Wednesday, May 30, 2012

~Severe Weather and Giveaway Winner~

Whew, it's been a flurry of activities around here for the last several days!  Almost at the last minute, we made a quick trip to Omaha to not only see our son and his family but to buy a new truck for our RV.  More about that later.

Taken by one of my Facebook friends
For the last couple of days, we have been experiencing really severe weather here in Oklahoma, which is not unusual as we are in the smack dab in the middle of tornado alley but we are also blessed to have the National Weather Service located in our state with the most up-to-date radar and technology available making us the most informed people in the country!

Taken by one of my Facebook friends
A couple of pictures posted by some of my FB friends.  Absolutely breathtaking, aren't they?

News source:
 Some areas of the state were being soaked with 5 to 7 inches of rain along with being pummeled by hail.  Anywhere from the size of a quarter to the size of a softball!!   Pretty good size, huh?  There was one shown on the news last night that literally covered the woman's entire hand!  Probably the size of a grapefruit.

News source:
 I can remember, years ago, we had a storm roll through with grapefruit size hail hitting our area causing horrific damage so it's not unusual.  Just not something you want to happen on a regular basis.  Can you imagine?  It's like being in the midst of a military battle!!

News source:
The worst of the weather went around us but we did have a tremendous lightning storm.  I wasn't brave enough to go out and try to take any pictures.  One brave soul did though.  Somewhere in the city.

Taken by my daughter
This is a picture my older daughter took out at her place.  I like what she said...."when life sends a storm, look for the silver lining."  Isn't that great?  Even in the midst of all this severe weather, there is much beauty to behold.  God is so good.  Only He can create such breathtaking beauty. 

News source:
We're expecting round three of the severe weather today with 80 mph wind and softball size hail.  What a beautiful reminder that He is in control and His promises are always with us.  Even though this type of weather is not unusual for our state, it's still scary but we won't head for the hills.  We'll be on our toes and will be watching the minute by minute details on TV.  Thankfully, we have a cellar near the house that we can run to if necessary.

Okay, on to the GOOD news!  Finally.  It's time to give away the needlebook that I made for one of you.  I have a very scientific way of picking a winner.

 I write each name on a scrap piece of paper, wad it up and put it in my nifty little giveaway bowl.

 Shake and toss them around several times and the first wad that falls out is the winner.

And the winner is...Heather of Vintage Grey!!  Congratulations Heather!  I'll drop you an email to get your mailing address.  I truly enjoyed reading each of your comments about Mother's Day.

By the way, are you guys impressed with my scientific method of drawing a winner?  Pretty neat, huh?  I think I'll have to patent it. :)

I pray that your day is calm and beautiful~

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Monday, May 21, 2012

~Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad~

This is our fifth wheel.  We bought it last year as an upgrade from the first one we purchased a few years ago.  We love it as a way to get out and away from our own little paradise here on earth to see other parts of the country.  So far, we have been visiting alot of our own state parks that are absolutely beautiful and, a few weeks ago, we went to Lake Murray State Park in southern Oklahoma.  This is our site.  It ended up being an extremely hot weekend and so we didn't spend too much time outdoors.
Preparing simple meals is a must when we travel.  I want to relax and enjoy, not slave away in the kitchen!!  Anyway, I found the most delicious, EASY chicken salad recipe that was a big hit with everyone (we were there with some of our family) and I thought this would be a great recipe for this coming Memorial Day weekend.  If you haven't already got your plans made (which we don't).

I have lots and lots of cookbooks, but I was in a hurry to find something new so I went to one of my favorite online recipe sites, Tasty Kitchen.  I came across a salad that was really simple to make and had several great reviews.  A must in my book.  This is Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad submitted by Lauren who has a blog called Lauren's Latest.  Doesn't it look scrumptious?

 The recipe calls for rotisserie chicken, which I used when we went on our camping trip.  I made the salad again over the weekend and opted for grilled chicken that I marinated in lime juice, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  The rotisserie chicken is great for when you're in a hurry but I think we preferred the taste of the grilled chicken more.

 In the salad, you have romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, scallions, green pepper, tomatoes, cilantro, and then avocado and tortilla chips that you add right before serving.  I started adding the dressing and had an oops moment.  I wanted to take a 'before' picture of just the salad fixin's but forgot.  So let's pretend there's not any dressing on the salad, okay?  I didn't use a whole head of romaine lettuce when making it this time since it was just Mr. Bill and I, but it does make a huge mess of salad if you do.

The dressing is made up of mayo, sour cream, taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, lime juice, salt and pepper.  You could even make this with the low-fat varieties if you are so inclined.

Chicken, mixed salad, dressing and chips all waiting to be mixed together.  Use as little or as much of the dressing as you would like.  Dump it all together and this is what you get...

 Here it is in all its glory.  The recipe calls for the tortilla chips to be crushed and added right before serving but I preferred to serve the chips on the side.

One big whopping serving of salad just for me!  This recipe is definitely a keeper in my house.  Mr. Bill said so.  Thank you, Lauren, for sharing this recipe.  You must stop by her blog, Lauren's Latest.  It's all about food and recipes.  Oh, my goodness!  It'll make you drool.  Seriously.  And, while you're there, tell her I said 'hey'.  Even though she doesn't know me from Adam.  Oh, and here's the recipe I made up just for you.

I just realized that I forgot to correct a typo on the recipe.  It should read I 'do not" like for my chips to become soggy.  I'll change it later.

Just a reminder...I am giving away one of my handmade needlebooks.  If you haven't already done so, click on the photo above to enter.  Hurry!  The giveaway ends this Friday!!

Have a marvelous Monday~

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

~A Humdinger of a Cake!~

Years ago, my mother-in-law gave me a recipe for a cake that was called, of all things, Banana Killer Cake.  No joke.  The funny thing is that she didn't bake.  At least from scratch.  I think she got the recipe from a co-worker and brought it to me.  This cake was so dadgum good and became a family favorite for many years.  It wasn't until years later that I found the exact same recipe under a different name.  Hummingbird Cake.  What?  Yes, Hummingbird Cake.  Apparently, this Southern recipe has been passed down for generations and the story goes that the cake earned it's name because each bite makes you hum with delight.  Another theory is that it's as sweet as the sugarwater used to attract its hovering namesake.  Corny, huh?

Well, whether you call it Banana Killer Cake or Hummingbird Cake, it's one humdinger of a cake!  It's one of my favorites and since we were having a celebratory family get together last weekend, I decided to make it.  For me.  Let's get down to business, shall we?

 Sift together the dry ingredients:
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

 Add your wet ingredients and mix well:
3 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas
1-1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
8 oz. crushed pineapple, undrained
1 tsp. vanilla

 Look at that yummy goodness!  Go ahead and taste it.  You'll think you've died and gone to heaven.  I promise.  Now, before you eat the whole bowl, pour the batter into a Pam-sprayed bundt or tube pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 70 minutes.

This is our birthday cake!  Yeah, I know.  I didn't use a bundt pan.  My daughter doesn't like nuts and but I do and this was the easiest way to go about it.  I made desserts like this all the time when she was growing side with nuts and one without.  It kept peace and happiness in our family.

In case you're wondering, I'm the one who is 59 and she is actually 28, not 118!  Hehe.  I couldn't find my "2" candle and had to resort to plan B.  Below you will find the recipe in its entirety, including the cream cheese frosting.  Yum!

If you prefer to have the recipe set up so that you can print a front and back recipe card, let me know and I'll get 'er done for you.

In case you didn't know, I'm having a giveaway celebrating my recent birthday.  I made a needlebook just for one of you!  Click on the above image to find out the details and post your comment.  Your name will be in the hat!

Praying your day is full of sunshine and joy~
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I'm going to these blog parties:
          Across My Table

Saturday, May 12, 2012

~A Mother's Day Prayer~

May you have all the joy your heart can hold...

All the smiles a day can bring...

All the blessings life can unfold...

And may you have God's best in everything.

The blessings of the Lord be upon you ~ Psalms 129:8


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Friday, May 11, 2012

~I'm Celebrating My Birthday With a Giveaway~

Yesterday, I shared with you how much fun I had creating a needlebook for a recent swap I participated in.  So much fun that I created another one to give away to one of my dear friends here on this blog.  One thing that I didn't tell you is that today is my birthday!!  Yes, it is...seriously!
I am so grateful for all of my blogging friends and the friendships that have come as a result.  I am blessed.  And I thought there was no better way to celebrate than by giving back to YOU as my way of giving my most humble thank you.  Are you ready?

Just as a reminder, this is the one I made for Renee.  Sorry, but this is NOT the one I'm giving away!

THIS is the one I made for one of you!  I found some more 1930s vintage style fabric that I fell in love with in shades of soft pinks and blues with a touch of green.  Three yo-yos in coordinating colors and a couple of leaves to round out my floral bouquet.

Inside the book, there is a little pocket for a couple of needle threaders and, if I can find one, I'll also include a little tape measure.  A must-have for any sewing project!  A place to store a few safety pins and even some buttons that you could tack on so they won't get lost.

Lots and lots of sewing needles.  One can never have too many.  There's plenty of space to add different types of needles...embroidery, etc.  And there's always a need for straight pins, too.

I found another pair of small scissors in a coordinating color, which are actually embroidery scissors, but work great for snipping thread and seams in general sewing projects.  I love using them.

The scissors are connected to a loop of coordinating grosgrain ribbon with a Velcro closure so that you can remove the scissors for easier use.  And there's a leather fob to protect those sharp points.

On the backside, I used a coordinating blue fabric and attached one of my labels.  Dawggone Cute Creations is the name of my Etsy store where I sell a few of my handmade wares.

And to keep your little book intact, I used an elastic hair band and yellow button as a closure to keep everything in its place.

Now, the rules are very simple.  With Mother's Day coming this weekend, my thoughts always turn to how blessed I am to not only be a mom but also to have a mother who loved me beyond measure.  It wasn't until years after her death that I found out exactly how much.  (the story is amazing but too personal to share).  I still miss her after 35 years of being gone from this earth but I look forward to the day that we will be together again.

So, what is it about Mother's Day that makes it so special for you?  Is it a special memory.. like mine... or do you have a special tradition, breakfast in bed, family dinner?  That's it...just share with me about what makes Mother's Day so special for you and you are in the drawing!
Now...if you'd like a second chance at winning, post the photo link below somewhere on your blog or FB page and then come back and let me know.  Spread the word!!

The drawing ends two weeks from today...Friday, May 25th.  Since that will be a holiday weekend, the winner will not be announced until the following Tuesday.

I look forward to hearing from you~

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