Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Finding a New Passion

Who knew my girls were cowgirls in disguise?

My mother owns two horses, and lives in a carpenter home in the high desert of Southern California. My girls Morgan and Jai decided to go for a ride on Spirit the horse, and one of them has decided she would like lessons. Can you guess which one?

Ever the fashionista, Morgan was all set to ride. The weather was nice and warm, odd ~ or maybe since the experience was new for the girls, mother nature was kind.

 I laughed hysterically at this particular moment... Spirit took off and Morgan wasn't prepared.

Morgan is 16 years old~ My pride and joy (or at least one of them) I think Spirit may have been planning some quick moves here... notice her expression.

 Phil a neighbor on the block,  and "Lil T" (and believe me, there's nothing little about this horse) stopped by to join in with us.

Spirit and Lil T became fast friends (and Jai and Phil bonded over horses)

 Ever the quick-study, Jai became more confident... and Princess followed closely behind.

Jai is 12 years old, she is truly a Mama's Girl. She is an old soul.

Looks like someone is getting the hang of this.

Morgan doesn't like to quit (or be outdone by her younger sister) she decided to try to ride again...

And quickly discovered... Not interested in horseback riding.

She needed assistance getting Spirit out of the pin. Notice the facial expression on Morgan.

Jai will be getting lessons at the first of the year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Singing the Praises of Target

For some of us, Black Friday stirs up lots of excitement and determination to grab the best deals. I have to admit, not me... I have never been out shopping on Black Friday because I am intimidated by the crowds. Well imagine my surprise when my dear friend Katrina from Chic Little House, sent me a text on Black Friday with the following message:

"Hi! I hope you're doing well, Target has sewing machines - Singer on sale for under 65.00! (:0)"

Of course, I almost fell out of my seat, the only thing that kept me from doing so, Asa was nursing! I replied right back to Katrina, I could hardly spell my sentence properly. I ran to the freezer, grabbed a bag of expressed milk (because I had to get to the store- and I am sure my son wondered what I was doing), hollered at the top of my lungs to Jai to get dressed and not to forget to brush her teeth (keep in mind, she was still asleep) and we were off! I sent text  messages to Katrina the entire time, since my husband was driving...

Within 20 minutes of receiving Katrina's text, I was at my local Target and unfortunately, I was too late. I immediately sent Katrina a text "They are sold out... I want to cry". Katrina, the eternal optimist replied, "Have them call another store and hold one for you" at the very same moment I was asking an associate to call... So I locate the machine at a store two cities away (a short trip on the interstate) with only ONE MACHINE LEFT - I didn't get the name of the associate or anything; I was barking out my name and that I would be right there. I dashed to the car, told my husband where we needed to go, then he did the unthinkable... HE GOT ON THE WRONG INTERSTATE ON RAMP...!!! I was livid - we were going in the wrong direction and the traffic was at a stand still! I sent Katrina yet another text, lets just say I cannot quote that one, but I was a very angry woman. 

Eventually, we wound up at the right store and my precious machine was waiting in the customer service area.  I could not be more pleased with my purchase:

Image found on weekly ad for 11/25 - 11/26

Here is my receipt... I am thrilled beyond words!

 From there, the day got even better! My shipment arrived and my sewing machine how-to
guide also arrived thanks to Katrina (aka Mrs. Chic at Chic Little House) again, she suggested the book on her blog): 

$10.00 on 

Cover Image

I called my cousin in Baton Rouge, Louisiana shortly after I arrived back home to tell her about the machine. She is also eager to learn to sew. Since I had already been through the motions of not being able to locate the machine, I advised her to call the stores local to her first.  The stores were out but advised her the trucks come nightly and she was able to get her machine when the store opened on Saturday 11/26/11... needless to say, she also ordered the book from

I am so excited! I am already working on lessons after the holidays. 

Did anyone else score any great deals that made them excited on Friday? 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Herb and Salt Brined Turkey - Final Steps

Here is the finished product 

The turkey had been allowed to dry in the fridge per my instructions from the brine process, I preheated the oven to 425 degrees to prepare to put the bird in the oven at that temperature for 30 minutes

Here is the turkey after allowing the 30 minutes on 425 then reducing the oven to 325 degrees and baking for 3 hours. I love the golden skin on the turkey that comes from baking at a really high temperature for a short time to allow color and crispy skin.

The herbs look fantastic under the skin of the turkey

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Herb and Salt Brined Turkey - The dry brine process begins

Herb and Salt Brined Turkey
(Source: Fine Cooking Magazine)

2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
One 16-lb. turkey, preferably fresh (not kosher or self-basting)
2 oz. kosher salt (1/2 cup if using Diamond Crystal; 1/4 cup if using Morton)

This year I thought I would make the same recipe for the turkey that I did last year and absolutely loved. Last year, I found just what I wanted to try in a magazine I picked up based on the cake on the front page…LOL! Herb and Salt Brined Turkey will be my turkey for years to come, even if we fry turkey ~ this tasty bird will still make an appearance for the holidays! The herbs smelled so intoxicating and make me feel like the holidays are upon us. This brine process was over 3 days, I really took my time getting the herbs onto the flesh of the bird, the house smelled so fragrant and delightful. If you are looking for a new twist for your bird, give this one a try. Before we can get ahead of ourselves, lets spend some time getting to know our bird shall we?

1. Clean your bird as you normally would, removing the neck and giblets/livers from the canal of the bird. Place the bird in your roasting bag.

2. Lift the skin of the bird starting at the breast cavity and moving both outward toward the legs of the bird and back toward the neck of the bird.

3. Place herbs on a cutting sheet.

4. Chop herbs roughly and add them to a glass bowl.

5.Add a small pinch of the kosher salt to the olive oil and herbs and mix together well with your hands (free utensils).

6. In several small handfuls, add the herbs to the bird under the skin, move around as much as possible to ensure the entire flesh of the bird has been layered with a little bit of the herbs (my mouth is watering already).

7. To the skin of the bird and canal of the bird, add a small bit of kosher salt.

8. Refrigerate the turkey (I like to double bag my turkey, turning it over every day, for 3 days. I start out with my turkey breast down on the first night and I turn the turkey over at the exact 24 hour mark; which means I get to come and turn a turkey over at midnight for the next two nights LOL!

I'm ahead of myself just a little bit but...
Remove the turkey from the bags and pat dry. Put it in a flameproof roasting pan and refrigerate, unwrapped, to let the turkey air-dry overnight (for the fourth day).

Roast the turkey (when we get to that point of the process)
Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F. Continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F in the thickest part of a thigh, about 2 hours. Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving to allow the juices to settle. If making the gravy, do so while the turkey rests.

Stay tuned for the rest of my adventure with this bird, I have been thinking about this turkey for a few days now. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cookies

Tasty simple cookies that are soo tasty when warm that I had to stop myself from eating them.

2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
3 Ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese
2 Eggs
1/2 cup of Butter 
1/2 cup Butter Flavored Shortening 
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Vanilla

cream together butter, sugar, shortening

mix in salt and baking soda

beat in eggs

add in vanilla

place the dough on a baking sheet as evenly spaced as possible. Bake cookies at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crock Pot Lentil Soup

The weather is really throwing me for a loop - I am shocked that since late October, there has been a rainy day or two within each week leading up to today. I woke up to rain again (I am making a sad face), I never have been one for rain, even when I was a child and my schoolmates would run and play in the rain, I stayed indoors. As an adult, the rain is just unbearable when I have to get out and drive in it, but I enjoy coming home to a hearty stew or soup and I have one for you that is so easy, you wont believe it!

2 lbs Ground Turkey (This is the only ingredient you need to cook separately)
2 whole Carrots
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Fresh Spinach
Chicken Bouillon
1 1/2 cups Lentils 

Layer all ingredients in crock pot as follows: Lentils, ground turkey, spinach, carrots, chicken bouillon and season with as much or as little red pepper flake as you and your family like.

Brown your ground turkey in a skillet and season with salt and pepper

Clean your spinach and remove the stems (I like a lot of spinach in my soup) add lentils to ground beef layer.

Chop carrots in slices sturdy enough to stand up to crock pot 

Add water to crock pot (I prefer more broth than lentil in my soup, I use 8-10 cups of water, which brings the water to just above the spinach in my 6 quart crock pot~ and add more water during the cooking process if I feel there won't be enough broth).

Cook in the crock pot for at least 8 hours on a high heat. I put my soup on before bed and its ready in the morning.

Serve with fresh baked bread, cornbread or dinner rolls.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bedroom Blues ~ Hopes and Dreams

So, my bedroom is in a bit of a slump... Currently it serves its purpose as a place to sleep but that is about all... There is no pizzazz in my bedroom, no inspiration. I have been so busy with life, a new baby and recovery from my c-section (3rd might I add) that this room hasn't even seen the likes of a picture...

Slowly, this will change...

My bed, while I like it- and paid a mere 173.00 for the frame and slats, has to GO! I want a tufted bed, but that will have to wait a few more months... I wanted the bed to go at first because I just wanted a new bed, but now I am realizing all the hazards it could cause my baby boy... so its out of here before he can begin to scoot etc. 

I love these two beds, found on (formerly
Tufted Arch Bed in Parchment

Tufted Bed in Velvet Buckwheat
Here is the bed I want - we will see how close I get to it!
currently being sold at Ikea
VANVIK Bed frame, Blekinge white Length: 94 1/8 " Width: 63 3/8 " Footboard height: 14 5/8 " Headboard height: 42 1/2 " Mattress length: 79 1/2 " Mattress width: 59 7/8 "  Length: 239 cm Width: 161 cm Footboard height: 37 cm Headboard height: 108 cm Mattress length: 202 cm Mattress width: 152 cm
I also found the color scheme I want to go with for the room, I'm thinking of ivory or a wheat color with navy blue and burnt orange. I really want to add some deeper color to the bedroom. I will be covering the headboard and side boards with fabric. I'm waaay to chicken to try and dye it. I stumbled across this cotton fabric that I adore, I think it will make great curtains:

found on

Lucy Eden Woven Drapery Fabric by Richloom - Item #SW10275

This fabric has ALL of the colors I want in my bedroom, it is perfect. I was so happy to see the price $8.85 per yard. I noticed the sale ends 11/21/11 so I'd better decide soon. Some  elements will remain in my room, the burnt orange tufted bench I currently have at the foot board, the stands beside the bed and lamps on each stand.  

I love this fabric also for panels

only problem ... 28.95 per yard (deep sigh)

Campione Multi by Richloom -Drapery Fabric $8.85 per yard
I also adore this fabric, I want the panels to stand out, I think this design will compliment the room nicely.

So for now we will focus on what I do have... A super cute thrift store find... from Salvation Army of course - I spent 18.50 on this cool table, look at the footing, it's sooo me and simple enough a table to make a statement. I think my lovely blue lamp will look great on this table.

 Pretty and not in bad shape at all!!

So here is my vision - Paint the table (of course) either Behr's Ivory Snow or Cinnamon Cake, the two colors will make a statement and I love the khaki feel Cinnamon Cake has. This week has a great weather outlook, I plan to sand and paint the table. As for the bed, well... we will have to wait and see if Santa will be nice to me this year. In the meantime, I will work on simple elements and components of the room that transform the space.