Black Sheep Dancing

Why be like everyone else when you can be yourself?


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Add this one to the que

New muffin recipe! My friend, Russ, once said how much he loved Morning Glory muffins. I saw a recipe the other day, so I decided to try them AND THEY ARE AWESOME!!! Seriously, it uses a little of everything that you probably already have on hand and makes this moist, totally yummy muffin. I made 18 and they are already gone.

 

As I’ve been whining about, it’s also been super cold here. Not good for someone who lived in Florida for the past six years. So Monday, after the weather guy on television told me to dress for -10, I rediscovered my leg warmers my dear friend Nash gave me for my birthday last year.

 

Totally hot, right? But they are WARM, and they have lime green in them! Perfect! Don’t worry, I wore them under my boots, so unless you were looking own into the boots, you couldn’t really tell. Can you imagine the looks at work if I wore them as is? That would be hilarious!

 

I also just ordered my first real winter coat. You like? It took me forever to find one that I liked AND that I could find in my size. I wanted something girl, but super warm, and nice enough I could wear it to work and not look unprofessional. I had to get black since that was the only color left in my size.

 

Okay, back to under the super warm covers for me!

 

Recipe for Morning Glory Muffins II from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and grated apple
  • 3/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly oil 18 muffin cups, or coat with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a second bowl, combine carrots, apples, coconut, dates and pecans. Stir in eggs, oil and vanilla. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients; stir until smooth.
  4. Spoon or scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.


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Just call me Gretel

Growing up, it seems you want to live a fairy tale. Well, folks, it seems I have succeeded. How you may ask? Well, I am constantly forgetting things. Just since Friday I left my scarf at work. Then I left Keeler’s hat at my aunt and uncle’s house yesterday. Today I remembered to grab my scarf on the way out, but left my hat. Then we went to see Santa and topped it off with dinner at Olive Garden…where I left my debit card and had to drive all the way back because I didn’t realize it until I got home…just follow the bread crumbs to find me.


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Lots of cookies…lots of snow

As I sit down to write, my munchkin is in his room in time out. I took a shower and came out to the living room to find the presents opened. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Not just opened, but ripped. So much for the Christmas surprise. And they weren’t even all his gifts. Needless to say, a) I will rewrapping a lot of items and b) munchkin is in trouble.

 

Then I went out to the shed to get the snow shovel to prepare for the shoveling I know is coming because it looks like this:

However, the lock is frozen shut from the rain we had last night that froze. Blargh de blargh!

 

On an upside, I finally started my Christmas cookies. Last night I made…

 

Maple Nut Oaties

 

Maple Nut Oaties – kinda like a cross between a cookie and a granola bar.

 

Cream Cheese Christmas Cookies

 

Cream Cheese Christmas Cookies – These taste kinda like the Girl Scout short bread cookies.

 

Peppermint Fudge

 

Candy Cane Fudge – Easy and festive.

 

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

 

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies. Who doesn’t love Macademia Nut Cookies? And notice the super cute vintage-inspired Christmas card in the background. I was so excited when I found these!

 

Well, birthday dinner to go to and a shovel to buy. Wish me luck driving in this yucky weather!


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I want candy

Throughout the year I go through phases of wanting to bake and cook and then periods when all I want to do is run through the drive through for every meal. Usually at Christmas I am baking up a storm, but it would seem this year my baking button is off. I tried making some spritz cookies the other day and they flopped. Seriously, I don’t know what I did wrong. Then I started making some oatmeal cookies…I measured the flower and stopped. I just don’t feel like baking. I better get in the mood soon!

So, because I don’t really feel like baking, I have found some super easy, super fast recipes. Candy can be so easy!

I first made some Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy. It took all of 5 minutes to make and it is super easy. And pretty!

Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy

I followed this up with some candied walnuts, which were almost as quick and easy. I really do need to make some cookies though.

This morning we were going to head on out to the Firefly Play Cafe for a play date. If you haven’t been there I highly recommend it. It’s a nice alternative to Chuck E Cheese, they can run around, and it encourages creative play. Plus, it’s only $5 and grownups can get coffee and there are healthy snacks for the kiddos instead of candy. However, as we were eating breakfast the munchkin said, “Mommy, my tummy hurts.” And then it came, and came and came…so gross. Being a parent is not for the weak stomach, that’s for sure.

Now that we’re in for probably the rest of the day, I guess we’ll watch Shrek Happily Ever After, wrap some more presents, maybe play some Chutes and Ladders. I’m pretty much done shopping, but I LOVE to go shopping in December. Everyone is jolly, the decorations, the smell of spices. Maybe we’ll sneak out to a store or two.

Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy

Ingredients 

  • 1  cup  pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 3  (4-oz.) bars bittersweet chocolate baking bars
  • 3  (4-oz.) white chocolate baking bars
  • 1  teaspoon  coarse sea salt*
Preparation

1. Place pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet.

2. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.

3. Line a 17- x 12-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Break each chocolate bar into 8 equal pieces. (You will have 48 pieces total.) Arrange in a checkerboard pattern in jelly-roll pan, alternating white and dark chocolate. (Pieces will touch.)

4. Bake at 225° for 5 minutes or just until chocolate is melted. Remove pan to a wire rack. Swirl chocolates into a marble pattern using a wooden pick. Sprinkle evenly with toasted pecans and salt.

5. Chill 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 month.

*3/4 tsp. kosher salt may be substituted.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars and Ghirardelli White Chocolate Baking Bars.

Dawn’s Candied Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 1 pound walnut halves
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread nuts in a single layer over a baking sheet. Roast for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until the nuts start to turn brown and the smell of roasting nuts fills the kitchen.
  2. Stir together sugar, cinnamon, salt, and milk in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for 8 minutes, or until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage of 236 degrees F (113 degrees C). Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla immediately. .
  3. Add walnuts to sugar syrup, and stir to coat well. Spoon nuts onto waxed paper, and immediately separate nuts with a fork. Cool, and store in airtight containers.


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Went outside…again!

I know, it’s crazy. I decided to brave the cold … again! Last night German Village had their Christmas festivities. Because I wasn’t sure what to expect and by that I mean I didn’t want to hear whining about how cold it was I left the munchkin at home and headed out with a friend.

 

Our first stop was Thurman’s. Thurman’s is a local burger joint that has been on lots of television shows including the Travel Channel. Obviously, this was not the vegetarian’s choice, but they had what I craved – fried food. Mmmmmmm. Hey, sometimes you need a little cholesterol.

 

More about Thurman’s

Want to see the episode of Man Vs. Food? Check it out:

Well, there was a 30 minute wait, so while we were waiting we decided to go see some of the pretty Christmas lights around German Village. Lots of decorations and the society had lined the streets and Schiller Park with luminaries.

How gorgeous! How festive! HOW COLD!!!!! I was quite happy to head back to the restaurant for dinner. The place is a visual overload. Stuff is everywhere and looks like it has been there forever. You certainly do not want for things to look at. I got the veggie sub, which was gigantic, and onion straws. It was delicious. My companion for the evening got the Thurman burger. Yes, that huge pile of stuff. It looked pretty gross to me, but ya know, I don’t eat meat. In the end I had to take half of my sandwich home.

 

While it was fun, the 30 minutes running around was plenty for both of us, so we opted driving around the rest of the time, rolling down the window so we could hear the brass band playing. Boy, was I happy I wasn’t out there playing! It actually reminded me of a Christmas when I was in high school, our brass quintet decided to give a concert on Christmas Eve in the gazebo in the town’s square. My lips froze to my mouthpiece. Never again.


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Baby, it’s cooooooooold outside!`

Back in April when I moved home to Ohio after living in Florida, I was so excited to be near my family and around people who say “pop” and and play games like “euchre”. However, as we progress further into winter, I seem to be longing for those warm, sunny (okay, excruciatingly hot) days.

 

Last week we woke up to this:

Yes, snow. The munchkin was jumping up and down and screaming about how excited he was. As I looked outside I said, “Ugh”, as my little guy said, “Awesome!”.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a good snow at Christmas. Looking out the window is so pretty, and the lights seem to sparkle more in the white blanket of snow. And them I’m over it.

 

Well, it was about 30 degrees today, but we had been trapped inside all day and we were both going bonkers from being inside so we headed on out to Millstone Creek Park to brave the cold. Well, that is after running tights, jeans, tall boots, two pairs of socks, long sleeve shirt, wool sweater, fleece pull over, winter coat, scarf, gloves, and a horribly tacky hat that is nice and warm.

Other than it being SUPER cold, it was an awesome park. There are all kinds of slides and things to climb that are different than your average playground, and I love that squishy base that makes it soft in case they fall off. There is a nature area where, in the summer, the kids can explore the creek and swamp up close. They even have xylophones and chimes to play! Of course it would probably be more fun when it is a bit warmer when the nature areas are open and other kids are there, but we had a great time. It was worth the drive.