Playing By Heart

“Playing By Heart”…Book Review!

“Playing By Heart“…Book Review! My dear readers. I am going to stray just a bit from my usual “Confessions – Over the Hedge”, to post a book review. I am an avid reader….and dabble a bit in my own fictional […]

baseball10

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg….The Captain’s Alumni Banquet! I have yet another confession to make. Yes, there was the usual pomp and circumstance, such as the raised swords as alumni entered the building. The tables were set beautifully with little blue airplanes marking […]

Kansas

Round Robin

Round Robin! We made a Round Robin! What a whirlwind this past week has been! I am dizzy from it! What? you say…. As many of you know who know me…..we have children scattered hither and yon with none of […]

women2

She

“She” ????? It is confession time…again! The Captain came home from one of his “tours”…in other words flying, (working) and he brought me a present! Well, sort of a present! He had heard a song…an old song, but he loved […]

Decor20

Fall Decor Can Be Easy…

Fall Decor Can Be Easy… I have a dear friend….(I call her Queenie)….and she was asking me the other day for a few ideas on simple decorating for Fall. (Click on the original post at  Turn a Cake Plate into […]

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies….4 Ways

Chocolate Chip Cookies….

I have loved chocolate chip cookies since I was knee high to a grasshopper! 

Love, Love Love ‘em.

As I have stated in a previous post…the Captain and I made a whirlwind visit back to Kansas and Missouri last week.

While visiting Oldest Son….he just happened to have baked chocolate chip cookies the day before and when he passed them around the room…well, none of us could resist!

(I believe I have told you before that all my children cook and bake.)

Oldest Son follows the package on the chocolate chip bag, which has always proven to be a winner.

(Confession time: I think I devoured at least 5 or 6 of those great tasting cookies)

Today, I want to talk to you about the different ways of making the simple, toll house cookie… or as we have come to call it…the chocolate chip cookie.

Perhaps you know all there is to know about making chocolate chip cookies….because we have all been making them for years.

Or, if you are like me…once in a while you find ….that although your batch of cookies are good….they were just a little different than the last time you made them.

I mean…I haven’t tasted a chocolate chip cookie that I have NOT liked…so I am easy to please when it comes to these delicately, brown clumps of magic bursting with chocolate chips.

But to be a bit more technical….there are reasons chocolate chip cookies are not all created equal.

The ingredients are the same…but the proportions of the butter and sugars are different.

There are basically four different types of chocolate chip cookies….probably more if we really investigate.

There is the original toll house cookie, the thin and crispy cookie, the thick and cake-like cookie, and the soft and chewy cookie

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Original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie

Oldest Son makes the original recipe which can be found right on the package of chocolate chips.  He uses butter at room temperature.

thin and crispy chocolate chip cookie

Thin & Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Twin number 2 started making chocolate chip cookies as soon as he was able to stand up to the kitchen counter…and I have to admit, he makes great thin and crispy chocolate chip cookies….but he always melts his butter before creaming, that is just the way he does his.

Cake Like Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thick & Cake Like Chocolate Chip Cookie

I like to make a more thick & cake-y like cookie…..less of the sugars.

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookiies

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

And twin number 1 likes to make… a soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie.

The amounts for the original toll house cookies are:

2 sticks of butter (1 cup)

3/4 cup of white sugar

3/4 cup of brown sugar

The amounts for thin & crispy cookies are:

2 1/2 sticks of butter (1  1/4 cups)

1 1/4 cups of white sugar

3/4 cup of brown sugar

The amounts for thick & cake-like cookies are:

1 3/4 sticks butter (3/4 cup)

3/4 cup of white sugar

1/4 cup of brown sugar

The amounts for soft & chewy cookies are:

2 sticks of butter (1 cup)

1/2 cup of white sugar

1 cup of brown sugar

From here on, the recipes are the same,

2 1/4 cups flour, 2 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 2 cups of chocolate chips

How about a little baking trivia?

  • Perhaps you didn’t know that the difference in using baking soda versus baking powder, is that baking soda “spreads while baking” while baking powder “puffs” while baking.
  • Unsalted butter at room temperature allows for easier creaming.
  • Brown sugar adds molasses which makes the cookie chewy…so more brown sugar…chewier cookie. 
  • Creaming incorporates air into the batter which assists with the leavening of the cookie
  • Reducing the over all sugars, white and brown…allows the cookie to be more cake-like
  • A high ratio of white sugar to brown sugar results in a thin and crispy cookie
  • An electric mixer provides a better blending of ingredients

All four printable recipes are below, so go forth and bake chocolate chip cookies…

I baked all four cookie recipes this morning!

All four of these batches of cookies are going into freezer bags and into the freezer!

No, don’t admire me for my will power…I sampled so many of them, that I think I have a chocolate chip overdose. :(

Do you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe?

It is always a great day when cookies are in the oven. :)

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Me

Thin & Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
A very thin and crispy chocolate chip cookie.....very flat, but oo-ey goo-ey good!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  2. 1 cup white granulated sugar
  3. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  6. 2 1/4 cups flour
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon salt (I use coarse salt)
  9. 2 cups good quality chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugars together until light and creamy
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt until well incorporated
  4. Add to the creamed mixture
  5. Add the chocolate chips being careful to not over beat.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, drop by tablespoonful onto parchment paper placed on a cookie sheet
  7. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 8-15 minutes
  8. Cool on a cookie rack and store in a container for up to 3 days
  9. These can also be put in freezer bags and placed in freezer for up to 3 months.
Notes
  1. If you want your cookie to not be as crisp, remove from the oven at about 8 minutes.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/
Thick & Cake-y Chocolate Chip Cookies
This cookie is a little thicker and has a more cake-like texture.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter
  2. 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  3. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  6. 2 1/4 cups flour
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon salt (I use coarse salt)
  9. 2 cups good quality chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugars together until light and creamy
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt until well incorporated
  4. Add to the creamed mixture
  5. Add the chocolate chips being careful to not over beat.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, drop by tablespoonful onto parchment paper placed on a cookie sheet
  7. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 8-15 minutes
  8. Cool on a cookie rack and store in a container for up to 3 days
  9. These can also be put in freezer bags and placed in freezer for up to 3 months.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
A wonderful soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie just begging for a glass of cold milk for dunking! ;)
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Ingredients
  1. 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  2. 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  6. 2 1/4 cups flour
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon salt (I use coarse salt)
  9. 2 cups good quality chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugars together until light and creamy
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt until well incorporated
  4. Add to the creamed mixture
  5. Add the chocolate chips being careful to not over beat.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, drop by tablespoonful onto parchment paper placed on a cookie sheet
  7. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 8-15 minutes
  8. Cool on a cookie rack and store in a container for up to 3 days
  9. These can also be put in freezer bags and placed in freezer for up to 3 months.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/
Original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
What can you say about the original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie? They are gr-r-r-reat! :)
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) butter (room temperature)
  2. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  3. 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Chocolate Chips
  10. 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
  2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts if desired.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets or place cookies on parchment paper (makes for easier clean-up)
  6. Bake in 375 degree oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Notes
  1. For higher altitudes (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

“Playing By Heart”…Book Review!

Playing By Heart

Playing By Heart“…Book Review!

My dear readers. I am going to stray just a bit from my usual “Confessions – Over the Hedge”, to post a book review.

I am an avid reader….and dabble a bit in my own fictional writing, as I have stated in previous posts.

Playing By Heart

The book I am reviewing is “Playing By Heart” by Anne Mateer.

I received this book over the summer from Bethany House Book Review Program, and I am always glad for the chance to check out new books every month!

First I would like to give you the description of the book from the publisher:

Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics.  But then a shocking phone call from her sister, Jewel, changes everything.

With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister, but the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach.  Lula doesn’t even consider those real subjects!

Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year.  Reluctantly, she turns to the boys’ coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball.  Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy.  She’s returning to college and her scholarship as son as she gets Jewel back on her feet.

However, the more time she spends around Jewel’s family, the firls’ basketball team, music classes, and Chet, the more Lula comes to realize what she’s given up in her single-minded pursuit of degree after degree.  God is working on her heart, and her future is starting to look a lot different than she’d expected.

 At first, I was prepared to “scold” Lula for giving up her mathematical college career…, but as I was drawn deeper into the sweet story, I recognized that she was from a completely different time in the evolution of women and their careers.  The history and facts were correct for that time period…which was during World War I.

The excellent story telling provided an interesting description of basketball, …particularly women’s basketball and the confines that were a part of this fun game that we watch today. 

I did enjoy this book and I liked the way the author chose to write the book from both Lula and Chet’s first-person perspective…and I especially liked the way both Lula’s and Chet’s faith intertwined through-out their every day lives and the decisions they were both forced to make. 

I particularly liked that Lula is portrayed by the author as “very smart” …but still has that inner struggle with many aspects of her life, making it real.

All the characters are well developed which leaves the reader with a deeper understanding of each character and their actions.

Mateer also made the honorable romance between Lula and Chet feel very real and true to the time period. 

It was also interesting to note that some of the story was based on the author’s family history.

There were a few twists and turns that brought a smile to my face, but I certainly don’t want to give away any of them to those who haven’t read this book.

I do recommend this book for those who love historical fiction and unique plots.

The book was intriguing, well written, and well researched.  

Do you like to read?

What are you reading lately?

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Me

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this book!

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

Pumpkin Sheet Cake is a wonderful recipe that I found back in the Fall of 1991.  

The recipe was in a home made church cookbook that has since been tattered and torn, but it is still readable. :)

I loved that little church in the New Mexico Manzano Mountains….and we ladies got together to put a small recipe book out with lots of great recipes.

I personally typed up the gathered recipes, while our ladies group punched holes and added colorful green construction paper covers with gold brads.

I will never forget the wonderful afternoons spent working on this little cookbook as well as many other activities,… such as making the forest green cushions for the pews.

Aren’t the old recipes from church members simply the best?

I hope you like this recipe….I did modify it a bit by adding applesauce and reducing the canola oil.

If you don’t have applesauce in your pantry, you can increase the canola oil to a cup….and we always seem to have a can of pumpkin sitting on a back shelf don’t we? ;)

I believe the applesauce makes for a cake that is so moist it melts in your mouth.

The sheet cake can be served plain (soooo good, reminds you of pumpkin bread) OR you can serve it with whipped cream.

However, the Captain and I love it with the cream cheese frosting! Simply Yummy!

So dear readers….do you have favorite recipes made with canned pumpkin?

Enjoy!

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Me

 

Pumpkin Sheet Cake
Sheet cakes are easy to make and are simply the best for serving a crowd. This Pumpkin spice sheet cake is no different. Simply yummy! Serve it plain or add a cream cheese frosting! I promise you will add this recipe to your recipe file.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 eggs
  2. 2 cups granulated sugar
  3. 1/2 cup canola oil
  4. 1/2 cup applesauce
  5. 15-ounce can pumpkin
  6. 2 cups flour
  7. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  8. 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  9. 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  10. 1 teaspoon salt
  11. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  12. (IF you do not have applesauce, increase the canola oil to 1 cup)
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. 6 Tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  2. 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
  3. 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Using an electric mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, canola oil, applesauce, and pumpkin.
  2. Add the baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking soda and mix well with the pumpkin mixture.
  3. Pour into a lightly greased and lightly floured sheet pan...15 X 10 being sure to spread the cake to the corners of the pan.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean...and cool completely.
For the Frosting
  1. Cream the softened cream cheese and butter using your electric mixer
  2. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time until the desired consistency
  3. Add the pure vanilla extract and spread the frosting on the cooled cake.
Notes
  1. This cake is good without frosting or you can use whipped cream. But if you really want to be decadent....use the cream cheese frosting. Yummy!
  2. Top with any nuts or little pumpkins....or just eat it as is. :)
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

 

St. Petersburg

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St. Petersburg….The Captain’s Alumni Banquet!

I have yet another confession to make. :(

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The Captain and I followed this couple into the Hall.

Yes, there was the usual pomp and circumstance, such as the raised swords as alumni entered the building.

We were at table # 8

We were seated at table # 8

The tables were set beautifully with little blue airplanes marking the table numbers.  Military uniforms and Aviation memorabilia everywhere.

Airlines - Aviation

Airlines – Aviation first hundred years

There was even a huge board with all the airlines and many of the airplane models that were of course interesting to me, considering my previous career….you will note TWA right in the middle….and the other airline I supported…American. 

Yes, I do like aviation.

And yes, this was all very interesting.

Jeff introducing LtCol Schwarm

Jeff introducing LtCol Schwarm

Our friend Jeff, introduced the speaker, (also an alumni)  LTCol Chad Schwarm, USMC (ret) who spoke of Afghanistan and 9-11…and there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.

Yes, very, very interesting.

However,….

Now, my confession. :)

Just before the festivities began….and wine, drinks and appetizers were being enjoyed by all……I became a little bored listening to my husband and his classmates “talk” aviation.

That was because I spied a  separate set of rooms in this St. Petersburg Museum of History…that was calling to me!

I excused myself from the banquet hall and explored the wonderful rooms inside the arched doorway proclaiming Little Cooperstown!

cooperstown

OK….you know what a sports fan I am and with the Kansas City Royals uppermost on my mind…I just had to investigate further.

After all! The World Series of Baseball starts the 21st of Oct and this was the 18th of October.

These arches were calling to me!

These arches were calling to me!

I mean, …I really had to explore those rooms, didn’t I?

Autographed baseballs from Hall of Famers...no Pete Rose is NOT there

Autographed baseballs from Hall of Famers…no Pete Rose is NOT there

Rows and Rows of autographed baseballs

Rows and Rows of autographed baseballs

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Cal Ripkin, Jr…inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007…and he called the play-off games for the Royals!

And Dizzy Dean!

And Dizzy Dean!…I loved listening to this commentator

Pee Wee Reese

Pee Wee Reese…a great shortstop

Yes. I am aware that Dickie V is a basketball commentator...recognize his voice anywhere

Yes. I am aware that Dickie V is a basketball commentator…recognize his voice anywhere

You didn't think I would get out of there without this baseball did you?

You didn’t think I would get out of there without a picture of this baseball did you?

And explore I did…..What a great experience!

Being with the Captain at the Alumni Banquet AND being able to browse Little Cooperstown!

It doesn’t get any better than that!

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Me 

Red Candy Apples

Red Candy Apples4

Red Candy Apples!

When you think of Autumn, you can’t help but think of all the goodies associated with the cool crisp weather.

From hearty soups and stews bubbling on the stove, to a fresh apple pie (or pumpkin pie) cooling on your kitchen counter.

Next week is Halloween and all the little ones will be dressed in their costumes, either going to parties where they will be bobbing for apples or playing pin the tail on the donkey, or going door to door calling out trick or treat.

Hay rides

Hay rides

As a youngster, I always looked forward to those activities…especially the hay rides on wagons pulled by a team of draft horses…. or sometimes they were pulled by a tractor.

bon-fires

bon-fires

I also loved the big bon-fires and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on a stick, until the marshmallows were all black and goo-ey. 

And there were state and county fairs with all the wonderful smells and aromas drifting towards our noses…drawing us in to the food booths !

Of course I would love the food part of the Fall activities! ;)

Pumpkin Farm

Pumpkin Farm at Weston, Kansas

Corn Maze

Corn Maze in Florida

Near Kansas City, there are apple orchards and pumpkin patches and mazes in the corn fields…that we visited many times.

Believe it or not….we have pumpkin patches here in Florida and yes, there are mazes in the corn fields too.

Whether it is called Harvest time or Autumn or Fall….it is a good time of the year for me.

Come to think of it…I love all the Seasons…and all the foods associated with each one!

The recipe below is for Red Candy Apples, which was always a must for me.

Our family loved corn dogs and caramel apples, but my favorite was the bright, Red, Shiny Candy Apples!

Look at the simple steps to making your own red candy apples!

Gather ingredients

Gather ingredients: apples, sticks, sugar, white corn syrup, water and red hots

Cook to 305 degrees using candy thermometer...doo not stir

Cook to 305 degrees using candy thermometer…do not stir

Tilt deep saucepan and gently swirl the apple

Tilt deep saucepan and gently swirl the apple

Set coated apple on parchment paper

Set coated apple on parchment paper

That is all there is to it!

That is all there is to it!

This printable recipe has red hots to give it the flavor and coloring I feel is necessary for a good tasting candy apple, but if you do not want a cinnamon flavor, just add red food coloring to your syrup. 

Do you have a favorite Harvest/Fall/Autumn food that triggers your memories as a child?

Have a great Tuesday…and to make eating my Red Candy Apple even better…..I will be watching the Kansas City Royals playing baseball in the World Series tonight.

Perhaps I should have made the red candy apples…blue candy apples… to match the Royals shirts and the team jersey I have on right now.;)

What could be a better Autumn activity? :)

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Me 

Red Candy Apples
Pumpkin Patches, Corn Mazes, County Fairs, Hay Rides, Apple Picking and then eating a Red Candy Apple! How perfect is Autumn?
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Ingredients
  1. 10 small to medium sized apples
  2. 2 cups white sugar
  3. 1 cup light corn syrup
  4. 1 1/2 cups water
  5. 1 pkg red hot candies ( use 14-15 drops of red food coloring if you don't want cinnamon taste)
Instructions
  1. First insert craft sticks into each apple and set aside.
  2. Try to use a deep medium sized saucepan (I like to use a non stick for easier clean-up)
  3. Combine sugar, corn syrup, red hots and water and heat over medium high heat.
  4. DO NOT STIR once the mixture is over the heat.(very important)
  5. Please use a candy thermometer..they are very inexpensive and make candy making easy.
  6. Heat the syrup to 305 degrees (or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard, brittle threads). This will take about 20 minutes of gentle boiling.
  7. Remove from heat and begin dipping your apples.
  8. Holding the apple by the stick, tilt the hot pan and dip the apple into the syrup. Carefully swirl the apple to coat evenly.
  9. Place the coated apple on parchment paper and allow to harden (do not put them in the fridge).
Notes
  1. I like to use a medium sized apple ....not too large and when dipping them, tilt the pan to one side to make dipping and coating a lot easier. Always being careful of the hot syrup....it can cause quite a burn to tender skin.
  2. DO NOT add any water to the syrup once it is boiling or you will have hot spatters all over you and your kitchen.
  3. If you do not like the red hots taste...just use about 15 drops of red food coloring.
  4. To easily clean your saucepan, add about two cups of hot water and bring to a boil. The remnants of the sticky syrup will dissolve in the water making for easy clean up with hot soapy water.
  5. If you have extra syrup, you can make lolly pops or simply pour the syrup onto parchment paper and allow to harden....if you don't want to do that, be sure you pour the extra syrup into a Crisco can or something disposable...(NOT DOWN YOUR SINK DRAIN) :)
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/
  

Round Robin

Kansas

Round Robin! We made a Round Robin!

What a whirlwind this past week has been!

I am dizzy from it!

What? you say….

As many of you know who know me…..we have children scattered hither and yon with none of them in Cape Coral, where we live. ;(

Most people who live in Florida complain of having too many guests, but that is not the case with the Captain and Me!

We love having guests and especially our children, but it has been a desert of late…..with the kids I mean.

Sooooo when our grand daughter gave birth to our new great grandson….The Captain and I decided to fly to Kansas City to begin what turned out to be the most ill-conceived, short-sighted, trip we have ever taken.  

Of course it all turned out in the end and begin to come together the closer we got to home.

Because the Captain was flying a tour,…I boarded a plane by myself (in Florida) with the intentions of meeting up together in Kansas City, Missouri.

That didn’t happen!

So, I rented a car in Kansas City and drove the 45 minutes to Leavenworth, Kansas to visit Twin #1 and his family…. who kept looking behind my shoulder for the Captain…who at that point was a no-show.

photo2

I told them he would be arriving later.

After my Leavenworth overnight visit with the Twin #1 and his wife and our 3 grand kids, (one is missing from the above pic)….I jumped into the rental car about 10:a.m. and drove the 3 hours to Salina, Kansas to see the other kids and grand kids.

The Captain arrived finally in Kansas City, Missouri (10 hours later), met up with the Leavenworth part of the family at a restaurant for a late, late dinner (9:30 p.m.) and then he jumped into his rental car and drove the 3 hours to Salina, Kansas…arriving at our hotel room about 1:30 a.m. 

Baby

By now it is Sunday….so we spent the morning with Only Daughter and of course grand daughter and her husband and the brand new great grand son.

We then spent the afternoon with Oldest Son and that side of the family…which included Only Grandson and his intended (getting married in February) and 1st Granddaughter, her husband and their two beautiful Great Grandsons.

 

 

 

 

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Totally confused yet?…

There is more.

The Captain and I are now in TWO rental cars, as the big metropolis of Salina, Kansas does not have an AVIS! (Nearest place to return one car is 90 miles in the opposite direction at Wichita, Kansas)

So on Monday, we are a caravan of two…driving back to Kansas City! :)  Plus we made three side trips to visit loved ones laid to rest in two different cemeteries in two different cities… and we also stopped to see my sister and her husband living in Topeka. Kansas.

A whirlwind visit for sure!

Then came the typical Midwest weather….it was at-this-most-inopportune time….for rainy weather to cause plane delays and cancellations in Kansas City. 

And yes, you guessed it….the Captain and I ended up on different planes with different destinations.  He flew into Ft Myers, Florida…picked up our car that I had parked at the airport and drove the hour and a half to Sarasota, Florida to pick me up.

Luckily, I only had to wait 30 minutes for him to get there as he arrived in Ft. Myers, ahead of my flight to Sarasota.

BUT…the story is not over, altho it does get better.

DSCF3796

Two days after arriving home, we drove 3 hours to St. Petersburg, Florida for the Captain’s Alumni festivities, which lasted for about 3 days.

DSCF3826

On the 3rd day, after having breakfast with friends in the beautiful, historic Vinoy Hotel (more pics later)… we drove the hour and a half near Orlando, Florida to see Twin #2, his wife and their 3 children.

McKenzie and Mallory

 

corey2

We spent most of the day with them before driving home to Cape Coral….another 2 and 1/2 hours.

We got to see all the kids, 10 grand kids, and 3 great grand kids in one fell swoop or as I call it…a Round Robin!

AND we are home to stay…for awhile at least! 

Next trip will be better planned with longer stays…..which means more rest for me of course! :)

Have you, my dear readers, ever had ill-conceived or short-sighted trips…or have your plans gone according to clockwork?

ruby slippers1

ruby slippers

I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz...as I click my little red slippers …(ok…my Royal Blue Flip Flops)… together and say:

“There is no place like home…there is no place like home!”

Have a great week!  I am going to take a nap! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! ;)

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Me 

She

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“She” ?????

It is confession time…again!

The Captain came home from one of his “tours”…in other words flying, (working) and he brought me a present!

Well, sort of a present!

He had heard a song…an old song, but he loved the lyrics and thought they were appropriate to/for/about ME!!!

The melody is haunting….which might explain why he thought of me….;)

Sometimes I have been known to “haunt” !!! Ha Ha!

OK…I am going to get serious, I am a bit embarrassed,  but flattered too ….I think.

The Captain doesn’t know I am sharing this with you my dear readers…but I won’t tell him if you don’t tell him. 

If you would like to play the song while reading this post…it is in the upper right corner (Featured Video)…just click on the little arrow! ;)

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Because the lyrics are so apropos…and would fit most women, as we can be complex creatures…can’t we?

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Women are many things to many  people, depending on what is happening on any given day.

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Women can be strong or vulnerable, happy and sad all within a 30 minute period …or less.  

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Women are beautiful and unique….Daughters, Mothers, Wives. 

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And most of all…and I speak for myself….unpredictable!

Perhaps that is why the Captain thought of me when he heard the lyrics. 

Is that a good thing?  I think it is…:) 

This particular version of the song “She” was recorded by Elvis Costello (stage name), a British singer-songwriter.

If you are not familiar with this song…and would like to hear the melody…and read along with the printed lyrics…please click on the featured video in the upper right corner of my home page.

 

“She (Tous Les Visages De L’Amour)”
(originally by Charles Aznavour)

She may be the face I can’t forget
A trace of pleasure or regret
May be my treasure or the price I have to pay
 
She may be the song that summer sings
May be the chill that autumn brings
May be a hundred different things
Within the measure of a day.
 
She may be the beauty or the beast
May be the famine or the feast
May turn each day into a heaven or a hell
 
She may be the mirror of my dreams
A smile reflected in a stream
She may not be what she may seem
Inside her shell
 
She who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud
No one’s allowed to see them when they cry
 
She may be the love that cannot hope to last
May come to me from shadows of the past
That I’ll remember till the day I die
 
She may be the reason I survive
The why and wherefore I’m alive
The one I’ll care for through the rough and ready years
 
Me I’ll take her laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs
For where she goes I’ve got to be
The meaning of my life is She… She… She
 
Isn’t that pretty?
 
I love that we are mysterious to our loved ones….Don’t you?I am smiling as this has made my day!…and what is that old saying?
 
Smile….it will make everyone wonder just what you are up to! ;)logo 

 

Me

Fall Decor Can Be Easy…

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Fall Decor Can Be Easy…

I have a dear friend….(I call her Queenie)….and she was asking me the other day for a few ideas on simple decorating for Fall.

Fall or Christmas...a domed cake plate is a pretty centerpiece. You may remember this from a post from last year....

Fall or Christmas…a domed cake plate is a pretty centerpiece. You may remember this from a post from last year….

(Click on the original post at  Turn a Cake Plate into Holiday Decor from last November of using a domed cake plate to hold pinecones etc!)

Queenie admired the centerpiece on my Dining table….and the scarecrows sitting on an outdoor bench at our front door.  I also sat Mum Plants and pumpkins in and about the foyer.

I started mentioning a few things she could do with very little expense and many of the items she most likely would have on hand.

She kept saying…”No, too difficult…or No, I don’t have the right vases….”

She is such a hoot and a really good friend, but she can have a bit of a “no can do” attitude!

Let’s just say she needs a bit of “nudging” 

I thought it might be a good idea to show a few simple Fall decorating ideas that you can put together in minutes….most of the time. :)

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The obvious is a pumpkin and a few Mum plants….having a small bale of hay is good or some shocks of corn.

Place 3 different sizes of pumpkins near your front door.  If you have urns...use them!

Place 3 different sizes of pumpkins near your front door. If you have urns…use them!

Cut the top off a pumpkin...remove seeds...and place Autumn leaves and a orange candle

Cut the top off a pumpkin…remove seeds…and place Autumn leaves and a orange candle

Using an ice pick, poke holes around the center of a pumpkin and place real or silk flowers at intervals.

Using an ice pick, poke holes around the center of a pumpkin and place real or silk flowers at intervals.

Decorate an old chair (the more roughed up the better) with a few gourds and small pumpkins.  Add a leaf stringer you can find at any craft store.

Decorate an old chair (the more roughed up the better) with a few gourds and small pumpkins. Add a leaf stringer you can find at any craft store.

If you have access to a few tree branches, stand them up on a buffet or mantle and place Fall leaves and small pumpkins around

If you have access to a few tree branches, stand them up on a buffet or mantle and place Fall leaves and small pumpkins around

How about decorating with decorated cookies?  These large cookie cutters are the ones by Wilton with the foam-y rubberized tops.

How about decorating with decorated cookies? These large cookie cutters are the ones by Wilton with the foam-y rubberized tops.

Use a colorful runner down your dining table and add a few hurricane vases and small pumpkins

Use a colorful runner down your dining table and add a few hurricane vases with white votive candles and small pumpkins

How simple is this? a couple white candles surrounded by candy corn.  You can use any type vase or candle holder

How simple is this? a couple white candles surrounded by candy corn. You can use any type vase or candle holder

I love using old chairs in my Secret Garden....Decorate with a mum plant, candles, and let the kids cut out several pumpkins and insert a dowel to hold together.

I love using old chairs in my Secret Garden….Decorate with a mum plant, mason jars resting in a canner rack, and let the kids cut out several pumpkins and insert a dowel to hold together.

How about this simple trick?  Hollow out little pumpkins, add berry picks or leaves or both and various colored tapers

How about this simple trick? Hollow out little pumpkins, add berry picks or leaves or both and various colored tapers

Decorate your front door with a Fall wreath...and add a stringer of Autumn leaves up and down the sides.  Add a couple pumpkins (I would use 3)

Decorate your front door with a Fall wreath…and add a stringer of Autumn leaves up and down the sides. Add a couple pumpkins (I would use 3)

I like using my cake plate and cover to decorate my sideboard. Put gourds, acorns, small pumpkins under the dome, and decorate the base with Spanish moss and leaves

I like using my cake plate and cover to decorate my sideboard. Put gourds, acorns, small pumpkins under the dome, and decorate the base with Spanish moss or packing material and leaves

Get creative by spraying metallic spray paint on your pumpkins

Get creative by spraying metallic spray paint on your pumpkins

I like this Autumn spray for a banister or mantle

I like this Autumn spray for a banister or mantle…if using it for a mantle centerpiece, add your favorite dog or cat sculpture…..pheasant feathers too!

Would something like this work for your mantle?

Would something like this work for your mantle? If this is a bit much…modify it to fit your decor.

This would take a bit more time...but it is the same concept as some of those "stacked pumpkins" above. I like using battery operated candles rather than the real ones....for obvious reasons.

This would take a bit more time…but it is the same concept as some of those “stacked pumpkins” above. Just poke holes rather than carving a face.  I like using battery operated candles rather than the real ones….for obvious reasons.  Add a string of LED lights and it is magical. I keep white lights on my pergola, on all year long. ;)

 

You can find a cart like this one on line....but they are not very sturdy so be careful "filling" them with heavy pumpkins.

You can find a cart like this one on line….but they are not very sturdy so be careful “filling” them with heavy pumpkins. If you have a half-barrel or a large container…you can produce the same results. :)

Well, there are a few suggestions for your Fall Decor….Can you guess which one “Queenie” chose to use? ;)

Have a great Week-end….;)

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Me

CrockPot Dump Cake…Yum!

CrockPot Dump Cake…Yum!

Fall is in the air and it is World Series Time…and this year Kansas City fans have lots to cheer about! ;)

But I digress….Lets talk about the ease of making a dump cake.

Have you heard of dump cakes?

The meaning is simple…you dump in the ingredients all at once … and Prest-O! Change-O! 3 and 1/2 hours later, you have a dessert!!!!!

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Doesn’t this look ooey, gooey and delicious?

There are apple dump cakes and pumpkin dump cakes….just about any kind of cake you would like…all dumped together in one crock pot.

The recipe I am sharing with you has been called pudding dump cake as well as rocky road dump cake in a crock pot.

Years ago, I found the recipe in the Southern Living magazine  and it was called Rocky Road Cake in a Crock Pot.

I made the recipe and it was delicious!

I have since modified the recipe a bit and call it the CrockPot Dump Cake because you actually just dump in all the ingredients and set it and forget it for 3 1/2 hours.

The original recipe called for German Chocolate Cake Mix…but I like to use a fudge cake mix… you can use Devil’s Food or whatever your choice is.

I guarantee it will be good.

I made this a lot for our church potlucks or for Holiday potlucks at work…when I was working.  

I never took any home as my crock pot was always empty at the end of the meal….sometimes sooner! :) 

I made this a few weeks ago and the Captain and I just about ate it all by ourselves…..:( 

It is that good.

Please try it if you haven’t already and let me know your thoughts!

This would make a great dessert for any Fall or Winter Holiday dessert!

And if you just happen to be watching the World Series of Baseball on this coming Tuesday evening…and you just happen to be cheering on the Kansas City Royals…This is comfort food at its best!

Go Royals! ;)

Enjoy!

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Me

CrockPot Dump Cake...Yum!
Remember Rocky Road Ice Cream? Well, this cake is just like that...only better! And it is all done in a crock pot....what could be easier than dumping all the ingredients into the crock pot and in 3 1/2 hours...dessert is ready.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 (18.25-oz.) box of Fudge cake mix
  2. 1 (3.9-oz.) box vanilla instant pudding mix
  3. 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  4. 1 cup sour cream
  5. 1/3 cup butter, melted
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 3 1/4 cups milk, divided
  8. 1 (3.4-oz.) package chocolate cook-and-serve pudding mix
  9. 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or your choice of nuts)
  10. 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  11. 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Beat cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, butter, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cups milk and 1 1/4 cups milk at medium speed with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Pour batter into a lightly greased 4-qt. slow cooker.
  2. Cook the remaining 2 cups milk in a heavy non-aluminum saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes or just until bubbles appear (do not boil); remove from heat.
  3. Sprinkle cook-and-serve chocolate pudding mix over batter. Slowly pour hot milk over pudding. Cover and cook on LOW 3 1/2 hours.
  4. Turn off slow cooker. Sprinkle cake with pecans, marshmallows, and chocolate chips. Let stand 15 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly melted.
  5. Spoon into bowls
Notes
  1. This cake will look like it needs to cook just a little longer, but by the time the topping is set, it's ready to serve.
  2. If you want this rich, great tasting dessert to taste even better? Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream when serving. :)
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

World Series…The Dream is Real!

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World Series…The Dream is Real!

If you have been following my Blog…you will note my enthusiasm for Sports…particularly Kansas City sports, ie; The Kansas City Chiefs (Football) and the Kansas City Royals (Baseball) and the Kansas Jayhawks (College Basketball)! (If you missed my posts on this journey…you may click on the below posts) 

The Blue Boys of October 

Boys in Blue….

Yesterday, a miracle happened and the Kansas City Royals won the play-off games by winning the best of seven games!

Actually, they won the first four games, which meant the Baltimore Orioles did not win one game!  

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Please forgive my ‘bragging’ a bit….but you see, the Royals have not been to a play-off game, let alone, the World Series for 29 years!

But now it is happening…

Last week, I was in Kansas City and the whole city has turned “blue”….meaning of course that everyone you meet (met) had the colors of the baseball team somewhere on their bodies.

There were the jerseys, the blue hair, the tattoos….anything and everything to support this young team.

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And yes, I was right in the middle of it all….wearing my old blue jerseys….and I do mean old, as I have supported this team for more years than I care to mention! 

The World Series starts Oct 21st…right there in Kansas City in Kaufman Stadium… and I am so excited!

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The Captain is looking at a new larger screen television for our great room, which has a little to do with the fact that our old 52 inch set is having issues with color tones AND me being able to see the upcoming games clearly! :)

I do have my “stand-by” television in the bedroom…but for the World Series of Baseball….if one can not attend the games in person…one definitely needs 60 inches or bigger! ;)

The American League Trophy given to owner David Glass

The American League Trophy given to team owner David Glass

Congratulations to the Boys of October….our Men in Blue…they have earned the title of men in blue, as they have certainly made the play-off games exciting.

They started with the Wild Card game against the Oakland Athletics which ended 9-8 in one of the most thrilling games in baseball.

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This game would either make or break them and Ned Yost, the Royals Manager stated “That’s the most incredible game I have ever been a part of” . 

Then they went on to Anaheim to face the Los Angeles Angels, where they did a clean sweep (3 games) of the top team in baseball. (They had to win the best of 5 games)

And finally, the Royals faced the Baltimore Orioles in the best of seven games!  
 
The victory last night…Wednesday…was the eighth win in a row in all the play-off games.  The first time any team has won its first eight games in a single postseason.
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(Actually, the Royals have eleven postseason wins under their belt…and we, the fans are still counting! :)
 
So Cheers to the Kansas City Royals….as they pursue the crown of baseball!
 
I will be watching…..and wearing my royal blue….and yes, right now there is something in my eyes… could it be tears of joy? ;)
 
Here is a bit of trivia…useless but interesting….Brandon Finnegan, one of Kansas City’s relief pitchers is the first player in baseball history to go from College World Series to MLB World Series in the same year.
 
That is how young this team is….;)
 
What a hoot!
 
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Me
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