Visit this link for Texas outlet malls, outlet & factory stores by region

HomeSurvival Handbook

See Pictures of Tornado Shelter Installation

Ginger Thins Ice Cream Sandwich



Today was the perfect example of why ‘I don’t like to make plans’.  In spite of the fact that we knew it would be raining – and cold, did have plans to have a nice breakfast of fresh, hot doughnuts and coffee.  This is a rare treat for us since David is diabetic. We have this treat only about twice a year.   But, when I woke up – even before the alarm went off – it was obvious that there was no power.


So stumbled around in the dark, called the power outage in and waited. And waited.  Three hours later it comes on . . .  and then goes off again for another half hour.  Thankfully did have time between the two down times to get coffee made.   But rest of plans were a no-go.  That really threw the whole day and haven’t yet gotten myself righted yet.


Not much else to tell since there isn’t that much going on. We did take advantage of the nice weather on Thursday to cover all the outside faucets . . . all 8 of them !!!!  David didn’t skimp when he was putting in water faucets.  Nice to have but what a chore to wrap and cover.

Went to doctor on Wednesday and got a good report so we are thankful for that. Did a little shopping and bought a box of ginger thins.  Don’t really know why.  They just looked good.  Got the idea (from David) to make an ice cream sandwich out of them.  So off I went.

Took some vanilla ice cream (Blue Bell, of course) and mixed it until it had the texture of soft ice cream. Then placed a tablespoon of it in the center of one cookie, placing another cookie on top and pressing just enough until the ice cream reached the edge.  Placed sandwiches on a  plate and returned them to the freezer.


They rated ‘5 stars’ according to David and are about a two-biter. Since he loved them,  guess I’ll be buying  more of those ginger  thins next trip to town.  My only problem with them is that they have canola in them.  As a note,  I’ve noticed that in the ingredients listed for products, I’m not seeing canola but rather ‘rapeseed oil’ listed.  Different name – same GMO product.  Yuck !!








Favorite Dessert Recipes . . . Old & New

About this time every year start  sorting  through my dessert recipes to see which ones we want to have. With David being diabetic, I splurge and make a couple of regular desserts for us to enjoy on Thanksgiving and Christmas . . . but one dish I always stick to is the sugar free Cranberry Sauce.   (Check out I Can’t Believe It’s Sugar Free for lots of good sugar free, holiday recipes plus many more regular recipes. )

Alas, it is hard to decide which ones to make. And since I’m one of those people that doesn’t like change I rarely try anything new.   But one of our old favorites just may be getting bumped for a new one.   Saw this piecaken online and in spite of the fact that I’m not a big chocolate eater, it did look delicious.  Raspberries and chocolate – what’s not to like?





A piecaken is new to me, but then I live in the country. Have to say the thought of a pie inside a cake is novel.  Just seeing the picture made me want to run out and buy raspberries.   Rather than put everything needed here, please visit this link for the full recipe.

Ok, if you’ve gotten past the piecaken, here are a few of our old favorite recipes we’re thinking of having.



Rum Cake  –   (Note:  a new twist on this old favorite is to use Amaretto in place of the rum . . . it is delicious.  In fact, David likes it better !!!  A true endorsement.  )

Made from a boxed mix, this cake is easy and will taste better if you let it sit covered in the refrigerator for at least 1 day.  Get recipe. 


Bourbon Pecan Pie –  We like this pie chilled and if you don’t like bourbon  or have a restricted diet – simply leave out the bourbon.    Get recipe. 


Eggnog Cake w/Rum Glaze –  Also uses a box mix so it is easy, rum glaze is same as for rum cake above.  Get recipe,

eggnog_2016Note:  If you like eggnog, make your own eggnog ice cream at home from vanilla ice cream.  It does not use store bought eggnog just 4 ingredients you probably already have at home  – Get recipe.


Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake – To me this one seemed like a lot of work but so worth it.  Get recipe. 

Timbal Rosettes – These delicate, crunchy ‘shells’ are delicious with powdered sugar.  Get recipe. 

Baklava –  Make this delicious Greek pastry using pecans, walnuts or a combination of the two.  Get recipe.

Rodeo Nuts – Last but not least – these are great to give bagged as gifts or just keep ’em around to nibble on.  Get recipe. 

OK, I lied . . . one more.

pecanpralines_2016How about making some Pralines IF you have any pecans leftover from the pie and rodeo nuts.  Get recipe.


Happy Thanksgiving !!!!





Old Man Winter Coming

Waiting for our first taste of winter this season. Right now it is in the upper 70’s but should get down into the mid to upper-30’s tonight – and near freezing tomorrow night.  WOW – what a change.




Knowing this was coming, I’ve been busy all week trying to get all my outdoor chores finished. Main thing was to get the goldfish pond (right now sans goldfish)  working as Bear has been missing his water fountain.  Surprisingly, everything is working and fortunately there were no cracks or other damage to the biological filter.  This is especially amazing since the tree fell right on top of it.




Plan on waiting until Spring to get any goldfish . . . plus want to come up with a way to have a floating garden in the pond as there will be no shade for them next summer. Guess I need to do a little research on what the max temperature goldfish can take ?!


Made Bear some of his favorite dog biscuits or as we call them . . . ‘cookies’ . . . this morning.  Need peanut butter for them and while I’ll use the regular peanut butter for the recipe, I’m still on the hunt for a peanut butter for me  that does not have rapeseed in it.  I do NOT like GMO foods and rapeseed is right at the top of my list for GMO foods.


apple-cinnamon-muffinsWith cold weather right around the corner plan on making some apple-cinnamon muffins for breakfast. This is another on of those boxed-mixes that I like to gussy-up.  So easy, and so tasty.  Taste like homemade.

Apple-Cinnamon Muffins

What you’ll need:

  • 1 box of Cinnamon-Streusel muffin mix
  • 1/2 large apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • Homemade streusel *

* For homemade  streusel, mix together about 2 tablespoons cold butter, 3-4 tablespoons regular flour and 3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar. Mix with fork until you have pea-sized granules. Adjust amounts to taste. When baked, the topping comes out crunchy.  Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container to use later.


Follow box directions for baking, i.e., oven temperature, lining muffin pan, etc.

  1. Mix ingredients (except packet of streusel from box)
  2. Add finely chopped apple to mix
  3. Add packet of streusel into wet batter and swirl with knife (do NOT mix in completely)
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan
  5. Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of homemade streusel (recipe above) on top of muffins
  6. Bake as directed


Any leftovers can be frozen for later.

Easy, Spicy Shrimp Gumbo

roux_2016Another cold-weather food we enjoy is shrimp gumbo. I always make this from a can of Campbell’s Chicken Gumbo soup but per usual . . . just add in stuff.

My original recipe for making shrimp gumbo from soup is at this link  but I’ve taken to spicing it up a bit using the recipe below.

Note: I’ve found that I can have roux on hand for gumbo, gravy, etc.  most of the time  by keeping the browned flour from the bottom of the frying skillet when I make fried chicken.  I simply pour off the excess oil, spoon the ‘roux’ into a covered container and store in the refrigerator.  Saves a lot of time and works great. I’ve left a bit of the oil on top to keep the roux moist. 




  • 1 can Campbell’s Chicken Gumbo soup
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons roux (see note below)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper
  • 1 stick Boudain ** (pre-cooked) ( use boudain that has been smoked on the BBQ if you have the time to do this before hand – it will add a fantastic flavor to the gumbo)
  • 12-18 shrimp – peeled, de-veined (depends on size and how many shrimp you want to have per serving)

** If you like your gumbo really spicy, you can buy the hot Boudain vs. regular boudain.  And, if you don’t like shrimp, you can use chicken.



  1. Heat roux in heavy sauce pan
  2. Add in onions, celery, and bell pepper – cook until they begin to soften, stirring continuously
  3. Add in can of Campbell’s Chicken Gumbo soup and broth – continue to heat
  4. Add in shrimp and cook until pink
  5. Add in pre-cooked boudain that has been cut into bite-sized chunks – do not over stir


Enjoy with some hot French bread !!



Don’t Forget Veteran’s Day . . . .


A special ‘thank you’ to my own wonderful husband . .  . still handsome and loving after all the years.


He was getting old and paunchy – And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, – Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in -And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; -They were heroes, every one.

And ‘tho sometimes to his neighbors -His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly -For they knew where of he spoke.

But we’ll hear his tales no longer, -For ol’ Joe has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer -For a Veteran died today.

He won’t be mourned by many, -Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary, =Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family, – Going quietly on his way;
And the world won’t note his passing, –   ‘Tho a Veteran died today.

When politicians leave this earth, -Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing, -And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories -From the time that they were young,
But the passing of a Veteran -Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution -To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise -And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow – Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country -And offers up his life?

The politician’s stipend -And the style in which he lives,veteransday_2016multi
Are often disproportionate, -To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Veteran, -Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal -And perhaps a pension, small.

It is not the politicians -With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom -That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, – With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out, -With his ever-waffling stand?

Or would you want a Veteran -His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Veteran, -Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Veteran, -And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us -We may need his likes again.

For when countries are in conflict, -We find the Veteran’s part,
Is to clean up all the troubles -That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor -While he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage -At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline -In the paper that might say:



Free Meals For Veterans

The restaurants listed below are just a few that will be offering free meals, appetizers, desserts, discounts, etc. to Veterans  this year   . . .  Friday, November 11.  Some are offering speicals on Monday  so check availability.  This link will take you  to a page where all  of the restaurants are listed  along with information.

Black Angus Steakhouse
Chuck E. Cheese
Cracker Barrel
Golden Coral (14th)
Olive Garden
Outback Steakhouse
Red Lobster
Ruby Tuesday’s
Texas Roadhose
TGI Friday
plus many  more.

Visit this link for information.







If you can’t view the video above, visit this link.