April 23

I can’t remember the first time that I first heard someone speaking French, but I do remember how enthralled I was at the beauty of the language.

Then in high school when I had to pick a foreign language, I didn’t hesitate a second and picked French.

Because Internet, I was deluded in thinking that men would drop at my feet when they heard me speaking French.

I’ll let you guess how that one worked out for me.

The French haven’t just given us a beautiful language to listen to.

They have given us perfume.

Fashion.

Art.

The Statue of Liberty.

And food.

What the French do to food is almost magical!

I mean they can take some homely veggies and turn it into a ratatouille or a cassoulet.

We Americans would just pop those veggies in the microwave and call it good.

We will smoosh some ham and cheese between two slices of bread, and call it lunch.

Not the French.

They will toast the bread and smear on some mustard.

Layer some  ham on top.

Some Gruyere or in my case poor man’s Gruyere swiss.

I would have stopped there,  plated it up and thought I’d have  done a miracle for the lowly ham and cheese.

But the French…oh no!

They add some cheesey white sauce.

And even more cheese.

And broil it.

Then they give it a fanch schmancy name.

Croque Monsieur.

Me??  I call it out of this world fabulous.

Superman!   Well, he just fell at my feet in gratefulness.

Finally!   After all these years.

Would you like to wow your man?  and only take about 20 minutes to do so?

Make him this lowly ham and cheese sandwich that Kathy picked for us BB’s to do today.

Croque Monsieur

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.

To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.

Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned.

Serve hot.

Strew pillows on the floor to catch your man.

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April 22

I want to talk about frugality today.

Boring, I realize, but since 70% of the the gene’s in my body scream frugality that is mostly who I am.

Frugal.

Boring.

We won’t talk about the other 30% of the genes that was born a Princess, and at times drowns out the frugality and makes me want large diamonds, a professional Viking stove, a Nikon 300D, and some new lens’s, pounds of fabulous Guittard, Valhrona, Scharfenburger, and Belcolade chocolates, expensive perfumes, a jacuzzi on my back deck, and a filled walk in closet the size of my bathroom.

Welcome to my kind of crazy.

Americans are spoiled.

I am spoiled.

I think of the pictures I saw Sunday of some Somalian refugees that live in wall less shacks, sleep on the ground and are eating boiled leaves because they have nothing else.

Just laying in my king size bed with 1 pillow and 4 blankets I am richer than they.

Yes, we are spoiled.

Frugality = effort and we as Americans don’t want to do ‘effort’ anymore.

Conserving water takes time and effort, but I save over 300 gallons of water a month just by flushing with gray water.   That 300 gallons saves us $20+  a month or $240+ a year.

Gardening takes time and effort, but it provides those wonderful ‘organic’ veggies for my girl and saves us $200+ a year.

Cooking supper takes time and effort, but in doing so, I don’t have to eat all those extra fast food calories, and it doesn’t take long if you plan…but the planning…it takes the effort.

Grocery shopping to find deals takes time and effort, but the money I save by doing this is so much cheaper than eating out…even on the dollar menu.   By shopping at Aldi, and using coupons at Stuffmart,  I spend on average $350-400  a month on groceries and household stuff.

Hanging laundry on the line takes time and effort, but by doing that I save $20+ a month  or $240 a year on my electric bill aaaannd my clothes don’t wear out as fast which = less clothes shopping, much to the dismay of the girl and my secret desire to convert my loo into a walk-in closet.

There are other things that I do that some (mom) might think is a bit radical but the savings…oh!   it adds up.

Just in these few ways I can save almost $1,000+ a year.

Could I do more?   of course I could, but these things that bring our home the biggest bang for our buck…and my Diva might overthrow my Frugal and upset the delicate balance in my brain.

What could you do with that extra money?

Is a $1,000+ a year worth a  little bit of effort?

I wonder how much chocolate $1,000+ could buy…

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April 21

When I was very little, the parents would take Sister and I to Duff’s Smorgasbord.

Duff’s was an all you can eat buffet in Springfield, Ohio.

Now the only place it exists is in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

I remember standing in front of the carousel waiting for the food to come around, wishing that it would go faster  so I could get my fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and rolls snarfed down so I could hurry up to the dessert bar.

‘Cause Internet, even at the tender age of 8, I knew where the good stuff was.

Sister was smarter than I.

She filled her plate with only one thing.

Baked beans.

That meant she stood in line for less time, and made it to the dessert bar much faster!

I remember dad going up with me to get dessert and me asking him what that ‘stuff’ was, because I wanted to make sure that I got all the best Duff’s had to offer.

“That’s bread pudding, honey”,  and with those words the back of my throat closed. off.

Bread pudding was instantly dead to me.

Ever since then whenever I have gone to a buffet, there is almost always bread pudding on the dessert bar, and it always looks the same.

Gloppy, gooey, and gross.

Then last year, I watched my BFF Paula Deen make a Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Butter Rum sauce and I wondered how in the world could you go wrong with donuts, butter and rum.

Then when Lauren of Upper East Side Chronicle picked Chocolate Bread Pudding I swallowed hard.

I thought maybe if I used donuts, and used lots of chocolate it might not be so bad.

It was reported that there was an excessive amount of liquid to bread ratio, so I halved the liquid portion but used the entire 6 oz. of chocolate.

I also didn’t add raisins, because the only way raisins should be eaten are by the handfuls mixed with peanuts and m&m’s!

It smelled heavenly baking.

After it cooled, I sampled a wee bite like my Paula does.

But Internet, the eyes…they did not cross in ecstasy…the mouth didn’t say “mmmm…so good!” and there was no going back for a second bite.

Maybe if I make a chocolate butter rum sauce…

If you heart bread pudding, then you will like this version.   Go check out Lauren’s blog.   She has the recipe.

Me?   I’ll be in the kitchen with some butter, some chocolate and some rum.

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April 20

Some Monday randomness.

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  • It is raining, and it is supposed to rain till Thursday.   I’ll be purchasing some Ark blueprints on Amazon soon.

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  • I just entered a contest to win a signed Paula Deen cookbook over on Bakerella’s blog.   I can’t decide whether or not to give you her link, as you all will be so disappointed when I win anyway….but if you go —> here, you can enter yourself.   Just remember, I’m gonna win.

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  • I need a hair cut.   My hair refuses to poof anymore.    It is a sad, sad, sad situation.

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  • This weekend, Superman mowed the yard much to the excitement of the entire neighborhood.   I was afraid I’d have to get a goat or something if he waited any longer.    I also pruned my Rose of Sharron hedges, much to the excitement of Superman.

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  • Superman also cleaned out underneath the back deck.   Now we only look  half way like the Beverly Hillbilly’s.

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  • Tonight the girl and I are going to watch the Amazing Race that I DVR’d.   I sure hope that Luke and Margie didn’t come in last.

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  • Lastly, I don’t want to do my mountain of laundry, but if I don’t do something soon, the only thing left we will have is our birthday suits.   Mine is getting a bit old and wrinkled….not to mention slightly stretched out of shape.   Yep…I probably ought to do some laundry.

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April 18

The cats.

They haven’t gotten much blog time, so today I am  going to remedying that.

This cat will lay anywhere on anything.

Sometimes she will even drag stuff around so that she can have a place to lay.

Mostly she just begs me to pick her up so she can lay on me.

See that outstretched paw?

How can I say no to that face?

The other cat… I’m not happy with her, so she doesn’t get any blog time.

So there!

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April 17

It’s Friday Internet, and I am nosy.

When you watcha  movie at home, do you snack?

If you do, what do you generally snack on?


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Now for our winners of Wednesday’s Country Bob’s give-a-way.

This means that kikkibibi and DLAOKC have won.

Please email me with your addresses and we will get them to you.

There is a little “email me” button over on the side.

Congratulations!

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