Baked Spaghetti


Baked Spaghetti

Ingredients
  • 1 lb Pasta, cooked al dente and drained
  • 2 jars Spaghetti sauce* (or equivalent amount of homemade- we use our all day meatless spaghetti sauce)
  • 1 8 oz pkg Cream cheese, softened
  • 16 oz carton Ricotta (can use cottage cheese, drained)
  • 8 oz Mozzarella
Cooking Directions
  1. After cooking and draining pasta, heat sauce in the pot used to cook the pasta then dump noodles back in along with the cream cheese, ricotta and about half of the mozzarella, fold together, then dump into a large casserole or lasagna pan.
  2. Top with remaining mozzarella.
  3. Bake 375 for 20 minutes or so until cheese is melted and gooey and top starting to brown .
  4. You can play with this and use bits of this and that types of cheese, whatever you have handy- wonderful to use up leftovers from a cheese platter, whatever you like, you can't mess it up.
*You can easily "doctor up" jarred sauce by simmering it for a little bit with our yummy spaghetti sauce seasoning to make it taste a lot closer to homemade.

Enjoy.



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Menu for week of 2/28 - 3/6

We're doing a bunch of spring cleaning this week, so we'll be having fairly simple meals.

Baked spaghetti, garlic bread

Chicken salad wraps with cranberries and pecans, lettuce, baby spinach


Marinated London broil, sauteed peppers and onions, fruit cups

Dragon food (some type of fish, baked), hush puppies, corn

Breakfast for dinner-  pancakes, sausage, fruit

Oven fried chicken strips (breaded w/panko and french fried onions), oven roasted potatoes, carrots and pearl onions, green salad

Clearing out the clutter is something I try to keep ahead of, but with so many of us it just seems to keep accumulating, so periodically we go on cleaning binges and donate what we can and toss the rest.  Do you do this or are you able to keep on top of things?  If so, share your tips, please. :)

What's cooking at your house this week?  We're always looking for new inspiration.



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Notes from the Universe

No matter where we are on our spiritual journey, sometimes we could all use a little reminding that we are wonderful and valuable beings, and our lives are important and worthwhile, whether we are the president of a Fortune 500 company or a stay-at-home parent. 

We matter- each and every one of us.

That's why I love Mike Dooley's Notes From The Universe.

Each weekday you get sent a personalized email reminding you of just how fantabulous you are, and best of all, it's free. Here is a sampling of notes I have received:

~~~~~

You can look at life like this, Sherry: If you're not now surrounded by laughing friends, taking amazing journeys, and constantly choosing between lots of fun things to do, it's just because you haven't gotten to that part yet. 

Whooohoooo, 
     The Universe

~~~~~
Sherry, no one has ever grown a garden...

(dramatic pause)

...that you couldn't grow yourself.

And I'm not just talking about the leafy kinds.

Let's till,
    The Universe

Actually, Sherry, no one has ever grown a garden. That's what I do. But they have planted the seeds, held a vision, and cared for it, day-by-day-by-day.

~~~~~
Like most things in life, Sherry, getting what you want, or doing something new, or being really honest with yourself, is typically very, very hard for first timers, but then... it becomes patently, ridiculously, absurdly and preposterously EASY for the rest of eternity.

I'd say do it right, nail it, whatever it takes, because "easy" is good, and eternity is long.

Comprende?
    The Universe

OK, Sherry, I meant "eternity is a long time" - but I'm practicing easy.

~~~~~
 Fun, huh?

Sign up over at TUT.com and by filling out the simple form you will start receiving the emails and some of them will even include a personal goal/want.

Along with the emails are free e-cards you can send to friends, a virtual vision board you can create to remind yourself of what you are working towards and info on the products and services they offer.  I have several of the books and would LOVE to go on a cruise.  You can also meet with other like-minded individuals.

If you are ready for these gentle reminders of your splediferousness, sign up.  You won't regret it.  You can cancel at any time if you find they aren't for you.

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Win a $50 Amazon GC or $50 Paypal

To introduce our new food blog, we are giving away winners choice of a $50 Amazon GC or $50 deposited to Paypal account.  Ends 3/15.

Not only that, we're also giving $50 away on Our Loonyverse.

Who can enter?  Anyone who is legally allowed to enter giveaways and can use Paypal or an Amazon GC unless we share DNA in which case, you can't enter or win.  Winner will be announced here and on Prizey.net

Leave a separate comment for each entry- ie: if you share on FB, leave 2 comments.

Mandatory Entry:   Follow us however you like-  networked blogs, twitter, facebook or you can follow us via GFC  and leave your user name in the comments.  Simple, huh?  If you follow more than one way, give yourself an entry for each way you follow us.

If the mandatory entry isn't done no other entries will count.

Tweet the giveaway and leave the link: (can be done 3x daily)  You can use the tweet button at the top of the post or use the following:

Win a $50 Amazon GC or $50 deposited into your Paypal account from @dddiva at Divas Cuisine http://tinyurl.com/4ttp6ng

Spread the word - share on Facebook, stumble, digg, add to giveaway site, linky etc and leave the link here.  Give yourself 2 entries for each way you shared.

Blog about the giveaway and leave a link to the post here for 10 extra entries.

Best of luck to you.
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Retirement

Since Ken was medically retired last year things have- taken some getting used to, to say the least.

Doing a search on retirement humor led to basically nothing, but if I don't find something to laugh about I will spend the rest of my life in prison for murder. ;-)

I know, right?  Those people who say I can't wait til my partner retires then we can spend all our time together-  you, you I will laugh at when it is your turn.  :P  He's actually a good guy, but all day, every day leads to dreams of smothering him in his sleep, or stabbing him with a sharp object.  

Why do women live longer than men?  A woman's place is in the kitchen and that's where the knives are kept.

A retired husband is often a wife's full-time job - Ella Harris  Truer words were never spoken.

What is the typical retiree's idea of intense physical exercise?  A brisk sit!

If you read this honey-  just kidding, love you.  
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Yes, I Am Referring To You


Today is arts and crafts day in the loonyverse.  Get a clue, people

Is is just us, or can you relate?
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Freakin' Awesome Buffalo Chicken Pizza

These are approximate amounts, make yours to taste-  if you like buffalo wings, you will really love the combo of flavors.

Quick 30 minute rise pizza crust
Creamy bleu cheese dressing (if not using homemade blue cheese dressing use a good quality one found in the produce section- Marzetti's or Litehouse)
Butter
Hot sauce (preferably Frank's)
Cooked chicken, torn into bite-sized pieces (we like to use the breast from a rotisserie chicken- you can make your own slow cooker rotisserie style chicken if you don't have any leftover)
Shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven and pizza stone or baking sheet placed on lowest shelf to 500 degrees

Melt enough butter to coat chicken (a half a stick or so for a large pizza) and mix with hot sauce* and add the shredded chicken and give it a little stir to coat
Roll out dough onto floured surface into desired size/shape

Place on pizza paddle lightly dusted with flour or cornmeal*

Top with a nice layer of creamy bleu cheese dressing

Add chicken that's been soaking in buffalo sauce

Top with shredded mozzarella and slide onto preheated stone or baking sheet and bake 15 minutes for large or check after 10 for individual pizzas  (Only bake on one rack - lowest in oven- at a time for best results)

Remove from oven; slice and enjoy
*We eyeball by color/taste and though we've seen lots of recipes calling for a few drops of hot sauce to a stick of butter in various wing recipes, we don't know where that's coming from because although I am not the biggest fan of hot pepper heat, the proportion we use when making our perfect wings is 1 stick butter to 1 bottle Frank's hot sauce unless there will be lots of young children in which case we make the first batch 1 stick butter to 1/2 bottle.  Go by your own taste, but it's not too spicy with the stick to bottle ratio if you tone it down with the bleu cheese dressing.


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Menu for week of 2/21 - 2/27

Here's our menu for this week.  Anything super-tasty cooking at your house?

Homemade pizza with rapid 30 minute rise crust-  mine will be our freakin' awesome buffalo chicken pizza; tossed salad  (We never liked the buffalo chicken pizza we can buy out but always want to try it because we love the flavor combo, so we re-created our own and it is unbelievable!  We're pretty sure it is because around here they use ranch dressing on/with and we aren't fans most of the time.)

Salisbury steak patties with beef gravy, mashed potatoes, Le Seur early peas with mushrooms and pearl onions, fruit cups

Hawaiian chicken served with easy fried rice,  pineapple

Breakfast for dinner-  baked french toast, sausage links, fruit salad

Ole your way (black bean, corn & sausage pinwheels), homemade guacamole or sliced avocado on the side

Slow cooker pork roast with potatoes, carrots and onions, green beans

Pasta salad- we like it with just veggies and find it plenty filling, but you can add meat or other protein, cheese etc to make it more filling for a main dish
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Homemade Pizza (Quick 30 Minute Rise Crust)

2 envelopes yeast
2 cups warm water
1 1/2 each Tablespoons honey & brown sugar
Place in bowl in mixer and give a little stir, let stand 5 minutes until yeast proofs

Add in
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoons sea salt  (you can add in any seasonings you like here- we used about a teaspoon each of garlic salt with parsley and Mrs. Dash Italian blend- here's a great recipe for myo Italian seasoning blend)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (we recommend freshly grated)
3 cups each all purpose and bread flour

Stir with dough hook until ball is formed and pulling away from sides

You can remove to another bowl and roll in olive oil, we just put a little oil on our hands, and wipe the dough that's exposed to air so it doesn't develop a skin

Cover with a towel and let stand 30 minutes until doubled in size and looks spongy

Preheat oven to 500 degrees with pizza stone or cookie sheet on bottom rack

Divide in half for 2 large or into 12 portions for individual pizzas

If you used a separate bowl, punch down and roll out on floured surface
If you left it in the mixer bowl, give it a whirl to punch it down then roll or shape on floured surface
Shape into circles (or whatever shapes you want to use)

Place on pizza paddle lightly dusted with flour or cornmeal* then top with your favorite toppings- we went basic with pizza sauce & several kinds of cheese for Ian's.  We free-formed a heart and did some tiny flowers for his shapes.
Slide onto preheated stone or baking sheet and bake 15 minutes for large or check after 10 for individual pizzas  (Only bake on one rack - lowest in oven- at a time for best results)

Dev got a bit more elaborate with hers:  pizza sauce, shredded leftover roasted chicken, sliced cherry tomatoes, shitake mushrooms, organic baby spinach chiffonade, shredded mozzarella and parmesan and sliced fresh mozzarella.  Food porn at its finest.

*If you don't have a pizza paddle and/or are using the baking sheet, use parchment paper and just slide onto hot baking sheet when ready to bake.

We set out a bunch of different ingredients-  olive oil, artichoke hearts, fire roasted red peppers, tomato, spinach and fresh mozzarella and parmesan was a really good combo as was ricotta cheese, tapenade, tomato, spinach, shitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, parmesan and mozzarella.

We also made a few calzones-  caramelized onion, chicken, cheddar and spinach; caramelized onion, chicken and cheddar and chicken, spinach, mushroom and mozzarella.  All were fantastic but we forgot to get pics.


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The Power Of NOW! Abraham-Hicks, Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual EnlightenmentThe Teachings of Abraham Book Collection: Hardcover Boxed Set

What is comes down to is living as fully as you possibly can in your Now.
Give your full attention to your now, and if you will give your full attention to your now, whatever it is, then what you discover is because your Inner Being exists in a place of such positive Energy, and in your Now you are looking for reasons to feel good, you become so profoundly powerful that all the clutter gets out of your life.

Your life is right now. It's not later. It's not in that time of retirement. It's not when the lover gets here. It's not when you've moved into the new house. It's not when you get the better job. Your life is right now. It will always be right now. You might as well decide to start enjoying your life right now, because it's not ever going to get better than right now until it gets better right now! Abraham-Hicks

~~~~~

As long as you are unable to access the power of the Now, every emotional pain that you experience leaves behind a residue of pain that lives on in you.  Eckhart Tolle


The Vortex: Where the Law of Attraction Assembles All Cooperative RelationshipsEckhart Tolle: Awakening in the Now 
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Maximize Your Procrastination!

This, you guys, is why we're all afflicted with sitonmyassandfritterthedayawayitis.

 There's just so much to fritter with! These are some of Dev's favorite time-wasting web sites.

WARNING: You WILL become addicted.

Failbook: If you're on Facebook, you know those people. The ones whose posts, comments, and statuses just make you go: ... W. T. F. And it's hilarious.

Daily Squee: It's just so flippin' cuuuute! :3

GraphJam: User-made graphs of hilariousness.

And last but certainly not least:

GivesMeHope: Not a funny like the others, but heartwarming and sweet. Definitely uplifting.

Posted by Geekazoid using mommy's acct.

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A Random Post About Hot Dogs

I was going to post our mashed potato frosted meatloaf with cheese recipe but hot dogs is what is coming out of the brain and fingers, so hot dogs it is.

Ever since we hosted a house party for Oscar Mayer, the only hot dogs the divas will eat is Oscar Mayer Angus. They are a different flavor, a different texture and well- just superior in every way. We've tried other brands of Angus hot dogs since OMs are the most expensive ones around here, but the others lack that something something so we would rather go without or eat them less often if we can't get the Oscar Mayer Angus dogs.  (No, Oscar Mayer isn't sponsoring this post, we just really find them that good.)

We do many different toppings, depending on the mood, do you guys do that too?  A lot of people I know eat them the same way every time and think we are odd, but I think they are the odd ones because they are missing out on so many different things.

I personally will eat them almost any way but the one thing mine always have is mustard.  Here are some of the ways the divas like our Oscar Mayer Angus Hot dogs- maybe you can get some new ideas-  or tell us some of yours.

Very fave, grilled on a charcoal grill to perfection, almost but not quite burned; if we can't have them that way we prefer them made on the griddler, broiled or fried.  Never boiled - ewwwwww!

Straight out of the fridge cold, no bun, no bread  (Ian and the dogs- sometimes Dev)
Cut up in mac & cheese
Sliced up and baked into corn muffins (kind of like make your own corn dogs without the deep fry action)

On a bun or bread, toasted or not-
Plain
Just mustard (Gulden's, occasionally sweet hot, dijon or Hellmann's Dijonaisse)
Just mayo (Hellmann's or Best, depending on what part of the country we are living in, or myo mayonnaise)
Just ketchup (Heinz)
Any combo of two or all 3 of the aformentioned condiments
Any of the condiments or combo thereof with sweet pickle relish
Mustard and sauerkraut
Mustard, ketchup, sauerkraut and onion (only if the dogs are split and friend in the pan with butter, the onions and the kraut)
Mustard, chili (no beans), cheese and cole slaw
Mustard, chili, cheese and diced onion
Mustard, chili, cheese and caramelized onion
Chili sauce (the red stuff in the jar- Heinz makes it or the myo version)
Mustard and bread & butter pickles

I think I know what I am having for lunch.  How do you like to eat your hot dogs?  If you don't care for them- give the Oscar Mayer Angus ones a try, you just might change your mind, they are not like other hot dogs.


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Speako's, Fart Humor and Runza Hates Me

Here's what has been keeping us giggling lately- feel free to laugh with (at) us. ;-)

If you are a regular reader, you know that sometimes our brains take much longer to activate than our mouths or fingers, which results in speakos, or as Dev calls them, typos with my mouth (yeah, she's the big texter and can type about a zillion words a minute). Here are some of our blunders.

Mommy to Kyra- For crying out loud I'm not your mother any more, don't make me treat you like a child. (Naturally, it was meant as quit acting like a toddler, you should know what to do without me having to tell you every darn thing that needs to be done or give you a gold star for doing it, you are in fact a mother yourself and should know these things by now.)

Mommy to Dev- Back when I was a mother... (Naturally, it was meant as when you guys were little kids.)

I know, right, maybe I need to hang up my mommy badge. ;-)

Ian saying green beans- bean beans, which they will forevermore be known as.

Dawn when she was little and uber excited because we rarely had it and she was telling gramma what was for dinner- she knew what it was but the words tumbled out in the wrong order- Roni Mac & Cheese- which is what we call it now.

Daddy was in the AF and we got into marching the girls to bed- we'd say march, march, stiff as starch etc and when Casey was a wee little thing- well a wee littler thing since she still is, but she was maybe 3 when this happened- we were going up to bed and she sang march, march, sniff my farts. She had NO IDEA what that meant but the rest of us about died laughing.

We can't remember who first speako-d it because it was always called this after, but back when Party of Five first aired- farting at five.


~~~~~

Since we're going with the fart thing apparently, this isn't a speako, but funny nonetheless:

When Dev was little the nephew was telling Dawn he creaked the house (his way of saying he farted) and the little genius pipes up that's not a fart that's just a smell molecule. We still laugh about this one all the time.

Another funny-  Ian has been saying since he was 3- back when I was just a little boy.  


~~~~~

When we were at Panera the other day, my valentine (Ki) and I got to talking about food and how picky some people are. *whistles innocently*

She said you know mom, Runza hates you.

I said excuse me? (For those of you who don't know, Runza is a fast food restaurant, I think chain in Nebraska.) I have never once been in a Runza in my life (even though we were stationed at Offutt AFB in Omaha for several years).

She says yeah but when I worked there and had to deal with the veggies I would keep tossing them and my manager would say what are you doing and I would say my mommy would send it back so I won't serve it. They got to hating you so bad it's not even funny.

Bwahahahaha sorry, but if you are serving foods you should have standards and they should be high. I won't serve or eat if something is a little wilty, the hard vein on the lettuce or cabbage, if it is too close to the stem of the tomato (who wants that ick flavorless greeny yellow glop going into their salad?), etc etc etc.

And yes, it does drive me positively bonkers when the tv chefs don't core the tomatoes or wash and pick through the baby spinach and break/cut off the stems or... well, you get the idea.

Some people think it is being overly critical or picky because it is not uncommon for me to pick through and leave half my salad, sometimes sending it back, even at the nicer places, but why on earth would I eat something out that I am paying good money for when I would neither eat nor serve it at home?

So, Runza can hate me but I feel really good knowing my girl won't compromise her standards on something small that she wasn't even eating herself. It makes a mama proud.


~~~~~
What's been tickling your funny bone lately?  Share, we love a good gut-busting belly laugh.

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The lazy Idontgiveaflynigf*ck edition

I HAS A BAD CASE OF THE LAZE

I have the laze. Not sure if it is spring fever, lack of blood or a seriously bad case, in fact the worst case ever of sitonmyassandfritterawaythedayitis. I do know the cure has not yet been found.

(BTW isn't Pan adorable?- you can upload your own pics and put on your own captions over at cuteness overload central aka lolcats/icanhascheezburger.)

So yeah, my get up and go left the building a long time ago and I am trying to find it but no luck so far- and yes I have posted on Craigslist and put up fliers about my missing giveadamn.

Because I don't, really. Don't what? Giveadamn.   Make that WE because all of the divas are afflicted to some extent. 

We don't giveaflyingf*ck if our ass looks fat in this - oh wait, that's a lie, we have the vain and shallow thing going on (well mostly me, but really, all of us do at least a little) but we'll know you aren't a real friend if you don't tell us.

We don't giveaflyingf*ck if you* are a whiny pouty baby when we are not what you need or expect us to be. Take it or leave it.  Go right ahead and point fingers and cast blame and try to turn others against us with your* lies because we don't giveaflyingf*ck- anyone who believes your* bullsh*t is not anyone we need to impress.

We don't giveaflyingf*ck that you think our music, language, lifestyle, parenting, spirituality, *insert anything you like here* choices are inappropriate.  Your little world of perfect would bore us to death in about 5 minutes flat.  

We don't giveaflyingf*ck that you think you are so much better than we are. As the old saying goes, those of us who really are superior are really annoyed by those of you who think you are.

We don't giveaflyingf*ck that you* think we are cold-hearted b*tches.  Sometimes we are. And we don't think that's a bad thing.  Hence posts like this.  We're not the perfect blogger(s) *gasp* and what's worse, we don't want to be.  Not gonna slap a happy sticker on the blog and pretend there are parts of life that don't suck. 

We don't giveaflyingf*ck that you* are offended when our opinions are different than yours.  Lighten up, it doesn't make you right or wrong, or us right or wrong, it means we're not clones (except maybe the mini diva) and that the world is a diverse and wonderful place.

We don't giveaflyingf*ck that your* beliefs are different than ours.  In fact, we're happy to share and learn from you*, but NOT when you* tell us we're going to a place we don't believe in if we don't change our views to yours*.  If that works for you*, great, but that doesn't mean we or anyone who doesn't happen to agree with you* has to buy into the same theory.  (And if you* really believe that way, then PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do as you are instructed and judge not lest ye be judged.) 

We don't giveaflyingf*ck if you* like this post or not, it wasn't written with your* opinion in mind.  It was written to reiterate that we're all in this life together and we all (yes, including ourselves here) need to lighten up and quit taking everything so seriously.  Everyone has the same end goal in mind- to get through this lifetime as best we can being the greatest version of ourselves possible and trying to find joy and happiness along the way-  live and let live, peeps, and remember, no one gets out alive.

*you and your are not directed at any one person, stop being so paranoid and thinking we meant you when we wrote this.  We didn't.  Or we did and you have every right to be paranoid.  It's your choice.  That's the best thing about this life-  WE ALL GET TO MAKE OUR OWN CHOICES ABOUT WHAT WE BELIEVE.  How liberating is that?

XOXOX dddiva writing on behalf of all the divas
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Top 5 Tools For Sweepers

Just as there are certain traits that one should possess for sweeping to be an enjoyable and rewarding [profitable] hobby, there are tools that can make it much, much easier.  Here are our top 5 picks.

The first thing to do is to make sure you have good Anti Spyware and Anti Virus protection. I personally use Ad-Aware, Spybot Search and Destroy and AVG AntiVirus and don't have any problems. All of these have free versions. If you want to see what else is available, look up Anti Spyware or Anti Virus software in any search engine.  I personally use Swagbucks because I earn points and redeem them for Amazon GC's.  (I have redeemed 18 so far, two of the little divas use it as well and have also redeemed, but I don't know how much they have gotten.)

Get a free email.  As much as you try to avoid it, you will get unwanted emails.  Sometimes you have to join a site to enter and/or receive their newsletter etc.  You want to have a dedicated email for sweeping so you can scan them quickly for winning emails and make sure you don't accidentally delete something personal or business related.  Yahoo, gmail and msn all have free versions, or again type free email account into any search engine.  Make sure to check your spam folder periodically since frequently a winning email will end up in there.

The next tool you want to get (if you use a pc) is RoboForm, a form filler that also saves your passwords and protects your information. I love RoboForm and can't imagine entering nearly as much as I do without it. It speeds up the process and once you use it you will see why it is so highly recommended by serious sweepers everywhere. It will also help you fill out freebie forms and you can use it for several different family members. There is a free version of RoboForm as well, but I highly recommend the paid version-  it is very inexpensive and will let you store unlimited passcards, etc.  There are reportedly similar programs for Mac users but I can't vouch for them so will leave you to your own research.

Join a site dedicated to sweepstaking and contesting. The only one I will personally recommend is Online-Sweepstakes also known as OLS because after months of research and years of sweeping, that is the only site I use and I find it meets my needs. You can join as a free member then read the forums to decide if subscribing is right for you. For me the $30. a year, mere pennies per day is well worth it for the organizational abilities alone, not to mention access to the harder to find sweeps and contests. Naturally, you can use any search engine to find contests and sweepstakes on your own or even to find a site more suited to your own particular needs, though I highly recommend a site that allows you to keep track of what you entered and when you entered it and how often (which OLS does for me.

Last but not least, a positive attitude.  I can't tell you where to find this, but I can say with some small authority that the people who expect to lose...  well, they lose.  If you feel you are wasting your time then that is exactly what this hobby will be for you, a waste of time.  We all have our blah-ishy days, but I know that the law of attraction works, I know that what I believe will come about and I know that since I believe this is a rewarding hobby for me I will win.  If you need inspiration, we have quite a bit you can find under the Soul Food Sunday label-  just glance through the titles and read through any that *speak* to you.

Be sure to check out all of the hints and tips in the divas essential guide to winning.
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WW, Fun and Tasty Win w/LINKY

Sharing a recent win with you because it gives me a chance to reiterate why I love this hobby so much and because I get to say how very much I love Newman's Own.  Every penny of profit goes to charity, and it just doesn't get any better than that.


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Awesome Loaded Oatmeal Cookies


Awesome Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 cups Quaker old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries such as Craisins
  • 1/2 cup* white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup* semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup* chopped macadamia nuts
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy (we use our faboo KA mixer)
  3. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well
  4. Add soda, cinnamon and salt, mix well
  5. Add flour, mix well
  6. Slowly stir in oats (turn mixer to low)
  7. Add in cranberries, chips and nuts
  8. Drop by heaping spoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheets (can use parchment)
  9. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or til golden
  10. Cool 1 minute, remove to wire rack
Feel free to play around - we took the Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies recipe from the Quaker box and made it ours. (They say to mix the spices with the flour but we have found that if you just add them first they are very well incorporated.) Use any type of chips you like, vary up the dried fruits and nuts and add coconut if you like it.

Enjoy.


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Totally Random Tuesday- Baked Good Love, Porn Star Dancin' and ???


randomtuesday

Here in the loonyverse, when we have friends who are feeling down, we make baked goods.
Ki started very young- when a friend was having a lousy day, she would make them a big smiley faced chocolate chip cookie and bring it to school.  She moved on to other baked goods, or sometimes a meal.  When her sister was having a particularly rough one she baked her a giant cupcake and decorated it fancy then shoved her face in it.  (We only do things like this to each other, not to people who might not appreciate the gesture.)

We realize they are not a cure-all, and recently, especially, a friend of Dev's has been going through a bad time.  Not a life sucks why do bad things happen to me I'm a teen bad time, but a hideous, wtf this should happen to no one- his baby went to bed happy and content and healthy one night and was dead from sids hours later.  What can you possibly do or say- there is nothing!  The condolences don't help- in fact he told her that her heartfelt it just sucks and it will never make sense meant more than all the I'm so sorry's in the world.

Late night texts and talks and just plain being there whenever he wants/needs someone to talk to is all she can think of to do.  And bringing cookies.  They are awesome oatmeal cookies loaded with goodies but they could taste like cardboard and that would be okay, because the intent was there.  No, the cookies won't help in the grand scheme of things.  Nothing can.  But they will show her friend she gives a damn, that somebody cares about him enough to want to do something nice for him even if it is inadequate. 

~~~~~

Did you ever get a song stuck in your head and it just wouldn't leave?  We do that all the time, so much so, in fact, that if Ian gets tired of listening to something he holds his hands to his ears and says help it's stuck in my head- I don't think he means it the same way we do since he does it when he wants a diff song, but it's adorable.

Usually we have songs from Wicked, or Disney, for a while it was Rent-  anyways- I have a totally inappropriate song in my head now and I know it's awful (well NOT TO ME) but Ha! if you are a prude, you totally won't like it, but it is just so dang catchy, and is the singer not a total hottie?  I would not play this with young children in the room, but for your listening and/or viewing pleasure, My Darkest Days' Porn Star Dancing- the extended, uncensored version w/Ludacris (and of course it has Chad Kroeger and Zakk Wylder is on guitar.)


My Youtube playlist that I am listening to right now is so random (Ha, great for a totally random Tuesday, eh?)-  It has everything from Porn Star Dancing to Pink's So What to Goo Goo Dolls' Iris to Smash Mouth's All Star to 3 Doors Down Kryptonite to Rise Against by Savior to Train's Drops of Jupiter, Calling All Angels and Hey Soul Sister to Billy Idol's Rebel Yell to Ricky Martin's Livin' La Vida Loca to Sophie B. Hawkins Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover to Don Henley's All She Wants To Do Is Dance to Gwen's Rich Girl to some BEPs, Phil Collins' You Can't Hurry Love, *Insert LOTS of RANDOM artists here*, and naturally lots of Nickelback tossed in and we round it out with Genesis' I Can't Dance and one of my faves of theirs-  if you haven't seen it you really must-  Jesus He Knows Me.


Is that not a total riot?  Brings back memories of the lovely Tammy Faye Baker make-up. *grin* 

~~~~~

This got uber-long, but I want to add that we went to Panera yesterday for lunch (Ki was my Valentine, she, Ken and I went and it was soooooo nice, great food and we were able to eat outside! Plus, pastries were 99 cents if you bought a drink with your food - there was soooooooooo much food we brought the pastries home. Thanks, Ki, I <3 you, my Valentine. ;-)

~~~~~

Did you do anything special for Valentine's Day? How do you comfort friends when they are down or in crisis? Is your playlist totally random like mine or do you listen to one style of music/artist/whatever? We'd love to know more about you, so please share.
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Perfect Rice - Stovetop


Rice is one of those things that is extremely easy for me yet I know so many people who resort to instant because they think it is difficult or they don't have a good method.  This is how I learned to make it and it never fails.  If you want it done "instantly" try our recipe for pressure cooker perfect rice.



White Rice

Ingredients
  • 1 part rice (long grain, plain, jasmine, basmati etc)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 parts liquid (water, broth, stock, juice)**
  • Dash salt* optional
Cooking Directions
  1. Put rice in pot with a tight fitting lid, add liquid and salt* if using.
  2. Cover and turn burner to high and bring to boil. Turn down as low as you can (I have an electric stove and use the simmer setting) and set timer for 17 minutes.
  3. Turn off, uncover and fluff with fork.
  4. If you want your rice to separate and be fluffy, rinse before cooking. For sticky rice, don't rinse.
  5. *Omit salt if using broth, stock, etc
  6. **The more liquid you use the softer the rice


Brown Rice

Ingredients
  • 1 part brown rice
  • 2 parts liquid (water, broth, stock, juice)**
  • Dash salt* optional
Cooking Directions
  1. Put rice in pot with a tight fitting lid, add liquid and salt* if using.
  2. Cover and turn burner to high and bring to boil. Turn down as low as you can (I have an electric stove and use the simmer setting) and set timer for 40 minutes.
  3. Turn off, uncover and fluff with fork.
  4. **Omit salt if using broth, stock, etc
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Pressure Cooker Rice


I will use instant rice in a pinch, but I know I'm missing out on nutrition as well as the whole texture thing.  (It may be a slight difference to you but we're super-sensitive and it's kind of like the difference between perfectly cooked al dente pasta  and overcooked mush to us.)

I have a rice cooker/steamer (in addition to the multi cooker) and I have a great recipe for perfect rice on the stovetop every time, but sometimes I only have 10 minutes to spare and this is where the pressure cooker comes in.  Have I mentioned that I love this thing? (Fagor multi cooker- electric)


White rice
1 part rice (long grain white*- plain, jasmine or basmati etc) to 1 1/2 - 2 parts liquid** (The more liquid you use the softer the rice)

Once it's up to pressure, set timer for 6 minutes.  (Though my cooker will hold foods on warm, for this you want to release immediately and remove the lid as soon as you are able or it will get too mushy.)  Remove rice*** and fluff with fork.


Brown rice
1 part rice (long grain, brown) to 2 parts liquid**
 Once it's up to pressure, set timer for 6 minutes.  Remove rice*** and fluff with fork.

*If you want your (white) rice to separate and be fluffy, rinse before cooking.  For sticky rice, don't rinse. 

** We generally prefer using a broth, but if we are making plain we add a dash of salt or it's icky.

***  Though my cooker will hold foods on warm, for this you want to release immediately and remove the lid as soon as you are able or it will get too mushy.


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Menu for week of 2/14 - 2/20

Happy Valentines Day! Here is our menu for the week- do you cook a special meal or go out with your Valentine(s)? We have a few different meals that we alternate- this year it's heart shaped meatloaf.

Heart shaped meatloaf; mashed potatoes; green beans; field greens with pomegranate seeds and blueberry/pom vinaigrette (pom seeds in heart shape)

Radiatore noodles and cali blend veggies with evoo, butter and fresh grated parmesan; tossed salad

Meatloaf sandwiches; potato salad; carrot and celery sticks

Open faced tuna melts; parmesan goldfish crackers swimming in tomato bisque soup

Veggie stir fry served over brown rice

Chicken parmesan; angel hair pasta w/marinara sauce; steamed broccoli

Broiled lemon pepper fish filets; parslied new potatoes; asparagus


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Why Some Prayers Are Answered And Not Others - Abraham-Hicks

Prayers of gratitude are the healthiest praying going on.

[This does not mean getting] on your knees [and] pleading for something to be different than it is.

It is not the function of prayer that provides the solution, it is the attitude from which you pray.

There is a difference in the way one prays. You can pray from fear, which means you are not letting in what you are asking for. Or you can pray from a place of hope, which means you are letting a little more of it in. Or you can pray from a place of belief, which is letting in even more of it. Or you can pray from a place of knowing, which means it is, even now.

That's why prayers of appreciation are the most powerful prayers because when you pray for something that you are already appreciating, you activate the vibration that let's all the good stuff in.

When you pray from your fear, your words are futile. But it is not because you are not being heard, and it is not because you are not answered, it is because you are holding yourself in a place vibrationally apart from your own answer.

[reworded for clarity]
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Best. Quote. Ever.

"I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down'." -Bob Newhart.

This is all.
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For bloggers- Alexa ratings blog hop

Alexa is one of the tools that some pr firms and various companies use when they evaluate your blog.  The lower your number, the better.  One way to lower your rank is to install the Alexa toolbar, another is how often/well your blog is rated by your readers.

Momma D and Da Boyz is hosting a blog hop where you sign up your blog(s) to be rated as well as agree to rate the others on the list.  Don't just sign  up then not rate anyone else-  very poor blogging etiquette and bad jujukarma and all that. ;-) 

I'm in, and will be visiting and rating every site that links up- if you want to join in on the fun, head on over to Momma D and Da Boyz and add your link then start clicking.

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Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez - Mardi Gras, King Cake, Tradition

While cleaning up the blog we came across this and thought it would be fun to do a repost and move the recipe for King Cake over to our food blog, Divas Cuisine.  If you get a chance to make them, do so and let us know what you think- they are delicious and traditional for a reason.

This year, (2011) Mardi Gras falls on Tuesday, March 8.  Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday”, is the last day of the carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
Three of the four little divas were born in Louisiana, so King Cake and Mardi Gras are something we are very familiar with.

You can get a version of King Cake in the markets here but you really shouldn't, they don't taste anything like what you get in Louisiana.

Devon had a Mardi Gras Party  with her French Club, and when she found out that no-one else was bringing one (you can order them online but they are pretty pricey) she kinda sorta told her teacher she'd see what we could do meaning she'd get Kyra to agree and I'd somehow be dragged along for the fun. ;-)
After much, much searching we found this recipe and changed it up a teeny tiny bit- they used colored icings, we NEVER got a cake with colored icing in LA, just the white icing with colored sugars so that's what we did.

Kyra went crazy looking hither and yon for the plastic babies to tuck inside and she finally found them in a very out of the way place in Hobby Lobby (they are ugly and not quite the same and she had to take the blankets they were wrapped in off, but they will work.

These were the only beads we could find anywhere in town- they still have leftover Valentines stuff, go figure. At least we had a few to decorate the cakes with.

The recipe we used makes two smallish King Cakes so we sent them both in for the party but we did manage a wee little taste and man oh man they are good like we remember real king cakes tasting- I really LOVE the sour cream in the dough.

They are obviously homemade, but were very much enjoyed by all despite not being perfect.


The King Cake Story (The Sun Herald)
The King Cake is believed to have been brought to New Orleans, Louisiana, from France in the 1870's. It evolved from the Twelfth Night or Epiphany pastry made by those early settlers. They added their own touches with the Spanish custom of choosing Twelfth Night royalty.
A King Cake is shaped like a crown to represent the kings.
A dried bean or pea was hidden inside the cake and whoever found it received a year of good luck and was treated as royalty for that day. Starting around the 1930s, a tiny naked baby was used instead of the bean or pea. The baby can be pink, brown, or golden. Some people believe that the baby represents the baby Jesus because Twelfth Night was when the three kings found the baby in Bethlehem.
The payback for being king or queen for the day is that person has to buy the king cake for the next day
King Cake season lasts throughout Mardi Gras from Epiphany until Mardi Gras Day. (Fat Tuesday)
The royal colors of purple, green and gold on the cake honors the three kings who visited the Christ child on Epiphany.
Purple represents Justice.Green stands for Faith.Gold signifies Power.
The three colors appeared in 1872 on a Krewe of Rex carnival flag especially designed for the visiting Grand Duke of Russia. He came to New Orleans just for the carnival, and the universal colors remain his legacy.

XOXOX  The Divas

If you try out the King Cake recipe, let us know how you liked it.
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Mardi Gras King Cake

With 3 of the girls being born in Louisiana we're very familiar with Mardi Gras and king cake.  For as long as we have lived here (in Arkansas) we have not been able to find a good one to purchase so when Dev's french class had a party a couple of years ago, we attempted to make our own since she so kindly volunteered to bring them.

After much, much searching we found this recipe and changed it up a teeny tiny bit- they used colored icings, we NEVER got a cake with colored icing in LA, just the white icing with colored sugars so that's what we did.

It's a very basic recipe, but delicious and like we remembered from when we lived in Louisiana, and it was a huge hit with her class.

You can read about the history of the King Cake here:  Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez.

King Cake
(From Southern Living 1990 Annual Recipes)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 (16-oz.) carton sour cream
1/3 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 T. sugar
1/2 c. warm water (105 º to 115 º)
2 eggs
6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
White frosting
Colored Sugars (we use glitter sprinkles)

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan; heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Let mixture cool to 105 º to 115 º.
Dissolve yeast and 1 T. sugar in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add butter mixture, eggs, and 2 cups of flour; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or by hand until smooth. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn dough out onto a lightly-floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place free from drafts, for 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
Pinch dough down and it divide in half. Turn one portion of dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll to a 28" X 10" rectangle. Spread half of the butter and half of the cinnamon mixture on the rolled out dough. Roll dough, jelly roll fashion, starting at the long side. Gently place dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends of dough together and form an oval ring. If you have access to a tiny plastic baby, tuck it into the seam before you seal it. If not, use a large, dried bean. Moisten and pinch the edges together to seal.
Repeat this procedure with the second half of the dough.
Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Bake at 375 º for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Decorate each cake with frosting and sprinkle with alternating bands of colored sugars.

Colored Sugars
1 -1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 to 2 drops each of green, yellow, red and blue food coloring
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and a drop of green coloring in a jar. Place lid on jar, and shake vigorously to evenly mix the color with sugar. Repeat with each color, combining red and blue for purple.
(Again, we just use use glitter sprinkles, but if you can't find them then this works just as well)

Frosting
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 T. butter of margarine, melted
3 to 5 T. milk
1/4 t. vanilla extract
Combine powdered sugar and melted butter. Add milk (room temperature) to reach desired consistency for drizzling; stir in vanilla. Makes about 1 - 1/2 cups.


Do you do anything special to celebrate Mardi Gras?  Even if you don't, this is an awesome recipe and we hope you'll try it-  if you do come back and let us know how you liked it.  


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How NOT to Parent

Working in retail, and especially the kids' sections, I've heard a lot of parents say and do a lot of things. Some of them have made me laugh, some have bothered me a little, and some have just confused the heck out of me. This particular one made me really, really, REALLY freaking mad, with an element of "WTF?" thrown in. This, you guys, is how not to parent.

I was working in the girls' section, and I saw this little girl who looked pretty down. I asked how she was doing and she said, "Fine," a little sadly, then walked away.. I kept working, but I couldn't help but overhear parts of the conversation (read: the mom was very, very loud). The little girl was there with her younger sister, her mom, and I presume an aunt; she looked around the mom's age, and they looked pretty similar. Anyway, the girl was pointing out a dress, and... well, this is some of what I heard.

Girl: Ooh mom, look at this dress!
Mom: You ain't no size seven! (The girl was a little overweight)
Girl: I really wish I could have this dress...
Mom (instead of saying something logical, like "Let's see if they have it in another size"): Well then, STOP EATING! Go on you a diet. Throw up your food and lose every bit of weight you've got!

Hold up.

When did that become okay, telling your children to develop eating disorders? That's essentially the same thing as telling your children to slowly (or not so slowly) kill themselves.

I was this close: |-| to saying something. If I hadn't been working at the time and afraid of losing my job, I'd have said something. If I'd thought it would do any real, permanent good, I'd have said something anyway. But since it was such a hair-trigger response from the mom, I get the feeling this isn't a one-time thing.

At this point the little girl was, understandably, crying, and her mom continued to berate her; her little sister stayed out of it. The mom's friend/sister/whatever started to say something to the other woman, to which the mom said (again loudly), "I just don't understand it... until I had the girls, I was a size zero!"

Well, good for you.

I just so happened to be at the cash registers when this family checked out, so I had the honor of hearing more of the mother's dramatics. I talked to the girls some, complimented them, that sort of thing, and in the course of the transaction I learned that the girl who "should stop eating" is nine years old.

Nine, you guys.

It makes me sick.

I'm all for promoting healthy eating habits in your children, for health reasons. But I'm pretty sure it's healthier for a kid to be a little overweight than to be anorexic or bulimic.

Just sayin'.
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Wordless Wednesday - Perfect accompaniment to a snowy day (w/linky)

Slipping in under the wire to share our uber-delish dinner.  A big bowl of chili is the perfect accompaniment to a snowy day.


Here is our recipe:  Chili (no beans) no chop, no muss, no fuss.

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Chili (no beans)- no muss, no fuss version

There is something incredibly satisfying about a steaming hot bowl of chili on a cold day- since we're having a snow day (YIPPEE!) we said the heck with the menu plan, let's make a big ol' pot of chili.

We make a lot, you can easily scale down.  Once again, no exact measurements- this is definitely to taste.  This is our easy, no chop, no muss, no fuss version.  We like to serve this with corn muffins, mini or regular, with or without add ins or in a bread bowl.  Really, is there any wrong way to eat it if it tastes good to you?


Chili (no beans)

Ingredients
  • 5 lbs Lean ground beef or turkey
  • 3 cans Oven roasted tomatoes with garlic
  • 2 cans Spicy chili tomatoes
  • 1 can Tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 small can Tomato paste
  • 1 can Tomato puree
  • To taste 
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Celery salt (a little goes a long way)
  • Red pepper (cayenne)
  • Cocoa powder (baking - NOT SWEET!) this is that little extra that really takes it to the next level but you can't taste the chocolate at all- it just boosts the flavors of the spices and makes them go hmmm?
  • Optional toppings: Shredded cheddar
  • Sour cream
  • Diced onions (or sliced green onions)
Cooking Directions
  1. We add the seasonings pretty generously, however, remember that you can always add more but you can't take away so go a bit lighter than you think you may need. You can make your own chili powder, and if you like to make extra for the next time, you can mix the seasonings given in recipe according to your own tastes and have them on hand whenever you like.
  2. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for at least a couple of hours- longer won't hurt it a bit- stir now and then when you think about it and taste to adjust the seasonings.
  3. If you are doing a smaller batch you can use a couple of cans of any of the tomatoes and a small can or squeeze of paste from the tube if you get that, we just used what we had and sounded good.
  4. Top with sour cream and shredded cheese (cheddar or mexican blend is great), some people also add diced onions or sliced green onions.
  5. Enjoy.

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Totally Random Tuesday: Expecting a Category French Toast snow storm

Ever notice how, when you are expecting particularly bad weather, everyone rushes to the store to buy several weeks worth of eggs, bread and milk. What do you expect to do with that much of it all!?! Surely it will go bad before you can eat it. My dear friend calls it the french toast array, so this snow storm we are expecting is a category french toast.
Skies are still clear, but they have already canceled school because it is supposed to be so bad.
I will die of laughter if it skips us.
Devii might kill me, though. She want's the snow. I think the laugh would be worth it.

Anyways, we are hunkered down for that, Demon Kitty and I are staying at moms (She feeds us) and we got all our errands done ahead of time. Can't say too much else is going on, so I'm just going to wish you all stay warm and safe.

~GeekyMommy
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Menu for week of 2/7 - 2/13

We're in the 50's today, but they are expecting another french toast run (snowstorm, which requires stocking up on milk, bread and eggs according to Ki's friend) mid-week. Crazy, crazy weather.

Chicken fajitas with tri-colored peppers and onions, mushrooms, sour cream, cheese, salsa and homemade guacamole

Pork roast, loaded baked potato casserole, mixed steamed veggies

Hawaiian chicken, easy fried rice, mixed fruit

Lentil soup, hot buttered rolls

Pulled pork sliders using leftover pork roast and homemade bbq sauce, coleslaw

Spaghetti with all day sauce and fresh grated parmesan, garlic bread and tossed green salad w/creamy Italian dressing

Breakfast for dinner- Finnish oven pancake with mixed berries and whipped cream; fresh fruit


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Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies




It doesn't get any easier than this unless you count the slice and bake- which, sometimes we do. ;-) Aside from their ease and lack of flour, one advantage these cookies have over traditional peanut butter cookies is that you can roll them right away without chilling first.  Perfect for holiday trays, just use the appropriate colored sugars.

4 ingredients (you can do it with 3 but we like to add chocolate), less than 20 minutes and a nice tall glass of milk and you're good to go.

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar (plus a bit more for smooshing them down)
1 egg
Hershey's Kiss, mini peanut butter cup or chocolate star*, optional.

Mix the pb, cup of sugar and egg together. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet- we like to use parchment paper, but that's because we're lazy and/or hate washing dishes, depending on the day.

Flatten balls with a cup or something dipped in sugar- we use the bottom of a vinegar cruet with a little design on the bottom, but really, the palm of your hand or a fork works.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Let cool on pan for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool.

*If topping with chocolate, press halfway down into cookie as soon as you remove the pan from oven then let cool on pan.



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The Hypnotic Voice of Source- Abraham-Hicks

We think it would be a wonderful thing in the way that you mean hypnosis to be so actively aware of the vibration of Source that we just went right to it. In other words, if you were following the suggestions of your Inner Being, if you had practiced yourself subject by subject, leaning by leaning, fork by fork, into vibrational alignment with how your Source feels about you, in every moment, Oh what a hypnotic trance that would be!

You would walk around and you would be saying, whether you say it out loud or you say it to yourself, "I am a wonderful Being. There is nothing that I cannot achieve. The world addresses itself to me always in positive ways. Everything always works out magnificently for me. I live a charmed life. Things are supposed to and always do, go well for me. Seas part for me. I have the resources of the Universe at my disposal. I live in an environment where I am inspired to a new thought. And as soon as I give birth to it, things align in order to bring me the actualization or the manifestation of it. I am an extension of Source Energy. I am God in a physical body and I am good. And because I am good, good things come to me. And if I am sick it is temporary because it is natural that I be well. And if I am not abundant of things that are important to me, it is temporary because it is natural that I be abundant. And there is nothing that I am supposed to do, but all kinds of things that I want to do."

If you were listening to the hypnotic voice of your Source, you’d be constantly hearing the drum beating that says, "You are loved, and you are worthy, and you are valued and life is suppose to be good for you. You are worthy, you are valued, you are loved and life is supposed to be good for you."

We want nothing more, than for you to begin listening for and train yourself into the vibrational hypnotic trance of Source Energy who knows your value.
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Win a $45 CSN stores GC Closed! Winner Chosen


 Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter-  our winner via random.org is:
  1 309 245 
Katie said... 45
Voted for you on Picket Fence Blogs.kt1969 at comcast dot net

CSN stores has done it again.

With over 200 stores featuring everything from modern furniture
 to the slicer shredder attachment I bought for my Kitchen Aid Mixer
to the darling Jansport backpack my little Glammy G'nerd got to replace the one that fell apart on her that is actually big enough to hold all her junk, there is literally something for everyone.
Is it any wonder it's one of my favorite places to shop?

The divas were offered the chance to do a review or a giveaway, and while it was really tempting to get some new baking sheets, we chose instead to give y'all another chance to win.  Yippee!

THE GIVEAWAY:  One of our very lucky readers (maybe even you) will be sent a $45 CSN stores GC to use at any of their over 200 stores.  Shipping is not included, but there are many items offered with free shipping.  Open to residents of the US & Canada 18+ ends 2/18  11:59pm CST

Mandatory Entry:   Follow us however you like-  networked blogs, twitter, facebook or you can follow us via GFC and leave your user name in the comments.  Simple, huh?

If the mandatory entry isn't done no other entries will count.

Tweet the following and leave the link: (can be done 3x daily)

Win a $45 CSN Stores GC from @dddiva at Our Loonyverse http://tinyurl.com/6aee6vn

Want even more entries?  You can find them here:  EXTRA ENTRIES FOR OUR GIVEAWAYS

Best of luck to you.
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Pork Chop & Rice Casserole




Pork Chop Casserole on FoodistaPork Chop Casserole

serves 6
6 boneless pork chops
1 1/2 cups rice (not instant- we used a mix of long grain and wild)
4 1/2 cups liquid (we used a combination of make your own onion soup mix and water- you don't need full strength- about half and half)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup or myo equivelant mixed with 1 envelope onion soup mix or equivalent

Spray a large 9x13 casserole with nonstick cooking oil

Put rice and liquid evenly along bottom

Top with pork chops

Spread soup mixture over top

Cover tightly with foil

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed, rice is tender and pork is cooked through.

Enjoy.

*myo soup mix recipes


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Heavenly Peaches and Cream Cups

1 pack Pillsbury crescent rolls (can use rounds)
Melted butter (approximately 2 Tbsp)
Cinnamon Sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon each grated nutmeg and ginger
1 can diced peaches in 100% juice, drained well

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Separate the crescent rolls into 8 triangles

Place each one into an ungreased cup in a cupcake pan (you can also turn pan upside down and place on the bottom of the cup-  but if you do skip every other one to allow for spreading) just use your fingers to press against sides and fill any gaps

Brush with melted butter and sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar evenly on each one

Bake 8 minutes or until golden brown

While cups are baking beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form then add in cream cheese, vanilla, powdered sugar, nutmeg and ginger

Fold in peaches

When cups are done, if you put them inside the cups, press down gently with a spoon as they puff up and you want a lot of room for the filling

Let cool 4 or 5 minutes in or on muffin tins then remove to plate

Let them cool for a few minutes before filling, they can be a little warm but if they are too hot it melts the cream, divide evenly among them all.  Garnish with fresh raspberries or a mint leaf if desired

If you can, let them set up for 20 minutes in the fridge
***If you can wait that long you have more willpower than we do they smell and taste soooooooo good, the girls gave me one bite then scarfed them down- seriously these would be fabulous for a brunch-  the girls already asked if we can take them to our big extended family's Christmas Eve brunch.


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AHH! Cliffhangers!

After waiting for what seemed very much like forever, the fourth book in one of my favorite series came out- Kristen Britain's Green Rider. I recommend it to, well, pretty much everyone. It is a great, very original story, with a heroine I absolutely love. She is strong willed and capable, but she isn't haughty about it. She is in fact rather modest, a very reluctant hero indeed, wanting to just go back to her life as a merchants daughter.

But that life was, oh, three books ago.

I was lucky enough to get the book the day it came out, but thanks to some life insanity (I was the cause of a riot! ...Don't ask.) I got a late start on it... and didn't stop until I was done. It's really that good, absolutely gripping you. Britain has an amazing ability to pace things just right... just when you might explode from tension, she drops to a more humorous side character, or builds an entirely different sort of intensity in a side plot (Hmm, do I want something trying to eat me, or the deepest of treason?) and all is done in a way that keeps you turning the pages until your eyes are dry and heavy and you are about ten pages past the point where you said you just can not read any more.

There is one thing I hate though, the ending.

Usually, I am not one to spoil endings. I HATE spoilers!

But in this case, I think you need to know...

You ready for it?

The ending is....

THERE ISN'T ONE!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

*Deflates*

Ms. Britain, on the off chance that you see this, I love your work, it is amazing and gripping and wonderful, the perfect example of what a heroine should be. All your characters are dynamic, and you paint your fantasy world so realistically. My sister and I sit and debate what is going to happen, who will she marry, who will the other person marry, who will you be cruel and kill and off next? But right now, I hate you. Just a little. You are a cruel, vile, wicked mistress. A worse seductress than any sea-witch with your words and now you leave me cold and alone with more questions than when I opened the book. I love you. I hate you. I love you. Please keep writing.
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