Thursday, September 29, 2011


I was hungry the other day - but it wasn't suppertime, so I cut myself a few pieces off a cheese block and gave her a taste. She LIKES cheese!

Isn't my baby the cutest?!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 1 - Kingstree, SC

I went to see my mom last Wednesday- oh, a week ago today! It was her birthday weekend and I was due for a visit, so I went - and Conrad stayed back at the hacienda.

On Thursday morning we got up and it was raining, but we still decided to head out on a little thrifting/vintage/eating expedition and we had a REALLY good time. My mom and stepdad normally take their dogs to a vet in Kingstree -but they had never been there just to hang out, but they said it was a cute little town, so we set out.

When we got there, it was lunchtime and we were ready to eat! But since they had never been there for fun stuff, we didn't know where to go. We drove to the downtown area that had little shops and I thought maybe there would be something fun to eat around there ... we saw the police station, with a few cops standing around and there was one rather large one in the middle of the bunch ...  and mom just offhandedly said, "Let's ask that fat cop right there, where to eat. He looks like he knows where the good stuff is" ... and that set me and my stepdad off into gales of laughter. We were like UH, you can not ask a fat man where to eat! ... and I think I might have said, "MOM!" ...

So we went along and we found a place that looked pretty ok. The Cafe on Academy (Academy was a street).

We went in and I ordered the special for the day. It was lasagna, bread and a salad for like $6.99 and it was GOOD. It tasted just like my mom's! I didn't leave a drop!

But then something outrageously funny happened. I had my back to the door, was facing my mom and Brian ... and was focusing on my food, when I looked up and fat cop walked by! I could NOT believe it. I said OMG - OMG - look who's here! I guess this IS the best place to eat in town!!!
We were HOWLING. It was the funniest thing!!! We talked about it all the rest of the weekend. We could not believe that man walked into the cafe.

We went on to some thrift stores and this cool antiques/trading post place where my mom bought this cute little nightstand thing - for only $30 !!!

After that, we went home, still laughing about the cop.... and later that night they took me to a new favorite place they discovered. It's been there forever - but they didn't realize it was a restaurant. It's called the Alpine and it's in Eutawville and it's GOOD. I think I want to live there, AT the Alpine.

I got the patty melt, on Brians's recommendation and OH MY GAW it was delightful. The right bread, the right cheese ... the onions ... kinda buttery and greasy on the bread. It was PERFECT. I got fried okra to go with it, which was just fine but I should have gotten their homemade potato chips - PINE CHIPS! (more on that in another post). My mom got the chips and I tried them and they were WONDERFUL and I was sorry I had the okra.

Ohhhhhhhhhh looking at it again makes me WANT it again. I LOVE YOU ALPINE PATTY MELT!

They also sell college and professional team signage. They are handmade by a little old couple who live close by. Brian has a Florida Gators one. I fell in love with the Alabama one. Not cause I love Alabama but because the elephant was so cute. Everyone CALM DOWN! and no ... I didn't buy it. But now I have the picture, forever.

Anyway, that was the end of day 1 - and we also stopped and got some boiled peanuts. YUM YUM.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Horse Pics

You know I love that new store I stumbled upon, RND Rustics. I actually found out it's not that new. It's been there awhile!

They have the CUTEST stuff and most of it is reasonably priced. Actually I'm sure ALL of it is reasonably priced, there are just some things I don't want to pay a ton of money for. I can see paying for a leather sofa, but pictures, not so much.

I saw these two horse pics and I fell in LURVE. They are so different, they are also $80 each. ACK!

More horsey- happiness ...

I love them, I do. But the more I think about it ... I think I can do that myself. I think I can go to Hobby Lobby and get some canvases - probably take some newspaper articles and copy them on a copier ... and then dip that paper into tea to stain it or into like a very diluted food coloring or something ... then find a horsey pic and put that on top of it ... I don't know. I'm still playing with it in my mind.

I just love that it's not the normal, horses in the old west, with a cowboy on top of them thing. These are really fresh looking and I love that turquoise! They would be pretty for the new house.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Strike a Pose

I wish she would go be a dog model and bring in some money!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Puppy Love

........... and they call it, Puppy Love.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Healthy Football Dinner

Conrad had a hankering for wings on Saturday - after a day of college football. Usually we just get up and head off to Buffalo Wild Wings  - but now it's football season and it would be loud and crowded. Not to mention we can easily drop $30 in there on wings ... I mean WINGS?! And they are fried ... so .... I made them at home.

Kroger carries a bag of 24 wings/drumettes in their frozen section. So does everyone else ... HEB, Wal-Mart, etc ... they sell for $9.99 but I found them on sale for $7. So 24 wings (which is two dinners worth) for $7 - I mean you can't beat that with a stick!

So I put the oven on 375 - and line a baking sheet with foil. I thaw out some wings (in this case 12 of them) hours before. So while the oven is heating, I tossed these with olive oil, salt and some smoked pepper (regular would work fine too). I line them up on the sheet and they bake about 45 minutes. I turn them once, 1/2 way through. This is what they should look like:

Then I get a bowl and put some wing sauce in - there are SO many kinds out there- I think I use Frank's ... I add about a tablespoon of butter and I nuke it for 2 minutes in the microwave. Then I just take the wings, 2  at a time and dunk them in the warmed sauce. I try to let them sit like 30 seconds each side ...

Then I just pile them up in a big ol' bowl ... they look SO lovely and especially since these were like $3.50 for ALL of them and they AREN'T fried.

For the rest of this dinner - I made fries and corn. I just popped the fries in the oven with the wings - and baked them that way. When they came out of the oven, I dabbed at them with a paper towel to sort of "drain" off any excess oil. They were garlic fries from Kroger! The corn I just boiled.

I think all in all, VERY healthy and SUPER cheap and it was SO good. I also used Ranch dressing, but made with yogurt. YUM, A ++++



Monday, September 19, 2011

Toad in a Hole

I first saw these on the Pioneer Woman's website ... years ago and I make them once in awhile.

I don't know if you know, but she now has her own cooking show on the Food Network. It's been playing on Saturday mornings - although they have only filmed 6 shows, and I think this weekend will be the 6th one. I don't know if she is filming more. I think she's on the fence!

Anyway - I made these again this weekend. SO quick, SO easy and SO delicious. Conrad loves them too. While I had these going, I was cooking up a few pieces of bacon I needed to get rid of, in the oven. (on a sheet tray, 400 degrees, 20 minutes)

Back to the Toads!

You just ... get yourself a skillet, turn it on low/medium heat - toss in about a tablespoon of butter .... and let it melt. Get a piece of bread and cut out a hole (with a glass or biscuit cutter) 

***YES I own a set of biscuit cutters and NO I am not 80 years old. It's an essential part of a southern kitchen! ****

Then you drop both of these guys into the skillet and let them brown on one side. I think it'll take 60-90 seconds. Then flip them over. When you do, they will be crusty brown and BUTTERY --- and at that point you crack in your egg and put him in the hole!

Ok and then - you just sort of let it sit there a bit and cook on the bottom. You need it to be NOT raw on the bottom when you flip it. It takes a few minutes which sounds like a lot with an egg, but if you're on low to a low-medium, you'll be ok.

Then you flip it and let the yolk sort of cook a little- a few seconds ... but not much. I like mine runny!

These are SO good. Two WAY fills me up!

Happy fall breakfasting!  - and sorry to gross you out, Kelley. I know you hate eggs.


P.S. The little hole you cut out, is just a delicious, buttery lovely snack ... that I use to sop up my eggs. It doesn't go back in the hole or anything!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I did some lookin' ...

That crockpot is called the Rival Game Day Crockpot.

Amazon sells them for $49.99 and there are 4 on Ebay for $131.


I had no idea it was made of diamonds!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Are You Ready for Some FOOTBALL ???

I was ... until the Cowboys disgusting loss on Sunday night. I guess my 'boys are back ... in the same style as last year. How lovely. How fun.

Today we are having a football themed potluck at work. We have them a few times a year, but this is the first this year. I got lazy. I am typically the hostess for these events and I don't know why. Probably because they are not super fun to organize ... trying to get a sign up sheet going and then sending out reminders. Set up and clean up ... OMG.  I started them when I first came here, because I had done them at my other job in Dallas.... and they caught on. I tried to hand it off to someone else in my group, but nothing doing. I am stuck with the honor! :)  ... so I theme them the way I want too- and this one was FOOTBALL.

So what better thing to bring for fall, football, etc. than my grandma's chili?

How to tote such a thing into the office? Crockpot!

What kind of crockpot?


I KNOW. How cute is HE? I lurve him. One of my prized possessions.

I love the football lid.

and I love the little football nob.

As you can see it's made by Rival. I have never been able to find another one. I wanted to see if I could find one for other people - you know, gifts. I've looked- online and different places. I didn't even know they made themed crockpots but I love mine. Can't find another one!

Even though the Cowboys promise a disgusting, hate-filled season ... I am ready for some football. Along with it comes fall, college football, cooler weather, sweatshirts, Halloween, lazy movie Saturday's, cuddles with my dog ... so I am looking forward to it!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget

I got up yesterday and scrubbed this house (YAY) - and headed out to the library and as I was driving through the little downtown section of my town - where all the little shops and restaurants are I was stunned into silence. Every single store had an American flag flying in the breeze. I wish I had gotten better pictures- because lined up - side by side, etc ... it was a stunning site. (If you click on the pics, it enlarges them and you can see better) It stopped me in my tracks.

In December of 2002, my dad, sister and I stood at Ground Zero for what seemed like an hour. It was just a giant crater in the ground, twisted metal and a chain link fence. It was still very sad - and as the city moved and lived behind you - loud and you know "New York" - the area at Ground Zero was strangely silent. No one spoke. It was very erie.

Sometimes I think to myself "what have I really done with my life" ... and it's easy to get caught up in that when you get up and go to work, come home, sleep and do it all over again. The truth is I've been to a lot of places- 3 countries (4 soon!), 41 states ... and have had many experiences most people haven't. Being able to go to Ground Zero a year after the attacks, was one of them. I don't know that many people who have stood at that chain link fence and I am happy I was with some members of my family when I did.

God Bless America.


Friday, September 9, 2011

So Ugly They're Cute

I've got my mom's weird obsession with odd/cute/unusual shoes. I don't think I used to have it, but it's been presenting itself lately. I mean, really who else has monkey shoes?

HOW CUTE are these?
HOW UGLY are these?

Yes, they are both!

I know! They are adorable. I got them at Kohl's last weekend. LURVE them. Wore them as SOON as we came back to work from Labor Day. I had quite a few comments from coworkers and most of them were, "Those are Karyn shoes!" ... I don't know what that means, but I'll take it.

Need a close up?

I know, you're super jealous. Well go to Kohl's and get them then - they are on the clearance rack. These were ORIGINALLY $55 - and no way would I have EVER paid that for these ugly shoes. But they were actually $10 - and I could swing that. Even if just for the shock value. Conrad stood in the shoe department with his nose wrinkled up. THAT sealed the deal and they came home with me!

LURVE them.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thoughtful Pose

When she looks this way, it's like ... she's begrudgingly committed to something.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What a Difference 20 Years Makes

Oh YEAH ... that IS my car and I DID parallel park it.

YES I sure DID fail my drivers test 4 times ... and in 2 states (Texas and South Carolina) ... and I failed them because of parallel parking. But now? HA! Now I can slide that car in between two others like it had been rubbed down with a stick of butter. Like BUTTAH'.

So take THAT Texas (and SC) Department of Transportation!!!!! You broke my heart into a million pieces 20 years ago - but you have no power over me now.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Cookbook Review: Guy Fieri Food

I have gotten SO MUCH smarter with my cookbook obsession. I now rent them from the library before I buy and BOY has that saved money! Some of them newer ones I've seen lately have really not been all that great.

The exception is the new book by Guy Fieri (you know, Guy's Big Bite and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives). The book is called Guy Fieri Food: Cookin' It, Livin' It, Lovin' It

and I LURVE this book. I am SO getting this book. I hope I get an Amazon Gift Card (HINT HINT) for Christmas so I can buy this book. I want to cuddle up in bed with this book. I want to have one in my car, office and house, so I never have to be away from this book. I want to marry this book. I wish it was scratch and lick ... Ok?

It's illustrated by his tattoo artist (I know, cool, right?) ... and it has lots of fun stories and stuff from his and his family ... its dedicated to his sister, who died in February (sob), and is FULL of super fun rockin' recipes. I am SO going to be cooking from this thing for the next few weeks. I think Target is carrying this book for under $18 right now. Run, don't walk, and get yourself a copy.

One of the recipes: S'mores Pizza (this recipe is on Amazon, I am not stealing it and posting it)

Ingredients: 2 pizzas

2 store-bought 1-pound pizza dough balls

1/4 cup slivered almonds

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 sleeve graham crackers, crushed (about 1-1/4 cups crumbs)

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup fine cornmeal

3 cups mini marshmallows

Two 4-ounce dark chocolate bars, broken into 1⁄4- inch chunks

Special Equipment: pizza peel and pizza stone (or pizza pan)

I say it on Triple D all the time— everything has a “kicker.” It’s what it takes to make the dish outta bounds. The kicker here is chili and cayenne. . . . Ooooh yeahhhhhh!


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Form the pizza dough into two 12- to 14- inch rounds, 1/4-inch thick. Bake, preferably on a pizza stone, for 4 to 6 minutes, until just beginning to brown. (See page 157 for more help on shaping and baking pizza crusts.) Leave the oven on at 400°F.

3. While the pizza crust is baking, toast the almonds in a dry medium skillet over medium- high heat. Transfer the almonds to a plate to cool.

4. Melt the butter in the skillet. Add the graham cracker crumbs, chili powder, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the crumbs are well- coated. Remove from the heat and set aside.

5. For each pizza, top the crust with half of the marshmallows and scatter half of the chocolate over the marshmallows. Return to the oven for 3 to 5 minutes, until the marshmallows are puffed and lightly browned. Sprinkle the pizza with half of the graham cracker mixture and top with half of the almonds. Let rest 3 to 4 minutes, slice, and serve. Repeat to make the second pizza.

Uh, you're WELCOME!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dunkin' K Cups

Oh happy day!

For two years in a row, Conrad has gotten a $15 gift card for Christmas ... to Dunkin Donuts. It comes from one of his companies - which is GREAT- but I didn't know Houston had any Dunkin Donuts. Well they DO and one of them is about 4 miles from my office.

Imagine my surprise the other night when I see a commercial come on, talking about new Dunkin Donuts K-Cups for the Keurig!!!! YAY!!!

So I went in this week at lunch and BAM, walked out with two BOXES of K-cups for free! I even got one of their delicious blueberry muffins (a favorite since I was a kid), and STILL I have $5 left on a gift card.

I enjoyed two cups of deliciousness this morning. FREE stuff tastes so much better!

HAPPY Labor Day indeed!