Friday, December 31, 2010

A year in review...

Well, I suppose since today is the last day of 2010, it is time to review my life this past year.  Funny, how not alot sticks out but my current situation.  ILLNESS.  Well, off to that shortly.

The beginning of the year I was still REELING from my first home purchase as a single mom.  I was OBSESSED in 2009 with purchasing a home.  It closed at the end of 2009 so I think it is fair to say that I was greatly affected and can talk about it in 2010 lol!  Let me tell you so many things happened the first couple of months.  My fence blew over, my hot water heater broke, my heater needed to be looked at.  Uh huh, that was just in the first TWO MONTHS people.  Lets not forget about when someone walked into my house a week after I bought it because I hadn't changed the locks yet.  Yep it was a wild ride for sure! How blessed was I that my insurance paid me double what it cost me to fix the fence and that left over money helped me pay for a trauma a month later.  God is good.  Bottom line? WE LOVE OUR HOUSE.  Boy did God know what we needed or what? Payment cheaper than rent.  NO really...under $800 for a 1300 sq ft house.  PRAISE GOD.

Ok ok ok...I can go on and on about the house.  In June of last year I became really ill.  Fatigue like I have never experienced in my life and a low grade fever.  Within 2 days of becoming ill, I had a follow up on my CT scans that I had been doing every 90 days watching some nodes.  The CT scan was riddled with nodes stating "too numerous to count".  Doc ordered a biopsy STAT and they start treating me for Valley Fever, an endemic in my area.  The biopsy didn't reveal anything really - well it ruled out cancer, but it did NOT rule out Valley Fever - no spores were found.  My infectious disease doc started saying he didn't think I had it but lung doc wouldn't listen, all the while I am out of work.  During this time out, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I developed a virus that almost killed me with a 104.4 fever while I was alone, my feet swelled up so big I couldn't wear shoes, mysterious rashes on my arms, Reynauds, hair started falling out.  I was out of work 6 weeks total.  I finally go back in August still very fatigued and low grade fever every day.  In October a new doc told me he thought I had a very rare lung disease called Granulomatous Lymphocytic Interstitial Lung Disease and that I needed to go to National Jewish Hospital.  WOW. Talk about a shock.  Missed all that work for nothing as it was probably never Valley Fever.  Ended up on disability again in the end of October and here I still wait for my appointment.

The point of all that reminiscing?  For starters, during this time I joined a Fibromyalgia support group and from that a smaller group was formed - Christians Fighting Fibro.  What an amazing online prayer team, support  I have made some extremely CLOSE friendships from this group.  I know these people would be there in a HOT SECOND to help me if I asked.  I would do the same for them.

Another amazing thing that I learned from all this? The power of people.  I really thought I was going to lose my job for needing to go back on disability a second time in less than 6 months.  I told my boss "well HR can fire me now as I only have about 2 weeks of protection left from FMLA".  His reply? "I think I have a little something to say about that Kelli.  We are very good to people on disability.  Don't you worry about us, go out and get better and take care of your daughter".  Then two weeks later I get a call from my boss and she tells me the VP and her have come up with a sign up sheet to bring my daughter and I meals once a week.  WHAAAAATTTTT??????? NOOOOOOOOOOO I scream...I will be ok, we don't nee....."SHUSH IT" she replied.  It's done Kelli, take the help.  I reluctantly agreed.  I was embarrassed.  I felt undeserving, like if I tried really hard I could do it all alone.  I had NO idea what was in store.  The first person brought us Frugatti's Italian food.  I made that food last 3 days and a couple of lunches lol.  As we sat eating our first donated meal, I cried.  I could not believe someone took their own money, their own time, drove all the way to us....just to help.  I was overwhelmed by the act of kindness shown to us.  I was also overwhelmed by the fact I didn't have to do dishes or clean up a big ol mess from cooking.  I had no idea the stress relief this would bring.  PRAISE GOD!  The thing that summed it all up for me? I was watching a movie called the Christmas Cottage about Thomas Kincaid.  His mother was loosing their house and on Christmas Day the whole town showed up to help with some much needed repairs.  She was walking around crying and she said "I never knew I mattered".  That summed it up for me.

I MUST MUST MUST put a post in here about all the food I cooked.  Lets see...if I had to pick 3 of my favorite recipes?  White chili, ooooooooohhhhhhhhhh homemade caramel (eek super easy you must try it!), and honestly? Probably the cran-pistachio cookies dipped in white chocolate!  Who am I kidding? They are all my favorite because they are on here!!!

Now, is it sad that most of my year is summed up in illness? If that is what you have read from this post, please read it again.  If thats all you still read, send me a comment because I need to re-write it haha.  My year was filled with illness, but amid all of that illness a bigger thing happened.....PEOPLE.  Friends came and took me to get biopsies, helped out with my daughter when I was getting my IV infusions and so sick after, co-workers so happily bringing my child and I a meal once a week - and enough people signed up through the end of February, people I have never met sending my child and I Christmas gifts, co-workers brought my daughter Christmas gifts and one from Santa (thank GOD because I had forgot the santa gift).  2010 was the year of good will.  Humanity.  People caring and helping.  People being amazing.

My wish for 2011?  That I can give back what has been given to me.  That I make a difference in someone else's life.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Poor Eleanor Kitty

Did you just die over the utter cuteness of this picture?? I have died repeatedly.  THUD.  See there I go again.  This is Eleanore Kitty.  The picture was taken a couple of months ago but her sweetness is still the same if not more.  See we also have Theodore Kitty as seen here:

This picture actually made it as a community engagement picture for my employer on the wall of our event suite here in town.  He was a rescue kitty.  He CAME to us by way of Santa Claus last Christmas.  He needed a friend before he got too old and crotchety like most kitties do.  You cat lovers KNOW exactly what I mean. They hit this age where they simply will not tolerate company as THEIR house is simply NOT big enough and well, frankly, they don't like sharing.  Ok.  Total side track.  SO when we wanted another kitty, my child INSISTED we get that little rat at the top of my post.  I wanted a lil orange boy....ohhhh no not having it.  I wanted to name it Simon and Jalen wanted a girl to name Eleanore.  Anyone seeing a theme here?  Yes she was currently obsessed with the Chipmunks.  And guess who won the battle?  You guessed it!

Well, Eleanore kitty could not have proven to be anymore wonderful.  She was a cudddler, even with my crazy 7 year old who has done some pretty weird things to her. um EXAMPLE below:

THUD!  I died again.  I love this kitty.  She slept like this, in the death grip of my child, for hours.  When I tried to rescue her, my child SNATCHED her back in her sleep lol.  The kitty was calm and relaxed as if given a valium.  Needless to say we love Eleanore & Theodore very much.

The time came to get Eleanore spayed.  BE A RESPONSIBLE PET OWNER PLEASE PEOPLE.  I once watched a special or something and found out that the more heats you allow your pets to go into, the higher risk they are of developing cysts.  Its actually unhealthy NOT to spay.  I am on temporary disability and $100 just didn't seem possible.  After a few calls and Google searches, I found someone who only charged a transportation fee of $25 to take the cat 2 hours away to Los Angeles to get spayed.  DONE.  They would require "tipping" the ear which is a universal sign the cat has been spayed.  

Fast forward to the night I picked her up.  HISSING and howling at me.  Get her home and set her up in the office, put a blankey in the corner and she literally FELL face first into it.  I petted her and apologized, tried to convince her it was for her own good.  She just stared at me as if to say "mama how could you?".  The next morning Eleanore was shaking and vomiting.  It was quite apparent my kitty was suffering.  So what do I do? Try to contact the rescue who took her, nothing.  Tried to call the vet in LA, no answer.  I blew them up and threatened to ruin them on my Facebook (Lord forgive me I swear I was worried).  FINALLY I emailed them and guess what? They actually responded in less than 10 minutes.  I begged for help for my little girl was in so much pain.  I am such a horrible mommy :(  I told them I had about 4 different pain meds and can I use any of those on her? (sidebar, I never throw medication away people and thank God because even though I can't take it the cat can).  This wonderful assistant found a Vet and called me back within 30 minutes with a dosage and a plan.  God I love this man.  

I carefully gave Eleanore her dose of Tramadol.  She slept for 2 hours.  SOLID - solid as a rock! HAHA sorry.  Then the most amazing thing happened.  She came walking over to me looking at me as if "pick me up mama", boy and when I did, that cat snuggled and rubbed and purred ALL over me for hours.  She would not let me put her down.  IT WORKED.  She loved me again and held no ill will for me putting her through hell.  She insisted on sleeping with me.  So, I built her a bridge made of pillows on both sides of the bed so she wouldn't have to jump.  She is doing A OK.

The point of this post?  Well to brag about the company who did her spay.  They are called Fix Nation.  They are wonderful. They fix feral cats for free.  It is a wonderful company.  Eleanore did get ear tipped meaning the smalled part of the tip of her right ear was cut off.  You can barely tell.  But she also got spayed, her 3rd set of shots, flea medication and thoroughly checked by a vet.  For free?  People this is unreal and so very important as I am a single mom on disability and absolutely could not have afforded to properly care for my cat at this very moment in time.  I am forever grateful to this company and cannot recommend them enough.


Special K

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pistachio-Cran Cookies

This recipe was so stinking easy and is suitable for beginner bakers.  I added the white chocolate on top and in hindsight, I will dip half the cookies in the melted white chocolate rather than try to drizzle it over the cookie.  I actually FORGOT to put any of these in the cookie box for me and my daughter....hmph! Oh well lets make some more huh? Haha! I hear they were wonderful though.

Pistachio Cran Cookies
(Courtesy of Betty Crocker)

1 Pouch Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
1 box (4 serving size) Pistachio Instant Pudding Mix
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter - melted
2 eggs
1 cup dry roasted salted pistachios -chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries - chopped

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix, pudding mix and flour. Stir in melted butter and eggs until soft dough forms. Add pistachios and cranberries; mix well. Using small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press with fingers to slightly flatten. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

I melted 1/2 bag of Ghiradelli White Chocolate Chips in a double boiler and drizzled over the top of these.  Ok well, not a double boiler as I do not even own one BUT I did put about 1/2" of water into a frying pan, brought to a boil, turned off the water and put the chips in a glass bowl and set into the water.  In about 5 minutes they were melted!  Enjoy my friends!

Salted Pecan Toffee With Bittersweet Chocolate

WARNING - THIS IS NOT MY ACTUAL TOFFEE.....but it looked just as good.  I was SO busy on baking day I only actually took pictures of TWO things.  I'm retarded of course you all already know that.  But in a good way hahaha.

This was my first attempt at toffee.  It was not nearly as difficult as the homemade caramel candies.  It was very very good and I rated the recipe on the site 4 out of 5 stars.  I have NOT perfected it but I will say this...try it.  It is suitable for moderate bakers.  Also I used almonds instead of pecans.  And I didn't add any into the mix because, well, I don't really care for nuts.  Now the sea salt.  Do NOT let this scare you away and don't you EVEN THINK about not using it.  I will know.  You know I will.  I did only use 1 teaspoon because it seemed to cover it.  It is not some fancy ingredient...even the Dollar Tree sells it!!

Here are the two problems I experienced.  1.  Some of the chocolate fell off the top when I tried to break it up.  2.  The color did not change until the thermometer was WAY past 310.  It still turned out way good but it freaked this moderate baker out.  I will absolutely try this again.  I loved the bittersweet chocolate on the top, it was perfect!  I also put broken pieces into the same candy bags that the marshmallow swizzle sticks used - ta da!

Salted Pecan Toffee
(Courtesy of My Recipes)

3 1/2  cups  sugar

2 cups pecan halves
  • 1 1/2  cups  butter
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  tablespoon  vanilla extract
  • 12  ounces  bittersweet chocolate
  • 2  teaspoons  fleur de sel  or coarse sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Put pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 8 minutes. When cool enough to handle, chop roughly. Divide into 2 batches; chop 1 batch finely. Set both batches aside.

2. Put sugar, butter, salt, and 3/4 cup water in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat (see Notes). When butter and sugar are melted, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is deep golden brown and measures 310° on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully stir in vanilla (mixture will bubble up) and finely chopped pecans. Pour into a 10- by 15-in. rimmed baking sheet. Let toffee cool until set, at least 30 minutes. (For even pieces, you can score the toffee by cutting it with a sharp knife after it has set for about 10 minutes, scoring into 5 strips lengthwise and 8 strips crosswise to yield 40 pieces. Wipe knife clean with warm water after each slice for easier cutting.)
3. Chop chocolate and put in a medium metal bowl. Fill an 8- or 10-in. frying pan with 1/2 in. of water and bring to a boil. Take off heat and put bowl of chocolate in the water. Let sit about 5 minutes. Stir chocolate until melted. Pour over toffee; with a knife or offset spatula, spread evenly. Sprinkle chocolate with roughly chopped pecans. Let sit 20 minutes, or until chocolate is cool but still a bit soft. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. Chill until set, about 1 hour.
4. To remove, gently twist pan to release toffee, then chop or break into chunks. Store in an airtight container.
Ok people, I know that this post is ALL messed up and its really ticking me off but NOTHING I am doing will fix the freaking font OR COLOR AAAHHHHHHHHHH.  Someday when I am big and cool I will have my and will not have to suffer through this :)-
Special K

Friday, December 17, 2010

CVID Symptom Questionnaire

Well it sucks I even thought to do this.  But I did.  CVID is called variable for a very good reason.  This disease varies WIDELY among people.  Response to Ig varies widely.  For me, it was a miracle.  I say that but even though I almost never get sick anymore, here I sit on disability, waiting to go to National Jewish Hospital to see if I have a lung disease caused guessed it! CVID!  Ok, no digressing here lol.  I am on an amazing online support group on Daily Strength for people with CVID.  We talk.  Boy do we talk.  About everything under the sun, including our symptoms.  Symptoms no doctor ever mentioned that we would have.  Then, we started seeing a trend.  I thought how awesome would it be to track this stuff.  Guess what?  So far 100% of people, WHO RESPONDED TO THIS QUESTIONNAIRE, have asthma. About 50% have below normal temperature.  Very cool stuff.  Ever heard of hydradenitis superativa?  We have.  ITP? Common pre-cursor to CVID.  So, in an effort to keep the form alive and the responses easy to find and not to get lost in threads on a support group...I am putting it here.  WARNING:  IT WILL NOT LOOK PRETTY.  Due to the layout of my blog it probably will look all off.  But I don't care and you shouldn't either lol.  Here it is and the response summary link will be below that:

Now the responses:

PLEASE feel free to comment or even join our support group at:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Peppermint Swizzle Sticks

Aren't they beautiful?  Who knew it would take 5 minutes to make an absolutely stunning homemade edible gift?  I DID haha!  These are the simplest, cheapest thing in the world to make and people go GAGA over them.  This year, I even saw little candy bags with ties at the Dollar Store.  Can you believe it? And that tray they are sitting on? Dollar Tree.  Please trust me and make these.  4 ingredients.  Then the recipient simply swirls the sticks into their favorite hot beverage whether it be hot tea, hot cocoa, hot coffee..mmmmmm creamy minty goodness I tell you!  Children fight over these as well, so make a lot people!

Peppermint Swizzle Sticks
(Courtesy of - I have no idea)

1 bag large marshmallows
1 cup of powdered sugar
Several candy canes or red & white mints, crushed (not powdered)
Candy bags
Lollipop sticks

Pour powdered sugar into a bowl and add a teaspoon of water at a time until you get a "glaze" consistency.  Take a marshmallow and dip the top of it into the glaze, about a 1/4 of the way onto the sides.  Shake off excess.  Dip and roll into candy cane pieces.  Set onto wax paper, on the side that is not glazed, until completely set.  Thread 1-2 marshmallows onto the sticks and put inside candy bags and tie to keep fresh.  

Kelli's Famous Mexican Rice

Because it's Thursday and my baby only has one more stinking day until winter break and I can then sleep in every day, I will be sharing my FAMOUS Mexican Rice.  Why is it famous you ask? Because I said so.  Also because you know you go to Mexican Restaurants and love the rice and go home and buy a box of Rice A Roni Spanish Rice and its not even CLOSE to being the same thing. eat my rice :)-

Ok side bar - I totally freaking forgot to take a picture of the finished product because I was obsessing over my Creamy White Chili.  So lets just pretend for one single second that the picture I am about to show you is NOT my leftovers sitting in a Dora The Explorer bowl.  Amen.

Ta Da! HAHA mmmmmm it is so good though.  I do have several more pics because rice can be very finicky.  You must follow the directs EXACTLY or the recipe police will come to your house and remove all of your ingredients and give them to a worthy follower :) Here's an ingredient list:

Kelli's Famous Mexican Rice
(Courtesy of Kelli)

1 cup long grain rice (I use Mahatma)
1 small onion diced (Can also use dried)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 14 oz can chicken stock
1/2 can El Pato spicy tomato sauce
1 tablespoon oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

First - this is a very important ingredient.  And it is super dangerous.  I compare it to working with jalapeno's. Please be very careful because this stuff is so so so spicy!!!!  It is better to use too little than too much BELIEVE me or you will be dripping nose goop all over your food as you attempt to eat straight fire:

Ok so first you want to heat your oil in a nice large frying pan that has a tight fitting lid.  Once your oil is hot, add your rice, onion, garlic and salt and pepper.  Stir constantly because you don't want your garlic to burn.  Your rice will turn colors in a couple of minutes, leaving some of your rice white and some translucent like so:

Next add your half can of El Pato and your can of chicken broth.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to simmer.  What I am about to tell you is the absolute secret of success to this rice:  DO NOT, under any circumstances, remove the lid for 20 minutes!  Set your timer and walk away.  After your timer goes off, give the rice a joosh, a stir, scraping the bottom of the pan well.  Some stoves "simmer" setting may be a little high and the rice may stick and give a little crust.  THIS IS OK in fact it adds to the flavor. Just stir it up.  Taste it (it will be very spicy).  If the rice is not done, put the lid back on and go for 5-7 minutes or until you get to the doneness you desire.  

Hope you guys love it as much as I do!


Special K

Creamy White Chili

Yesterday, I was FREEZING cold and had soup on the brain.  Specifically anything that would warm my cold, cold body.  Then I started thinking about what would work...then I started googling...and looking at my favorite blogs and this is what caught my eye:

I know I always claim things to be divine...lovely...superb...BUT this being my first soup-ish post....I can say that it is all of those things.  It is DELISH!  It gently warms the tongue with its spices without burning and making you gasp for air.  It is ridiculously easy (especially if you go semi-homemade as I did and buy an already cooked deli chicken), most of the spices you will have on hand.  This is not for the calorie counter oh no sir-ee!  It boasts a cup of sour cream as well as a half a cup of heavy cream um you were NOT under the impression I posted healthy food were you?  I made this as an accompaniment to enchilada pie, well and because I was skeered it wouldn't turn out I needed a belly filler.  Boy did it turn out.  I will be eating this for the next 3 days thank you.  If you love me and trust me...try this today!

Creamy White Chili
(Courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe)

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used a 2 lb pre-cooked deli chicken as I assumed minus all bones it would weigh 1 lb - love my calculations?)
1 medium onion, chopped (I used dried onions from the dollar store haha)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder (um oops totally forgot to add this gees - still delish)
1 tablespoon oil
2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained (never had this, please try them, smooth and buttery creamy texture)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies (if you like less kick, add just one can - I used 2 cans and still very low kick)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and cream. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately. This is especially good served with tortilla chips. Makes about 6 servings.

Just so you don't panic, mine was a very odd color before adding all of the creams.  Here's a "during" picture:

See, looks kind of gross huh? Its not, it's magically delicious!  I left the deli chicken chunks quite big and added dark and white meat.  I also used more chicken stock than it called for because, well, I had a mutant chicken that was very meaty lol.  

Don't forget to share your stories,

Special K

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lupus skin biopsy

Ok, I had to stop by real quick and tell ya about my biopsy.  OMG I AM FREAKING TRAUMATIZED LOL I had to go to the dermatologist today to have him take a look at my head because of this:

Yes, my dang hair has been falling out in BLOBS people.  Most of you know this as I am not shy about anything.  Well, and I am PRETTY vocal.  I have all the symptoms of lupus:  Hair loss, fatigue, memory issues, pain, rash, swelling, etc.  I either make little or no antibodies so testing positive for lupus may be impossible.  

So in the beginning, this guy was running his fingers through my hair very thoroughly.  Have I mentioned I have not dated in a couple of years?  I considered this a date hehe.  Mind you the hair is falling out all over him.  Then he quickly states he needs a biopsy.  

Have you ever had a needle stuck in YOUR scalp?  Ok let me back up. I GOT the pleasure of watching him do my arm.  Needle in for numbing.  Blood.  Another guy comes in to talk to me about Botox for my wrinkles and surgery on my cleft lip (if you think you are confident, go see a dermatologist and ask about ONE DAM WRINKLE).  I look down and homeboy is cramming a hole punch into my arm.  Whatever in the world made me think this would be a little sliver of skin?  No.  Then comes the curved sewing NEEDLE.  Omg.  I've never seen stitches before.  Very cool.  At this point, I feel it completely appropriate to tell this stranger I am NOT emotionally ready.  It's just like a pap smear (sorry Mike) you MUST be emotionally ready to go through the procedure.  I was not emotionally ready, can we please wait? Then.  Lawdy...then he puts the needle in my scalp.  Which by the way didn't hurt nearly as bad as the arm.  Hole punch to the brain. Then the blood.  Yep.  The worst part?  The stupid little band aid they tried to put OVER the stitches in my hair.  

Ok.  I'm done whining.

You guys must love me to let me whine so much.

Special K

Monday, December 6, 2010

What about the children

I started this blog for me.  Not to be selfish.  Not to boast.  Not to whine.  I think of this as more of a journal, if you will.  I have lots of things bouncing around in my noggin all the time.  Things I think are funny, interesting, and most of all helpful.  Things I LOVE to share, if there are people who are interested.  The downfall?  Being forced to read my random thoughts.

I have noticed a trend lately and it is deeply disturbing to me.  Men are walking away from their children.  Yes you read that right.  Walking away.  Choosing to do the whole "I need to do me" attitude.  Telling me it was for their own sanity, couldn't handle the kids or, the kids will be ok while they move away.  Today, I was told they believed their ex was a danger to their kids by drinking and smoking in front of them, so they would ask the judge for more time.  More time NOT custody.

These are decent, hard working, smart, active parents.  People I have known collectively, for years.  What is happening to our society?  Is there really a change or have men just never been able to handle that role that we, as mothers, so easily take on?

I honestly think, after grilling these men, that they simply do no have that bond that we do.  They do not "get" that you can't choose to just "do me".  Well I say they can't chose to but they are.  They are allowed to.  We, as women, are allowing them to.  This is NOT ok.  One of my friends told me he had to give his boys back for his health and so he wouldn't hurt them.  NOT that he would ever hurt them, he was just insinuating he was at his wits end.  This I get.  Whoever reads this and is a parent and doesn't relate, is lying.  Sorry I had to say it. So this friend, gave his children back to their mother.  The one who's boyfriend, beats their ass and smokes dope in front of them.  I was appalled and I told him so.  Um I am suffering from multiple illnesses and you don't see me dropping my kid off at the nearest fire station.  So why can I "handle" it and he can't?

My other friend just opted to move to Texas.  Who knows why.  My personal opinion?  Running.  But you know what they say about opinions.  He has a degree, young, black, smart, handsome and unemployed.  Has been for over a year.  Had a job that was physically too hard on him and quit.  So, here he moved to Texas with no job, no plan, not even registered at school and left behind a 13 year old girl and a little boy.  I gave the girls age because it is so relevant.  Talk about feelings of abandonment huh?  But - he needs to do "him".  Of course I voiced my opinion about this as well.

Lastly, my other buddy.  Taking his ex to court.  Wants more time with his kids.  Great dad, very involved.  So instead of hiring a lawyer, he's going on his own to save money.  Hmmm why risk it honestly? It means that much yet you won't pay for a lawyer? Whatever.  Then he starts telling me the ex now has a DUI, her and the boyfriend drink every night, they smoke in front of the children and he wants receipts proving where the child support he paid, went.  So, if they are in such a risky situation, why not ask for custody?  Well he just wants more time with them.  My opinion? Ah never mind lol I informed him it is his parental obligation that if his children are in a dangerous house, he needs to get custody.  NOPE he just wants more time...and less child support.  He won't pull his son out of high school.  Ok so you tell me they have no food, mom is spending all the money on liquor, chain smoking in the house with them, and you aren't taking them them away? WTF?

People, bare with me.  These are good friends of mine.  All of them.  So please don't say "pick new friends" because honestly, I don't know any men, not ONE, that could handle it alone, with zero help from a mom or sister or girlfriend.

Can someone please tell me what in the hell is going on?  Why can our men not handle the responsibility? The pressure? Why are our children only #1 to us mothers?  I went into dam hiding with my child and my buddy is moving to Texas because he can't find a job he likes and is abandoning his children in the process?????

I work very very hard to try not to be judgmental.  I really worry about these children. They are our future.  They did not have a choice in all of this.  Is it NOT our priority to meet their needs first and then our own? What am I missing.  This whole post makes me so mad, sad, worried...all at the same time.  God help us all.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Banana Bread Three Ways

I am declaring my undying love for a brand new Banana Bread Recipe I found on today.  I had some banana's that were nearing the end of their life so I started snooping around on the internet and well, the rest is history.

To be clear, I did a combo of a couple different recipes today.  I used a recipe for Cathy's Banana Bread and jooshed it up a bit with some added nutmeg and cinnamon.  Then, I added an oatmeal crumble top on two of them, mini chocolate chips in two of them and left one plain.  The reason I chose this particular recipe?  Feast your eyeballs on this:

This moistness of this particular recipe is what caught my eye.  I'm sure if you touch the screen, you can feel how supple it is...go ahead try it :)  It also had sour cream in it and I was DYING to try a recipe with sour cream in it to test out the moist factor.  So far, I am a true believer!  I would love to re-create a lemon cheesecake cupcake that my daughter and I are IN love with from a local baker here in town.  Now I know as soon as I see a recipe with sour cream in it, to give it a shot!

This recipe is suited for beginner cooks.  Take a stab at it, add different spices, add nuts, make it yours.

Banana Bread
(Courtesy Allrecipes)


  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x13 inch pan, or two 7x3 inch loaf pans.
  2. Combine banana and sour cream. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and banana mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; stir into the banana mixture. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan or pans.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

A couple of notes:  I added about a 1/4 tsp of nutmeg and about 1/2 tsp of Cinnamon to the batter.  Remember not to over mix or it will not be tender.  Top with crumble topping before baking.

Crumble Topping:

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tblsp flour

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cinnamon Honey Butter

First off, let me start by apologizing for the quality of my photo.  My cell phone camera broke.  Yep, its shattered.  Still taking pics but, well, you see.  Not good ones.

Second, I would like to point out the cute little bowl that my butter is in.  Sort of a ramekin.  I got it at the Dollar Tree!! Its stoneware, microwaveable and dishwasher safe.  I got round ones, square ones and lastly little loaf ones.  OMG I am in LOOOOVVVVVEEEE!

Ok now back to business.  This butter...will kill you dead it is THAT good.  It can be used on biscuits, rolls, toast, waffles and German Babies!  The possibilities are endless.  It can also EASILY be halved or doubled.  There are only 2 of us so I actually halved the recipe.  It was so perfect, I did not alter the recipe at all.  Now GO! TRY IT :)

Cinnamon Honey Butter

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

German Baby Pancake

I am sorry for neglecting you all.  I have been fighting a sinus infection and well...stress lately.  But I am back - you have been warned!

 I felt the need to share our latest breakfast OBSESSION.  This is a German Baby Pancake.  I have no idea why it's called a German Baby and honestly, I don't feel like Googling it haha I HIGHLY recommend you try this.  It is super simple and uber versatile.  It can be very bland and it has a very eggy texture.  You have been warned.  With a lil added cinnamon and nutmeg and with this SINFUL Cinnamon Honey Butter - you will want to marry me :)

German Baby Pancakes
(Courtesy of

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place butter in a 10 inch cast iron skillet and heat the skillet in oven.
  2. Beat eggs at high speed with an electric mixer. Slowly add the milk and flour.
  3. Pour batter into hot skillet. Return skillet to oven and bake for 20 minutes. It will rise like a souffle, then fall when taken out of oven. Lightly dust with powdered sugar and serve.

As you will notice from my picture I did not use a cast iron skillet.  I used a glass pie plate.  I am even thinking of trying a square pan.  I want to try to get as much of that crispy goodness you see that has puffed up and browned...mmmmmmmmm man!

After reading all of the reviews on this recipe, I made the following modifications:

Warmed milk in the microwave for about 20 seconds.  You want it warm not hot or you will cook your eggs.

I ran the eggs under hot water just to take the chill off.

I added some cinnamon, 1 tsp of vanilla and a dash of nutmeg.

Instead of topping with jam and powdered sugar, I use the Cinnamon Honey Butter (which I put in a separate post so it will be easily searchable).

Please let me know what you all think.  


Special K

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Spirit

My daughter received her first Christmas card of the season today.  I almost totally ruined and as I slipped my finger under the envelope flap and ripped the card out and quickly read "Granddaughter, you're like a candy cane"...wha?? OH CRAP I cursed as I crammed the card back into the envelope, tried to lick it shut, turned it over and read my child s name on the front.  JUST my child's name, not mine.  Hmmmm. "Jalen you got a card" I yelled.  My gorgeous little girl was so excited opening her card.  She carefully read the envelope to see who it was from.  Her papa.  Then she read the card out loud, grinning from ear to ear.   I said "hey where's my card?" to which she replied "you don't get one, he loves me more than you".  HA! "no he does not" I quickly retorted.  To which my beautiful little seven year old baby replied "you are too old, you don't get them anymore, just me".  

I will be returning all of her gifts in the morning.

The end.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Caramel Championships!

I promised some of you that I would be doing a Caramel Cook Off between brown sugar and white sugar caramel.  I did.  Thats the winner right there above.  Enjoy!

JUST KIDDING!  Ok so I have this super easy brown sugar caramel recipe I have making and storing in half pint Ball canning jars.  I got the recipe from....hmmmm where DID I get the recipe...Oh yes of course! Mels Kitchen Cafe.  I had made her Caramel Apple Cheesecake Streusel Bars.  The caramel in this recipe takes less than 10 minutes and no thermometer is required.  Here is a picture (on my cell phone...I know I know):

On the cheesecake bars:

As you can see, it has a pretty dark color to it.  Nothing like I had imagined.  I pictured more of a chewy, creamy caramel candy type of color.  It tasted very robust also.  In other words, it was VERY caramely tasting.  I absolutely LOVED it.  Made a bunch of this stuff so that I could have some in the fridge at all times.  I used it in coffee, over desserts, my mind kept running over the different things I could use it over....mmmmmm.  Then.  Then I saw this:

Homemade Caramel Sauce

Uh huh...are you drooling yet?  I had already began thinking of different Homemade Gifts I could give for the holidays.  I had to go out on disability for awhile and didn't want to turn off all the lights and hide in the back of the house at Christmas like I do at Halloween.  So, naturally when I received this in my email AND saw how light and creamy it looked, I had to try it.  I did so last night and here is mine:

Look at the spoon and NOT in the pan.  Its a little darker than I would have liked BUT it was my first time.  A little stressful I might add too.  You have to wait for the color to change to amber.  The recipe called for deep amber.  Plus I had read somewhere that a non-stick coated pan is no bueno for caramel making. 
Ok so I maybe shoulda put the cream in a moment sooner and the caramel would have been a little lighter.  This stuff is SO good.  It has butter in it as well that I think lends a creaminess to it that the brown sugar one does not.  This recipe is definitely harder to make.  More for an intermediate cook where the brown sugar recipe is better for a beginner cook.  The finished product:
Ok so I thought I was being all fancy with my camera trying to take this shot at an awesome angle to show off my shallot and garlic there in the background.  Then I see all those dang crumbs on my counter.  Geez! Pretend you don't see them please.

THUD! I just died.  White sugar caramel wins!

Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce (Courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cups half-and-half or cream
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
Mix butter, brown sugar, half-and-half or cream, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened slightly. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold. 
White Sugar Caramel Sauce (Courtesy of Oxmoor House)


  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3  cup  water
  • 3/4  cup  whipping cream
  • 1/3  cup  butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2  teaspoon  vanilla extract


Combine sugar and water in a large heavy saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high, and boil gently, without stirring, until syrup turns a deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush and swirling pan (about 8 minutes). (Swirling the pan, instead of stirring, promotes more even cooking.) Gradually add cream (sauce will bubble vigorously). Add butter; stir gently until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.  Yields 1 3/4 cups.
I would like to note that when I added the cream, the sauce got hard and I had to whisk ALOT to get it to smooth out again.  I would be very careful to add the cream gradually as I think I dumped it all in.  Miraculously, it turned out lol.
Christmas With Southern Living 2006, Oxmoor House, JUNE 2006