Grinch Stole Christmas, It's Christmas Charlie Brown, A Christmas Story & National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
  • Midnight Church.  I have wonderful memories from high school of this.  Why?  Because I was in the church choir and singing in the dark via candlelight to the congregation almost always moved me to tears. Tears of joy; tears of nervousness (Hey, give a clumsy girl a candle while she's in a choir robe and y'all better start PRAYING I don't burn the church down!); tears for all the people I so desperately miss.
  • Christmas morning pictures.  I inherited my shutterbug gene from my dad.  He was forever harassing us with the camera! As you can tell... I was occasionally less than amused!

2. Traditions now...
  • A new ornament each year. Due to "budgetary cutbacks", I won't have my own tree this year (which is's just me in the house, really).  But, I sure as heck will be getting a new ornament!
  • Putting the tree up.  This year, I'll only deal with my parents tree...which is now artificial. And much, much smaller than the trees of growing up.  When I have kids, I'll make sure they get the same huge, live trees that I did.
  • Drives to see Christmas lights.  See above.
  • Putting up the nativity scene.  When my dad's mom passed away, the nativity scene my mom had made her found its way back east.  I cry when I put it up.  But it's good tears.
  • New shoes! It's one of my few treats to myself, but I always buy a new pair of shoes for Christmas.  :-)
  • Advent calendars.  These days, I use the Jacquie Lawson computer advent calendar.  This year the theme is "London".  I'm in love!
  • Passing out gifts.  Still my job, gang!  I know that at some point I'll get married and the logistics of Christmas day will change...but until then, I'm enjoying being the keeper of the gifts.
  • Christmas morning pictures.  These days, I'm usually the one holding the camera & the pictures are mostly of the pups ripping into their gifts and showing off new toys/outfits.
  • Christmas breakfast. If you guessed that I'm the one making Christmas breakfast the past few years, you'd be right.  :-)  But you all know how much I love to cook!! Typically, I hold true to the waffles of yester-year.  I think I might like to mix it up this year.  Maybe cinnamon roll waffles?  Maybe french toast casserole?
  • Christmas movies.  Movies from my childhood are still on heavy rotation.  I've also added Love Actually (one of my FAVORITE movies, period), the new version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, A Muppet Christmas Carol, The Polar Express, Serendipity & Elf.
  • Church. I still go...but I'm not in the choir.  For years, I had a job that prohibited my attendance at rehearsals.  Maybe I'll find my way back to the choir. Maybe!
What are your Christmas traditions?

November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

I did a "giving thanks" post last year.  Why not carry on the tradition, right?!

I'm thankful for:
  • My parents.  This has been a trying handful of months for them.  Mom got her knee replaced & Dad has been dealing with both a work injury and a neck issue that should have been fixed years and years ago.  I'm thankful that they are letting me support them the way they need right now.  It isn't easy being the one to nurse your parents, help them through physical therapy or jump in and make sure that paperwork got completed...but it's needed sometimes.  Being an adult sometimes means cancelling your plans and sitting at the hospital for days at a time.  As a result, my parents and I have more of a open relationship than most I've seen.
  • My brother. The kid gets off light in the "parent care" category...but he always picks up when I call him for help.  He'll show up at a moment's notice to shovel a driveway, mow the lawn or let me vent.  He has been one of my biggest supporters as I try and find what the next chapter of my life brings me.
  • Bloggers.  I'm a really shy person.  Despite being really friendly, it's sometimes hard for me to make friends.  Had you told me a few years ago that at some point I'd have 500 blog followers, I would have thought you absolutely nuts! Some of you fabulous ladies have become vital parts of my day/week. (I apologize if I space out and don't mention you below)
    • Mrs. Jones is my favorite Google Talk buddy. I love that we don't say "hi" anymore...just jump right into the "guess what I just heard", "OMG, you'll never believe this", or "What's for dinner?" conversation.
    • I fuzzy pink heart my dog people - Jessica, Kristine, Bethany, Camille, Caroline & Holly. Nothing says "love" like a pup that always wants to be with you.  I'm grateful that others feel the same way I do.
    • Sporadic tweet fests with Jane & Jill. New moms & doctors in training have some pretty interesting hours!
    • Even if they don't mean to - Mrs. Smith and Jessica are great at showing me all the fun finds that I covet, but can't have.  I live vicariously through their great purchases!
    • Assorted crafty talk with Amber & Shell.
    • I'm not a momma yet, but I hope I can be as awesome as Andrea & Beach Bum. :-)
    • Every single who contributes recipes & nutritional articles to Tuesdays At The Table.  Who knew that others like to cook as much as I do?!
    • Celia is seriously the most optimistic girl I know!!
    • I have met so many really cool people that like me just the way I am.  I can't wait to meet more people! And...I will do a giveaway to celebrate having 500 fabulous followers.  I'm thinking after Christmas.  Mmmkay?!  And if you'd like to sponsor a giveaway, let me know!
  • Kristen & Heather aka Princess & Queen.  My favorite cousin and her best friend are two of the people who I know will poke me if I get too quiet, cajole me into laughing, knitting or wine drinking when I need it most, and otherwise being the people who I know I can tell anything too and not have them judge me - too much.  :-)
  • Bad days.  Yes, it sounds awfully dumb to be thankful for bad days.  But I really believe that bad days put everything into perspective.  Having a great day after a bad day, makes it SO. MUCH. BETTER!
  • My dogs. Nothing makes me smile like their little faces.  Their barks, squirming little bodies, wagging them, love them, love them!

What are you thankful for this year?

Oh...and all you lurkers out there?!  I'm thankful for you too.  Please leave a comment to say "hi" so I can come show some love to your blog too!

Thanksgiving Parade

Saturday was the Thanksgiving parade in Plymouth, MA.  And, as "America's Hometown", the parade is huge.  As in, Is it over yet?  How about now?! huge.  Which I happen to like!!  Marching bands came from New Jersey, Arizona and Quebec (and I'm sure more that I didn't notice).

Let's face it, Thanksgiving Day rolls around and you end up spending your day in the kitchen cooking rather than getting to watch Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.  Plus...must of us can't get to NYC on a whim. 

Lately, I've had a few people ask what it's like living so close to Plymouth Rock and where Thanksgiving originated.  Honestly, until someone asked - I never really thought about it. Around here we take for granted that we can stroll by Plymouth Rock on a Friday night, or a summer day, or any time we darn near feel like it.  As children we *groan* at the prospect of going to Plimouth Plantation for the third year in a row as a school field trip. 

Now that I have given it some thought - I think it's amazingly cool that our area is so steeped in history.  That children here have an understanding of who the Pilgrims were, exactly why they came here, and how they arrived.  I wish more kids got to experience that.  Maybe next year, you'll think of coming up for a visit?! are a few (OK, about a dozen) pictures that I stole from Kristin.  She was the smart lady that remembered her camera.  Me, not so much!

Period costume abounded...

You can't tell from the picture, but those stakes were huge.  And pointy!

We had dozens of beautiful horses trot past us.

The Boston Police Celtic group.  Bagpipes make me tear up, y'all!

I don't think we went more than 5 minutes without musket fire.

Some of these costumes were ah-ma-zing!

Fife and drum corps are pretty cool...

What's a parade without floats?!  They had to bring this one down to fit under power lines.  And, um... SQUIRREL!!

I felt bad for the guy in this piggy costume.  There's no doubt that he fell at some point.

All branches of the military marched.  I was blown away by the Army's float.  Those bronze men?  ACTUAL MEN who stood still for the whole parade.  Behind them is a real helo, and the names of those KIA are listed along the sides and back of the float.


Don't these three look thrilled?!  Chilly...but thrilled?!?!

November 21, 2011

Tuesdays At The Table - Next Day Turkey Soup

Holy moley!  How is it Thanksgiving week already?!  I'll be posting about the Plymouth Thanksgiving Day parade on Wednesday.  Let me just say - it was awesome!! A "What I'm Thankful For" post will be up Thanksgiving Day too (if Blogger cooperates!).

As we get ready to spend time with our families (and partake in some Black Friday shopping), let me take a moment out and say how thankful I am for you lovely ladies!  That you come and visit me each week simply astounds me.  Your recipes and nutritional articles are impressive, insightful and inspiring!  From my house to yours - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!


OK, so you've got your big family meal done, and now you need to start determining how you're going to use the leftover 15 pounds of turkey in the next few days.  I mean, I can't be the only one that thinks people are going to eat more than they actually do...right?

Might I suggest Michael Chiarello's turkey soup?!  It is soooo delicious!

Next Day Turkey Soup

2 quarts chicken broth
1 turkey carcass, all meat removed
1 onion, halved, plus 1 onion, minced
1 carrot, halved lengthwise, plus 1 carrot, minced
1 whole stalk celery, plus 1 more stalk, minced
2 bay leaves
3 cups dark turkey meat
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
3 cups leftover cooked Thanksgiving side vegetables (example: Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, green beans)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves

Put chicken broth, turkey, onion halves, carrot halves, 1 celery stalk, and 1 bay leaf in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer about 1 1/2 hours. Finely dice the remaining onion, carrot and celery and reserve.

Dice the turkey meat. Make sure meat pieces are no larger than the size of a soup spoon. (If preparing soup the next day, be sure to store leftover turkey meat in an airtight container before placing it in the refrigerator, top with 1 or 2 ladles full of broth to keep meat moist.)

Before straining broth, remove large bones and carcass with tongs. Strain the broth through a sieve, covered with wet cheese cloth. Discard the solids. Transfer broth to a bowl set in a bath of ice water, which will cool the broth quickly and help keep it fresher longer. This can be done the night before and stored in the refrigerator until the next day.

In a large soup pot, heat garlic cloves in the olive oil. Allow to brown slightly and add minced carrots, celery, and onion. Sweat over medium-low heat until softened, about 7 or 8 minutes.

Dice the leftover vegetables (here Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and green beans). Add the chopped sage to the soup pot along with the turkey broth and the remaining bay leaf. Bring to a simmer. When simmering, add left over veggies and diced turkey meat to the soup. Bring it back up to a simmer. Finally, add the potatoes/sweet potatoes to the center, and gently push them down. Turn the heat off and cover. Allow to sit and steam for 5 to 7 minutes.

Let simmer for 5 more minutes and serve.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

2 on Tuesday - A Thankful Blogger

I have a whole post ready for Thanksgiving morning of things that I'm thankful for.  But, I love Andrea, and I think that being thankful for blogging is totally worth a post all its own.  :-)

2 on Tuesday

Her question this week is: Why are you thankful for blogging?

For me, this is both an easy and a hard question.  I'm so thankful for blogging because I've found a whole bunch of people that I can relate to.  Lovely ladies from across the country and internationally.  Sweethearts who are new moms, fur-moms, proud aunts or maybe grandmas.  Amazing and joyful people who are SAHMs, doctors, lawyers, teachers or stuck in an office all day. People that supported me through my brother's deployment, through buying my house & through leaving my job.  You all made it ok to admit that sometimes, It's not OK; that you got royally screwed over; that taking a few minutes to let out the tears doesn't make you weak. That sounds simple right?

Well, the question is hard for me because it's difficult to quantify the value of this!!  You just can't put a value on the friendship and support you've received. 

For a while, I wanted to tell the "outside world" about my blog.  But, ultimately, I decided against it.  Non-bloggers just don't understand how close you can get to other bloggers.  I LURVE YOU ALL!!!  I'm not hiding my blog.  I've let a close circle of friends know that it exists, where it is, and encouraged them to blog as well.  However, I just can't put up a status update on FB when I've made a blog post.  Some of the things I share here just aren't for general consumption.  I'm a pretty private person...  I don't need a guy that I liked in 7th grade knowing what health problems my parent's are having, the drunk dialing incident of late or many other things that I freely share with you all.  Quite frankly - I trust all of you with my thoughts and feelings.  Knowing that you'll encourage me rather than leave a nasty comment or get snarky.

So, that's why I'm thankful for blogging.  YOU!!!!  Each and every one of you!  I hope I can support each of you the way you've supported me.

November 17, 2011

Eff...Marry...Kill - Covert Affairs Edition

I fuzzy pink heart Blonde Undercover Blonde & The Vintage Apple's game of Eff, Marry, Kill.  If you don't understand the rules, click here for the version that started it all.  :-)


I'm guessing that with the latest Twilight movie coming out any second now, that a good segment of lovely ladies will use them as this week's focus.  Hopefully, I can bring just a smidge of variety your way! :-)

Now, before I start - I need to say that I love!  No, adore!  No, am obsessive about Covert Affairs!  Such an awesome show.  Who wouldn't? You've got your action, your adventure, a hint of CIA fun, some cute guys, a little family time & I'm already pulling for Annie & Auggie (Piper Perabo & Christopher Gorham) to end up together.

Now, without further ado:

Eff... The character Jai Wilcox (Senhil Ramamurthy) is charismatic, sexy and self-assured.  Plus he's the son of the former head of CIA Clandestine Affairs.  It makes him perfect for a fling, but not for a long term relationship.

Marry... Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham).  The dude's got it all (tech expertise, a sense of humor, hand to hand combat expertise from Army Special Forces, and he always knows when he's needed)- except his sight.  And even that he lost in the Army defending our freedom.

Kill... Ben Mercer (Eion Bailey).  Sure, he's a CIA guy. But he's forever dragging Annie into bad situations and then disappearing into thin air.  Not the guy you want to have around!

What do you think?  Agree?  Disagree? Now, join in and link up!!

November 14, 2011

Tuesdays At The Table - Pumpkin Pecan Cake Roll

Happy Tuesday!  Thanksgiving is coming! For the next few weeks, I'm going to share a few recipes that have been holiday hits in my house.  :-)

Have family recipes that you'd like to share?!


Oh...and have you checked out my Initials Inc. online party?  It's running through Tuesday night, and they have some fabulous things!  A few people can expect to get personalized gifts this year!!

Pumpkin Pecan Cake Roll

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup finely chopped pecans
confectioners' sugar

2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with waxed paper  grease the paper; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, flour, pumpkin, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, salt and nutmeg; mix well. Add lemon juice. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan; sprinkle with pecans.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes. Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners' sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in towel, jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the filing ingredients; beat until smooth. Unroll cake; spread filling over cake to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again; place seam side down on a serving platter. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

2 on Tuesday - Pet Peeves

Howdy!!!  I'm linking up with the super Andrea again for 2 on Tuesday.  This week, she's asking:
What are your two pet peeves?

2 on Tuesday

That's an easy one...I think!

1. Rude people.  You know the type of people that I'm talking about.  They ask you a question, then talk over you.  They forget you exist until they need something from you.  They wear an oppressive amount of perfume, then wonder why you're wheezing....  I like to believe that I'm considerate of others as much as humanly possible.  Is it bad to hope others would act the same way?!

2. Bad drivers.  Accidents happen.  It's part of life... But if you're getting in an accident so often that your Insurance Agent asks "What did you do this time?", chances are, it's not that the curb jumped out and bit your're a BAD driver!  So use your turn signal, obey the traffic laws (at least, most of them) and hopefully keep from paying an accident deductible so often!

Drop by and share your pet peeves with the group!

November 13, 2011

They Should Just Hire Me!!

The local hospital, that is! 

I've been spending quite a bit of time there in the past year or so (mom's cancer surgeries & chemo; her knee replacement; dad's knee replacement; a few friends having babies; assorted grandma-related ailments).

And...I've spent my weekend there.  Here's the short version of the backstory:
Dad got hurt at work on Halloween morning.  As a result of the injury, his right arm from shoulder blade to fingertips was numb.  About a week ago, something happened and his right hand swelled up.  Wednesday his PCP said that if the swelling didn't go down by Friday, he had to go to the hospital.  You know where this is going, right?!

So, he's been in the hospital since Friday and like a good daughter I've pretty much spent my weekend up there too.  Fingers crossed - they'll spring him Tuesday.

And...I got to meet my friend's baby on Thursday!  Sweet little Olivia is about two months early, but doing absolutely wonderful in the NICU.  :-) Isn't she beautiful?!?!

Olivia M. D.
November 5th
2 lbs, 15 oz.
15 1/2 inches

November 10, 2011

Initials Inc. Product Review and PARTY!!!

I met Sonya a while back through Twitter.  Recently, she started as an Independent Consultant for Initials Inc.  When she tweeted about it - I was immediately intrigued.  A few clicks online and I wanted everything in sight!!!  So when Sonya gave me the opportunity to do a product review, I jumped right on it! With Christmas right around the corner - Sonya and I thought it was a great time for an online party too!

She gave me a great list of things to choose from, and ultimately I got SQUARED AWAY (in Vinings) with pink embroidery.  It's "me", don't you think?!  I'm sure it's no surprise to you - but I use it to organize knitting projects that I'm working on.  So much prettier than the plastic bag I was using.  :-)
There are so many amazing things at Initials Inc.! Shipping is fast!  My favorite part of Initials Inc is that almost everything can be personalized...and personalization is FREE!!!! You heard that right - free.  Not only that, but you have multiple fonts and thread colors to choose from.  I can't be alone in embracing the Preppy - Southern - highly organized desire to have things monogrammed.  Right?!

Every have the problem where you and a few of your besties come to the same party with the same shopping/tote bag?  Get the STORY TIME tote personalized, and you'll never have the problem again.

Better yet, get THE DISH and not only will your food arrive to parties still the right temperature - it will arrive with style.

Trying to get your kiddos to put their laundry in the hamper?  Having one with their name on a BIG BIN might be just the motivation they need!

Trying to keep your mail and coupons sorted? I'm a big fan of the MARVELOUS MAGNETIC POCKET.  Pop it on the fridge and you're ready for your next trip to the store!

I really hope that you'll take a few minutes to peruse Sonya's site and possible order a few holiday gifts. :-) Go to Sonya’s Initials Inc. page, and click on “Shop” or “My Events”. Then simply click on “Shop Now” and shop to your heart's content! When you check out, keep in mind that the items will be sent directly to your front door, so enter your shipping address (and phone number for any order issues) accordingly.

There's also a great Customer Shoportunity in November!  Spend $35 and get one of their CINCH DUFFLES for $16.50 - That's 50% off!!

If you have any questions, please reach out to Sonya at  Have fun shopping!

November 08, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Canine Models

 I iz pretty, no?!  Welcome to my runway debut... I make good model for Momma's Etsy creations!

And I iz handsome!  But sweater iz too big... "Bring in the SPANIEL, Momma!"

Yep, fitz me! Now make me one in PINK!

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