Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons - YUM!

'Tis the season to bake with abandon and not worry about fat and calories!  Right???? 

On Sunday I baked up a batch of these amazing Chocolate Dipped Macaroons to send back to school with DD (of course, I kept a few for me since none of my menfolk fancy coconut.)  They are super easy and have very few ingredients (++++ in my world.)  The original recipe came from Taste of Home magazine as a basic coconut macaroon, but I tweaked it and added the chocolate dip to make it work for me.  Hope you enjoy!

Chocolate Dipped Macaroons
  •  2 (14 ounce) bags of flaked coconut (about 5 cups)
  • 2/3 cups self rising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 package Candiquik (or other brand) Chocolate Coating

 1.  In large bowl combine the coconut, flour and salt.

2.  Add milk and vanilla and mix well (batter will be stiff!!!)

3. Grease baking sheet (I used Pam Spray)

4. Drop by tablespoons 1 inch apart (they don't spread)

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown (watch carefully because my first ones got too brown on the bottom).

***I also flipped mine in the last couple of minutes of baking because I like a nice golden brown toasted top but that is a personal preference.

6.  Remove to wire racks or wax paper to cool.

7.  Melt Candiquik according to package directions

8.  Dip bottoms of macaroons in melted chocolate and set on wax paper to cool! Store at room temperature.

9.  Enjoy!!!!!

Makes approximately 3 dozen large macaroons.

These are even better the next day!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Southern Lit. Pick of the Week: 2010 Christmas With Southern Living

The Christmas Season is upon us and if you haven’t already gotten some of that holiday spirit, I have a book that should get you going! This isn’t my usual fictional tale, but rather what I have come to think of as the bible of Christmas decorating and celebrating. It is the 2010 Christmas with Southern Living!

I have been collecting these annual gems since the mid 80s and have copies from as far back as 1982 and I still use them for ideas and inspiration every year.

This year’s edition does not disappoint with luscious recipes for both entertaining and gift giving. There are also tons of great decorating ideas that will get your creative juices flowing and inspire you to bring a touch of Christmas to every part of your home. I can’t wait to try the BLT Dip that is served with endive leaves as dippers and the Chocolate-Mint Brown Pops that will make perfect gifts (if any make it out of the house!). One really great section includes recipes for spa gifts such as Scented Bath Salts, Gardener’s Hand Scrub and even one for the men in your life, Outdoorsman Aftershave. I am thinking that several of my friends may be receiving my own “spa” creations this year thanks to Christmas with Southern Living!

Not only are there amazing recipes but there are also some really unique and fun decorating ideas like this square wreath with silverware. Wouldn’t this be perfect for a kitchen wreath?

Additional holiday helps included in the book are: 

• Full-color photos for nearly every recipe

• Recipe banners to help quickly identify types of recipes, from make-ahead to editor's favorite

• A bonus Holiday Planner filled with calendars, charts, and tips to make holiday planning a breeze

• A complete cross-referenced recipe index, a decorating index, and a where-to-find-it resourcelisting for many of the items shown in the book
Trust me when I say this is a keeper that you will refer back to, time and time again!


This post was written as a member of the Southern Mommas Writers
Please check out the Southern Sisterhood @ Southern Mommas

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dining Room Teaser....

Yes, I am a tease! 

This is just a tiny peek at what I will be posting about next week.  Wallpaper has been removed and we decided to go with paint instead of more wallpaper.  Window treatments have been completed and hung and we are ready to host Thanksgiving...just in the nick of time!  So, check back next week to see a before and after (dramatic after, I might add) of our DIY Dining Room face lift.

Can you tell I am excited about the results?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanking God for the Challenges

As I have gotten older I have become more and more convinced of the need to be transparent. So, in that vein I have to just say it - today has not shaped up to be a very good day.


Now, there was no sign of this very-bad-rotten-no good-day when I got up this morning. It was a beautiful, sunny, clear day. I blissfully got ready and got my boys off to school without a hitch. Then I came home, piddled around the house, did a blog post about cats and Black Friday, and talked to my daughter on the phone.

Good day….and then the phone rang. It was my daughter with “bad news”. Her bad news was that she - after 3+ years of driving - had her first up close and personal meeting with the Georgia State Patrol.  Not only will this be a very expensive little lesson, but I am angry at her choice, which could have taken her life or someone else’s (I am seriously angry). It scares me to my core to think what could have happened. Also, I now get to sit back and feel just a bit sick about what that means $$$wise. Next,the furnace repair guy came out to do a repair.  I knew he was coming but what I didn’t know, was that it would be a $530 visit. Now, I just get to feel sick again.

A few years ago I learned in a Bible study that we should thank God for the challenges. That was something that has resonated with me many times. Most of the time, honestly, I don’t “feel” like thanking Him for the challenges. My instinct is to whine over the challenges and just be frustrated (we ARE being transparent here, right?). But, I try to Thank Him for the challenges, even if at first it is more of a “fake it until you make it”. He knows my heart and He knows the struggle I have with thanking Him when I don’t see His big picture.

But, even in the shallow world in which I live, He gently reminds me of ways to be thankful. I am thankful that my daughter is safe. I am thankful that I am not planning a funeral or sitting beside a hospital bed. I am thankful that I have a furnace that needs a repair (as so many souls sit in the cold without heat), that I have a roof over my head; no one in my house is hungry. I am thankful that I serve a God that is in control and has a plan, is patient and especially that He puts up with my whiney self!

I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods.
I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name.
As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.
Psalm 138:1-2 (NLT)

Frugal Friday (prepping for Black Friday!)

I don't know how many of you are planning to be Retail Warriors next Friday, but Black Friday Ads should help you out if you will be joining the army of shoppers.  It has a copy of many Black Friday ads available already so you can plan your attack. There are also some great ads and list of online and pre-Thanksgiving ads to get your motor running! 

Onward, Retail Warriors!

Cats...

Thomas No Pants waits..
EXCERPTS FROM THE CAT'S DAILY DIARY:

Day 283 Of My Captivity.
My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.

Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded; must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair; must try this on their bed.

Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was. Hmmm, not working according to plan.

There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the food. More importantly I overheard that my confinement was due to MY power of "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.

I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The bird on the other hand has got to be an informant, and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room, his safety is assured. But I can wait, it is only a matter of time...

*Author unknown

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The most wonderful time of the year...Starbucks Holiday Drinks Buy One Get One!

Oh yes, my Starbucks loving friends...it is that special time of the year when not only does Starbucks have their Buy One Get One deal going on for the next few days (November 18-21, each day from 2 until 5 pm) but they also have some yummy holiday drinks to get you in the mood to celebrate.  So what will it be?  Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread or Caramel Brulee' Latte???? 

Also, don't forget to sign up for their 12 Days of Sharing deals  for more liquid holiday spirit!  They start December 1st so don't miss out.





***no endorsement paid, I just know lots of my blog friends are big Starbuck lovers!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Winner is.....

Sues at Castle Blake

Visit Sues at Caste Blake
Sues wins the Southern Mommas and Southern Somedays book giveaway for Karen White's latest release, Falling Home!!!  I know you will love it. Congratulations!!!


Sues, please drop me your mailing information so I can get your book out to you (you can leave it in a comment here as I have comment moderation enabled or you can send me a message via Southern Mommas).

Friday, November 12, 2010

Southern Lit. Pick of the Week: Falling Home by Karen White

I finally read Karen White’s Falling Home this week! Really, I felt bad that I didn’t get to it sooner; because her publicist made sure I had the book in hand before the release. But actually reading it? That wasn’t happening with everything else piled on my desk. Although Karen White is a New York Times bestselling author and I have several friends who love her Tradd Street series (The House on Tradd Street, The Girl on Legare) which are set in Charleston, this was the first time I had read any of her work.

Honestly, Falling Home was really 2 books in one! The first part of the book follows Cassie Madison from her successful life in New York City back to her home town, which just happens to be a (fictionalized) small town in Georgia to deal with the impending death of her father and face her sister after a painful, 15 year separation. These once close sisters had a break in their bond after older sister, Harriet, eloped with Cassie’s first love 15 years earlier. Upon her arrival “back home” Cassie struggles to cope with not only her sister and brother in law but also with the adjustment to a place where little has changed but she feels she has changed so very much. There were several scenes in the book that have a similar vibe as the movie “Sweet Home Alabama” which I loved. Since I was a small town girl from Georgia, myself, who left the south for a while - only to return - I could relate to much of what the character struggled with while acclimating herself back to the red clay of her Georgia roots.

The second half of this book was truly a novel within itself and what drew me in. It showed a great deal of character growth as Cassie faces not only the loss of her father but also the possible loss of her sister just when she realizes that the bond, though deeply injured, still remained. Cassie learns more about herself than she ever thought possible as she discovers that even though she left home, it never left her.

Although, not released as a Christmas novel, quite a bit of the storyline revolves around the holidays and I did enjoy that because ‘tis the season for holiday reads! The author, who lives in Georgia, has truly experience the magic (and mayhem) that a rare snow storm in Georgia can bring! This would make a great read to escape the holiday madness or a wonderful gift for anyone who loves a good Southern read!

Don’t forget you can win a new copy of Falling Home from the Southern Mommas and Southern Somedays book giveaway.

Click here and enter: Win a copy of Falling Home

This post was written as a member of the Southern Mommas Writers
Please check out the Southern Sisterhood @ Southern Mommas



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day, 2010

Thank you to all the men and women who have served and sacrificed
...God Bless you.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Don't Forget About The Book GiveAway!!!

Y'all don't forget about the Southern Mommas and Southern Somedays book giveaway.  It is for a brand, spanking new copy of Karen White's latest release, Falling Home!   It would be a perfect mental health get-away during the upcoming busy holiday season or a wonderful gift for a book lover on your list.  Hurry and enter!!!!

Enter Here:  Karen White's Falling Home Book Giveaway!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Still Chasing Fall...











  "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and storms their energy,
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."

~John Muir

Friday, November 05, 2010

Ah...the times, they are a changin'....

"...the future of publishing: 18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives. Average annual earnings: $1.75."
~ Garrison Keillor

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

We aren't doing Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I think we are going to skip Thanksgiving and Christmas and just celebrate Thanksmas or maybe, ChristGiving (I like that one better, anyway).  You see, around these parts, we start the holidays in November – way before Thanksgiving - and they run clear through until Christmas.  Seriously…it all becomes one big holiday anyway!  So this year instead of Thanksgiving and Christmas…I believe we will just do Christgiving…thank you very much.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Thoughts on Voting...

Did you vote today?  Are you going to vote today?  I did, bright and early this morning. 

On my way to the local polling place, I was really struck with the wonder of what was happening. 

Now, I am not new to voting, I have been doing it for several decades (did I say decades?...ouch) but this morning I was unusually awed by the experience.

First, I was humbled by the very fact that I had the freedom to vote.  It is really amazing that I...plain old me....could walk in and have my say on people that will hold a great deal of power and cast a vote yes or no on some heady issues...I got to do that.  But more importantly, I was awed by the very fact that I could do it without fear.  I had freedom from fear...not a single concern for my own safety.  I was able to make my stand without one thought of retribution or punishment going in or out of the polling station.  It is a freedom I know I have taken for granted so many times, but not this time.  This time I thought of all those in the world that have never, and will never know, that kind of freedom.

Also, I can't even contemplate MY freedom without saying a prayer of thanks for all the men and women that  have made and continue to make great sacrifices (and especially those who paid the ultimate price).  There are so many that have fought to insure that I could vote. I pray that my children will always know this freedom.

When I entered the polling place, it was different than in years past (in non-presidental years, that is ) in that there were long, long lines!  I was so surprised and so very pleased.  It was thrilling to see so many of my fellow citizens standing in the cold, waiting patiently to vote...peacefully.  What a wonderful sight!  I know some folks may struggle with patience if they arrive to vote and have to wait in line,  but not me.  I was honored to wait and would gladly have waited longer....for this Freedom.

VOTE!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Southern Lit. Book GiveAway!

Guess what, girls? I have a book giveaway!!!

Last week I received a package from author Karen White’s publicist with a book just for Southern Mommas!!! Many of you may be familiar with Georgia author Karen White’s work. She is the New York Times and Southern Independent Book Sellers Alliance bestselling author of On Folly Beach, The Girl on Legare Street, The Lost Hours, The House on Tradd Street, The Memory of Water and several others. Tomorrow her latest book, Falling Home, will be released and I am so excited to be able to host my very first giveaway just for members of Southern Mommas and followers of Southern Somedays (you have to be both to win).

I am currently reading Falling Home and will post soon about my impressions of the book, but thought it would be fun to go ahead and get this giveaway rolling so a lucky Southern Momma will also get to join in the fun! So enter until through Monday, November 15, 2010!

To enter you must:

1. Be a member of Southern Mommas (so if you aren’t already - oh, and being a Momma is NOT a requirement -…hop over and join the Southern Sisterhood - it is  free, fun and you will meet some wonderful friends).

2. Leave a comment under the giveaway post (Southern Lit Giveaway, Karen White's Falling Home) on the Southern Mommas site.

3. Be a follower of Southern Somedays and leave me a comment letting me know you are a Southern Momma!

It is that easy!!!

I will announce the winner on Tuesday, November 16, 2010.


This post was written as a member of the Southern Mommas Writers
Please check out the Southern Sisterhood @