Chatbooks ~ New Twist on the Photo Album

I had heard of Chatbooks about a year ago and I recently swallowed the bait. I’m now hooked. Even though I created a custom one and they sent the first one based on chronological order it’s totally better. They apparently know best. 

My Instagram Feed makes me smile, I’m proud of my photo subjects and our memories. Having a physical book of them to thumb through is just icing on the cake.
*make sure you go to your Instagram and delete any photos of people you wouldn’t want in your album and any snarky quote photos. I don’t really wanna pay for those pics, luckily my first album was fine but I did do some heavy weeding of the remaining photos.

  
Chatbooks get an A+ from me! I signed up for a once a month subscription which is the most affordable option. You can also order additional copies, they’d make great gifts.

Cleaning Out the Cupboard 

  

I ended up only needing one box of pasta salad mix. This was added to 2 lbs. of browned ground beef. After the beef was cooked I added a tbsp.-ish of all purpose flour to thicken the sauce. 

In the coffee bottle is evaporated milk(almost an entire cans worth).

  
After the pasta was cooked through(add water in addition to the milk)I added authentic cheddar, I like Cabot Extra Sharp.

My family loved this dish. I didn’t eat right away so my pasta was soggy but still really good. I usually cook the pasta in the microwave with 16 oz. of water for about 10 minutes if I’m making the pasta salad. That would certainly make it more aldente to stir it in after the beef is cooked.

Add in items that would be good include Rotele, plain diced tomatoes, scallions, chopped crispy bacon, maybe even some olives, black or green. 

This is a quick, tasty dinner and I was able to use one of the many boxes of pasta salad that my daughter stockpiles then proceeds to eat for days in a row then tires of. She seemed to really like this dish in spite of a recent round of Ranch and Bacon Burnout.

PEEPS

In my Facebook Feed, Country Living(which I’m a longtime subscriber)featured an article bashing PEEPS! Say what???

Even non-marshmallow lovers are attracted to their brightly colored charm. They’re fun and biting in to that sugary crust is one of life’s great pleasures. No Easter Basket is complete without Peeps!

  
Recently, my oldest daughter tried Hawaiian Punch Peeps…she loves them! They’re gorgeous too!!! Bright candy for a wonderful, meaningful holiday.

Comfort and Food

Motherhood and grandmothering are my greatest accomplishments, that’s the ultimate comfort in my life but…there is a second runner up that is very near and dear…FOOD!
There were several times in my life that I tried to control my relationship with food. You, know teen years and after the first baby when you actually give a hoot what people think. Skinny means more clothing choices but for me it didn’t equal happiness.

In the late 90’s Food Network entered the scene and it was totally life changing. After many years of watching my favorite cooks and chefs I consider myself a guru of not only eating great food but preparing it as well.

No more agony of being chained to a recipe, the ability to improvise was a real game changer. I feel like before Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals my views on preparing a meal were in a completely different universe. For years I’d get ideas about what new gourmet ingredient was an essential to have in my pantry from Martha and I love her dearly but Rachael broke it down on how to utilize gourmet ingredients in a way that even a complete novice could comprehend then proceed to cook a five star meal at home in very little time with no fuss and minimal effort.

In November of 2002 Ina Garten burst through the Food Network lineup captivating the home cooks as well as celebrities and beyond. Through social media I found out that my one year old was not the only toddler that Ina had wrapped around her spatula. The theme song was mesmerizing, I felt like crying when they changed it years later.  Ina cooks precisely, measuring everything, I do not but I feel her casual elegance has helped me hone my skills to a spectacular level.

These are the people who gave me the confidence to do my own thing with food and cooking. It feels amazing to grab a yeast donut out of fridge(that I made!)warm it slightly in the microwave, slap some icing and sprinkles on it and be in a donut shop right in my own home. It’s like no other feeling. Just add coffee.

These are a few of my latest creations…(food is art).

  
Sunflower Seed Oat Bread

  

Fresh Green Beans sautéed with Caesar Dressing, Mushrooms and Parmesan

  

Pepperjack Alfredo

Unlikely Subjects

Photography to me doesn’t mean complicated equipment, it simple, timeless and effortless. 

  
  
This week I’m anticipating the arrival of a small, inexpensive card reader from Apple that will eliminate the need for a computer. I will be able to use my DSLR in conjunction with iPad Mini which is a dream come true.

February 25th, in my Facebook Feed was an article about taking photos of mundane things when you are in a snappy rut. Exactly a year before I took pics of that nature, not because I was in a rut but because it’s super fun and since I’m a quirky type they are photos that I would never be afraid to hang on my wall.

  
  
   

These two are from my 2009 archives. Not bad for someone who thought they knew a lot but really didn’t. Photography can be as difficult or simple as you decide to make it. Elegant simplicity is my motto.

 
  
  
 

Dallas: A Love Story ~ Part I

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In 1978 I started Kindergarten and began a lifelong relationship with CBS’s Nighttime Soap, Dallas. My mom allowed me to share the Friday 9pm Central weekly drama with her and I shared the 8pm Dukes of Hazzard times slot with her, although she was busy putting together my round tortilla chips and Aldi Longhorn Cheese oven nachos. She had sewed a humongous floor pillow for me to enjoy these occasions and I was glued to the tube for two solid hours of yee haws, raw liver, bourbon and branch, lying, cheating and power trips. It was glorious!

To be continued…

(because I can’t stand looooooong posts)
*Dallas completed its run the Friday before I graduated from High School on May 17, 1991. Now that’s a successful series to be on the air for an entire school career length!