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Surprises & Change

Surprises and change . . . two things I particularly don’t like. Of course, surprises can be a good thing – like the beautiful sunset we had last night.

 

But then finding a snake in the goldfish pond isn’t one of the surprises I like.

Went out the other day to check on the water level and there skimming along the surface was a rather long ribbon snake. Looked like it was at least a foot long.   Have no idea what he was looking for since we currently don’t have any goldfish.  So off I went to get the net.  Thought I might be able to catch him and toss him into the field.  Well I did get back in time to scoop him up – but  only half of him which meant that he was able to slither out of the net and slide under the deck step.  Of course, now every time I go out I look for that snake.  I don’t like snakes!

 

 

 

Now for change. Finally had to breakdown and get a new billfold . . . wallet  . . . clutch, whatever you want to call it as my old one was to the point of having stuff fall out.  Reason I don’t like getting a new billfold?  I get comfortable with a wallet and where everything is . . . and getting a new one means getting familiar all over  with where things are.    In fact, panic almost sets in if there is a credit card out of place.  Just know I’ve either left it somewhere or lost it !  Does that make me OCD????

 

All in all, the new one is much better.  Larger, more space for credit cards (but who has – or needs –  18 credit cards ??!!!).  It also has RFID protection.   Didn’t know wallets came with this embedded.  RFID is the blocking of someone trying to get your credit card information using a  scanning device when they come within close proximity of you.

 

Living in a rural area I’m not too concerned about this – but nevertheless guess it is good to have.  If your wallet or handbag doesn’t  have RFID protection, there are protective sleeves you can purchase to keep credit cards safe.  Can’t say how effective they are – and seems like it would be a lot of trouble having to take a card in and out of two holders.  But then if it keeps someone from making illegal charges . . . might be worth it.

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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, one thing that doesn’t change are the old stand-by recipes that I make.  This year think we’ll have the following:

Sugar-free Cranberry Sauce

Rodeo Nuts

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Sugar Free Cookies w/Cherry filling

I’m seeing a definite trend here of sweet, sweet, sweet.

And, just so you’ll know . . . please check back.  I’ve come up with a new recipe for a 50% sugar free chocolate cake with a sugar-free cream filling. David thought it was the best yet.  And, that’s going to be our Christmas treat!  Will post recipe sometime after Thanksgiving.

 

Hope everyone has a wonderful, safe Thanksgiving !

 

 

 

 

 


“Bomb-Diggity” Cheddar Biscuits

Looks like Fall has arrived. There is a light haze across the valley and hills beyond – and the trees are starting to turn those lovely maroon and gold colors.  Our maple tree has some beautiful red leaves – and that, of course, is why we planted it.  And can’t forget to mention  the yaupon.  The branches are loaded with red berries looking much like Christmas.   Not every year we see a colorful Fall – but when we do I feel like I’m living in a picture postcard.

 

 

 

 

 

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For those that have been to Red Lobster and enjoyed those ‘Cheddar-Bay Biscuits’ (and have tried making them at home) – it seems they never quite turn out the same as the ones you get at the restaurant.  At least mine never have.

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There is a Cheddar-Bay mix out on the market which I have not tried simply because our stores don’t carry it. So I improvised with the Pioneer Mix recipe for cheese biscuits and came up with the following.  These biscuits – according to David – are the best yet.  Moist, fluffy and soooo good.  He enjoyed them so much, I think I made them something like three days in a row this week!

 

Came up with the recipe more or less by accident so that I wouldn’t’ t waste some leftover buttermilk in the fridge . . . and everything tastes better when made with real butter.  So here goes . . .

 

Bomb-Diggity Cheddar Biscuits

Makes 12 biscuits

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Pioneer Mix
  • 1/2 cup hand-shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup cultured buttermilk
  • 1 TBSP melted butter

Directions

  1. In mixing bowl add all ingredients and blend. Do NOT over mix and Do NOT knead.  (If the dough is too thick, mix in 1 tsp water – dough should be soft and pull from sides of bowl)
  2. Set dough aside for 5 minutes to rest
  3. Using a pair of teaspoons, place drop biscuits on baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper.
  4. Place in a pre-heated, 450 degree oven and bake for 8-10 minutes
  5. Remove biscuits from oven and brush with butter topping (recipe below)

 

Butter Topping

  • 2 TBSP melted butter
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

Melt butter in the microwave and in add seasonings.

 

Tips:

  1. Use Pioneer Mix – to me it produces a lighter textured biscuit than the other brands and I’ve tried most of them.
  2. Use real butter !!
  3. Shred your own cheddar cheese – the pre-packaged shredded cheeses contain an ingredient that keeps it from sticking together in the bag which means if added to anything it will either ‘dry’ it out or ‘thicken’ it. Note:  This is a good thing if adding  shredded cheeses to cheese sauces that you want or need to thicken up.
  4. Don’t skip the step where you let the dough rest.
  5. Using parchment paper on the baking sheet, keeps the cheese from burning on the biscuit bottoms.

 

Final Thought:  With regard to the buttermilk  . . . consider coordinating your cooking to make these biscuits, the Crunchy, Country Fried Chicken and the Cake in the Pan   (Regular sugar  or 50% Less Sugar ) so that you use up all the buttermilk.  That is – of course – unless you enjoy drinking it!

 

PS – The ‘bomb-diggity’ moniker is courtesy a friend who says it means primo and to  us these biscuits are definitely primo. Thanks Karen.

 

Dog Funnies

If your house is like ours,  your pet – or pets – quite often seem to rule-the-roost. So when I saw the cartoons below, I could totally relate.  In our defense, we’re not to the point of letting Bear have our bed but he does have a bit of OCD and likes his schedule to be the same every day . . . which is totally not possible resulting in a bit of sulking sometimes . . . him not us!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To see all 10 ‘Dog  Humor’ cartoons, visit this link.

I don’t have a problem giving Bear a bath even though he does not like water – he just stands there kind of frozen –  but for those that do, I thought this trick was pretty smart.  (click on the image to see the video – if you don’t have a Facebook account, click ‘Not Now’)

 

 

 

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With Halloween just around the corner, the stores are full of candy for the kids . . . thought this Halloween brie treat looked like something for the adults.   Uses brie cheese and store bought pastry – easy and cute.

(click on the image to see the video – if you don’t have a Facebook account, click ‘Not Now’)

 


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Sugar Free Cheesecake Brownies . . . & Raccoons

Well this post was intended for a few days ago – but then around here things never seem to go as planned. Just too much to do and not enough time.

 

And then on top of that, there was the raccoon. I’ve not had many encounters with ‘wild’ animals since we’ve lived here – but my experience the other night would have to take the cake  . . . without a doubt.

 

Normally Bear sleeps inside, but with the temperature in the 40’s he didn’t want to come in, so we let him sleep out.  All was quiet until around 3:30 in the morning.   David woke me saying Bear had been barking for a while.  This usually happens when there is an animal (armadillo) outside the fence digging.  Off I go – flashlight in hand to chase the animal off.

 

What I find is Bear in the corner of the yard jumping at the fence. So I try to get him to stop jumping/barking – no luck.  I get closer and bend over to give him a little push and calm him –  but when I stand up – OMG!!!!!  – there  eye-to-eye, staring me in the face  was a raccoon perched on top of the fence . . . reared up, snarling  and hissing.

 

Didn’t know I could move so fast backwards.   Everything from then on is a bit of a blur.  I vaguely remember screaming which of course scared both David and Bear – not the raccoon  . . . then somehow managed to get Bear onto the back porch and then herded him inside the house.   Needless to say I was wide awake by now and ended up watching TV for a while until I thought I could go back to sleep. What an ordeal !  I am so thankful that the raccoon hadn’t jumped on Bear – and then didn’t jump on me.  Could have had a really bad outcome.

 

Now for something sweet. Made the sugar  free  cheesecake brownies last week.  They turned out good – I don’t think anything sugar free is ever quite what I hope for – but they were good – and David enjoyed them.

This is the recipe for those that might want to give them a try.

Sugar Free – Cheesecake Brownies

INGREDIENTS

Brownies

  • 1 box Pillsbury SF Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 1/2 cup water (See Tips below)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup oil (no canola, please !!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 heaping TBSP cocoa

Cheesecake Swirl

  • 4 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/3 cup Splenda®
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk

 

Directions: 

For cheesecake swirl:

  1. Mix all ingredients together and set aside

 For brownies:

  1. Combine egg, oil, water and vanilla in a medium size mixing bowl
  2. Add cake mix and cocoa and blend until moistened.
  3. Pour batter in a greased, 8″ x 8″ baking dish and level
  4. Spoon the cheesecake mix on top of the brownie batter and swirl into batter using a knife
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes
  6. Remove from oven, cool – frost if desired and enjoy

Tips:

  1. If the brownie batter seems too thick, add 1 TBSP of water at a time to thin so as to make swirling the cheesecake batter easier.
  2. To get cheesecake swirl to swirl better, try using a skewer for a thinner, neater swirl. (You’ll see in the image, using a knife was somewhat clumsy.  I’ll use a skewer next time or simply make a cheesecake ‘layer’ with the frosting on top of that !)
  3. Frost with the “Cake in the Pan”   Frosting for more chocolate deliciousness !!!!
  4. The cheesecake swirl will also work if making regular brownies, just replace the Splenda® with sugar.