Chat-Chat and All That!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

GOOD MORNING to ALL my Bloggy Friends!

Yesterday was Administrative Professional’s Day – otherwise known as Secretary’s Day. Belated greetings to the other Admin Pro’s out there. Maybe I AM old, but I still call myself a Secretary – when did that become a derogatory moniker? Working in the world of accounting and tax prep, the *holiday* comes at a very GOOD time for me and the other secretary in our office – all the hard work we put in during tax season is fresh in everyone’s memory and we SCORE the gifts, lol. Now usually I am NOT the send flowers from the florist kind of gal (being more the go to the nursery and bring me a tree or bush or such kind of gal), BUT I admit to always enjoying the lovely flowers that adorn my desk because of Administrative Professional’s Day.

Speaking of tax season – WHEW – so glad that is over for another year!! I have used my *extra* time since putting my little nest back together – fluffing and more fluffing! Last weekend my daughters helped me put on a garage sale. I was able to downsize quite a lot and remember me telling you that Easter dinner would probably be the last family gathering around my dining room table – it was. It now belongs to a nice family with lots of little children and will make new family gathering memories. I have some work to do on my little farm table and then I will be bringing it in and will do a BIG reveal.

Something else new, I have taken on a SECOND job! I tried this a few years ago when I first separated from my now ex-husband. It really didn’t work out but I still had teens at home then and it was a set scheduling situation…..this position is much more flexible and will easily fit into my empty-nester lifestyle – I hope, lol. It will help me pay off that new car quickly – speaking of which, the deer damage is now but a memory!

Vacation is coming up and that means so is my 10K – YIKES!! More about that later.

We continue with our weird weather year – very unseasonably warm. I spoke with my friend the farmer last night and he said he was planting his last field of corn – IT’S STILL APRIL! I have so far resisted the urge to get out and plant my annuals – although I have been itching to get at it!

Usually I stop writing when I am done with what is new or what I have to talk about – well, I could go on and on (didn’t even mention the grandbaby, lol), BUT will save some back for later.

One more thought, I received an email yesterday from my friends at Gooseberry Patch -- I have not 1 BUT TWO new books on their way to me for review -- that means LOTS of new recipes and giveaways!! Look for those SOON!

I’ve missed blogging and my blogging friends! Be Blessed Friends!!

Low Carb Living ~ Twice-Baked Cauliflower

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I admit that cauliflower is one of my favorite low-carb vegetables. Mostly because you can do so many things with it. Before converting to a low-carb lifestyle, I rarely cooked it -- all those years I missed out on all this goodness!! My daughter declared that this is as good as potatoes -- well, YES it is :)

Twice-Baked Cauliflower
(Printable Version)

1 large head cauliflower
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup minced green onions
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked until very crisp, and then crumbled
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut out stem and core from cauliflower, and cut into small pieces. Cook in large pot of boiling salted water until cauliflower is tender, but not overly soft. Drain well and mash with potato masher to desired consistency. Mix in cream cheese, sour cream, green onion, Parmesan, and 3/4 of the crumbled bacon. Spread evenly in a medium-sized glass casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and reserved bacon. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serves 6.

Net carbs per serving - 6

Posting to Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm -- she is giving away a Kitchen Aid Mixer so scoot over and enter in!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Running behind seems to be the theme of my life this time of year -- seems appropriate to post a day late.

Remember my #2 daughter asking me to ask all you prayer warriors to pray for her dear little friend Keller? He is doing wonderfully and there was an article in our little newspaper about him so I thought I'd share that with you - a GREAT praise report!! Keller UPDATE .

And while on the subject of little boys, I have to show you this photo of my grandbaby -- boy was he a happy little guy when he was at Gigi's house for Easter. He smiled like that every time those ears went on his head, lol. #1 Daughter called last night to say he has his first ear infection. Boo!!!
Easter dinner was a HUGE success with my family. I had never tried bacon-wrapping a pork loin and was thrilled with the results. I used a thick-cut apple-smoked bacon and it gave the pork a slight smokey flavor that was outta this world.
First time try for me was Twice-Baked Cauliflower -- YUM!! I'll share that recipe on Friday for Low-Carb Living.

Everyone's favorite spring salad got a low-carb makeover and was also a HIT!!

The table was simple yet very beautiful - the LILACS were over-the-top GORGEOUS! They bloomed perfectly for Easter and are now on their way out - making room for what comes next in the spring line-up.
This was probably the last holiday family dinner around this table - I've decided to sell it in some down-sizing that I plan for after tax season. It has served me well but in my garage is stored the most wonderful old, restored farm table and I am wanting to use it full-time. Size-wise the farm table is a much better fit. Sometimes letting go of things just makes sense.
Last up, I thought I'd show you my car after yesterday's vehicle vs. deer altercation.
The estimate came back yesterday afternoon to the tune of just over $2,200.00. Thankful that it is just money - and it will be done before my vacation to Arizona at the first of May -- and speaking of that, I am training HARD for my 10K race - not sure I'll be able to run the entire race but I am determined to do my very best.

Looking forward to having next Wednesday off. We always close the office the day after the tax deadline. I plan to spend the day doing some spring cleaning AND catching up with my favorite blogs. I've missed you all! Blessings!!

Oh, My DEER!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Life is interesting -- and sometimes complicated. I planned on posting this morning but this wasn't the post I had planned (I'll post that one tomorrow). This morning started out very ordinary - if the week before IRS deadline can be ordinary - it didn't take long for it to make a twist and things changed up completely. While driving into work on the highway at 65 mph, I was hit by a deer. LOTS to be thankful for -- it was early and traffic was light - the deer hit the driver's side of the car and really could have caused damaged to me and didn't - I didn't see it coming so didn't have time to do something dumb, like swerve - INSURANCE (including my sweet agent who talked me into the $500 deductible instead of the $1,000 when I purchased the car) - although the car is damaged, I was still able to drive it - a client who owns a body shop and got my car right in for the estimate (not to mention dropped me back to work when I took him the car and will deliver it back to me when he is done with the estimate). What do you have to be thankful for today?

Easter Greetings!

Saturday, April 7, 2012
Taking a break from all the preparations for tomorrow and wanted to spend a few moments to send a greeting and wish you all a blessed day as we reflect on the GIFT of Jesus and his love.

I will be hosting my family -- the kids and grandbaby and son's girlfriend's 2 little boys -- for an early dinner tomorrow. The menu is all planned, shopping is finished and most of the do-ahead work is done. The lilacs are early this year and I got out and cut tons of them to decorate the table with -- oh, how I LOVE the lilacs! There will also be eggs - lots of eggs and little boys for finding them. The menu includes Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin, Twice-Baked Cauliflower & Hash Brown Casserole (for the carb eaters), Strawberry Spinach Salad and my homemade rolls. Desserts will be both the Strawberry Cups I posted on Friday and Angel Food Cake and Strawberries w/Whipped Cream.

Beautiful Daughter #1 and Grandson Gabe at the Egg Hunt her work does for the staff and resident's children.

Low-Carb Living ~ Strawberry Cups

Friday, April 6, 2012
Another incredibly busy week - just a little more than a week and this tax season will be put to rest - well, except for all the extensions to be done this summer, lol. I will be back to more regular blogging very soon.

Until then, I made this recipe last weekend and found it to be WONDERFUL!! It would be perfect for an Easter dessert or dessert anytime for that matter.

Strawberry Cups
(Printable Version)

1 cup water
1 pkg (4-serving size) sugar-free lemon gelatin
10 ounces frozen unsweetened strawberries, partly thawed
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Splenda

Bring water to a boil. Put gelatin and boiling water in a blender and whirl for 10 to 15 seconds to dissolve the gelatin. Add the strawberries, and whirl again, just long enough to blend the berries. Put the blender container in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, or just until the mixture starts to thicken a bit. Add 3/4 cup of the heavy cream, and run the blender just long enough to mix all in (10 to 15 seconds). Pour into 5-6 pretty little dessert cups and chill. Whip the remaining 1/4 cup of cream with the vanilla and a tsp of Splenda to garnish.

Yield: About 5 servings, each with 6 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of fiber, for a total of 5 grams of usable carbs and 3 grams of protein.