February 26

Today is my Uncle Dale’s birthday…or so I have been told.

Uncle Dale is my dad’s older brother.   I don’t remember much of him, because he was in Vietnam, but I do remember that he was gorgeous.

A gorgeous cross between Elvis and my dad, and I was totally smitten with him.

In other news, a local vet is having a sale on spay and neutering, I told the men,  and there was much rejoicing in the house of Chocolate.

Also, I have no BB today.   My egg supplier hasn’t been in church the last 2 Sundays.

The end.

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February 25

Happy Birthday, Cousin Jerry!!!

Unexpectedly, the boy came home early Monday.

Unexpected surprises are always the best.

He came home just as I was finishing up those Caramel Crunch Bars I posted yesterday.

So he picks up my camera and tries to take a picture of me.

Now I don’t like to have my picture taken any more than he does, so I began making silly faces.

Faces that may or may not have looked like this.

But all he was able to get was this one…with my eyes all crinkled up.

So I made him stand still so I could return the favor.

I know that I didn’t take this picture in the right light, but can someone please…I’m beggin’ here…please tell me how to remove that awful glare from his glasses in Photoshop.

Please???

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February 24

If y’all have read my blog long enough, you know that I have  professed undying love to my BFF Paula Deene, many times.

There are many reasons why I really appreciate this woman.

It isn’t just because she loves her butter, but it is because she is unashamed about it.

I love how she interacts with her boys.   She loves to be with them, loves to love them, and they love her back.

She isn’t afraid to make mistakes.    I love it when she messes up and says “Oops” and just giggles.

I love that she isn’t perfect.   She says “Spatchular” and “One at the time”.

She isn’t prissy and perfect.  She isn’t ashamed to take a bite of what she has made, or admit that she wants another bite.

There isn’t anything fake about Paula Deene, except maybe those eye lashes.

This recipe of Caramel Crunch Bars, that Whitney of What’s left on the table? chose for us today for TWD, would be one that Paula Deene would make and be totally proud to do.

There are 2 sticks of butter in this y’all!

And chocolate.

And cinnamon.

And espresso.

And toffee bits.

Yep.   Paula would take 2 bites of this and finish it off during the commercial break.

This recipe is quick to put together.

It is simple, and delicious.

Go check out Whitney’s blog and make this for yourself.

You’ll finish it off during a commercial break.

Just sayin!

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February 23

Yesterday Aldi finally had their debit machine up and running, and I was able to go grocery shopping.

It was a good thing, because my peeps had begun to revolt as there was nothing left in the house to eat except a hunk of cheese and a rotting apple.

As I was coming up from putting groceries away (our pantry is in the dungeon), I was greeted to this sight.

Heels and a pink fluffy robe.

The essence of her.

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February 21

Internet, I heard the most glorious sound this morning whilst lounging in bed for 2 hours.

Bird song.

Spring is arriving, whether Buckeye Chuck thinks so or not!

Whilst I was lounging, Superman and I were discussing the fact that a couple we know got back $7,000 from their tax return, and what would we do with $7,000.

My first suggestion was a large diamond ring for the Chocolatechic.

That suggestion went over like the proverbial lead balloon.

We came up with a whole slew of things we would do with it.

  • dump the whole $7,000 on the principal of our mortgage
  • put it in a CD
  • put it in a savings account
  • replace ailing appliances
  • pay down medical bills
  • or stock the pantry/freezer

So, I want to know what you would do.

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February 19

Do you remember when you were a kid, and you could get those teeny-tiny sponge capsules, plop them in water, and they would get huge?

Well, last night I dreamed I invented sponge shoes.   Sponge tennis shoes, flip flops, and heels.

You could wear them anywhere.

You could mop the floor with your shoes.

You could keep several new pair of shoes in your purse, and change them in the blink of an eye.

Women bought them by the capsule full.

I became a millionaire.

The end.

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What I really wanted to blog about was the girl and her food allergies.

If you are looking for something funny…go away.

If you are looking for boring information and a few chuckles…keep reading.

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In January of 2007, the girl became ill.

We had no clue what was wrong with her.

We got acquainted with many different doctors, specialists, hospitals, and medical bills.

We did not get acquainted with answers.

Her gall bladder was  removed that July.   It helped some, but didn’t fix the problem

No one knew what was wrong with her,  I just knew that she was hurting, and I couldn’t help her.

I was almost going insane trying to get answers.

Finally, Sister suggested that we have her tested for Delayed Food Allergies.

So we did.

Voila!

Answers abounded!

Hallelujah…..kinda.

Delayed Food allergies as defined by blah..blah…blah…doctors say this…

“A food allergy develops when your immune system, by means of an odd mixture of immune cells, antibodies and chemical mediators, reacts in an attempt to reject a food  in your diet. “

and ….

“The allergic symptoms in immune reactions are delayed in onset, appearing anywhere from within two hours up to several days after consuming allergic foods (Example: migraine headaches characteristically first appear 48 hours after allergic foods are eaten).  Delayed food reactions may come from any organ or tissue in the human body, blah…blah….blah…

and…

“Immediate food allergy involves foods that are rarely eaten. Unfortunately, delayed food allergy involves commonly eaten foods, foods that you eat every day and may even crave. “

“Hidden and delayed food/allergies contribute or cause hundreds of health conditions and symptoms, that tend to be chronic and recurrent, and affect multiple bodily systems, such as:


Digestive (bloating, constipation, cramping, Crohn’s, colic, diarrhea, IBS, nausea/vomiting);

Immune System (autoimmune, chronic infections, recurrent ear infections);

Musculoskeletal (arthritis, feeling “below par,” weakness, joint and muscle pain);

Neurovascular (Meniere’s, migraines);

Nervous system (ADHD, children’s mood and behavioral problems, depression, headache, learning difficulties, mood swings);

Skin (acne, canker sores, eczema, hives, itching, psoriasis, rashes);

Systemic symptoms and conditions (bed-wetting, chronic fatigue, insomnia, multiple chemical sensitivity, obesity, PMS, water retention, weight gain/loss) and many others symptoms and conditions are caused or worsened by delayed and hidden food allergies/sensitivities!”


Most food allergies/sensitivities are acquired throughout life due to: a lack of variety in the diet (the average American eats only 19 foods on an ongoing basis), poor digestion and poor detoxification; genetics also plays a role.  Many people with multiple food allergies have “leaky gut syndrome,” which means that foods (especially proteins), are not being broken down effectively, and once absorbed, an increased immune reaction results.  Healing the gut lining is the priority.

*the things I have highlighted in red is how the girl suffers


I found out just the other day, that my dad’s mom had Celiacs later on in her life, her sister had it, and so does her nephew(Cousin Jerry’s mom and brother).

Sister suffers from delayed food allergies, and so many more of those symptoms mentioned above.

My poor girl.

Because delayed food allergies come from being allergic to the proteins in the food, you really shouldn’t eat the same foods every day, but rotate them so that the body doesn’t reject the foods that you can eat.

So!   This is what my girl can eat.

This is it.

She is allergic to everything else.

She just can’t go spend the night with anyone with out tons of preparation~~read, I must make all her food for her before hand.

We can’t go out to eat, because she just sits there and watches us.   Tortured.

Holidays are a nightmare for her.

I read a blog called Karina’s Kitchen~Recipes from a Gluten Free Goddess.    She made a post right before Thanksgiving that struck a chord in the girl and I.

She said…

A week from today is a big day. The Big T. Thanksgiving. And nothing sends shivers of trepidation up a gluten-free or casein-free girl’s spine like the mental image of mounds of Grandma’s sage pungent dressing or slabs of Aunt Ida’s pumpkin pie. It’s a butter and wheat flour infused gorge fest with danger at every turn.

If you’re lucky- your family is tuned in and aware of the angst and anxiety food centric holidays can trigger. They are thoughtful and well schooled in where gluten lurks or hides (some turkey broths and marinades, gravies and spice blends, stuffing and pie crusts) and don’t ask questions like, You can eat whole wheat crackers, right? (with the emphasis on the word whole as if somehow, the word itself makes the wheat magically safe to consume).

And if they don’t indulge in meta messages and all that spooky passive-aggressive weirdness they won’t sigh when you politely decline a slice of Bunny’s pecan pie and say, Just don’t eat the crust. They won’t hold up a pitcher of gravy and whisper, A little bit won’t kill you. I’m allergic to milk- and I cheat, then you, Dear Reader, have much to be thankful for.

You’re blessed with a clan that gets you, honestly loves you without judging you, and cares about every morsel that enters your fragile universe.

Fortunately, my family gets it.


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February 18

Oh…the utter bliss of sleeping in.

It rarely happens, but when it does I feel like a million bucks, and this morning, I’m a million bucks girl!

I have slept on the same side of the bed for the last 17 years.

Last week, Superman and I switched sides of the bed in hopes that he might sleep better.

He is.

I’m not.

His side of the bed is giving me the weirdest dreams.

In the first one, I was walking outside on a gorgeous day, and these soft, fluffy wisps were tickling my top lip.

I thought ‘I really need to trim my mustache’, and knowing that I had a mustache didn’t phase me one bit.

Shameful!

Then the dream morphed and I was inside and I had rubbed my top lip and realized that I did indeed have a mustache.

A prickly mustache.

I freaked out!!!

I ran to a mirror and began to frantically pluck them out, only it immediately grew back as soon as it was plucked.

A couple of nights later, I dreamed that the girl and I were on vacation.

Dolly Parton heard that we were in town and invited us over so I could photograph her with the girl, her and I, and us all with her little Pomeranian dog.

She had this fabulous pink, sage and cream carpet that I totally fell in love with, so I ignored Dolly Parton, the girl and her dog, and only photographed the carpets.

I think I ought to switch back to my original side of the bed.

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February 17

Have you ever been about to do something and then hear a great idea to change it up a bit and decide ‘Hey! Great idea.  I’ll do that.’?

Then just when you are about to do that ‘great idea’, someone comes along and suggests you do the original?

When you do the original it doesn’t work and you kick yourself  because you didn’t do that ‘great idea’?

That’s what happened with today’s TWD recipe that Stephanie of Confessions of a City Eater picked out for us.

Devil’s Food White Out Cake.

YUM!

I had read on the TWD question and answer post, that someone had made 7 Minute frosting for this cake.

Great idea!   I heart 7 Minute frosting.

Then the boy came home from college and said,  ‘Don’t make the 7 Minute frosting, Mom, I just made the original icing today in class.   It is so easy.’

So I did.

And I’m kicking myself.

7 Minute frosting forms a light sugary crust.

Dorie’s is delicious, but mushy.

And I didn’t want mushy…she says pouting.

Look away, Internet, it isn’t pretty.

Don’t worry.   I’ll eat it anyway.   There is chocolate involved!

If you have basic flour, sugar, eggs and chocolate in your pantry, you can make this cake.

Go check out Stephanie’s blog and grab the recipe.    You will be glad you did.

And if you want to make a 7 Minute frosting, don’t let anyone talk you out of it.

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February 16

When the boy was old enough to order off the kiddy menu, he was extremely consistent.

He ordered only one thing, and one thing only.

Spaghetti.

That boy was, and still is,  serious about his pasta.

He was also serious about how he ate his garlic bread.

He poured honey all over it.

I love me some pasta too.    Fettuccine Alfredo, Spaghetti noodles with some butter and parm, Penne with butter and parm, macaroni and cheese.

Oh look, Internet, a theme!

I do not really care for Spaghetti and meatballs.

All that goopie  sauce covering up my pasta and cheese.

It is a crime.

So when I saw that Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake had picked Real Spaghetti and Meatballs for last this Thursday’s  BB recipe,  I was kind of disappointed.

How could I make spaghetti and meatballs with out making spaghetti and meatballs?

Baked pasta.

I thickened the sauce so it wouldn’t be goopie, dumped a ton of mozzarella and parm on top and broiled it for the men for Valentines Day, because what doesn’t say love but a plate of pasta and cheese?

I also made some garlic bread, sans honey.

I also learned something important.

If your gonna purchase wine, make sure that you use it up then, because if you purchase wine and then leave it in your fridge for oh…say…3 months, it tastes kinda gross when you go to use it…say…3 months later for Baked Pasta.

Real Meatballs and Spaghetti

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 extra-large egg, beaten
  • Vegetable oil
  • Olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti(or 3 month old $5 wine)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:

  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
  • Freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.

Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don’t clean the pan.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.

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February 15

I have held off for as long as I could, but I can not contain it any longer.

Chefboy made the Dean’s list.

This might not be a big deal  to some, but it is to me.

It is an affirmation that I did a good job educating my chips.

An affirmation that I did something right.

I don’t know any home school mom that doesn’t at some point second guess themselves.

Did I do enough?

Probably  not.

Did I give them a good education?

The best that I could.

Did I screw them up?

Probably.

On any given day I look over and see this.   The chips so engrossed in their books, that even when I turn on the TV, they don’t even look up.

To me, that is a great sign.

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February 14

Have you  been looking for a quick, simple and cute idea to celebrate Valentines Day with?

I have a solution that I saw on Bakerella’s blog the other day.

My local Aldi had these for inexpensive frugal cheap.

Go grab some.

Take your small heart shaped cookie cutter and cut wee little hearts out.

Aren’t they just the cutest little things?

And the perks… scraps to eat.

I like perks!

If you want to get fancy schmancy, you can take some leftover icing that has been in the freezer for about 3 months and write little notes on them.

These taste much better than the candies that come in a box and taste like glue.

You can do this with your kiddos too, but if you do, you will have to share the perks.

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February 13

It is Friday Internet, and I’m nosy.

Tomorrow is Valentines Day.

Do you even celebrate the day?

If you do,  what are you fixing for supper?

Are you getting your hubbie a card? chocolates? nothing? making a special meal?

Every year since we have been married, I have gotten Superman a giant Hershey Kiss.    This will be the first year that he won’t get one.    I have something else up my sleeve though.

I will be sharing tomorrow.

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February 12

A couple of  Saturday’s ago, the girl and I went up to visit with the parents.

I took along my camera, because it was just so beautiful out.

The snow and the ice…as much of a hassle it was, it was just gorgeous.

The girl grabbed the camera and said “You want me to get some pictures?”

“Sure Punkin’. I’d love to have some pictures of the snow and ice.   See how pretty the sun is on the trees?   Doesn’t it look like diamonds.”

Later, after we arrived home from the visit, this is what I found.

Hmmmm….

Well…I see a bit of snow…

Uhhh….

Okaaaay…..

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“Honey?”

“Yeah mom.”

“Are you getting good pictures of the ice?”

“Oh…the ice.   I’m supposed to be taking pictures of the ice”

Note to self….don’t let the girl take pictures of ice ever again.

‘Cause I will end up with something totally different.

Hon

February 10

Internet, meet the driver’s side shock/strut on Chefboy’s car….or what’s left of it.

Yesterday morning the boy’s car was leaking gas from the new fuel filter he replaced Sunday, so he asked to use my vehicle.

I tossed him my keys, and called dad my mechanic to see if he could come fix The Beast.

I mean, I had plans.

Plans that needed not to be frustrated.

I needed to go to the store to get milk for today’s TWD recipe that Sheri of Whisk: a food blog picked out for us today.

It has a lovely custard base, which I was going to make ice cream with, and meringues which I was going to make cookies with, and a caramel drizzle thingie that I was going to do wild and crazy things too.

The car HAD to be fixed.

Daddy My mechanic came.

The car was fixed.

He then told  me that if this shock/strut rusted through completely, whomever was driving would most likely end up in the ditch.

I’ve already met Mr. Ditch on several occasions, and decided it wasn’t necessary to meet him again.

So for the first time since July 1st, I have no TWD.

I feel like such a slacker, but at least I didn’t wreck another car.

That’s gotta count for something.

****Update~~It is 9:32 am.   The boy just called and it broke.   Thank God he is fine.

If you would like to make this gorgeous looking dessert, please go check out Sheri’s blog.    She has the recipe, and I’m sure some really gorgeous pictures too.

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