Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Quiche it, quiche it real good!

I knew that it was a shot in the dark but I had to try it anyway AND they LOVED IT!  They actually loved it a little bit more than I expected to the point where we may have to add a fourth pie next time.  Thanking Jesus for the little things in life: quiche.


Sausage, Egg & Cheese Quiche

1 Pie Crust Ready Made or Your Fav Recipe (RAW)
16 ounces of Sausage (Pork or Beef), Cooked & Crumbled 
1 Medium Onion, Small Dice (about 1/2 cup)
1 T of Mozzarella or Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
1 T of All Purpose Flour
3 Large Eggs
1/2 C. of Evaporated Milk
1/2 C. of Half and Half
1 T. Chopped Fresh Parsley 
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

1.  Go ahead and turn your oven on to 350, do this first so it is ready when you are ready to put the quiche in.  2.  Brown the sausage, crumbling to bite size chunks, remove with a slotted spoon and saute onions in remaining grease.  Drain.  3.  In a medium sized bowl add the sausage, onion, cheese, flour (toss to coat mixture).  4.  In another bowl whisk eggs, milk and seasoning.  5.  Place the sausage mixture in the bottom of the pie crust.  Spread out evenly.  6.  Pour egg mixture over the quiche
7.  Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes, keep an eye on the crust.  When you touch the center it should be firm, not jiggly.  8.  Devour.  

Shove that sow-suge ergs and chedda up in yo mouf.  Chew. Swallow. Repeat.

                                                                                         Love, 
                                                                                         Me.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

.......Four Months Later.

Traci, you were going to blog a lot and you were doing so well.....what the heck happened.

Life.

Life happened y'all.

My hectic life has went in 92 different directions - school starts back in T minus 29 days, can I get a PRAISE JESUS! Hallelujah and an AMEN brothers and sisters??!!

I know a lot of you Mama's are WAY better Mama's than myself, just said 'you crazy' and may have even rolled your eyes a little.....one of you even made PFFFTTTT sound (not naming any names <Jessica Dyson>).   I love my babies, a lot - like, more than my right arm or any organ.  BUT for my sanity and their um....well being.  School needs to happen, like, yesterday.  I work from home and its incredibly difficult to work from home when I have to break up a DS crisis every 22 seconds or feed somebody, because, you know these sweet little creatures are like freaking bottomless pits.  Did I mention they get up at the butt-crack of dawn?  Because, they do. E.V.E.R.Y.S.I.N.G.L.E morning.  I love my babies, I love my babies, I love my babies.

SO speaking of working from home.  We sold my hubbies wheelchair on eBay.  Don't worry, it was an extra one, I'm not dragging him around the casa or anything like that you crazy minded people!  He never used the chair because it didn't fit him comfortably and we were blessed by a local church to be given an electric/mobile wheelchair and he desperately needed.  So, basically, the $4,000 chair was going to waste in the basement.  We were hoping that someone would pay top dollar (hahahahahaha cough cough) for it and get us ahead a month in our bills.  A gentlemen in another state (where folks like to retire to) purchased it and made a deposit into our Paypal. This was money that was going to pay the power bill, phones, and buy groceries for the month mind you.....  He takes the chair around trying to find replacement parts, alter the foot plate then says that something needed repairs and finally 12 days later wants to return it.  Um, what?  I of course say NO WAY Jose!  He then says it was damaged in shipping....shipping that cost me $150 but he didn't bother to take any pictures of ANYTHING in order for me to file a claim.  SO what does eBay do?  What eBay always does, freezes your account.  So now, I'm just sitting here, waiting, not making any money, waiting, becoming more and more irritated over the situation and waiting to hear back from eBay with a decision if they are going to force the return or not.  That is my work life - fun huh?  I know you are totes jelly of me at this moment in time!

What else, let's see.  I started a new Facebook page that is totally fabulous, it's called Nifty Thrifty Picks.  On this amazing page I provide folks with information that I have compiled from numerous other sources.  I also will drop a coupon scenario every now and again.  Just trying to help folks save their hard earned dolla.  Let's face it, nothing like working an entire hour just to pay for toilet paper.

I also teach coupon classes - which are so much fun, I just love it, and it is a total blessing.  I don't teach people to buy 2,000 tiny boxes of cereal just so they can rip the grocery store off and have an overage to buy their actual needed groceries only to brag about it later.  I also don't teach folks how to clear shelves and then resell items that they have horded of course, only after charging a cover just to get into their 'yard sale'.  I DO however, teach folks how to keep organized and how to apply different scenarios in order to get the things that their family need for at least half off retail.  YOU work hard for your money, why give half of it unnecessarily to Walmart?? They have enough money as it is!  You know I'm right.


So the kiddos.  Payton is cheering this year, go ahead, pick your jaw up off of the floor.  Haleigh is fired up and ready to go....come on July 21st, hurry it up!  I'm not going to have the privilege of being cheer mom this year because our team that normally consist of two squads (Red and Black) is only going to be one squad since they didn't have the numbers to create two football teams for third grade.  So our coach from last year, the ever fabulous Faireca Bates decided not to coach which meant that I would not be the cheer mom because, we are kinda like, um, a packaged deal of sorts.  I loved it last year and I will miss it this year but it is what it is.  This years coach, Coach Stephanie is fabulous and her team mom Danielle is one of my favorite peeps so, it's all good!  Nonetheless, we are so excited and ready for some football!!

Speaking of football.  Tanner will be on the 70 lb. team again this year but will be a big first grader.  He is so ready to start practice, ready to be a leader.  He didn't get to play hardly at all last year.  SOAPBOX::: He didn't get to play because he was a kindergartner and kindergartners were the 'new kids', so 'no play time for you' kid.  Even though, I paid the same amount of money everyone else did, even though my kid NEVER missed a practice (even though his Daddy doesn't drive and Mommy had to get another one to soccer and another one to cheer - she made it happen), even though he had a great attitude, he didn't get to play.  He was only allowed to practice and only allowed to play for a sporadic play here and there.  Let me ask you....how do you learn to play if you don't play???  Let me ask you....when did WINNING become so unbelievably important that teaching was thrown out the window?  The coaches would rather win than make sure everyone got ample playing time.  This isn't the big leagues y'all, not even high school ball...it was freaking kindergarten.   OFF BOX.  This year, a 50% playing rule has been implemented, if the kid doesn't play the coach will be suspended (as stated by the assistant coach in our first meeting).  Not sure how I really feel about that either.  If a child doesn't show up to practice, doesn't do his best and has a crappy attitude, he should get to play as much as the other kids?  I dunno.  What do y'all think?  Either way, I'm really looking forward to this year.  I have met the coach and his wife, our team mom and they both seem to be very organized, likable folks (and that right there is half the battle y'all)!  I know it will be a great season this year and we are really looking forward to some football!

Well, while I'm sitting here breaking up knock-down-drag-out fights between my sweet little humans, helping the hubby, and trying to keep our heads at least a quarter of an inch above the financial waters.....I'm waiting to hear back from the University of Montevallo with my acceptance or denial letter.  Hopefully, over the next week or so I will know something, one way or the other.  I have exactly half of my classes done and I am so ready to finish this degree.  The Thompson High School Home Economics position became available over this summer and I have just kicked myself that I wasn't ready and waiting for it.  Hopefully, with my culinary degree and a degree to teach from UM, I'll be ready next time.  Everything is in God's timing.  Everything.

While I'm waiting, I'd really like to start a YouTube cooking channel, it's on my mind.  It may happen. Hint hint, wink wink.

I have a fabulous quiche recipe to share with y'all....it'll be posted tomorrow.  It was sooooo good and I'm not even a big fan of quiches to start with but even the non-egg-eaters in the house tore it up!  So good :)

                                                                   Till We Meet Again,

                                                                                       Traci :)

Did I mention I have also had a psycho Facebook stalker that may be crazier than squirrel on crack?  That's another story for another day I suppose.  Night y'all!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Nail Salon

Happy March y'all!

I opened up an eBay store back in June of 2013.  I basically take in peoples closets and resell them on eBay for a split percentage.  I also buy storage units, yard sale and have various other methods of procuring items to sell.  Basically, to break it down, I'm a retail reseller.  Well, business is great!  I may even be hiring someone in the near future so that I can grow.  I love it!  How did this all come about?

My husband needs me to stay at home with him.  He has muscular dystrophy and is in a wheelchair.  If I have a job outside of the house then its practically impossible to leave at his beckon call, so this is what I decided to do, for now.

Anyway, so business has been increasing steadily and I decided yesterday to reward my efforts with a pedicure.  I never spend money on myself.  Ever.  I hadn't had a pedicure in nearly a year and it was just time.  Flip flop season is right around the corner people.  So, I go into our local Nail Star.  Barbara Gray is going to kill me for that but I'm one of these people that have a hard time keeping an appointment due to my crazy schedule; I need a place I can go to on a whim.  I enter the Nail Star (the one by Publix for all you locals that read my blog) and I'm asked the basic question:  Hi. May I help you.  Well, yes you can.  I need a pedicure please.  Pick yo color.  So I pick this nudey pink color and I"m excited.  One of the 'gentlemen' that was playing on his laptop said something in his native tongue.  Immediately all three of the employees doing a pedicure look directly at me and laugh.  I make eye contact with each of them and they quickly turn their heads.  I sit down in the chair and it happens all over again.  I feel my skin flush because I KNOW they are talking about me.  How do they speak in that ultra-low tone?  One man can say something while I'm two feet from him and I cannot hear him but the girl in the back of the building behind a close door calls out to him? What!

I would love for a nail place of this caliber to open up in my city somewhere where they have an 'English only' policy.  I'd visit them and I'm sure a few of you would also.

In the words of Stephanie Tanner: 'How rude'.

I know this was pertinent information to get you through your Sunday but I really needed to share my thoughts!

                                                               Love,
                                                  T
                                                    R
                                                      A
                                                        C
                                                           I

Friday, February 21, 2014

What the heck just happened?

I swear to you, a scene out of American Horror Story just went down in the JC Penney salon.  What the crap Batman.

I went to 97 different places (okay, 3) to get a hair cut because I was desperate.  I knew there was no point in calling 'my lady' because she is so awesome that she is always booked.  All three places I went were 'salons' and they all advertised 'walk-ins welcome'.  Well, all I gots to say is.... don't advertise what you clearly cannot deliver.  I could call those salons out but honestly what is the point.  I will probably eventually forgive them all and go back one day.

I find myself dialing JC Penney salon.  Don't judge.  There is a guy there that has cut the girls hair several times and has done a fantastic job, very professional, very likable.  So a young woman answers the phone, we will call her Chaos from this point forward.  Chaos has some sort of speech impediment, which hey, I'm down, I can't say my r's and w's either.  Chaos gets all my info and says 'I'll cut you now'.  Well, little did I know that she meant that in the literal sense.  Anyway, on with the story.

I need to side track here and say my hair has not been cut in nearly a year.  It is down to my waist and it is stringy and dead on the ends.  I just honestly do not take the time or spend the money on myself like that.  So I knew when I went in there that I was probably going to get a good 3-4" cut off, easily.  I attempted to sit down in Chaos' chair but it was shoved so far close to her work station that I could not fit.  I had to ASK her to please move the seat back because it wouldn't even turn to let me in.  She obliged.  I sat.  She takes my hair out of my bun that is piled on top of my head and says 'okay what do you want done'.  I proceed to tell her that I would like long layers and side swept bangs.  I TOTALLY regret the bangs comment as soon as it is out of my mouth.  What the hell was I thinking.

At this point we leave her work station and go to the hair washing area.  Chaos sprays me down with water, my back, my forehead, I'm dripping.  I take a deep breath because I can see, I can feel that something is just not complete with this woman.  Okay, I'm good.  We can get through this.  She begins to pat my head instead of scrub it.  When I say pat I mean like you would 'pat' your animal.  I had my hair washed, I mean patted and she handed me a towel and said 'here you go' and walked off.  Okay at this point, I'm not sure if I should dry my own hair or run at 90 mph straight out the door.  Well my dumb self left my glasses at her station so I couldn't see my hand in front of my face much less see enough to bolt for the door.

I go sit at Chaos' station.  I know this is not going to go well but I am STILL giving her the benefit of the doubt because she is trying and God love her.....I don't know what the politically correct term is but something is going on with her mentally.  So, I know what your thinking because I was thinking it too, 'Traci, you are about to let this woman put scissors to your head and cut your 8 feet long hair'.

Her first question to me was 'what kind of layers do you want'.  Is their an option?  I don't know.  I always say 'do whatever you think is best' because you are the professional hair cutter person and since you are employed I'm going to ASSume you know what you are doing.  I get offended when people tell me how to cook so I just try to remember that when I'm talking to a 'professional'.  WELL, well, well....ya know what they say about ASSumptions don't ya??  Unhuh.  Fail.  She begins to question me about different angles to cut my hair.  She did not find my 'I hate math' joke appropriate when I said 'hey, I'm not the one to be asking about angles'.  I finally just said, layers, just long layers.  I have no idea what the appropriate way to describe it is besides 'long layers'.  I pull a picture up on Pinterest and she nods so we are on the same page.

Chaos cuts my hair nearly 20 minutes but nothing appears to be changing.  She pulls her hand up and I hear her say 'oh'.  My heart sank.  To the ground.  I just knew she had cut a chunk out of my hair or something.  She RUNS away.  Oh dear sweet baby Jesus.  She comes back and continues on.  She drops my hair again (the entire time flicking me in the face with wet hair).  Runs away again.   At this point I turn around and see what should be a massive amount of hair on the ground is no more than the amount that would come off a mans head while only shaving behind his ears.  NOSE hair...it looks like nose hair on the ground.  She comes back this time with a glove on her hand. OHHHHHHHHH I see, you cut yourself.  She pulls my hair up AGAIN and that is when the blood drips down her hand right by my face and onto the floor...drip, drip, drip.  Any of you that KNOW me, knows my distaste for blood, my utter fear of blood.  I am one more drop of blood away from a total melt-down fashioned panic attack.  The tears start to well up in my eyes on top of the wavering spots I'm seeing.  I start taking huge gulps because I cannot suck in enough air at this point and once I actually get the air in I'm not exactly sure what to do with it.

The man that works there (and the only other person in the store) comes by and sees that I'm about to go down into complete meltdown mode, he says 'whats going on' to Chaos.  Chaos says, 'Oh nutting, just call me the one gloved stylist'.  Um, come again.  I immediately turn the chair around and said 'she has been cutting my hair for 20 minutes and there isn't anything to show for it, she is bleeding ALL over the place and I'm leaving'.  He asks if he can please finish the cut and sends me to his chair.  He finishes the cut and it looks great.  Chaotic but great.

I should have waited it out at the first shop that told me to come back in a couple of hours.

For the love.

                                                         Patience is a virtue.
                                                                 Traci

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

First Priority.

Life is so short.  Can I get an Amen?

I have so much stress in my life but most of it I have created.  I lose sight of my priorities very easily.  Do you?  It cannot just be me.  I have so much to do on any given day that most days I end up spinning my wheels.  I'm starting to fall into the category of 'I do everything but I do nothing well'.  You would never know it.  If you are one of the ninety seven people that I do something for, then you would never know that the ninety six other people exist.  I give 150 percent, each and every time, no matter how big or small the task.  But, what is all this 'yes ma'am' stuff getting me?  A frickin' headache, that's what.

I over volunteer.  I say 'yes' way too often.  I don't know why.  I guess if I'm honest with myself its because I don't want anyone to think poorly of me for saying 'no'.

Lately, I have found myself in a predicament where I can't wait for the kids to go to bed so I can hop on the next project.  That is terrible.  When I actually realized that I was doing this I had to stop and think to myself....I have totally lost track of my priorities.  Between working, blogging, room mom, soccer mom, cheer mom, cooking, cleaning, Junior Achievement, any other 'kid' thing, baseball, wrestling....I mean the list just goes on and on and on and on....Oh wait, I forgot about school, I am a full-time college student also.  Do you notice what is missing from my very very long list? Church or anything that has to do with God himself.  WHAT is wrong with me, where did I get so off track?

I typically spend Sunday mornings watching Church of the Highlands internet feed from my desk, while working.  While it is amazing and Pastor Chris is wonderful, this just isn't cutting it anymore.  The first Sunday in March, I will be in church.  I physically will leave my house and find the righteous pathway back to God.  I have let all of these things overwhelm me and consume me.  It has totally made me forget what really matters.

If I have to say 'no' in order to say 'yes' to Christ then I guess I may be disappointing a few people.  If Christ is your number one then your number two through ninety-nine thousand will certainly just fall into place.

~I can do ALL things through Christ Jesus.  My father says so.  Philippians 4:13.

                                                           It's a GREAT day,
                                                                               Traci

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Things you may not know about me!

I wanted to do a little writing exercise today so I chose 'Things You Didn't Know About Me'.  I hope you enjoy!

1.  I am a strong believer that older individuals need to be retested for their drivers license at the age of 75.  I mean, let's get real: if you can't see the color of the lights or the lines between lanes then its probably time to put the license away.  2,000 pound cars are not meant to be driven by just anyone, forever. :::: UPDATE! I have changed the age from 60 to 75 because I got a Facebook beat down for my age choice!

2.  I haven't cut my hair in a year because I do not want to spend the money to do so.  Ponytails are a nappy haired girls best friend.

3.  I am controlling.  About everything.

4.  I attract psychos in every aspect of my life.  I can't elaborate because then I'll sound like a psycho...wait...maybe, well...anyway.

5.  I have a blog.  Which obviously (unless you're one of the psychos) you already know that.  I blog at least five times a week; I try to blog each day.

6.  I have a dog that barks non-stop at my husband and his wheelchair, we can't figure out if its my husband or the wheelchair because he is kinda attached to it so, no room for an experiment there.  Doug will move his joystick (get your mind out the gutter) to move and that one little click will send the dog into a tizzy.  We can be on the opposite side of the house with the door shut and the tv in my room and the one in the living room  on and holy crap batman....one tiny little click that is not audible to human ears...she goes ballistic.  She hates him.  We don't know why.

7.  I have an unnatural obsession with Henry Cavill, Channing Tatum, Charlie Hunnam and Vin Diesel.  My husband is aware of it.

8.  I'd rather have a snake in my bed and know it rather than think there may be a lizard or a frog within a 60 yard radius.  I hate frickin lizards and frogs....ughhh.....wait, unless I'm eating frog legs; I love frog legs.

9.  I have three children.  They are all three psycho.  See #4.

10.  I <3 vampire anything.  I read vampire books, watch vampire tv shows and movies.  I like me a good vampire.  Fo sho.  I watch Twilight at least once a month, fo rizzle.

11.  I could live off of French food and/or cereal. Nom.

12.  I wish I weighed 130 pounds, I haven't since about 4th grade.

13.  I do not like odd numbers.

14.  I own an eBay company.  It is my sole source of income.  I love it!  It allows me to stay at home and work in order to take care of my husband and my kids.  It is difficult to work from home because everyone expect that you are sitting around eating bon bons.  I get up at 5:30 AM...I go to bed between 1 and 2 AM.  You do the calculation.

15.  I do not like COUNTRY music.  Sorry Katelyn Carter.

16.  I am completely 10000000% antisocial.  OMG, I can't even talk about it.  If I am in a situation where I went some where with a friend and they leave me to speak to someone else it will cause me to have a total breakdown.  I clam up and forget how to use words.

17.  I am NOT afraid of public speaking.  How that works with #16, I have no idea.

18.  I am in college for my second degree.  I already have an associates of Culinary Arts.  I want to be a Home Economic teacher when I grow up.  Not sure when/if that will happen.

19.  I love to cook.  OMG I love to cook, I love to eat, I love food in general: reading about it, buying it, cooking it...whatever! I love all things about it! LOL!  See why #12 will probably never happen!

20.  I wear a lot of make-up.  A lot.  My original thought as I was leaving high school was to become a make-up artist.  I am not someone that wears the same colors every day, I love to add in color on my face and I guess its because 99% of my wardrobe consists of black clothes and shoes.

21.  I am teaching Junior Achievement for the third time at Meadow View Elementary.  I love doing it and it is always an honor to be asked.  The kids enjoy it and it is a great tool that provides the children with the basic knowledge about living in a community.  If your school doesn't participate, I HIGHLY suggest you look into with a school counselor.

22.  I am room mom to Mindy Jeffcoat (Tanner's Kindergarten teacher) and Connie Kakoliris, AKA: Miss K (Payton's teacher).

23.  I am soccer mom to Payton's soccer team!

24.  I am cheer mom to Haleigh's cheer team and let me tell you, I could write an entire article on that by itself.  You talk about hard work - it is a part time job between June and December.  I have been rewarded with the kindest words and torn down with the harshest.  People never cease to amaze me.  Let me tell you, if you are a football or cheer mom then hear this advice:  put your big girl panties on and make sure you have skin thick enough to take a beating, because trust me when I say it WILL happen.  No matter WHAT you do, it WILL happen.  That one parent will not like ANYTHING you do, will accuse you of things, will insult you and will chew you up and spit you out.  Just remember, you are volunteering YOUR time, they are not.  You have to be the best you can be  at the end of the day, they can like it or lump it.  Honestly.  With that said, I can't wait until next season.

25.  I like to argue.

26.  My feelings are hurt easily but that hurt usually just lights a fire under my butt.  I will plot out revenge in multiple scenarios.  I may even write some of those scenarios down.

27.  I forgive easily but I never forget.

28.  I have never ridden in a limo, air plane, cruise ship or 18 wheeler.

29.  I am a reality show freak.  My dvr was a nightmare.  I finally gave up and purchased hulu and netflix.  It is what it is people.

30.  I look CRAY CRAY with blonde hair.  Like, Kim Kardashian bad.

31.  I have three best friends.  I use them all for different things.  Stefanie is my funny, smart A friend.  I mean, if you need a good laugh she can ALWAYS hook you up.  Then there is Jessica, she is my 'mommy friend', I call her for advice.  Then there is my soul sister, Cassie.  I call her for anything and everything.  We can go weeks without speaking and pickup as if we spoke five minutes ago.  Shes is totes my bff.

32.  Wow this list is growing long.

33.  I love teeny bopper stuff:  Pretty Little Liars, Vampire Diaries, anything on the CW, silly teenager books...yeah, I have a problem.

34.  I feel sorry for some kids because I know their parents.

35.  I cannot deal with bodily functions.  Eeek.

                             So, in case you didn't know; now you know.
                                                                                   Traci

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ain't No Flowers in My Attic....

Don't call CPS, for the love...do NOT call CPS!

The girls have been obsessed with a movie lately and I kinda sorta remembered it being advertised on the Disney channel so I never really checked it out.  HOLY MOTHER OF MARY.  THAT won't be happening again.  I mean, holy crap batman.  HOLY CRAP.

So they have watched said movie at least 10 times.  They were actually laying in my bed when I walked in there to kick them out so I could make the bed up and I saw a young woman (who was the mom) standing in front of her children with her bra on and her mother demanding her to take off her shirt so that the children could see what would happen to them if they didn't behave.  The woman had been whipped...I mean full fledged flogging going on up in Grandma's attic.  SERIOUS business.

I immediately turned the TV off and was greeted with 'MOM we were watching that, why did you do that'???  UM, because you are seven and there is a naked woman on the television?  Maybe?  So I begin to prompt them about the show.  They gave me the synopsis of a grandmother that keeps her grandchildren in the attic and the same grandmother 'scratches' the daughters back when they're bad.  Come again?  Haleigh said 'one of the twins dies and then the big brother he almost died with poison pastries'.  So my head is spinning at this point.

I decide to not let them watch it again until I have investigated.   I watched the movie 'Flowers in the Attic' on Megashare.info later on that night.  Hell fire and brimstone.  Y'all, I am still shaking my head.  Just to clarify so no one else is duped as I was.  'Flowers in the Attic' is on LIFETIME, not Disney.  Don't be a fool.  Like me.



:::Let me break this down for you:::
-Mom is married to her uncle (dad).
-Mom and dad have four children.  In the movie they are 5 year old twins (boy/girl) and a high school age age boy and girl.
-Dad dies in a car wreck.
-Mom doesn't work and decides they need to go back to her parents house and she needs to develop a relationship with her father that disowned her once she married her uncle.
-Upon arrival, psycho crazy grandmother declares the children will stay in the room that leads to the attic and they will play in the attic as to not leave or go outside EVER.  This is so the grandfather will not know of their existent.
-They are delivered one basket of food everyday, it has to last the full day.
-Mom begins to develop a relationship with her father of whom she is waiting to keel over from heart problems, inherit his fortune and leave with the children.
-Grandma is sneaking pastries to the children.  They are poisoned.
-Mom begins to enjoy the single life and riches of living back home while the kids sit in the attic.
-Older brother in sister turn into parental figures for the lack of having any.
-Grandma whips mother for living in sin and the abomination of being with the uncle.  Like, whips her, with a belt and mares her skin.
-Kids are scared.

-A week turns into months and months turn into two years.
-OKAY READY:  Brother and sister start DEVELOPING FEELINGS FOR EACH OTHER AND BEGIN TO MAKE-UP AND THEN THEY DO THE NASTY ALL UP IN THE BED...in the attic....
-Brother and sister have a half naked moment in the bathroom.
-One of the twins dies from the poisoning.
-Mom sneaks off to marry some dude.
-Kids find out that POPS died 2 months ago and their mom has hit the road and she ain't coming back no mo no mo no mo!
-Kids escape by trapping crazy psycho grandma in the attic and turning off the lights.  CRAZY PSYCHO GRANDMA IS SCARED OF THE DARK.  Who knew?

So to recap.  My seven year old twins totally watched a movie about not only locking the kids in the attic but beating and poisoning them....Oh and the fifty shades of incest.

I flipped out and told Haleigh LANE SILLOWAY if she EVER even considered watching something on Lifetime or anything other than Disney for that matter that she better think twice....because at the end of the day.......we also have an attic!!!!

HA!

Then I had to ask her if she watched 'Lizzy Borden Took an AX'.  She assured me she had not.  I reminded her that just because she knows what channel 'Vampire Diaries' and 'The Walking Dead' comes on that doesn't give her the much needed permission to watch them!





Feel free to nominate me for mom of the year.  
                                                        I'm totes deserving.  Peace out.
                                                                         TRACI

Mommy Fail 101

This is pretty epic in my book.  On Monday, January 27th, 2014 our awesome school system celebrated the 100th day of school.  This is a BIG deal.  Every year the kids dress up as old people (100 year old people) and we tend to go ALL out.  There are balloons, games, special snack and just tons of fun!  Well, teachers have sent things home for the past two weeks 'don't forget 100th day of school' kinda stuff.  SO I wrote it down in my calendar so I would not forget.  Come Sunday night we are pulling stuff together; the kids are so very excited.

I give you Haleigh, otherwise known as 'Talula' the rich Southern Belle old lady.  Haleigh's short waisted mink jacket comes with a patent leather belt, double strand of pearls and WAY to big glasses.  Don't forget the bright red lip stick (we borrowed Nonnie's of course) and a CRAP load of 'gray' hair spray.  She was over the top happy with her outfit.
Payton or I should say 'Margorie, the local retirement home fitness instructor', has on her work out gear, fanny pack, big glasses, big make-up and of course, her sweat band.  Duh, how else to fitness instructors dress?  You have to use a fanny pack to carry your heart medication, kleenex and Vaseline chap stick.  She was ready to 'work you out'.

  So the girls were ready to go, happy with their outfits and of course I am yet again receiving "Mom of the Year" awards left and right.

Fast forward to 3:23 PM when they get off the bus.  Oh wait, when they get OFF the bus crying.  Payton was crying and I mean big crocodile tears.  Haleigh immediately says 'thanks a lot mom'.  I said 'what's wrong, what are you talking about'?  Haleigh goes into this story (because Payton can't quit crying) about how.....get ready for it.....wait for it....wait for it....SECOND GRADE WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO DRESS UP.  WHAT!!!!  Nope, second graders weren't participating 'this year'.  Key words 'this year'.  I immediately go to the ol' laptop and start emailing out.  I'm so mad that neither teacher emailed or called me to come get the girls or bring them a change of clothes because now they have spent the day being made fun of.  Payton's teacher tried to rectify the situation and have her take her make-up off (with water) which just made things worse because, I don't know, she LOOKED like she took her make-up OFF WITH WATER!  The rest of her outfit was normal but she did have really gray hair.  Whoops.  Haleigh could care less what anyone thinks and she was perfectly happy with being different and just the mere fact that she had make-up on in the first place....well she was a happy little goat.  Payton has such a difficult time on a day-to-day basis with kids making fun of her weight that this was literal icing on the cake.

So - with all that said.  I did read the notes that were sent home.  But, not one of the notes ever mentioned anything about dressing up; the notes said remember the 100th day of school.  Why do I need to remember it if I'm not suppose to do anything?  The kids have dressed up every single year so I just assumed.  Lesson here: don't assume...anything...ever!  Oh and don't send your twins to school looking like cracked out old ladies if they're not supposed to be dressed up as cracked out old ladies.


I'll Take My Prize Money in Twenties,
Traci.

PS...they got over it and forgave me, not that they had much of another choice, they are seven!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Homemade Ketchup

Rather you call it ketchup or catsup for most of y'all it is the sauce of the south, okay well that's probably gravy for most of us but ANYWAY!  I have developed this little ketchup recipe and it is awesome!  The kids LOVED it!  So of course I wanted to share with y'all.

This makes a squirt bottle full, about 14 ounces.  Double the recipe if you want to use it in a recycled ketchup bottle.


:::Homemade Ketchup::::
12 ounces Tomato Paste
1/2 cup DARK brown sugar
1/2 tsp. Dry Ground Mustard
1 1/2 tsp. Salt (May want to add more)
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. All Spice
1/2 tsp. Cayenne (Can sub Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste)
1/2 cup of HOT water
6 T. White Wine Vinegar
Couple of dashes of liquid smoke (optional)
2 T. Worcestershire 


1.  Combine all ingredients.  
2.  Whisk, whisk and whisk till combined.
3.  Store in an air tight container, a squirt bottle, a jar, or an old recycled ketchup bottle.

Refrigerate up to 1 month!  Enjoy :)


Happy Wednesday!
Traci

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Naked Face

I don't leave the house without make-up on my face.  EVER.  You know why?  Because when I do, I WILL run into you and every other person I haven't seen since high school.  Never fails, never ever, fails.  But a friend of mine recently did a blog post posting a selfie with no make-up on.  It was very inspirational for me.  Because let's be honest, once its on the internet there ain't no going back!  It's there. FOREVER.  Some of you young girls that post half naked pictures and tag yourself on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc....oh buddy, y'all are going to be regretting that sooner rather than later.  What are you going to do when your grandbaby  (again for most of you that act this way will have a grandkid 'sooner rather than later') is sitting on your lap and a half naked hooker style picture just pops right up?  Are you going to say, 'look sweet baby, granny was hot!' (and had no virtue whatsoever)?  Yeah, you probably will say that!

I often joke that if I looked like, let's say 'Jennifer Lawrence' (which I totes adore by the way), that you'd have a hard time keeping clothes on me.  Them's just jokes y'all!  I do LOVE JLaw though, for realz.

Anyway, I've gone off talking like the redneck tweener again.

So, back to my point.  I have begun to think about this no-make-up selfie.  Katelyn Carter's blog Southern Samplings is great for anyone but is most definitely valuable if you have a younger (teens to late twenties) daughter.  I love to read it and I know you will too.  It is the epitome of value and self-worth.  She is an amazing young lady that has SO much going on for herself and gives all the glory to God!  So when you have a sec, click the link and go check out her 'real selfie'.

I decided that wearing no make-up is empowering.  You may think that sounds dumb but think about it for a second.  If you can STILL look good with no make-up on then you know you have something to work with!  I'm serious!  It is those of you that don't take 20 minutes out of your day to smother your face in chemicals that REALLY have the chutzpah.  Not those of us that slather it on like its actually changing who we are.

So I am daring ALL of you over the next few days to take a naked face selfie and post it on some sort of social media! Get your beautiful self out there....haters going to hate.

I'm so jealous of Katelyn's beautiful skin!  That is all.

Here we go..................................(don't think that your computer is broken)..........

No Make-up

With Make-up
The difference is alarming.  Just goes to show you 'what people see is truly not what people get'.  It is amazing the amount of stuff I put on my face to have one ounce of confidence!  WHAT!  Who does that!  Confidence shouldn't come from the clothes on your body, the shoes on your feet or the make-up on your face.  It SHOULD come from who you have become as a person, in your heart, how you treat others!  Come on all you ladies, we need to change this.  NOW!

You can do it.

                                                          Naturally yours,
     Traci.



Monday, February 3, 2014

#Snowmageddon2014

I have taken the weekend off from blogging because last week was a total chaotic nightmare here in my great state of Alabama.  I don't know if you have heard but we had a little snow and a lot of ice.  We have spent the latter part of the week being made fun of about our driving skills, our ability to freak out over what most Northerners consider 'nothing' and then my favorite part, the aftermath.  The aftermath? You may say.  Yes, the ever loving aftermath.  How can 2" of snow and ice wreak any aftermath???  Well, here in the South (I'm sure all over the entire globe) we like to do a little something called 'pointing fingers'.  Heard of it?  So I'm sure you have read 39 blogs already about the why and why nots of how ill equipped our great state was during this so called snow storm but I'd like to discuss it a little further, bare with me, I need to get this off of my chest.

As you all well know, we went from zero to chaos in about 10 minutes flat.  Literally.  It happened that fast.  We didn't expect it, the meteorologist god of ALL times didn't expect it, the schools, business - no one knew what was about to happen.  Often the schools down here close for what most parents consider 'no reason'.  Some parents think that they do it specifically just to piss them off.  Well, that wasn't the case on Tuesday to say the least.  Somewhere around 10:00 AM we had the initial phone call of schools closing at 11:30.  It was cutting it close no doubt but it was doable for most folks.  No all, but most.  Mom and I share a car most days so she left home headed to her bus route, got about 2 miles down 31 and within a matter of 10 minutes, could go no further.  Cars were going left and right, stalling out, parking on the side of the road.  Now I get the phone call that no parent wants to receive:  ALL SCHOOL BUSES HAVE BEEN TOLD TO RETURN TO THE SCHOOL, ROADS ARE BECOMING TO DANGEROUS.  WHAT?!  I go into immediate panic mode.  IMMEDIATE.  Mom has my car, she is stuck 5 miles away from the school in traffic and I cannot get to MY children.  Long story short....a sweet friend walked over to the school from a neighboring neighborhood and got all three kids.  My kids school were allowing over the phone check-out and release which is unheard of, especially this day and age.  I was SO thankful.  But I want to clarify, the teachers, the school - everyone was ALWAYS informed.  I talked to the kids teacher and they assured me not to rush, they'd be there until all their kids were gone, they were a calming force in my day.  My mom, who turned around at 11:00 AM finally made it to my kids at 3:42 PM, five miles away.  Retrieved the kids and headed home.  In the midst of all this chaos my cousin (also next door neighbor) was stuck downtown Birmingham at her workplace.  She made it a couple of blocks away and had to turn back.  Her husband, a local Police Officer was working hard and non-stop in the chaos.  So we gratefully kept their daughter throughout the night because Lisa did make it home until the following afternoon.  Thank GOD she had the sense to turn back.

Have you seen the pictures of I-65 compared to the scenes from Walking Dead.  Wow!  Cars everywhere, people everywhere, chaos everywhere.  How can 2" of snow cause so much drama??  We weren't prepared.  No snow plows, no salt, nothing.  The models forecasted incorrectly and that was that.  Our local meteorologist, James Spann...let me correct myself 'The Man' James Spann issued an apology which I believe was beyond uncalled for.  It was an unforeseen event, act of God, it happened!  All of you people that wrote to him and called him out, shame.on.you!  Shame ON YOU!  This man is right 99/100 times.  He relayed information based on what he was given.  What else is there to be said about it?

Our school system, wow - way to hang in there guys.and dolls.  Thank you for staying with the babies who parents didn't make it to the following day.  Thank you for making the call to turn the buses back for their safety!  Thank you for putting your own safety at risk to keep our kids warm, fed and happy!  These people stayed away from their own family in order to stay with yours.  Thank you teachers and faculty, thank you.

I actually went on our local facebook page last night and posed the question, what could we do to honor the school staff that stayed behind.  To thank them.  Wow.  The response was overwhelming, but sadly both good and bad.  One woman actually stated that (paraphrase) it was their jobs to stay, they get paid for it and they had to do it.  Others said 'what about me, I did something too, what about me'?  What!  Really?  First off, my intentions were solely geared towards our teachers.  But people sucked the life out of it.  Quickly.

Immediately we went from thankful to pointing blame.  Teachers wouldn't have to stay if the school system would have called school off or called for pick-up earlier, if they wouldn't have turned the buses around..if..if...if.  Really y'all?  Let's break this down really quickly.  Did you want the bus to lose control on an iced over road, did you want the bus to not make it up the 1 of 932 hills in your community, did you want the bus to be stranded with children on it or did you want your Kindergartner dropped off to an empty home?  You decide because I can nearly guarantee that one of those things would have happened.  Should they have called school off for the day?  Sure.  Then if nothing would have happened, 40 percent of you would be bitching about that too.

Overall, as a community I personally believed we worked together and got it done.  Several people had to step out of their comfort zone in order to help their friend, neighbor or even a total stranger.  So while you are sitting back and poking fun of the situation, feel free. but remember that lives were lost, kids were separated from their parents, people were stranded in freezing temperatures.  THAT is what YOU are making fun about, not our driving skills or our chaos but a mother being separated from her daughter, a husband not being able to find his wife and sick children without their medications.  Just to name a few.  But while you are sitting back laughing we were all coming together, it took ALL KINDS of people working above and beyond their pay grade to help each other out but WE stuck together and made it happen.  So if you were one of these people then thank you!  No matter what you did, no matter how small or how big, THANK YOU!  Even in the chaos, the craziness of two little inches of snow and ice that crippled the South, thank you for holding it together, even when possibly your neighbor didn't.  It takes an army y'all and I am so proud and grateful to be one of the soldiers in this army, and you should be too!

Thank a teacher, a policeman, a nurse, a doctor today for everything they did but also thank your grocery store workers, your delivery pizza people, your neighbors, your family and friends because it took the entire community to keep everyone safe.

                                                       Peace Out Girl Scouts,
                                                                              Traci

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cookie Sheet Cleaner

Nasty Cookie Sheet
Did it work??? Eh.  Not to the extent of which I hoped.  So I found this recipe on pinterest because I have a few cheap cookie sheets that look like I bake every single day 12 hours a day.  I wash them every time I use them but since I use silpats I honestly just don't put forth much effort; which is gross in its own right.  As I was cleaning out my kitchen I came across said cookie sheets and finally had enough.

# 1.  I searched on Pinterest for a solution which was a mixture of the following:  1/4 cup of baking soda a little bit of peroxide, just enough to make a PASTE - not a liquid, a PASTE!

Mixture & Ingredients
 #2.  Next step is to spread this 'paste' onto the gross cookie sheet.  

Pans with the paste

#3.  Set the timer for 30 minutes.  As you can see, I may have skipped this step ;)


 #4.  Scrub the heck out of it with a brillo pad.  SCRUB, SCRUB and SCRUB some more.  I found the circle motion to work the best!  Once your hand starts to feel a little raw, rinse off the pan and your hand....

#5.  This was the result.
Clean Cookie Sheet

Dirty Top Left / Clean bottom right.
Did it work?  Yes for the most part.  It didn't get all the grossness off and it deffinately did not return it to its original beauty as most of the post said it would but it did get that sticky feel off perfectly and did clean it well for the most part!  I think if I did the process again that it might get the job done.

Now.  Go clean ALL of your cookie sheets and muffin pans!  You know they're gross!

Traci

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Brrrrrr!  The heat is going, the fireplace crackling and I'm STILL about to freeze to death.  We are impatiently waiting on the dangerous 394 flakes of snow that are headed towards us here in central Alabama.  Well, maybe.  The forecast changes every 28 seconds.  Then again, it is Alabama so since it will be 9 degrees and snowy tonight that means there is every possibility in the world that it will be 72 and sunny tomorrow, 12 hours later.  Don't change ya clothes just yet.

We have been battling strep throat in this house for what seems like a small eternity.  Our December went like this:

Payton - Strep
Haleigh - Strep
Payton - Stomach Bug
Haleigh - Stomach Bug
Tanner - Stomach Bug
Husband - Stomach Bug
Haleigh - Fever virus

Moving on into January and finally Tanner takes his turn:

Tanner - strep AND
Payton - Ear and Sinus Infection

Today Haleigh and Payton are both snotty and I don't mean that as a description of their personality.

For the love of all that is holy and kind.  We have changed tooth brushes 27 times.  Washed sheets every single week.  Thrown out half of the house and IT IS STILL HERE!

I should own stock in Lysol and Clorox.  Yuck.

Anyway, so last night since it was so cold and talk of snow and sickness and more sickness and for the love multiple kinds of grossness going on in this house, I decided that it was CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP time. I've dedicated one night a week to a soup for the rest of the winter; the kids and husband are not pleased.  My mom and I, we can eat soup ALL.THE.TIME.  My husband and kids both turn their nose up at the very mention of 'soup for dinner'.  Last week the potato soup was a GREAT success!  They sucked it down and asked for more.  Payton gets in the car from wrestling last night and says 'I do NOT want chicken noodle soup can you please go buy me something from a restaurant (when she says 'restaurant' she pronounces every last syllable).  I told her no and she started to cry.  I let her cry.  Then I reminded her that she was nearly eight years old and crying over stupid chicken noodle soup.  She didn't care, she continued to cry.  We made it home and she cried all the way to the kitchen, looked in my beautiful mustard yellow Le Creuset stock pot and cried salty tears over my chicken noodle soup!  THEN THAT HEIFER HAS THE NERVE TO SAY 'CAN I HAVE THE KIND IN THE CAN'!!!! Um, come again little lady?  I then of course went into my standard culinary rant.  'I have a $40,000 piece of paper that says I have the right to make CHICKEN NOODLE FRICKIN SOUP and SELL IT, by gosh don't think your going to ask for CRAP IN A CAN'!  It's typical, they know to expect it.  How did this end you may ask?  She ate two bowls and asked for a third,  I cut her off due to lack of appreciation.

Anyway, hopefully you and yours will appreciate this amazing recipe because I will tell you....everyone loved it...I hope you love it too!

:::Chicken Noodle Soup:::
Olive Oil
1 T. Butter (Optional)
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
2 Onions: 1 Cut in chunks, 1 diced
4 Celery Stalks
16 Baby Carrots or 4 Big Carrots: 2 Chunky cut and 2 diced
1/4 Bunch of Parsley, Chopped
12 Cups of Water
Salt & Pepper
8 Ounces of Egg Noodles

In a preheated dutch oven bring olive oil and butter (optional) to a medium high heat.  Place chicken breast in skillet and sear on each side for about 3 minutes each.  Add in (all cut in large chunks, otherwise known as 'rough cuts') 1 onion, 2 Celery Stalks and 6 baby carrots or 2 large carrots, cook until veggies are sweated.  Pour 8 cups of the water over the chicken and veggies.  Cook until chicken is falling apart or falls apart when touched with your spoon.  As water reduces, start adding the remaining 8 cups of water.  This will concentrate the flavor.  Meanwhile, in a tablespoon of olive oil (heated) in a saute pan begin to saute the remaining diced onion, 2 diced celery stalks, 2 diced large carrots and parsley.  Once saute, turn stove top off and let sit.  Once all 8 cups of water have been incorporated, remove chicken.  At this point you can emulsify the veggies or remove them, I chose to emulsify because it acts as a bit of a thickening agent to the broth.  At this point, add salt and pepper to taste.  Your chicken broth should taste like it is now enjoyable.  Shred chicken or cut in chunks (whichever you prefer).  Add in sauteed veggies and noodles.  Cook for 7 minutes.  Serve.

Servings:  About 10 Bowlfuls 

Eat Yo' Soup,
Traci.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hot Dog Buns Recipe

I found this little recipe for hot dog buns and loved it.  The buns turned out fabulous.  I know what you are thinking...why am I not posting an original recipe?  Well - I am a chef but I am NOT a bread maker.  There is a HUGE difference.  I will be posting recipes hopefully very soon that are my very own but until then, I'll ALWAYS give credit where credit is due and this little lady - is awesome.  Her Julia Child voice will catch you off guard in the beginning but she is really great, I hope you appreciate her awesomeness.  Her videos are also great because they show you an angle of which you can actually see her working the ingredients, which my friends, is hard to find...I give you The Bread Kitchen's Titli Nihaan's recipe for Hot Dog Buns.......



Here is a little picture of how mine turned out; the family LOVED them.


I clearly should have folded the edges over a bit more but they were so good!  I will make one adjustment next time and probably throw in some honey at some point. So good.

I also made home-style fries that night.  I just took a cup or so of flour and added in some garlic and onion powder, about a teaspoon each and then about a table spoon of Tony Chachere's Cajun spice. Added about two cups of water (just enough to make the batter soupy).  Stirred it up really good, no lumps.  Then I cut some potatoes after peeling them into eights.  Dredged the potatoes through the batter and fried them in an olive oil / veggie oil mixture at medium high heat.  They cook in about five minutes.  Once they are golden brown, they are ready.  Pull them out of the oil and hit them with a pinch of salt WHILE they are hot.  Fry in batches, be sure NOT to crowd your oil or you will have a bunch of soggy fries or they will all be stuck together.

Dip the fries in the homemade ranch we made a few days ago and thank the good Lord above for fresh ingredients.


X's & O's.
Traci.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Potato & Leek Soup Recipe

My kids like 'Chicken N' Noodle' and 'Tomato' soup by Campbell's.  The only soup they will eat are those two.  Well, once we stopped eating processed foods I had to stop buying them.  The first soup I made for them was potato and leek soup.   I was immediately met with resistance.  The first thing the ask me when busting through the door at 3:23 PM is 'what's for dinner' or 'did you fix us a snack'?  I said we are having potato soup.  Their responses ranged from 'WHAT, seriously?, I don't eat that' and my favorite 'what about the meat?'

One of my culinary school chef instructors Chef Denny Streeter made this amazing potato and leek soup one night on a whim.  I think it was extremely cold outside and since we had class at night everyone pretty much ate during class, whatever it was that we had cooked.  So on our cold Wednesday night last week I decided to try and yes, that soup has stuck with me for the past 8 or so years.  It was just THAT good.

So, I thought I would share the recipe instead of keeping all this goodness to myself.

Potato & Leek Soup
5 T. Butter
1 T. Olive Oil
1 Small White Onion, Diced
1 Celery Stock, Sliced
2 Leeks, Cleaned and Diced
2 Carrots, Cleaned and Diced
2 tsp. Garlic, Diced
8 Russet Potatoes, Peeled and Diced
6 Cups of Stock, Chicken or Vegetable
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
3 T. Flour, AP
1 C. Heavy Cream

In a stockpot over medium high heat melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and olive oil together add in the onion, celery, leeks, carrots and cook stirring frequently for seven minutes until vegetables are well sweated. Add in potatoes and cook for two more minutes, coating with the other veggies.  Add in garlic and cook for two more minutes.  Poor the stock over the vegetables and bring to a boil.  Once at a boil reduce heat and cook until potatoes are completely cooked, stirring occasionally.  In a separate small pot add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, melt.  Whisk in 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour and whisk for two minutes.  Slowly add in the cream and continue whisking until thickened.  Set mixture aside.  Once potatoes are cooked thoroughly add in the cream mixture and stir till completely dissolved.  The soup will begin to thicken over the next few minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.  At this point you can take the soup and put it into a blender and blend it down or use an emulsion blender, which is what I did.  This allows you to leave the soup as chunky or as smooth as you would like!  Serve and enjoy!

Toppers:  Crispy bacon, cheese, sour cream and chives! Nomnomnom!


                                                                             
Oh and what did the kids say about it?  They devoured it.  Even Tanner, Mr. Picky eater himself.  It was so good and I believe I did Chef Streeter proud.  'I don't eat that' quickly turned into 'Can I have more'!  I hope your family enjoy's it as much as mine did.



Much Love,
Traci





Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Honey White Wheat Bread

I have to tell y'all.  I haven't baked a loaf of bread since culinary school.  I must have watched 22 tutorials before I gave it a go.  So after 2 hours of letting YouTube fire me up enough to get started - I couldn't find my dough hook.  I.COULD.NOT.FIND.MY.DOUGH.HOOK.  So I began to feel uneasy.  Again.  I gave myself this pep talk:

Traci.  You are 3 years old.  Thirty THREE years old.  You can and you will get in that kitchen and make that bread.  You know why?  Because since your genius self said "if it is something we can make, then we are going to make it, not buy it"....Yeah, where did THAT nonsense come from!  So get your butt in gear, march to the kitchen and KNEAD.THAT.DOUGH!

So my YouTube search turned from 'making bread from scratch' to 'making bread from scratch without a dough hook'.  True Story.  Since it was my birthday, I was feeling overly confident.  But let me tell you what:  this girl made some bread and it was f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c.  I mean, not only good - it was freaking GREAT!

Oh did I mention that after I couldn't find my dough hook then I suddenly couldn't find my loaf pans.  Yeah - great.  Just flipping great.  Anyway, back to the recipe.   I am in love.  I am in love with bread and with this recipe.  If you make this bread and eat it hot with butter, then you eat it later with a piece of ham slapped in the middle...but wait, then you decide to eat toast for dinner just.so.you.can.eat.it.again!  It is/was so good...I can't eat store bought chemically injected bread again.  No way!  Like - it's not even the same thing!!!!  Just give it a try! You.CAN.Do.IT!!!!

:::Honey White-Wheat Bread:::
:::Ingredients:::

-2 Cups Warm Water (NOT hot)
-1 T. Active Dry Yeast
-1/3 Cup of Oil + More for Rubbing
-1/2 Cup of REALLY good Honey (Local is best)
-1 tsp Salt
-3 Cups of Wheat Flour (I like King Arthur)
-3 1/2 C. White Flour, All Purpose

(1) Add warm water and yeast in a mixing bowl, let set for five minutes to proof the yeast.  Add oil, honey and salt to the water and yeast mixture.  Add in the wheat flour.  Add in the white flour.
(2) After mixing well, flour your surface and turn dough out.  *Knead the dough for ten minutes.  Form into a ball, leave in mixing bowl, rub oil over the top of the ball and finally, cover the dough (while still in the mixing bowl) with a clean cloth or plastic and stick in a warm corner.**   Let the dough rise for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.  
(3)  Once it has doubled in size, PUNCH it down and then separate into two even size dough balls by cutting with a knife or dough cutter.  Flour your surface and knead the dough a few times getting rid of any large dough bubbles.  With a floured rolling pin spread the dough out in to a rough rectangle about the width of the bread pan.
(4)  Tightly roll the dough and pinch the ends into the roll.
(5)  Place the dough in a greased bread pan with the seam down.  Repeat for the second ball.  Lightly rub the top of the dough with a little bit of oil and cover again.  Allow the dough to rise until it has risen about 1" above the bread pan.
(6)  Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
(7) Remove and let cool in the pan for five minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack until completely cooled.  Wrap tightly in plastic and place in an air tight container for maximum quality!



*To knead: you have your dough ball, with the heel of your plams you push down and forward, fold the dough over and turn a quarter to the right.  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat 2 million more times.

**It was a really cold day the day that I made the bread so I preheated my oven to 170 degrees and then turned it off before putting the dough in them mixing bowl in the oven to rest and I propped the door open.

Y'all.  Delicious. I mean, there is absolutely no other way to describe it!  So if you are wondering why my loaves do not actually resemble bread loaves....well because I could never find the pan.  I had to use a smaller casserole dish as an improvisation.  Also - I went for the artisan look.  If you want, you can whisk up an egg white and paint the top of the bread about mid way through your cooking time.  It will be all pretty and shinny.  Another option for a topper is to do the egg white and then sprinkle a mild cheese..mozzarella would probably be a great choice!  Just stay away from a cheddar because you are going to get a really yummy strong honey flavor in the bread and the two together would not be all that great.  In fact, it'd probably be pretty gross.

                                  Save a life.  Make your own bread.
                                  (I don't know, it just sounded funny in my head),
                                                             Traci
                                              Aka:  The Bread Maker

Gettin' A Little Saucey Tonight

So, you know that moment in time when you're like (say this in your best Valley girl voice) 'OMG I'm totes out of Ranch dressing, like, what the heck Beck'.  Then this shiny little light bulb goes off 'ding!!!!' and you think 'well I guess I can mix the little packet thingy with the sour cream stuff and totes not look at the calories'.  THEN you go to the drawer to pull out the 'packet thingy' and there is no packet thingy.  Dilemma!  So you walk over to the ol' laptop, desktop, iPad, smartphone, TV app, or whatever is handy and you hit the information superhighway AND you pray to the sweet Lord Jesus that you have whatever is necessary to make some good ol' REAL Ranch Dressing.  That is when you stumble upon this little valuable piece of information, right....here.....wait for it....wait for it.....

:::Ranch Dressing:::
'The REAL Deal'.  **Adapted from the Pioneer Woman's Ranch Dressing Recipe**
Ingredients:
2 Garlic Cloves with a 1/4 teaspoon of salt to make a paste*
1 C. Mayo (I used homemade mayo)
1/2 C. Sour Cream (I prefer Daisy)
1/4 C. Flat Leaf Parsley, Minced
1 tsp. Dill, Minced
1 T. Chives, Minced
1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 t. Black Pepper (Fresh or Pre-ground)
1 t. White Wine Vinegar
1/4 t. Paprika
6 Dashes of Tabasco (or your favorite hot sauce)
1 C. Buttermilk

Mince all your ingredients that are 'minceable' and whisk all ingredients together! Easy peasy! Refrigerate. For best taste, refrigerate overnight.

This is slap your mama good.  Sorry mama.  I said, "I'm sorry mama"....don't ever say I haven't sang for you because this recipe just had me busting out the Eminem.

Then I thought, hmmmm, I might as well go ahead and make the other two macdaddy of dressings, right?  We are going all homemade so let's get er' done!

**Garlic Paste:  mince your garlic into tiny pieces, add salt, rub your knife blade back and forth, clean mixture off your knife and add back into pile...rub back in forth, mash, smear, combine into a paste.  For the love of God do not, I repeat NOT cut your finger off!

 :::1000 Island:::
Ingredients
3/4 C. Mayo (Again, I prefer homemade)
1/2 C. Ketchup
1/3 C. Sweet Pickle Relish
1 1/2 T. Prepared Horseradish
1 t. Red Wine Vinegar
Hefty Pinch of Salt
Hefty Pinch of Pepper

Combine and whisk!  You'll never buy store bought again!


:::Italian Dressing or Marinade:::

Ingredients
1 C. Olive Oil
1/2 C. Red Wine Vinegar
2 tsp. Garlic, Minced
2 Garlic Cloves, Whole
3/4 tsp. Fresh Italian Parsley, Minced
1/2 tsp. Celery Salt
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. Minced Onion
1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
1/8 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Pepper

Combine all ingredients.  Whisk.  Taste a sample and adjust seasoning accordingly.

Okay - I have to admit.  I'm not big on Italian dressing; it is number 2,985 on my list of top 2,985 dressings.  Just sayin'.  This recipe is AMAZING as a marinade.  Take a couple of steaks and marinade them over night or at least for a couple of hours.  Magnificent!

ALL Dressings will last up to a month!  Make sure if you use store bought ingredients that you check expiration dates.  Each recipe made between 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups total.



So that is it for the SAUCIEST story of the week! Ha! See what I did there?  Check back in a few days for homemade recipes on mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard....ya know you want too!

                                                                         Go get your sauce on!
                                                                                Traci Silloway