Easy as pie? Is pie really easy? It's easy to eat, but not always easy to make. Excellence is easy to appreciate and enjoy, but getting there takes a while. Join me in my Pursuit In Excellence. It won't be quick , but it will be worth it!
For me excellence revolves around motherhood and grandmahood. It is central to my many interests which I use to help my children develop their talents and have fun.
I share my journey here, The Homemaking Cottage and Arizona Mama. Be sure to see what else is cooking!
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Category Archives: cooking
I made a mistake a couple of weekends ago. Actually I made several mistakes, but this one involved someone who has been rather toxic in my life. The demeaning response and consequent attempt to take advantage of the situation lifted the floodgate of emotions related to a situation I’ve been working to overcome.
Mistakes are a funny thing. No one wants to make them, but they are often the gateway to experience, learning and growth. How many times have we been told about the number of failures Edison had before he invented the light bulb? Or how many shots Michael Jordan missed? The learning is in the journey and the journey is filled with bumps, pit stops and distractions.
I remember a discussion in Sunday School a couple of years ago about mistakes, where the instructor said mistakes aren’t bad. I don’t think I can describe the shock that reverberated through my body as I thought of the consequences I faced for past mistakes. That was the first time I realized that maybe my perception of mistakes were off kilter. Actually, that was at the beginning of my discovery that maybe many of my perceptions were off kilter, but that’s another blog post.
I let the reactions to my alleged mistakes by someone close to me feed my insecurity in my decision making ability. I was often paralyzed and unable to decide anything for fear of making a mistake. I walked on eggshells, fearing I would unwittingly make a mistake in this person’s eyes – which happened frequently. I don’t want to focus on my relationship, but a little about how others react to our mistakes. For me, I developed a fear of not only failure but also a fear of making decisions.
Mistakes show we are trying. If we’re not making mistakes, are we really living? When I struggle with a decision, I remind myself that if I choose the wrong option then I’ll pick myself up and move on. Often, a choice is just a choice with no right or wrong answer. Like the time I made cookies with candy corn instead of chocolate chips. They tasted fine, but they were messy and ugly. Lesson learned.
Other times mistakes can lead to pain, and that’s OK too. Life is meant to have good days and bad days. It’s very hard to appreciate the good, without the not so good. For me a painful day is still better than those days I was numb, blocking out how unhappy I had become with my stagnate life.
It’s so good to feel again, regardless of the emotion; although I do prefer the positive emotions. This year I’m focusing on rediscovering what makes me happy. I’m bound to stumble on some unsuccessful attempts. And I’m sad to say I’ll make a few more mistakes and some of them might sting a bit. Hopefully by the end of the year, I’ll be more in tune to what makes me tick with no visible scars from the mistake or two (or 90) I make along the way.
One of my favorite fall activities when I lived in California was a trip to Apple Hill to enjoy a caramel apple. Actually I enjoyed more than just caramel apples. I also enjoyed apple pies, apple fritters, apple cider and an occasional applesauce doughnut.
Since it’s a rather long drive to Apple Hill from Arizona, I had decided to make my own caramel apples this year. I had heard a few different tips, so I decided to search Pinterest for the perfect caramel apple. Alas I couldn’t find the perfect recipe, but I found several different recipes with a lot of good suggestions.
I couldn’t decide which one of the recipes would be best, instead I took parts from several of the recipes and came up with my own version of the best caramel apples.
- 5 medium apples
- Popsicle sticks (optional)
- 1 bag of caramels
- 1 Tbsp milk
- Extras: mini chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, chopped nuts
- Boil water with 1 teaspoon of vinegar
- Insert Popsicle sticks into apples, I used a fork instead to make it easier to cut my caramel apple into wedges
- Dip apples into boiling water and swirl to remove waxy residue from apples
- Towel dry
- Set apples on cookie sheet in the fridge to chill
- Melt caramels with milk
- Let melted caramels stand for one minute
- Dip apple and let excess caramel drip off
- Immediately roll apple in extras, if desired
- Place on wax paper covered cookie sheet and let cool.
Not only did I think they were super yummy, my kiddos agreed. We may live too far away to continue our Apple Hill tradition, but I think we came up with a good caramel apple substitute.
I wanted to make a Halloween treat for my friends at work, and I happened to have a little bit of candy corn I wanted to use. Like 3 pounds of candy corn. It was the perfect time to make a batch Monster Munch.
12 Cups popped popcorn
1/2 Pound vanilla bark
1 Cup candy corn
1/2 Cup Reese’s Pieces
- Put the popcorn in a big bowl; and I mean big!
- Add candy corn and Reese’s Pieces
- Melt vanilla bark, pour over popcorn and candy
- Mix well
- Spread on wax paper
- Break into chunks
- Feed to your favorite monsters!
I’m happy to report everyone enjoyed it and even shared with their friends. It was pretty fun being so popular at work that day!
The best part about this sweet treat is it’s quick,easy and you still have time to whip up a batch before the ghouls come out this Halloween.
What started off as our traditional Christmas morning breakfast has also become our traditional Easter morning breakfast. With all those hard-boiled eggs, this is the perfect way to actually use all those eggs the Easter Bunny hid. Just don’t try it with the plastic ones; the chocolate ones might not be the best either.
I love when the egg dye bleeds into the eggs and makes breakfast a little extra pretty.
Since the Easter Bunny visits us on Saturday morning, I assemble Sunday’s breakfast on Saturday night and bake it Sunday morning.
- 12 hard boiled eggs
- 24 sausage links
- 1 cube of butter or margarine
- 1 cup flour
- 3-4 cups milk
- Cheddar cheese
- Brown sausage and lay in 9” x 13” pan.
- Slice eggs in half lengthwise and lay on the sausage.
- Melt butter, stir in flour and milk.
- Cook until over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it forms a thick sauce, about 10 or 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle cheese on top.
- Cover with foil.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 350.