Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ringing in the New Year....

Hey Y'all,
Well, today was a busy day! Look at what I finished!

My one New Year's rezzie for 2009 was to learn how to knit socks. CHECK!!!!! I started this pair WAY back in February when I took a sock knitting class at The Knit and Purl. By March, I had one sock done. Then Zorro became very sick and all of my friends kept having babies, so the last sock hibernated in my knitting bag. Well, over the past few weeks, when Paddington would let me, I slowly tried to finish them up. I decided today that they were getting finished BEFORE the clock hit 2010 tomorrow night! So there you have the evidence of my 2009 New Year's resolution!

I have another knitting project that I have had to step away from. I started making these as a gift for family members for the holidays. The knitting pattern is great, it is the seaming that is driving me mad. I hate to seam even under the best circumstances. But these babies call for a "special" seam called the Bickford seam. My patience is just not there yet. Maybe I will have more luck tomorrow! I hope these felt up as cute as the ones I have seen, but we will have to wait and see. Don't fret.. the pieces are supposed to look like this, I promise!

Next up on the knitting front are SEVERAL baby gifts. I have a baby set that I have been commissioned to do, my college roommate is expecting in March, and one of our third grade teachers is due in May. My one crafty New Year's Resolution this year is to learn how to crochet. I can chain like nobody's business.. but holding the yarn and getting the right tension is giving me a fit. Oh well. I have a whole year!

My other rezzie's include, of course exercise. With my crazy tummy and now elevated cholesterol, I am afraid that I don't have a choice in 2010.

As I mentioned in my Christmas newsletter, this has been a good, but sad year. I still miss Zorro like crazy, but I am very thankful for Mr. Paddington. Who is squeaking a bone and a ball as I type.

Let me run and play with him!

:) JKP

Monday, December 28, 2009

Livin' The Life..... Of a Couch Potato

Hey Y'all!

I hope the post finds you enjoying the ends of the holiday season! Our Christmas here at Chez Barks and Squeaks alot, was very bright! On Christmas Eve Eve, I got the word that Uncle Richard was coming home for Christmas! Uncle Richard and Aunt Brenda have been spending time in their mountain home and it was easier on Uncle Richard's flight schedule if they stayed at the mountain house. Well, the last ice storm changed their minds, and yippee, I ended up having Christmas Eve lunch and Christmas day lunch with him! Hooray for snow and ice storms. No, not really, but Uncle Richard came home!

It was my responsibility to make macaroni and cheese and a desert for Christmas Day lunch. Luckily, on Christmas Eve Eve Eve, Paula Deen had a crock pot special on the Food Network. So for my mac and cheese dish, I chose to follow her recipe for Mac and Cheese in the crock pot.

I followed the recipe, but did change a few things. First of all, I HATE eggs in macaroni, so I left those out. Also I did not add the mustard seed. Before I added the macaroni to the crock pot, I only cooked it for half of the time listed on the box. I hate when noodles are soggy, so I let the crock pot finish the work! The result was creamy and yummy. Although, I think next time I will bake it in the oven. I missed the crispy crust on top!

My next responsibility for Christmas lunch was a desert. I found a recipe in a magazine for bread pudding made with egg nog and a panettone. Panettone is that wonderful bread looking thing that you only see in the stores around Christmas.

Y'all know me, I started the whole thing off with rum. :)

This is what I topped mine with. Now for the recipe....

4 large eggs

1 quart of canned or refrigerated Egg Nog (I used the Vanilla Spice kind)

8 cups of cubed panettone

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2 quart shallow baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Whisk eggs in a large bowl until blended. Whisk in the egg nog. Place the pantettone cubes in the baking dish. Pour egg nog and egg mixture over the cubes. Add cranberries and raisins soaked in rum on top. :) Bake uncovered for 50 to 55 minutes until knife inserted comes out clean. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve. It serves 8.

This is mine, right before it went in the oven. The result was very yummy. The nice thing about this bread pudding is that is wasn't sugary and was the perfect way to end a heavy meal.

As you can see, my family enjoyed our feast!

Anywhoo, that's some of the things that I have been up too. Back to the life of a couch potato!!

:) JKP

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Got Milk?

Hey Y'all,

Well, as promised, I BAKED.
Here's the total of the spread I made! I started last night, I had a few of the doughs that had to be refrigerated overnight. I started baking at 8 this morning and just finished. As you can see, I don't have my sugar cookies cut out for now, but I decided it was time for me to back away from the flour!!
Today, I made....

Raspberry Shortbread with White Chocolate Drizzle (They are about to go in the oven here...)

Cranberry Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

My personal favorite of all time... BLONDIES!

Paddington says, "When is the fat guy in the red suit going to come? I have been a good boy!"
:) JKP

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Hey Y'all,

Well, the good news is, I am feeling SO much better! I have taken several long naps each day and have been taking my antibiotic like a good girl! Yesterday, I even went out to lunch with a friend! Today, I actually took the furry babies to the groomer and then came home and cleaned my ENTIRE house. Laundry too! So it looks like I have had a Christmas miracle!

So you know what this means for tomorrow.... BAKING! This afternoon I took the time to gather all of my cookie cutters that I haven't seen in years! The last time I actually made true cut out Christmas Cookies was about 5 years ago. My kitchen in this house is smaller than my last house, and I don't have as much counter space as a used to. While I love the kitchen I have now, when you bake cookies, you want to spread out. Well, this year I have decided to try it. I have several sugar cookie recipes to try and several icings I want to try as well. I also have some "non" sugar Christmas Cookies to bake too. Of course I watched a Paula special a few days ago on Cookie Swaps and have some ideas from there too!

So, of course, I will photo document all of my baking adventures. Stay tuned! I have to run... The Santa in the Brown Truck is here (the UPS guy) and Paddington enjoys torturing him!
:) JKP

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ms. Snuffleupagus

Hey Y'all,

Well, I am officially on Christmas Break. As of 3:00 on Friday I wanted to do cartwheels! Instead, I had to swim in a monsoon. In case you haven't been keeping up with the weather, a nice little blizzard has hit most of the country. However, Myrtle Beach did not see ANY snow. We saw RAIN. So much so, that for a little while on Friday night, I actually had lake front property. While Paddington has had immense fun jumping into puddles, I have not had so much fun cleaning his white fur off. Luckily for him (and he doesn't know this) he goes to see Megan the groomer on Tuesday!

I ran a few errands yesterday morning. I went to bed Friday with a massive headache, but I thought it was due to stress and the weather. By yesterday afternoon, I started to not feel so hot. I should have known something was up when I took a 3 hour nap yesterday afternoon. But no. So I woke up this morning feeling like Ms. Snuffleupagus. I have a massive sinus thing going on and I kind of feel like I have been hit by a truck. I started on an antibiotic and have been taking Tylenol Sinus around the clock. I am hoping that sleeping in tomorrow will help too!

Until I started feeling bad yesterday, I had a whole list of things I wanted to do this weekend. I wanted to do my holiday baking, but seeing as I have had the dizzies due to my sinuses, I passed on that. I did watch a few movies, one being Julie and Julia. I read the book on the way out to Tahoe this summer and enjoyed it. The movie was really interesting, especially the parts about Julia Child. It made me want to get in my kitchen and cook!

I also have several knitting projects going for Christmas. Well, since it's Friday, I better get to feeling better. I found the most precious pattern for these. I am not saying what they are. If you are a close family member, DO NOT CLICK THE LINK!!! They knit up in a jiffy and you get to felt. Need I say more? Also, they are so similar to my favorite shoes of all time. And we all know my professed love for all things Paula Deen, sweet tea and my favorite shoes of all time.

Today we had an impromtu family get together in Scranton at our barbeque place. It started out as a few of us just getting together before Christmas and then ALL of our family showed up. It was so nice to see everyone before Christmas.

Well, Pitty Pat is asleep in his crate, so I think I will go to bed. My head is hurting, so I think that is my cue...

Later Gators!
:) JKP

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Monkey Business

Hey Y'all,

Yesterday I mentioned in my post that I made some yummy Monkey Bread for my friends Toni and Marie who visited last weekend. This was a fantastic way to start our day long marathon of shopping. The best part is, refrigerate these when you are done and they are even better the next day! Here's the recipe with pics!

To make Paula Deen's Monkey/Gorilla Bread you will need:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
2 (12-ounce) cans refrigerated biscuts (10 count) (I use Pilsbury's Buttermilk ones)
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

Spray your bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. Then mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a seperate bowl. In a saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar over low heat, stir this well!
Next, cut the cream cheese into 20 equal cubes. Press the biscuits out with your fingers and sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon sugar. Place a cube of cream cheese in the center of each biscuit, wrapping and sealing the dough around the cream cheese. You will have a half moon looking biscut.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the nuts into the bottom of your bundt pan. Place half of the biscuits with the sugar and cream cheese in the pan. Sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar, pour half of the melted butter mixture over the biscuits, and sprinkle on 1/2 cup of nuts.

Layer the remaining biscuits on top, sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar, pour the remaining butter mixture over the biscuits, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of nuts. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Place a plate on top and invert.

I served mine with hot coffee and a side of fruit. Trust me, it was a HUGE HIT! So if you want something yummy to make for Christmas morning.. this is it!!
:) JKP

Saturday, December 12, 2009

So This is Why I Haven't Blogged.....

Hey Y'all,

Well, this is the current state of my living room. Do you see all of the dog toys? Yup. This is what has kept me from blogging. Among other things. Paddington has taken over the living room!

Pitty Pat on guard at the window!

Pitty Pat on guard at the door!

Pitty Pat posing for the camera! He has gotten SO BIG! He now weighs 14 pounds! He has also gotten really cute about some things. He now knows that he can lay on my bed with me at night. He doesn't sleep with me yet, but we are almost there. He loves to sit on the chair in the living room and patrol the 'hood. He has some other things he has figured out too. Like how to pull the toilet paper off of the roll and shred it. He has also learned how to pull up the carpet and chew on it! Ahh... puppy hood. Paddington is now 9 months and is still very much a puppy!!
Paddington stayed with my mom last weekend while my two very best buddies came to visit me for a ChristmasPaloozaGirlsWeekend2009 extravaganza. We shopped from one end of Horry County to another AND even into North Carolina! While the girls were here I made a fantastic Monkey Bread recipe by Paula Deen. I will post it with pics tomorrow. They are so yummy, that they deserve their own post!!! Let's just say, that they are very yummy in the tummy!
Well, we have one more week until school gets out for Christmas. Thank God. I don't know how I am going to make it through next week. Lots of Excedrin will be involved. I am such a Grinch, my kiddies have tests on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I guess it is just bad timing, but I've got a few things I HAVE to do before Christmas! I have plenty of fun things planned for Thursday and Friday, so it will be fine.
Tomorrow I am going to try and shoot the annual Christmas Card. Zoe will not be in the picture this year. She still doesn't like Paddington and proved it this week by biting him on the nose. :)
I am off to snuggle on the sofa with Paddington and watch some Christmas movies on TV...
I'll check in tomorrow!!
:) JKP