Saturday, January 29, 2011

What's the Secret Ingredient?

I have been cooking for my family for over 3 decades.  During that time I have made food that was delicious and food that wasn't so good.  There were times that i'd add secret ingredients because of an over abundance of a certain food that would spoil if it wasn't used OR because I didn't have the actual ingredient and needed to substitute OR just to trick the kids into eating something nutritious.
Usually, as I served the food that had good things in it, I'd ask the kids; "What's the secret ingredient?"  They'd guess until someone got it or I'd tell them and they'd be fine with it. Other times I'd ask about the ingredient AFTER they consumed the meal.

Here are a few secret ingredients I've used:
♥ bananas/applesauce/blended peaches in pancakes
♥ powdered milk mixed with store bought milk and served in the original carton
♥ zucchini in "apple" pie - (I had some angry kids when they found that out)
♥ liver - passed off as "steak" (That was another meal with angry kids)
♥ white beans instead of shortening in cookies
♥ onions that were blended so no one could actually see them in the food
♥ Different spices and flavors

The other day I made Mahogany Velvet cupcakes.   The recipe is from Weight Watchers and they have a secret ingredient that I have never used before! This ingredient is red, grows underground, and it can be pickled.
Can you guess what the secret ingredient is?

If you guessed beets, you are 100% correct!

My family AND the neighbors were split on the flavor.  Because I knew there were beets in the recipe, that's all I could taste.  I'd give it 1 1/2 stars out of 5.   I'm not going to give you the recipe unless you REALLY want it!

What ingredients, besides love, have you secretly put in recipes?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some pics that make me smile and Cupcakes in a Jar

Bear with me as I flaunt my grandchildren.

C8 thought it was funny that the teeth clip from the dentist office was biting her lip.  Kind of reminds me of an African tribe seen in National Geographic.

K8-E and Troy posing before church.  K8-E helped Troy with his tie.  I assume the shoes were on the right appendages before they left.

This is what happens when Grandma's tending 10-month-old Aly.  The giggles were coming from somewhere but Aly couldn't be seen!  I hate to admit it but after scouring the house, I had to ask her 8-year-old sister where she was.  Voila!  

Remember the Corbanator, who cuts his own hair?  He's leaving the clippers alone now but the spray bottle is his friend. A good spike is a must before leaving for kindergarten.  What a stud!

Now, to the cupcakes in a jar!  I found this idea on Kelly's blog.  You should go there to see what they REALLY look like and the tutorial on how to make them.  They would be much prettier using Red Velvet cake, chocolate cake, lemon cake, strawberry, anything with color.  I used carrot cake (since that was the only flavor on hand) and cream cheese frosting.  I hesitate to use carrot cake to give to others since I discovered the hard way that not everyone loves carrot cake like I do.  When my oldest son turned 9, we invited uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents over for cake and ice cream.  I made a carrot cake and the birthday boy spent the whole evening in his bedroom, refusing to mingle, because he hated the cake!  I think he has since discovered the error of his ways.
I got a little off track there.  Go see Kelly and find out what's in with cupcakes!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dodging a Bullet

This evening, Andy and I went to dinner.  We were on the freeway in the right lane by an exit.  A woman in a blue car was driving in the middle lane and decided she needed to take that exit.  In the process, she cut us off.  It's a good thing the hubs has cat-like reflexes or it could have been much worse.  He slammed on the brakes, she flipped gravel as she veered up on to the exit.  There was no place to pull over and check the damage so we kept going north and she toodled on up the exit.  

As maddening as this is, we were very fortunate this was all that happened.  Not sure if her guardian angel stepped in or ours.  
Have a great weekend and drive carefully!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fashion Sense

Second grader, MK, was having speech today, working on her S.  She was reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears. That book is filled with the /s/ sound and I was keeping data to see how many she said correctly.   In this particular book, all 3 bears ride in to the woods on a bicycle to let their porridge cool.  Mother Bear is wearing a green dress, a hat with flowers and goggles.  MK stopped reading and said emphatically, while pointing to Mother Bear, "That is UGLY!"  
Me:  What's ugly?  Mother Bear's hat?
MK "Not just the hat, everything; her dress and those weird glasses!"  Then looking very important she stated, "My Mom KNOWS fashion!"
Me: "Really, how do you know she knows fashion?"
MK: "She's always going shopping at the mall!  She especially shops at Claire's and Dillards!"
"in fact," she continued, "I find something I really like and she just looks at it then won't buy it!"  She sighed, while smoothing the pants of her blue velour suit.
I looked at the picture in the book and knew deep down that MK's mom would not approve of Mother Bear's attire, either.

Speaking of fashion sense, we (when I say we, I mean the hubs) are remodeling a deserted bedroom.  We (again, we know who "we" is) have taken the "popcorn" off the ceiling (it's an older home), put in a new window, and re-did the closet.  Here's the beginning of the painting.  

Does it look a little too bright?  It just seems like yellow is the right color to paint this room on a dreary winter day.  I think we'll save on electricity.  I'll post about the finished product when "we" are finished!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Change of Scenery

Friday morning Andy and I drove 11 hours to see his parents in Arizona.
After listening to a book on CD and 

making these 3 dish cloths, (I have to keep busy) 
we arrived  to 70+ degree weather. It felt good after all the cold, snowy, weather we've been having in Utah. 

The citrus trees are loaded with fruit.

The sunsets were gorgeous.

Here's Andy and his cute parents.  Don't you love that my mother-in-law still has natural brown hair?  Yeah, me too.

On the way home we stopped to see some scenery

and buy a necklace from this cute woman who wasn't thrilled about having her picture taken.

We're back to the snow and cold.  But that's OK because we're also back to the internet!  I didn't think I could go 4 days without checking my email or your blogs, but now I know - I'm a survivor!  See you soon!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Working with Clay

Speech therapy at school is usually done one-on-one.  However, there are times when we have 2 students together.  The other day, because of time restraints, I went to get 4th graders, Z and Clay.  We've never had them in therapy together, however they're both working on the same goals and they're both considered "underdogs". When I went to get Z, I told him that today we'll be working with Clay.  He was thrilled!  "I love Clay!" he said!  
He followed me to the other 4th grade room where  I summoned Clay to join us.  The three of us walked down the hall to the speech room.  Z was jumping and laughing with excitement.  It made my heart soar with happiness to see that he and Clay were such good friends.  
When we got to the room, I motioned for Z to sit in one chair and Clay to sit in the other. All of a sudden, Z pulled up short, looked at Clay and said, "He's Clay?"  "I thought we were working with real clay, not a human Clay!"  Needless to say, my soaring heart took a nose dive.  
Soon, we'll be leaving this!

(the view on my way to work)

And coming here where it's over 70 degrees!  

It will be a nice break!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Glitter Makes My Day!

I'm mesmerized by glitter!  I lose my train of thought, and get lost in the shimmery, shiny, glinty, luster of sparkle.  A few days ago I made this bulletin board for speech.

It's hard to tell by the picture, but the snowflakes are covered with iridescent glitter!  It was a wonderful day for me...not so much for the guy who vacuums the room.  Each snowflake represents a speech student.   
We are a blizzard.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Bright Spot

Don't hate me because I'm with 2 beautiful women!
It's hard to believe I'm standing in this picture with these "blisters" (blogging sisters) of mine! (Tauna's phrase and I like it!)

Gigi, our genteel Southern Belle from Georgia, came to bitter cold Utah for her sister's funeral.  Though it was a sad occasion for her, it was a delight to see her and hear her adorable southern drawl.  Between Gigi's speaking and the sign language during the funeral, (her sister was deaf) I felt like I had been transported to a wonderful multi-cultural event! (Gigi probably felt the same being surrounded by Utah-ism) 
The icing on the cake was being able to sit next to Tauna, our fun-loving ER nurse from Idaho!  She came with her kind, handsome husband, Howard.  She left her mischievous cats at home and I can't wait to hear the chaos they caused while she was gone!
If you know these ladies, you know why I was so excited to be with them, even if it was for a short time! (Next time, we'll have to sit a spell and visit!)  If you haven't met them yet, you should scoot on over to their blogs.  You'll be glad you did! 
I don't know how I can be so lucky, Yvonne and Natalie 2 weeks ago; Tauna and Gigi this week! 
Blogging Rocks!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bringing in the New Year!

Christmas came and went so fast!  It's time to start a new year and get back to work!  Here are a few pics from our New Year's eve/birthday for son-in-law - party.  We play the same game every year, and every year I think it will be the last time we play.  (Kind of like every year on Christmas eve, when I'm out shopping for last minute gifts, I vow to get all my shopping and preparations for next year's Christmas finished by Thanksgiving!)

We play the candy bar game.  It starts with the booty placed in the middle of the room.  

Since it's called the candy bar game, we for sure have candy bars but we add other goodies, such as; pencils, books, nuts, gum, etc.  
There needs to be something that everyone is going to want! 

It's not a successful candy bar game if someone doesn't cry.  Not sure why that's in the rules, but it is. 
We make a circle around the cache.  We each have a paper bag to hide the goods. There are 2 sets of dice; one set goes clockwise around the circle, the other counter clockwise.  

 If you roll doubles you get to choose something from the middle and put in your bag.  

Then you roll again.  If you get doubles again, you take something from the middle. If you roll doubles 3 times in a row, you dump what's in your bag, back in the middle.  

Poor Emily - she's a good sport!

If you don't roll doubles, you just pass the dice to the next player.  When you roll doubles, you can ask someone for something they have in their bag. 

 If they have it, you get it!  If they don't have it and you've asked for it, you dump your bag.  Can you see why there could be crying?  (As you can see by this picture of Kels, It was a successful game)

 Or angry biting?

 The game can go on for hours or you can hurry it up by allowing those who roll a 7 or 11 to take something from the middle.  Or you can be like Dan, 

and nonchalantly take things from the middle to put in your bag or your neighbor's bag.  (I think that's called cheating or is it strategy?)

In the end, we make sure everyone has something.  

Happy Birthday to Andy the Younger!  

May 2011 treat all of you with kindness!  
I hope your tears will be tears of joy!