Monthly Archives: January 2013

On Growing Old…

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About a year ago, I felt compelled to purchase a pill case. You know, the kind with a compartment for each day of the week. At the time I joked around with friends that this was a milestone in my life and that I was now officially old! I really hadn’t thought much about it again until about a month ago when I realized that I needed a larger one! My eye doctor had recommended an additional supplement – flaxseed oil – and they are HUGE! I found a new pill case (one that even a blind person could read) and, once again, thought about the fact that I was getting old! Well, today I embarked on a new venture with a friend. We joined the Senior Citizens Center. I have been tossing out the AARP requests, but the Senior Citizen Center seems to be the perfect place to exercise and take a few classes. I signed up for Art Journaling and Zumba. I sure hope I can keep up with the other “old folks” in Zumba. That would be truly embarrassing if I am not able! I guess the next thing will be the pill case that has a compartment for each time of the day. As my grandaddy used to say, “the alternative (to growing old) is not good.” So I guess I will continue to celebrate each day that my name is not in the newspaper’s obituaries. Here’s to growing old!

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Unique Family Idiosyncrasies

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Every family has them – the black sheep, odd holiday tradition(my family always drank pink pineapple-grapefruit juice on Christmas morning), or even the really strange recipe. Tonight, I am preparing the really strange recipe – Ham Pie. I’m not sure exactly where this recipe originated. I just know that my mother’s side of the family has always made it. My own children love it. I recently taught my middle son how to make it. (Isn’t it nice when they call mom for a recipe?) Many folks outside of our family think this is a weird recipe, but it you love ham and eggs (not to mention pie), you might want to give it a try.

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Ham Pie

  • ready made pie crust (OK, you can make it from scratch)
  • all of the chunks of leftover ham that won’t just slice off the bone (in times of desperation, I use the cubed ham that is pre-packaged, but it is not the same)
  • 6-8 eggs
  • salt and pepper

First, decide if you want a top and bottom crust or just a top crust. Tonight I just went with a top crust because I am “trying” to watch the calorie intake. If you want both, roll out one crust and place it into a pie plate overlapping the sides a bit. Boil the ham chunks in water(just enough to cover them).  Use a slotted spoon to dip out the ham into the pie crust. Pour in just enough of the water from the pan to almost cover the ham. Crack 6-8 eggs into the mixture. Salt and pepper the eggs.

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Roll out and place the top crust over the mixture and “flute” the edges. After all, you want to make it fancy!

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Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. At this point, I take it out and add a “foil ring” over the edges to keep them from burning and bake another 10-15 minutes.

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Let it rest for about 5 minutes. Cook and serve.

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Chocolate Martini Cupcakes

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Three of my favorite words! How could I go wrong? I love a good Chocolate Martini, but sometimes (birthdays mostly), the occasion just calls for cake. So, I decided to combine my favorite chocolate pound cake with the flavors of a chocolate martini. I’ve made these twice now and they are absolutely delicious.

Chocolate Martini Cupcakes

Chocolate Martini Cupcakes

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups softened butter (use the real thing)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa (I use dark cocoa)
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup chocolate vodka (this is a substitute for 2 tsp of vanilla flavoring and 1 cup boiling water)

Cream butter, gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine flour cocoa, soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix well after each addition. Add vodka and mix well.

Tip: use an ice cream scoop to fill cupcake liners (the kind with a lever).

Depending on the size of the cupcakes, you will bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes. (Check cupcakes with a toothpick.)

Cupcakes should be allowed to cool completely. You will then scoop out the center of the cupcakes. (Rather than eat all of the extra cake, set it aside to layer with any leftover filling. My husband likes it that way!)

Filling

  • 16 oz whipping creme
  • 1 mini-bottle Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
  • 1 mini- bottle Creme de Cacao
  • 1/2 mini- bottle of vodka (you can just drink the rest:)
  • Whip the creme and gradually add the alcohol. Put the mixture into a pastry bag and fill the cupcakes.102_0052

Icing

  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup butter, softened (not melted)
  • 2 lbs confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 mini-bottle of Whipped creme vodka
  • 4-6 ounces Whipping Cream

Creme shortening and butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue creaming until well-blended. Add salt and vodka and blend well. Gradually add whipping creme until you get a firm icing consistency.

Ice the cupcakes using a large star tip and swirling up to a peak. I inserted some chocolate straws as a garnish. You could also use chocolate sprinkles around the edges.

Enjoy! Remember to eat responsibly.

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Art Journaling

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I decided to start art journaling this year and found a really awesome blog to follow. A Year in the Life of an Art Journal – http://oneyearartjournal.blogspot.com/2013/01/monday-mugshot-collaboration-jan-15th.html

The site is collaborating with Monday Mugshots. You take a photo of your “mug” to go with your art page or you can do just the mugshots or just the page. To begin with, the prompt was to choose a word for the year. I chose CREATE because I really want to foster my creative side this year. Work has become very stressful and I see creativity as a positive way to relax and enjoy life more. My final product is a page in the art journal highlighting the word create. I used scrapbook papers, colored pencils, and words cut from magazines. I am hoping to get a bit braver each time I make a page!

J.K. Rowling – Stick to YA, please…

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Harry Potter is one of my favorite series of all time. The writing is superb, the storyline is exciting, the characters are well-developed, and the use of language is extraordinary. Knowing the series was over depressed me. Having shared every book and every movie (at 12:01 am on the release date) with my boys, I was saddened to see it all come to an end. You can imagine my excitement when I saw A Casual Vacancy, Rowlings new novel for adults. My son gave me a copy for Christmas since he, too, was excited. I finally delved into it a couple of days ago and I am dissappointed. I am finding it difficult to keep track of the characters, except for the one that dropped dead at the beginning. The storyline is confusing. I do feel it coming together, but I am halfway through the book. This one probably would go unfinished if it were not a gift and that is very unusual for me.

I really think J.K. Rowling needs to stick with Young Adult fiction. That is certainly her forte. Even in this book, the teenagers are of more interest to me than the adults. I think Dumbledore would agree with me on this one!

Too Connected?

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I recently entered the world of iPhone. I love it! I don’t know how I lived without it. Yet, I managed to grow up quite safely without being connected. My mom always knew where I was and who I was with. She knew my friend’s parents and she knew their phone numbers. Can we all say that now or do we simply rely on the cell phone to keep up with our kids?

I also got a Kindle Fire for Christmas. I tried using it to post to the blog, but the auto-correct was killing me! I still have a lot to learn about using mobile devices. I’ve read 2 novels since I got the Kindle, but both were real books! It’s going to be hard to convince me of the value of reading on a device. It just doesn’t feel or smell the same. I was looking at cases for the Kindle and I got the idea to re-purpose an old book. Now, I am looking for just the right book. I scoured the house and checked a couple of thrift stores. I’ll go through my discards in the library when I get a minute. Hopefully, I can tackle the project this weekend. I’ll post some photos if all goes well.

Jack of all Trades, Master of None

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I am a teacher/librarian at an elementary school where I serve 550 children. I do feel that I am a master librarian! The problem lies in the fact that I am a frustrated reader/writer, crafter/artist, wine lover, pet lover, baker/cook, decorator…you get the picture. I love to do so many different things. Pinterest is awesome and has become a hobby all by itself. I love the inspiration that I get from others.  I’ve been thinking about blogging for some time now, but I just couldn’t settle on a topic. Eclectic Ramblings seems to be appropriate for me. I will share projects, recipes, books, lesson ideas, and anything else that grabs my interest. If you have found me, I hope that there will be many things of interest to you, but I really don’t expect anyone to love everything that I love. Of course, if you are a bit “out there” yourself, you may just love this blog!