Thursday, April 18, 2013

Larissa's Super Duper Banana Pudding...

It has been a rough week for our beautiful country and our state. So a few things first:

My wonderful husband worked for West EMS and was a volunteer fireman in Penelope, TX (about 10 miles from West, TX) so what has happened since yesterday has had him on an emotional roller coaster. As I sat at work today praying for God to calm his spirit and give him peace, I decided to make one of his favorites to bring a smile to his face - Banana Pudding.

Now, my BFF recently told me about her really awesome banana pudding recipe. I messaged her today and she sent me her link on Pinterest (which I will happily provide to anyone who wants it!).

But here it is....try really, REALLY hard to not just eat the pudding before you finish.

Larissa's Super Duper Banana Pudding (yeah, I named it that!)

1 1/2 cups cold water
1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk!)
1 package instant vanilla pudding
2 cups whipping cream
vanilla wafers
and of course EXTRA fresh whipped cream for the top!

In a large bowl mix the cold water and the sweetened condensed milk. Add the instant pudding and mix well. Chill for 15 minutes.

While the pudding mix is chilling, whip the cream.

Fold the whipped cream into the pudding.

Layer with vanilla wafers, fresh bananas, pudding and extra whipped cream.

And just because we have probably all had a heart wrenching week I will close with cuteness....

 Hugs and kisses....

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Sleeping soundly. Rain gently hitting the window.


One eye pops open. 2:16 AM.


Roll over. Ready to go back to sleep.


That's the rain hitting the window....isn't it??


Out of bed. Stumbling toward the sound. In the bathroom. Must be the faucet.


Light on. Puddle of water on the floor.

You're kidding me...right?


"Preston...there's water on the floor."


"PRESTON...there is WATER on the floor"



Brown towel to soak up the water.

Up in the attic I go, half asleep. I have no idea where to look. I surf through the rafters and piles of insulation. Looks like snow but then there wouldn't be a DRIP.

At some point my sleepy husband joins me in the attic. Looking for the water.
"It's coming through the vent in the bathroom, there should be a pipe".

Gray PVC pipe. It looks shiny in the light from the flashlight.
It shouldn't BE shiny.
Water. Trickling down the side of the pipe.

Into the bathroom below.


Back down the stairs. Put a big bowl under the drip.

Husband back in bed. Snoring. 

Head on the pillow.!! Snore.

That can only mean it isn't just a bad dream.!....snore....


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Picking up in 2013

Here we are, 9 days into the new year and one of my resolutions was to blog more.

Yeah. It hasn't really happened has it?

But I have been living in a fog of frustration and disappointment and all around just-not-motivated-about anything lately. I hate these fogs. I don't have them very often but when I do they tend to hang on. Can't shake it.

I'm sitting in the living room looking around at the Christmas decorations that I LOVE to put up but hate taking down. Yes, I said hate. I am so overwhelmed by the 12 + crates that must be hauled in from various places (garage, attic, back room) and filled with festive Christmas things. Packed away for next year. Every year I reorganize and repack and adjust how I do everything. Every year I think that I'm being more efficient only to find that when I UNPACK next December I don't understand what the heck I was thinking the previous January (or in some cases February). So I sit here overwhelmed. And I feel that way in other places too. Frustration seems to permeate every part of my life. Work. Health. Hair.

Yes, I said hair. First, I have to say that I LOVE my hair diva, Rachel. This has nothing to do with her. It's dealing with the head of hair that God gave me. My hair that used to be thick and beautiful has thinned over the years. I can't wear it long because it starts to look thin, stringy and unhealthy. So Rachel cuts it in a way that makes me look like I have LOTS of hair. YAY! Now, I want a different color. I'm normally a light reddish brown kind of girl. But I want darker. So we tried MEDIUM reddish brown. Awesome. For like a week. Then Dark Auburn. Not dark enough. So yesterday we tried a Dark Soft Mahogany.

So basically, my hair is black. Yup. Ok, I'm exaggerating a LITTLE but it's DARK. Really DARK with some light spots sprinkled here and there. And I'm REALLY light. Look at the box - does that look dark to you?? NO. It looks reddish-brownish...right?? Deceived. So I'm taking like 3 showers a day (kidding) and trying to make it fade. Hence, my frustration. I know, it's vain. But I really don't care. U G H.

Of course I try very hard to look on the bright side and find the good in everything. I try. REALLY hard. I could be bald. I'm not - so there is a bright side. Ha.

So let me recap the last few months....hopefully rather quickly.

October -


Pumpkin Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies


November - 


Visit to the vet (AGAIN)

December - 

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream

Baby nephew

Pain...lots of PAIN

Christmas tutu

Peppermint Meltaways


Presents (and football)

Blessings and love

That's about it. October was fun. November was warm. December was busy.

Now it's time to settle into the New Year. And blog...

Hugs & kisses....

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My Heart and Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Tuesday I exercised. For 20 whole minutes.

I know. Doesn't seem really impressive. For me it sure is.

I haven't done anything purposely physical for probably 6 months. OK, that is stretching it a bit. I had some awesome walks on the beach. But that might be the extent of my physical activity.

Not because I did't want to but because I physically could not.

As I talked about a few weeks ago I changed my cardiologist. Can I just say I love Dr. D? He's awesome and he listens to me and he explains things to me. In a way that I understand.

The really awesome news is that my heart is wonderful. You heard it here first. It's pumping like it is supposed to, my stents are doing their jobs and the blood is flowing like it should. Of course this information is encouraging but at the same time it frustrates me. It frustrates me because it means I should have been able to exercise and do the things that I want to do but I haven't been able to because I was basically over medicated for the last 6 or so months. So I have gained weight (AGAIN) and I'm tired all of the time - tired because I'm out of shape. Sigh.

But I exercised Tuesday for 20 whole minutes.

Yes I did. And I'm proud of that.

And Wednesday I exercised for a total of 40 minutes.

And Thursday. And Friday. And Saturday.

Now just to keep going.

OK - enough about exercise.

Let's talk donuts......


Specifically Pumpkin Spice Donuts.

Not fried in oil but baked. Yummy cake-like donuts with a glossy Cinnamon Glaze.

OH yeah.

Here they all of their glory. So delicious and cakey and cinnamony. And simple.

First, you mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
Set that aside. In another bowl whisk together the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk.
Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet.
The batter will be thick and delicious. Spoon into a prepared donut pan. Make sure not to overfill the pan because these donuts will puff slightly.
Bake for 12 minutes.
While they are cooling make the glaze with powedered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and milk.
Make sure the donuts are completely cool before glazing. Once glazed place the donuts in the refrigerator and allow the glaze to harden.
These are so darn yummy.

Pumpkin Spice Donuts with Cinnamon Glaze

For the donuts:
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar or 1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup milk

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or more if you love cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 - 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and spices together.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients and stir until just comgined.

Fill donut pan partially full and bake 12 minutes.

Allow donuts to cool.

Mix powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and milk together in a small bowl. Dip the top of each donut into the glaze. Place on a pan and allow to set.


Hugs & kisses......


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Getting ready for Fall

I'm feeling Fall-ish. It's mid-August and my love of Summer is fading. Quickly. VERY quickly.

Of course I'm stretching it by saying "love" when I actually barely tolerate Summer. I love the fun things that Summer brings - family vacation, added time with Kaitlyn and neon pink toenails (what??). But Summer is honestly something I could pretty much do without.

It's too DAMN HOT.

I think I could handle the 90's for a few months but when it peaks in the 100 to 105 range I just want to hurt someone curl up and cry. It is so completely miserable. And then add almost NO RAIN and it gets to the point of unbearable. I don't want to be outside or go anywhere that requires me to be outside. And working outside? Forget it. My front flower bed looks absolutely AWFUL because I just can't bring myself to get out there and work. I even try to get my shopping done in the morning on Saturday because I don't want to be out after Noon. That's pretty bad. And it limits my fun too!

Bring on Fall.

Honestly it probably won't even being to really FEEL like Fall until October, possibly November, but I can create Fall inside the house. I am trying to get rid of my Summer smelling candles and once they are gone I will put away all remnants of Summer. I have to admit that my Easter stuff is still in the front room. Not packed. That's embarrassing. Maybe since I have confessed I will make myself pack it all up for Preston to put away. I mean, before I know it I will be pulling out the Halloween stuff!! OMG!

So before Fall gets under way I should wrap up Summer.

Little pink cupcakes.

Literally bite size for an adult but perfect for for a pretty two year old.
A sweet, pink Happy Birthday to Baby O! She's growing up super fast!
We had birthday celebration (early) and good time with family.
Kaitlyn is back home with her Mom and getting ready for 4th grade. We had a GREAT summer and miss her!!

Back to Fall.....Chocolate Zucchini Bread.

I have been making this for YEARS and it's one of my favorites. The zucchini reminds me of Summer but the cinnamon in the bread makes it feel Fall-ish so it's a great transition bread. As I was making it today I couldn't help but think that it didn't seem very chocolatey - until I mixed it and remembered how deliciously brown and chocolatey it gets.

First mix your dry ingredients: flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Then your other ingredients (in a separate bowl): sugar, eggs, canola oil, vanilla and grated zucchini.
I know, it looks like a wet mess - but wait for it.

Now, add the dry ingredients to the zucchini wetness.
And mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Spread (because it's so thick you can't pour) the batter into your pans.
Bake and let it cool.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Splenda sugar mix for baking OR 2 cups regular sugar or Splenda
3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350. Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sugar and eggs; beat until well blended. Add oil and vanilla; beat until combined. Stir in zucchini. Add flour mixture and stir just until moistened. (Batter will become VERY thick) Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Divide and spoon batter evenly into loaf pans.

Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then cool completely on a rack.

I made two loaves and they are delicious. Once cooled you can stick a piece in the microwave for about 30 seconds and it tastes like it's fresh from the oven!!

On the future agenda....pumpkin recipes. First on the list are Pumpkin Spice Donuts with Cinnamon Glaze...keep your eyes open!!

In the mean time, keep cool and think Fall!!
Hugs & kisses....