An Open Letter To A Blocked Friend

I know you think I’m a horrible person, although you used to call me your best friend. To be honest, I was never really comfortable with that title. I guess, by default, I was your best friend because you had driven away everyone else. Hold on before you claim that I’m lying, because you told me this yourself on several occasions. I truly am sorry that you are having troubles in your life, but I have problems of my own to deal with. As I have said before, so many times, I cannot be your therapist. Surely I cannot be the only person that has suggested you seek professional help from someone with the tools to give you the help you need. Let me be clear: there is no doubt that you need more help than you are accepting.

A friendship is a relationship that is more than one person dominating the other. That’s not how any relationship is supposed to work. If you haven’t already deleted all the texts between us, perhaps you should look them over. If you can be honest with yourself, you will see that I really tried to help you. It’s a shame that you were too busy telling me how to live by the rules you say you believe in. When I tell you, as I have so many times and in so many ways, that I think a large part of your problems are created by trying to live by rules you don’t truly agree with, maybe this time you will hear me. Unfortunately, your desperation to be liked is far too needy and only proves to do the opposite of what you want. You have told me that you want to be liked for who you are. Do you even know who that is?

Being alone doesn’t have to be lonely. When you are alone, it gives you a chance to see who you really are. It’s easy to be with someone you like. If you can’t stand to be alone with yourself, what does that tell you? Why should you expect others to like you more than you like yourself? Forcing people to act the way you expect in order for you to accept them as a friend, makes you a bully. You act as if I should always put your needs above everyone else in my life, including myself. That’s simply not fair.

The truth is that we never knew each other very well. If it weren’t for social media, we wouldn’t know each other at all at this point in our lives. In fact, you still don’t really know me. You are far too judgmental for me to ever feel comfortable enough to open up to you. Making assumptions about someone is not the same as listening. Even when it’s in text. Right there. Written out in plain English, yet totally avoided. Unacceptable, to use your favorite word. Yet, one last time, I make an attempt to reach out.

It is far too stressful for me to be your friend. Everyone in my life has convinced me that it has been causing me more problems than I can handle. Yet, I still care about you. It is not within my nature to be mean to someone who is so obviously hurting. I have tried to help you for years. For the last several months I have tried to tell you how I feel. I have anguished over this final decision to block you from my life. I still find it very sad that I had to take such a drastic step, but I am exhausted. Physically and emotionally exhausted.

Hopefully some day you will be the someone you can love. Perhaps then you can get past all the things you use to build your wall against the world, and be happy. Yes, even now, I still want you to be happy. You can choose to see the good in life instead of focusing on the negative. If your life isn’t working the way you want, make changes. Don’t hide behind excuses all the time. Be honest with yourself. Think before you try to communicate. Even if you fail, at least you tried. As for me, I know that I tried as hard and long as I could.

I honestly wish you well. If only it was that easy.

Good bye and good luck.

Wist Lists

Christmas Wish _ Black America WebAh, the holidays. I love the decorations, the lights, the goodies, and all the fun. What I don’t like, is the asking for things. I’ve never been very good at that. Pretty much since I stopped sending letters to Santa, I have hated making a wish list. Even for my birthday. I downplay my birthday every year. Not because of my age, but because I don’t want the fuss. It’s just a block I have. Of course, I’m a pretty unusual woman to begin with. Can I admit that I don’t like shopping? Yup. It’s true. Even as a teenager, I have never liked heading to the mall. I know I’m not alone in this, but we are definitely in the minority.

I do, however, like gift giving. I love seeing someone’s face light up with excitement when you get them something amazing. Especially if they weren’t expecting it! So much fun! Even better with older kids and adults. Like the time I got my husband a T-Shirt which was signed by an actor we like. He was completely blown away! In fact, the most memorable gifts I can remember, are ones that didn’t necessarily cost a lot, but were things that came of a casual conversation or other moment in our lives. Something that shows that you truly listened. Like the time my young son decided to buy some speakers for my car as mine had just started going out. With his own money. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think of how sweet he is. Kids mothers day gift_ _ Preschool fun _ Pinterest

Speaking of my son and husband, they have both been bugging me to fill out a wish list. I agonize over it, knowing that my son will want to spend money on me again. The thought alone warms my heart enough. When he was young, the little things he made were the gifts I treasured most, and still do, but he’s a teenager now. At one point, years ago, my husband made an excellent point. As much as I love giving, I need to find a way to make it easier for them to give in return. He is, after all, my son and has the same big heart that I do. Aww… OK, that’s true.

So, now we all add some items to our wish lists every year. Mine is the smallest among us, because I still can’t get myself to ask for too much. I really don’t need a lot of things. I’m actually trying to reduce our clutter rather than add to it. There are some things I’m thinking of adding to it. Like time with my son baking cookies for the holidays. Perhaps more time playing with my niece and nephew. How about good health and less stress for everyone? Yeah, that would be nice. Peace on earth sounds like a great deal, but it seems too big a job since it hasn’t happened after all the wishes already made. Perhaps if we all think a little more locally rather than globally. It doesn’t have to take a lot of money, effort, or time, but there are little things we can do for each other every day. Smile at people. Hold open a door for someone. Actually listen. Think before you speak. Put others needs ahead of your own. Make something. Spend time helping. Do things that actually help others.

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the ___This year, I’m making a list for myself to complete. It may take longer than just through the holidays, but that’s OK. It can be a revolving list that I keep adding onto. A “good will” list of sorts. The items included will be things I can do to generate happiness. I will make goody bags of homemade treats for our friends, neighbors, and clients. I will make ecards for everyone I know, and send each one with a personalized message. I will get my son in the kitchen more often, and teach him how to make his favorite meals. I will check in on my elderly neighbor more often. I will invite people over for dinner more. I will follow my passions. I will shop small as much as possible. I will support my friends and neighbors more. I’m going to let go of things I don’t need any more. Like stress and the causes of it. At least I can try! Just a bit of effort in the right directions. It certainly can’t hurt. I believe in the saying: Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

The Easiest Spiced Apple Cider

Warm Spiced Apple Cider - One of our favorite fall treats! Great for parties and always enjoyed by trick or treaters (and parents) on cold Halloween nights!

Warm Spiced Apple Cider – One of our favorite fall treats! Great for parties and always enjoyed by trick or treaters (and parents) on cold Halloween nights!

I wanted to share with you the best spiced apple cider recipe ever. It’s so easy you’ll laugh, but tastes like something from a gourmet cooking store (we won’t name any names, but this cider has been compared to the best.) When serving, directly from the slow cooker you make it in, leave the lid off and the heat on low. This keeps it a perfect temp for drinking!

We make this every year for Halloween to give out to those roaming the streets in search of treats. I post a sign on the door letting people know they can ask for a cup, and leave the recycle bin open at the end of the driveway. The delicious smell has been known to affect people standing on the sidewalk! This also makes a wonderful addition to any Fall party. Just be sure to have lots of extra apple juice on hand to keep topping it off throughout the night!

Spiced Apple Cider


Orange, cut into rounds

Whole cinnamon sticks (1-4)

Whole cloves (4-8)

Apple juice (any kind)


Place orange rounds, cinnamon sticks, and cloves (adjust amounts to taste – I usually use two orange rounds, two small cinnamon sticks, and four cloves in a small slow cooker) then add juice up to about an inch from the top. Heat with lid on until hot; a couple of hours. Leave the lid off to serve. When using for a party, leave a ladle and cups next to the slow cooker so everyone can serve themselves.

Breakfast Biscuits with a Healthy Twist

Cheese Bacon BiscuitsBaking from scratch is extremely time consuming, but definitely worth all the effort! Yet, biscuits are one of the easiest breakfast to make. Especially when you have no time in the morning. These cheese and bacon biscuits are light and flaky, even with shreds of sharp cheddar and bacon bits floating throughout each delicate bite. Warm from the oven dripping with butter, they make the perfect accompaniment to eggs. My son also loves to grab them straight from the cupboard for a snack. With all the added preservatives and extras I can never pronounce, I like to make my families’ go-to food as much as possible.

What makes these biscuits healthier? Well, I used turkey bacon and 2% Turkey Baconmilk sharp cheddar cheese in this recipe. Does it make any difference in how the biscuits taste? Really, no. Turkey bacon does have a slightly different flavor, but when it’s cooked up, nice and crispy, and crumbled into tiny bits, we’re talking about total deliciousness! The true test though, is that my pickiest eaters gobble them up.

Cheese & Bacon Biscuits


9 ounces (1 cup+2 tablespoons) water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (made with 2% milk)

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons dry active yeast

3 tablespoons (turkey) bacon bits


*Note: I made my dough in my bread maker. If you have one, I highly recommend using the dough setting to do the hard work of mixing, kneading, and rising. If you don’t have one, here is a wonderful tutorial made by a friend of mine:

Cut the bacon into small strips (I used scissors to cut the slices directly into the pan.)

Cook while stirring, until crispy and cooked through. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Crispy BaconAdd each ingredient in order except the bacon. Start the bread maker on the dough setting and set a timer for 35 minutes (into the hour and a half dough timer.) Once the bacon has cooled, break into smaller pieces. At the 35 minute mark, add the bacon bits to the dough.

Once the dough has finished, remove from the bread maker pan onto a floured board. Dough BallsRoll dough into an even shape, cut into small pieces (about 18-20,) and roll each into a ball. Place balls of dough onto a greased pan, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise 30-40 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned. Don’t worry about the sides (especially if they grew together,) judge by the top color.  Cool on a wire rack. They should last a least a week in a sealed container, but they never last long enough in my house to tell.

Browned Biscuits     Bottom Biscuits

Beer Can Chicken

Beer Can Chicken

Easily one of the most interesting ways to cook chicken. Never tried it? You should! I’ve used this recipe many times with various ingredients and it has always produced the same result – a flavorful and juicy bird that falls apart. Even if you don’t like beer or alcohol in general, don’t shy away from this method of cooking chicken. I have used soda with equally excellent results. In fact, in a pinch even water in a can would work – but be sure to add some herbs to the liquid to increase the subtle flavoring of the meat from the inside. I love how the cooking time is extremely shortened (a 5 pound chicken will cook in a little over an hour) and that you can actually get more meat out of pulling it apart than by cutting the edible parts away from the bones.

Here is the basic recipe that I found online, and the tips I found useful. Enjoy!


1 (4-pound) whole chicken

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Dry spice rub

1 12-ounce can beer


  1. Remove neck and giblets from chicken and discard. Rinse chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels.
  1. Rub chicken lightly with oil then rub inside and out with salt, pepper and dry rub. Set aside.
  1. Open beer can and take several gulps (make them big gulps so that the can is half full). Place beer can on a solid surface. Grabbing a chicken leg in each hand, plunk the bird cavity over the beer can.
  1. Transfer the bird-on-a-can to your grill and place in the center of the grate, balancing the bird on its 2 legs and the can like a tripod.
  1. Cook the chicken over medium-high, indirect heat (i.e. no coals or burners on directly under the bird), with the grill cover on, for approximately 1 1/4 hours or until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F in the breast area and 180 degrees F in the thigh, or until the thigh juice runs clear when stabbed with a sharp knife. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

* This can also be done in a 375 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours.

Source:Bob Blumer

** Practical tips from Jana:

Put a potato, apple, onion, or lemon (whole or part) in the neck cavity and pull the skin back over it. Sometimes I’ll pin it with a toothpick. This helps keep the vapors inside the chicken for more flavor and faster, more even, cooking.

You can use soda instead of beer. The flavor is subtle, so any liquid in a can will work. Add a clove or two of garlic and some herbs to the liquid for more flavor. Don’t have a can of anything handy? Take an empty 12-ounce can, rinse it out, and add any liquid you like.

Place a pan (lined with foil for easier clean up) under the bird for more stability and to keep as much of the liquid from spilling onto the flames as possible and keeps the heat indirect. Make sure the lid doesn’t touch the chicken.

McCormick makes some great rubs (my favorite is Montréal Chicken Rub.) You can also make a basic rub using: Kosher salt, ground black pepper, paprika, and brown sugar in equal parts, plus some garlic powder and onion powder.

Company’s Coming!


Everyone who likes to eat, should know how to cook. Once you have the basics down, it’s a good idea to learn an impressive dish or two for special occasions. Here is a dish that you have probably tasted, or at least heard of, but never thought you could make at home. The first time I tried it, was at a friend’s house. He and his wife were a young family on a tight budget, and this was just something he whipped up while we were standing around their kitchen, watching our kids toddle after the dog, nibbling on snacks, and drinking wine. One of the reasons that I love this dish is the all the wonderful memories attached. Since then, I have tried many recipes for this dish, and eventually melded them into my own–which I now share with you. Enjoy!

Chicken Marsala


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts-pounded thin and cut in halves or pieces

1/2 cup flour (or just enough to coat)

Creole seasoning (or salt & pepper) to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 tablespoons of butter

3 cups sliced mushrooms (white or cremini)

1 1/2 cups Marsala wine

2 cups chicken stock (or broth)


  1. In a plastic (locking) bag, combine flour and seasonings. Add the chicken and shake to coat. WP_20150207_17_17_24_Pro
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high, until hot but not smoking. Add 1 tablespoon of butter until melted, then add the chicken so the sides aren’t touching. Cook until browned on both sides. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add 1 more tablespoon of butter to the pan, then add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are browned and have given most of their liquid. WP_20150207_17_56_39_Pro
  4. Add the Marsala wine and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any bits of chicken or mushroom stuck to the bottom of the pan. The wine will help with the release of the food. WP_20150207_18_03_52_Pro
  5. When the wine has reduced by half, and the alcohol smell has burned off, add the chicken stock. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  6. Lower the heat to medium, and return the chicken to the pan. Continue to cook until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the sauce has thickened enough to coat a spoon. For best results, best to not stir too much in this last stage.
  7. At this point, you can add the last 2 tablespoons of butter, but I have forgotten this part several times with no real difference in taste.

A deliciously rich meal, that won’t break your budget. Perfect for anyone who wants to impress that special someone.

My Experience With Jamberry Nail Wraps

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Jamberry. Sounds like something that would be delicious on toast. I had never even heard of nail wraps before a friend invited me to join her online party. Unlike traditional ways of earning extra income, this sales technique is accomplished through social media. Which means that not only don’t you have to leave your house, you don’t even have to wear real clothes! Another big bonus of this trend, is that you can enjoy the benefits of a sales party from anywhere. This particular party was spread throughout a week; which gave everyone ample opportunity to win prizes and look over the vast array of styles available for order.

Let me pause for a minute here to say that I’m the kind of girl who only remembers to cut her nails when they get jagged and catch on things. I also have horribly dry skin and wash my hands about a bazillion times a day. When I say I’m hard on my nails, I mean it! Due to a damaged toenail, and a tendency to go barefoot, I discovered that I am a sucker for nail polish. I love the fun colors. I don’t, however, love anything else about dealing with painting nails. Salons are expensive and stinky. When I do manage to slap some on my toes (no matter how careful I am,) I always mess up a bunch of times until I feel they’re reasonably covered. Then, of course, the general busyness of life steps in to smear, dent, scratch, and chip bits of color away until I shamefully remove the remnants and start the process over.

Enough wraps to cover all your toes.

Pedi Pack – Enough Wraps To Cover Your Toes

Don’t even get me started on my fingernails. In fact, due to food prep, cooking, typing, kids, and dogs, I pretty much never bother with painting my fingernails at all.

Thinking there had to be a better way, I jumped at the chance to learn more. Even though I was introduced to this product through a party, you don’t have to be involved in one to order. You can also attend a party without obligation to buy. In fact, Your Jamberry Consultant will send you a free sample just for asking. I did. Lucky for me, while it was on its way I won a Pedi Pack!

Application Kit With Nail Oil

Application Kit With Nail Oil

Now, down to business. First, I got all the things together that I would need to apply the wraps. The tools I needed to do the actual application were a cuticle pusher (they send you one with the free sample,) tweezers, alcohol pads, cuticle scissors, nail file, and a hair dryer. Clippers, nippers, and cuticle oil are also highly recommended, especially for your nail prep. One of the first things you will notice about Jamberry is that there is an overwhelming amount of information available. The second thing you’ll probably notice is that throughout all the different methods offered, nail prep is stressed as the most important first step. Here is the video I followed for my prep. After gathering all the items I would need to give wraps (or Jams) a try, I watched this video. For more information, here are the official application and tips & tricks videos.

Was it easy? Well, no. At least, not at first. This is a very different process from using polish. I admit I was a little intimidated and watched each of my chosen videos a couple of times before taking the next step. This is a company that seems to understand that everyone is unique, and that there isn’t one method that applies to all people. A concept that appeals to the part of me that believes that the only thing that everyone needs to do, is find what works for them. In any case, your Jamberry Consultant is guaranteed to provide you with answers to all your questions. Yet, all the answers and videos in the world, are nothing compared to practical experience. By the time I had finished one foot, I had realized a few things:

The old builder’s adage of ‘measure twice, cut once’ definitely applies here.

Heat is your friend.

You can turn the sheet over to see a little better when trimming.

If necessary, you can stop and start with no problems.

Want more reasons why so many people are turning to nail wraps?
No drying time or noxious fumes.
No need to use nail polish remover.
Sheets of wraps are printed as ordered; so no overstock waste.
You can have intricate designs without any added effort or expense.
You don’t have to purchase a lot of tools or extras in order to use them.
Lasts up to 2 weeks on fingernails and 4-6 weeks on toenails.*
Makes weak nails strong.*
Easy to take off (with cuticle oil and a single use dental flosser) without damaging nails.*
There is a learning curve to learning how to apply them to your nails.
There are nearly as many Jamberry related videos as there are wrap patterns, some of them are old and contain info that is outdated.
Some people have had bad experiences with wraps damaging their nail or not adhering properly.
If you make a mistake in trimming the wrap, you could lose out – the reality, though, is that you can still use tiny pieces for other nails, creative overlapping, and having different styles on one or more nails gives you more ways to be creative with your style.

I recently had a chance to ask Jamberry Consultant, Elizabeth King, a few questions:
MAOM: How was Jamberry started?
EK: Jamberry Nails started with three sisters who possess distinct personal tastes, but share a love for style. After an expensive afternoon together at the nail salon, Lyndsey, Christy and Keri vowed to find a simpler, more cost effective way to keep their hands looking polished, while still spending time together. After lots of trial and error, the proprietary nail wraps of Jamberry Nails launched in late 2010. The DIY, at-home application and incredible variety of designs caught on quickly and sales soared. Since then, Jamberry Nail wraps have been featured in In Style, Nail It!, Health, Self, Fitness, Style Watch, Aventura, NYLON, Denver Life, People, Parents, Marie Claire, Nails, Life & Style, Bisous, Style, Today, TotalBeauty, Seventeen, The Blush, Oh So Glam, The Curvy Fashionista, Nails Magazine, WWD, Daily Candy, Chicago Magazine, Tosser, Teen Vogue, Poor Little It Girl, The Marcy Stop, Emily’s Reviews & Giveaways, Chic & Green, and Sprinkles in Springs.
MAOM: How long does it take to receive your order?
EK: It can take from 6-10 business days to get your order, but it is usually way faster!
MAOM: Do the wraps ever become unusable? What is their shelf-life?
EK: As long as the wraps are kept in a cool and dry place, they can last for years.
MAOM: Do you have to be involved in a party to get a free sample or to be able to order?
EK: No! You can ask your Jamberry Consultant for a sample and orders can be initiated any time online.
MAOM: How do you know when your wraps are ready to come off? Will they start to peel?
EK: You shouldn’t leave a set of wraps on for more than 2 weeks on fingers and 6 weeks on toes.  After about 2 weeks they may start to peel, but usually it is the growth that bothers most people. I end up taking them off early, because I want to see a new pattern.
MAOM: Why 2 weeks on fingers, but 6 weeks on toes?
EK: Toenails tend to grow slower, so you can wear them longer.
MAOM: What kinds of problems do people have with the wraps?
EK: Most problems happen due to improper nail prep, or not trimming the wrap enough so that they touch the skin and don’t seal properly. Nail prep is extremely important, but finding the right removal method to prevent damage. NEVER peel your Jams! Always loosen slowly with using some kind of solvent, like oil or acetone, and a tool. If someone has ever had damage to their nails, they should apply the Jamberry Strengthening Base before applying a wrap.
MAOM: What would you say to someone who is interested, but never tried Jamberry?
EK: I loved having my nails done at the salon, but my wallet sure didn’t love the prices with all the high maintenance they required-not to mention the damage it did to my nails. Once I found Jamberry, I never wanted to go back again! Although you can totally wear our wraps over acrylics and gels, If you take the cost of a sheet ($15) and break it down to the cost of one application, you could have a salon quality manicure for $3.75! Can you believe it?

New Jamberry Mini-Heater

New Jamberry Mini-Heater

MAOM: Do you have any more info on Jamberry?
EK: Here is just a quick run-down on all Jamberry has to offer. First, we have our wraps. Over 300 different designs, all made in the USA, vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, latex-free, toxin-free, plus the Nail Art Studio where you can create your own custom designs (don’t forget ‘Buy 3, Get 1 Free’!) They also come in kid sizes. Next, we have our gorgeous, toxin-free, latex-free, cruelty-free, gluten-free, vegan, lacquers. They are salon-quality, quick to dry, slow to chip and offer good coverage. We also sell Beauty Boost, a biotin rich multi-vitamin that is designed with optimal nail health in mind. Don’t forget all the necessary application tools in cute little pouches (awesome gift idea!) We sell cuticle oil separately or with the application kits, and have the New Jamberry Mini Heater. Be sure to check out the Indulgence Hand Care set and the Nourish Lotion. Pamper yourself with our amazing hand care set and indulge in softness. We also have gift certificates, which are always the perfect gift! Also, if you’re interested in discounted and free product you can host, or join! Hosting is fun and free and if your friends buy from your party you can earn a lot of free and discounted product. Joining is equally amazing — it’s fun, easy, and you can do as much of your work online as you like, making it an excellent choice for stay-at-home parents, students, and people with other jobs. You get an awesome team supporting you, and you can make the business whatever you need it to be. Want to support a weekly coffee habit? No problem! Want to go bigger and pay your mortgage/rent, buy a new vehicle, or quit your day job? Jamberry can help you do any of those things and I personally know many women who are doing all that and more with Jamberry! Please, contact me with any questions and to get a free sample! Come join the nail revolution!

My First Jamberry Pedicure

My First Jamberry Pedicure


After having lived with my, admittedly, less-than-superior pedicure for a few days, through showers, sleeping, socks and shoes, the conclusion is that they look exactly the same as when I applied them. I can also say that having done it once, I’m anxious to remove them and try again.


*I will have an update in a few weeks with my review of these aspects.

Breaking Fast


I love breakfast food. We’ve known many a weekend brunch around here, and even have breakfast for dinner sometimes. German pancakes, all puffy and golden with sliced apples sautéed in butter, sugar, and cinnamon and zesty orange popovers with creamy orange flavored sweet butter are just some of the many amazing things that have sprung forth from my kitchen to the delight of my family.

But, trying to cook first thing in the morning when I’m sleepy is hard. I’m one of those people who need to wake up slowly…with coffee. When I was in my 20s, I was able to roll out of bed, get ready, and be at work in about an hour. Now, I need to be up for an hour before I have any kind of a meaningful conversation. Or at least one I’m likely to remember.

Therefore, I needed to come up with something easy that is both delicious and homemade. While looking at the book for my bread machine (I call it my dough maker) I decided to try combining the recipe for ‘cheese and bacon bread’ with the technique for making rolls.



1 Cup, 2 Tablespoons Water

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt

1 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar

1/2 Cup Finely Grated Cheese (I use Sharp Cheddar)

3 Cups Flour (All-Purpose)

2 Teaspoons Dry Active Yeast

*3 Tablespoons Minced Bacon (Turkey Bacon)

*Melted Butter (Optional)

  1. Add ingredients to the bread pan in order, except the bacon and butter. Set the bread maker to the ‘dough’ setting.
  2. After 35 minutes, add the bacon to the pan so that it gets incorporated into the dough during one of the kneading cycles (my maker has an hour and a half dough making process.)
  3. Remove dough from pan with a spatula, onto a floured surface.
  4. Divide dough into 12-15 portions. Roll into balls, and place on a greased baking sheet.
  5. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise for 45 minutes – or until doubled in size.
  6. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until browned.
  7. Immediately after removing from the oven, brush with melted butter.

Cut in half, add a zapped egg, and you have a meal that is quick and portable. Grab a mug that roughly matches the size of the biscuits, lightly spray the inside with oil, add an egg (either scrambled or whole with a pierced yolk-to prevent explosion,) cover with a small plate, and cook at half-power for about 2 minutes, What you actually want is for the egg to be almost done. Remove the mug from the microwave (careful of the hot handle and all), and let stand with the plate on for about a minute and the whites are solid. I like to add some spices to the egg (while scrambling or just before cooking) such as salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, cayenne pepper, or anything that sounds good.

The other day I went to get some biscuits out to heat up, and realized that we were out. Knowing it takes hours to make more, I decided to improvise using a pop-open buttermilk biscuit tin. I pulled each biscuit apart, until they were mostly in halves, added a pinch of a mixture of grated cheese and bacon bits spread evenly in the middle (not touching the edges, and sealed the dough back into a biscuit shape. I brushed the tops in a couple of tablespoons of melted butter (with a pinch of garlic and onion powders) and baked as directed on the package. Got asked to make those again.

*Edit: Picture added for fun.

Eating Out

Dinner out is always an exciting prospect for me. I won’t lie, a big part of it is because I don’t have to do prep or clean up. Honestly though, most of the time it also feels kinda disappointing. I’m a pretty good cook and baker, so I love trying new recipes. Like any good cook, I tend to make changes to suit the particular tastes of my family. In fact, I’ve gotten so good at it that when eating out, I end up feeling that we just wasted money…hence the disappointment.

There are some exceptions, of course. Certain ingredients or tools are too pricey for casual use or something that only I like. Some things I just haven’t mastered yet. I used to put steak in that impossible category, until I found the secrets to making a resturant quality steak at home…and it doesn’t involve a grill. Yup, that’s right, I said it. No grill.

Laugh if you will, but have you actually seen the inside of a restaurant’s kitchen? They don’t usually have a BBQ to throw the steaks on.

The method I like using now is all thanks to this:

Life’s pretty good when you learn how to cook a really good steak. In fact, this method works great on pork chops too. Plus, you don’t have to stand outside.

Though, let’s face it, it’s fun to go out and enjoy company and atmosphere. Getting to exchange drab every day duds for that new outfit is an uplifting experience. Trying new foods and beverages, gives me inspiration. Hanging out with family and friends, talking, laughing, dancing, are the things that make life worth living. Cheers!

steaks bei einem 220 gramm steak vom schmachtendorfer kochpott können ___

A New Year, A New Blog

All inclusive buffet, Drink and Disco_ Happy-new-year

Another New Year’s has come and gone. With the stress of the holidays, I never really put much thought into making resolutions this year. Okay, being honest, I haven’t for quite a while. This year, however, my newly minted teenager asked me what my New Year’s Resolutions were. Instead of spouting platitudes or trying to make some up on the spot, I eloquently said, “Uh, I don’t really do that.”

“Why?” He asked. Oh how the tables have turned!

“Well, because I try to see personal growth as an ongoing process. Something you should recognize all the time, not just once a year.”

Not that there is anything wrong with making resolutions; they just don’t work for me. I’ve tried so many times in the past to keep the resolutions I’ve made. Some stuck, but most were things that I, probably like you, had heard about and thought might be helpful. Turns out, in most cases, I was wrong. Sometimes with disastrous results; sometimes the activity just faded away. Always I felt guilty about it.

Initially, I stopped making resolutions because I was in my 20s and was too busy partying. Just like everyone else. Then I became a mom and got sucked back into it. Conformity and all. Then, of course, after realizing that I had lagged in my commitments to my resolutions, feeling guilt. Very common, I know. Sorta seems like self-torture though, doesn’t it? We fully intend to lose weight, get more organized, eat a healthier diet, get more exercise, blah, blah, blah…but somewhere along the line that fabulous diet that everyone swears by and the amazing organizational system you were promised would change your life forever, just stopped being a plan and started becoming a chore. This is when, realistically, we know that this new thing we tried isn’t working for us. Some of us stubbornly try to stick to it, forcing ourselves to do things we really don’t want to do.

Of course, there are plenty of things we don’t want to do, but have to. Dishes, laundry, cooking, dusting, vacuuming, mowing the lawn, grocery shopping, paying bills…well, you get my point. Chores. When you’re a kid, chores are things you have to do before you can relax and have fun. Perhaps you also get an allowance. In most cases, it is more because your parents make you do them. This is normal in the realm of parenting and there are, in fact, several sites dedicated to this practice.

Chores are not only a great way to get needed tasks completed, but teaches kids how to become comfortable with housework and other jobs that will help them throughout their lives. Let’s face it, most of us don’t really LOVE cleaning up after other people (or even ourselves!) but these things don’t do themselves. The closest we have is getting someone else to do them for us. Frankly, all this makes me wonder about the message we’re sending, when we talk about how you should “never bribe children.” When my son was little we had a chore chart that had things like ‘brush teeth’ and ‘put away toys’ on it. If he did all his chores, every day, then we would go out for ice cream. Or maybe he could get a new toy. Is that a bribe or a reward system? How about getting an allowance? How about getting a paycheck for working? My son doesn’t see a difference. Neither do I.

What we really need to do is strive for constant improvement. If something sounds great, by all means try it. If, however, you find that this new method becomes a hassle, it’s okay to let it go. After all, we’re trying to improve ourselves. If it’s not an enjoyable experience, why do you think it’s truly helping? Even if it’s the healthiest thing you could possibly do for yourself, why bother if you hate it? You’ll really only be prolonging the experience.

As for me, I’ll continue to try to be my best self; making changes as I go.

Oh! Hey! My chores are done! I’m going to go play a couple of hours of Xbox with my son.