Small Town Chick

Small Town - Big Life

My Life’s Little Guilty Pleasures

We all need that one thing (or two or three) that we have to look forward to everyday. Those little guilty pleasures that we use to motivate us. Simple daily treats that just make us smile or relax and give us a reason to mentally exhale.

These little tidbits of joy don’t have to be expensive or time consuming. Just little crumbs of happiness that make the days pass with a little more inner sunshine.

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Here are a few things that I consider to be guilty pleasures and try to regularly include or want to start enjoying more in my life.

An afternoon cup of coffee is definitely a guilty pleasure for me. Somewhere between 3 and 4 most afternoons, I treat myself to a flavored coffee. That’s early enough to no bother my sleeping pattern, and I consider this my afternoon snack, so I’m not so tempted by something more fattening.

Reading a good book. It’s been a long time since I have given myself permission to steal an hour or two to read something that isn’t spiritual, educational or otherwise serious. I’ve finally started a book that I’ve been dusting and moving from room to room for the past 3 or 4 years. A good novel is good for the soul.

Taking a bubble bath. I don’t know why I don’t take the time to indulge myself in this guilty pleasure a little more often. For instance, I received a bath bomb this past Christmas and haven’t used it yet. I sleep better after a nice soak in the tub, and it’s a pretty cheap treat! I think I deserve to pamper myself.

Enjoying the great outdoors.  I love to sit out on my patio on a warm night. The soothing sound of the fountain, the soft glow of my patio lights, the birds chirping, and the breeze flowing through the trees. So peaceful. I need less television and more of that.

Binge-listening to a new artist on my Alexa. I love it when I hear someone say they like a new group or an artist that I really haven’t listened to before. My daughters and Ken Don are probably my two biggest contributors to this cause. They will be talking about a song or a group and I will make a mental note of the artist and then get my Alexa to play that.

I listen to everything from Country (preferably Texas Red Dirt Road Country) to Classical to Pop to Rock (old and new) to Christian music. I’ve been listening to Ed Sheeran for days now.

Getting a pedicure. The only negative aspect of this guilty pleasure is the expense (so it’s the guiltiest of my pleasures), but I’ve come to realize that the cheapest and quickest pedicure makes me as happy as the more expensive ones that take over an hour. My time is as important to me as my money.

We all need something to look forward to and a way to reward ourselves for making it through a Monday. Or a Tuesday. Or whatever.

You say you don’t have any guilty pleasures? You should find some – they make life worth living!

Life’s short.

Drink the coffee.

Read the Book.

Turn up the Music.

Go Outside.

Use the Bath Bomb.

Get the Pedicure.

What are some of your guilty pleasures? Maybe I’ll find something I’ve been overlooking.

Have a great week!

 

 

 

Clean Eating – Scrumptious Paleo Banana Bread

You are seeing and hearing more and more about it – Clean Eating. Are you wanting to ditch the “diets” and find a real and attainable way to feed your body? Me too.

That is why I have started this journey of Clean Eating by following the Paleo Diet. That means (for me) – no refined sugars, no wheat/grains, no preservatives or artificial anything. Just good, whole, clean food. You can have beef, chicken, fish, pork (all organic/no antibiotics/no hormones), vegetables and fruit. If I can have steak, vegetables and fruit, count me in!

One of the things that is hard is the no wheat/grains part. I’m not a huge bread eater, but when you want cake you want cake, am I right? This is a recipe for “5 Minute Paleo Banana Bread” that can be used as a basic recipe that you can experiement with. You could add cocoa, pumpkin, pecans, walnuts, zuchinni, or whatever you like.

I made a loaf of this basic bread recipe and we will have finished it in just 4 days (it makes a small loaf). Even my daughter, Shelby, liked it – it is very moist and pretty darn tasty.

What is really great about this recipe is that you simply put all of the ingredients together in your food processor and process it until it is smooth. Super easy (thus the “5 Minute” title) and just as easy to clean up. I love the easy clean up since I am one of those people without a dishwasher. So, recipes that mess up 3 bowls and numerous spoons, measuring cups, spatulas, etc. are a real drag for me. So, that is another reason I really like this recipe.

A recipe search on Pinterest lead me to the “Paleo & Gluten Free” blog for this recipe which you can find here: https://paleoglutenfree.com/recipes/5-minute-paleo-banana-bread/. This is a great site for Paleo and gluten-free recipes.

Believe me, if you don’t tell people this is a “healthy” banana bread, they will never know. It’s super moist and tasty!

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

1 cup almond flour (blanched)

2 medium bananas

3 whole eggs

1 TBS coconut oil (solid)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp stevia liquid (about 8-10 drops)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a small baking pan (3-1/2″ x 5″) with parchment paper

Next, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor (necessary to get a super-smooth consistency)

After the batter is completely smooth, pour into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until golden brown on top

It is simply delicious, and deliciously simple!

Day Road Trip – Sitting Bull Falls

I love to travel. My mother tells me I’m only happy when I have four wheels rolling underneath me. She thinks I go too much, but I’m always looking forward to my next road trip. I even have the t-shirt to prove it.

I like nothing better than a spontaneous road trip! While the temperatures were pretty warm for February, it was a little too cool and breezy for golf. So,what do two adventure seekers do? We travel the two hour drive to Sitting Bull Falls. I had never been to the Falls, but KenDon has told me many stories about it (not all he would want me to repeat).

The Falls are about 30 miles from Carlsbad. The last 10 miles or so are pretty curvy, so it takes a little time to get there, but the drive is pretty cool.

  

You would never suspect to find this little oasis in the middle of the desert. I had no idea what to expect, but there were actually several small waterfalls. We’ve had a  pretty dry winter, so it wasn’t Niagara Falls by any stretch, but it was very pretty.

One strange thing happened as we made our way into the canyons traveling to the Falls. We experienced about a 25-degree temperature swing from leaving Carlsbad to the arriving at the Falls. All we had were light jackets, but the sun was shining and it was fine.

Obviously, no one was venturing into the water the day we were there, but apparently during the summer people do get in the water.

The walk from the parking lot to the actual Falls is short and easy (quick walk around the corner really). However, it was a nice day and we decided to hike up to the top of the Falls. It was a pretty good climb, but it was worth it!

There are several crystal-clear pools and smaller water falls on top of the Falls.

If you are ever near Carlsbad, NM I would absolutely recommend taking the time to visit Sitting Bull Falls.

 

Finding Balance – It’s a Slippery Slope

I’m stressed-out most of the time, but I can’t blame anybody but myself. I feel a real need to find some balance in my life.

Finding Balance

I take on too much. But, there are so many different things I really enjoy doing. It’s complicated. Or is it? Maybe if I set some priorities, my search for balance will be a short one. So, what consumes my time?

  • Spending time with my fiance (a long-distance relationship) as well as my daughters, granddaughter and the rest of my family
  • Playing golf
  • Traveling
  • Crafting
  • Cooking and baking
  • Working in my yard
  • Watching my Netflix shows (Heartland, The Crown, Reign and others)
  • Getting on Pinterest (to get ideas for all of the activities listed above)
  • I’ve recently embarked on – not a diet – but a new philosophy regarding food and my health
  • Desiring to simplify my life and embrace minimalism
  • Writing this blog when I find (uh um, make) the time
  • Looking after my 85-year old parents
  • My job

Geez, is that all? Why would I be stressed?

Like I said, I have no one to blame but myself. No one is holding a gun to my head making me work, golf, bake, craft, and cram 3 or 4 episodes of Heartland into my day.

Finding Balance

Why do I do this to myself? Why can’t I just find one or maybe two passions to pursue and stick to those? It turns out that I am one of those people like Jack – you know “Jack of all trades, but master of none.” I can’t seem to only focus on one thing. I enjoy too many hobbies, and Lord forbid I might miss out on something.

My balancing act is complicated because I’m making it that way, so I’m guessing I need to put some thought into my time management and set some priorities.

Finding Balance

Setting My Priorities

Well, obviously, my fiance and family are on the top of my list and those are non-negotiable, so lets look at all of the other stuff that takes up my time.

Golf? I love golf. It’s only for about 8 or 9 months of the year, and it is something KenDon and I both enjoy together. So, it’s a keeper.

Travel? Also non-negotiable. Travel is just about the only thing that when you spend money on it, it actually makes you richer. I’d rather have stories to tell then things to show any day. It stays.

Make Things/Crafting?  I definitely need to narrow down my choices of projects. While I can do many things well, if I focus on just one or two things at a time I think I will become better at those things and actually find fulfillment in creating quality items. This will be a work in progress, but I think I know where it will lead. We’ll see.

Cooking & Baking? Necessary for life, and if I quite making coconut cream pies or sopapilla cheesecakes for my family they might disown me. It stays.

Working in My Yard? You have to take care of your home, and I enjoy a nice yard and being outdoors too much to even think of abandoning my yard (although my yard may feel I’ve already abandoned it since I started playing golf). I need to stay home a little more and give my yard a little TLC. I will work on this so my lack of attention to my poor yard will help balance my stress level.

Netflix? Okay, so here I have an obvious problem – I may be just short of an intervention status here. I really don’t watch much regular TV (other than sports), but I need to get a hold of my “marathon watching” shows. This is definitely an area where I need to limit my time.

Pinterest? Again, maybe I need to limit my time doing this and actually make, do, or cook the stuff I Pin. Pin less, do more; that’s my new mantra.

Finding Balance

Diet and excercise? My ultimate goal is not to have this be an item on my “To Do” list; I just want to eat healthy and exercise because it will make me healthier and happier, and you know – be in balance. I’ve recently started eating a Paleo diet. This is also known as “The Caveman” diet. Meat, vegetables, fruit and healthy fats. That means no wheat, dairy, sugar or processed foods. I’ve only been doing this for a little over a week, but I already feel better. I fully intend on this being my way of life, not just a diet I am following. Soon following this philosophy will become natural to me and won’t cause me stress.

Minimalism? Well, this was put on the back-burner until after the holidays. I’ve already cleaned out several closets, etc. and I believe that the more you own, the more it all owns you. So I will be tackling this before the Spring so I can have a yard sale, or I may just donate it all. This needs to be done, and I can do a little bit at a time.

Blogging? I’ve wanted to write and share things with people through writing as long as I can remember, so no, I will not give up blogging. In fact, I will actually make more time to work on this blog and make it better. Less Netflix and more blogging. Got it.

Finding Balance

Looking after my parents? Definitely not negotiable. I am so glad I am here to help them out. There are challenges and stresses involved sure, but the blessing of the time I get to spend with them is priceless. There are those nights after we eat dinner together that they just talk and reminisce and I feel so priviledged to have this time with them and hear their stories (even the ones I’ve heard many, many times before). I realize that there will come a day when I would give anything to have them here to listen to, so for now I will do whatever I can for them.

My job? Please refer to all of the above items. I wouldn’t be able to do any of the above things if it wasn’t for my awesome job and boss. I enjoy the work I do and the people I work with. I’m blessed.

Finding Balance

I have a very full, blessed and wonderful life. However, if I don’t rein-in my “To-Do List” I may just exhaust myself and not be able to enjoy any of the things I love. So, I will watch less television, spend less time on Pinterest, get more sleep, and hopefully find some much-needed balance in my life.

I think if I will just take a little better care of myself that all of this anxiety and worry about my To-Do List may just balance out on its own. Perhaps I should count my blessings instead of adding to by To-Do List. Yes, I think I’m on to something here . . .

Finding Balance

If finding balance and setting your priorities interests you, you might enjoy reading this inspiring article on finding balance from the “Emerge Empowerment” blog –  Life Overwhelm – Redefining Your Priorities .

Do you need to set some priorities in your life to help you find balance? Get a paper and pen and start writing. Things often look much more simple in black and white on paper.

Pursuing Your Dream and Avoiding the Dreaded “Hows”

At this time of year when so many people have been making New Year’s resolutions, I want to challenge you – How Bad Do You Really Want It? I’m talking about BIG dreams. Life-changing dreams. How bad do you want it? That dream job? The dream house? The dream relationship? Is your dream a truly life-changing pursuit, or a somewhat smaller goal? It doesn’t matter. There is only one way to make REAL and LASTING change take place. DO NOT THINK ONE MINUTE ABOUT “HOW” IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

I repeat –  DO NOT THINK ABOUT “HOW” IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

So many times I have had a dream or a goal where in my mind I see the “end result”, and that’s a good thing. Actually, that is a GREAT thing! You need to have that. The end result is what we should focus on. That’s what we should put our energy into.

Where I often get tripped up is when I start “planning” and “making lists” (just ask KenDon – I am a BIG list-maker). Thinking and/or planning on how first “this” should happen, and then how “that” needs to happen, so how “this” can fall into place so how “that” can come to be. Those dreaded “Hows” are what hold us all back time after time. We should never even spend one single second thinking about the “hows”!

It’s hard, I know. It’s very difficult.  I think most people struggle with this when they have a passion they want to pursue – especially when that passion leads them down a very different path from where they are headed right now.

Sometimes your dream is so far away from where your life is now that it just seems impossible.  You can’t even imagine any realistic “hows” of how you would get from here to there. I know, I know. I feel your pain (and anxiety, and stress and insomnia).

Worrying about the “hows” is especially a problem when you are a “fixer”.

I’m a “fixer” type of person. If one of my daughters has a problem, I want to rush right in and fix it; but they are adults now and I just can’t do that. They need to learn how to handle things on their own. I’ll be there for them, but I’ll be standing by their side, not charging in front of them with my sword drawn ready to draw blood! (Other Moms, you feel me? – yea it’s a pretty normal response)

It’s not that you don’t have to work at it, but you don’t have to worry about it.  No fretting. No anxiety. Nervous energy is good – use it, but don’t make a list of “hows” and get discouraged! Stay focused on your dream. There will be many steps to take before you get there, but if you will just TRUST that you have been given the dream for a reason, then things will fall in to place.

So, what’s the lesson here? Well, if you do have a dream in your heart, and you have had it for a while, and it just won’t go away – then you need to focus on the end-product and NOT worry about “how” it is going to happen. That’s why they are  called the “dreaded HOWS”. They just ruin everything. They stop all progress towards your goal because you take your eye off of the prize!

You don’t need to worry about “how” it is going to happen, just keep your mind and eye on the goal, and continue to fuel your passion; keep on working at it; and keep on envisionining your dream coming to realiziation. It will.  Eventually.  Just keep on keepin’ on! That’s what I’m trying to do.

 

 

Good Morning Sunshine – What a Glorious Morning

Good morning sunshine! As the people in Southeast New Mexico can tell you, we have some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets in the world.

There is just something so special, clear, and crisp about the morning light.

Whether you find a windmill, trees, or a pumpjack being struck by the first morning light, it all looks beautiful.

It’s a brand new day! Starting over with the sunshine on a fresh and clean slate.

It’s another chance to get things right that you might have messed up on yesterday.

It’s warm and inviting, and inspiring.

Even old, discarded and “out of service” things look good.

If you haven’t seen a sunrise in a while, I suggest you get up a little earlier and look towards the East. In the early morning sunshine, you will often find that God is giving us a small hint of what His glory looks like.

 

Parenting My Parents

Just when I got my daughters raised and out on their own, I found myself entering a parenting twilight zone – Parenting my Parents.

Like many people my age (I turn 54 next week), I am blessed by living near my parents. I’ll be honest, some days it feels more like a curse than a blessing. It’s a double-edged sword, but one I gladly pick up and carry every day.

I have cousins and friends who would gladly be taking care of their parents if they were still alive. I see their posts on Facebook saying how they wish they could just talk to their mom or hug their dad one last time. Those posts tug at my heart strings and remind me how fortunate I am to not only still have my parents living, but to live in the same small town with them.

I generally see my parents four or five times during the week and I see them every Sunday. Sometimes the visits are short (or almost non-existent) if they are napping or not feeling well. The normal routine is this –  I show up just before Jeopardy comes on and usually leave after Wheel of Fortune. Does that sound as lame to you as it does to me as I am writing this? Well, it’s not. Sometimes we don’t even pay attention to the tv because we are visiting or I’m changing a light bulb they can’t reach or doing some other little chore they have saved for me.

Actually, it’s nice.

Nearly every week I go to Lovington (about 20 miles away) to the pharmacy and pick up their prescriptions and maybe swing by the grocery store if they need something, and usually I cook dinner and eat with them one night during the week.

The hardest part of parenting my parents is when one of them is not feeling well and they try to act like it’s no big deal. Sometimes it is really hard to get them to go to the doctor when I think they should, and then sometimes they will go to the doctor for (what seems to me) the smallest of things. Anyway, this really gets difficult when you practically have to force them to go to the doctor. More than once we have ended up in the emergency room because they put off going to the doctor until it was pretty serious. There was one time I just showed up out at the ranch, loaded up my dad and took him to the hospital and he “coded” in the ER waiting room. Man I’ve never seen people move so fast! It was stupid scary, but he’s still with us today and I am so grateful.

That wasn’t fun. What else isn’t fun is when the “well” one insists on going too because then it means I have to deal with taking two 85-year old’s to the emergency room. I can’t very well leave one of them all alone in the waiting room, but the hospital really only wants one person back there with the patient. So sue me – we are rebels – and I go with them both to see the doctor. I mainly do this because I need to hear what the doctor says. It’s kind of sweet when the “well” one insists on going. However, the last couple of times the “well” one has realized that they just can’t make the trip (all the walking and sitting in uncomfortable chairs, etc.). That is kind of sad, but it’s just part of it I guess.

The next hardest part is when they tell me (who am I kidding – my Mom is the one telling me) that I am being bossy. I know I’m being bossy damn it – but somebody has to be! That’s part of parenting, isn’t it?

It’s funny (not really) how the roles have switched. I often ask my mom what she has eaten that day (sometimes she just doesn’t eat), and sometimes when my dad tells me not to do some little chore because he will get it later, I just do it anyway because yes the trash has to be put out on the curb Tuesday night because the garbage truck comes by Wednesday morning before my parents would get it out there.

Here’s the good part – no, here’s the great part: I’ve probably heard more stories from them in the past three years they have lived in town than I had heard my whole life before. I mean – I’m talking about stories I have never heard before.

Anybody who knows my dad very well will tell you he doesn’t mind telling you a story he’s told you before because (in his words) “I want to hear it again”.

One night after supper, he told me everything he remembered about the day his dad died when he was just five years old. I had never heard that story before, and if I hadn’t been able to spend all of this time with them I might not have ever heard it.

Just last night my mom told me the story of when her Uncle Jack and his family came to visit when she was a teenager. My Grandma Frier was playing the piano and singing and Uncle Jack grabbed my mom and said, “Let’s dance”. Mom said she was having a little trouble “following” Uncle Jack’s lead when he just pulled her close and then they really “cut a rug” (her words), and he told her, “Well you can dance, you just like being held close!” Nothing creepy about it – just funny. I’d never heard that story either.

So, here’s the moral of my story – if you are fortunate enough to still have your parents, you need to hug them a little closer the next time you see them, hug your kids a little tighter when you can too. Tomorrow isn’t a done deal, so take care of the ones you love today!

 

Bizcochitos – My Favorite Christmas Cookie

It’s a New Mexico tradition. Like luminarias, tamales, and posole. Bizcochitos are a traditional Christmas cookie that I just love!! I know they aren’t everybody’s cup-of-tea, but I have to have them at Christmas.

The recipe I like to use comes from the Simply Simpatico cookbook put out by the Junior League of Albuquerque, New Mexico. If you are interested in “Authenic Southwestern Cuisine”, this cookbook is a keeper! All of the basic, traditional recipes for making authentic Mexican food are in this little gem of a cookbook, plus it has loads of other recipes that are interesting too.

Simply Simpatico Cookbook by the Albuquerque Junior League

If you don’t know, Bizcochitos are similar to a short-bread cookie with a mild anise (licorice) flavor that is covered with cinnamon sugar – YUM! They are easy to make and this recipe makes an abundance of beautiful little cookies (I like to make smaller, two-bite cookies). I believe traditionally, these cookies were often just cut into squares and baked.

Bizcochitos – (makes 4 dozen medium-size cookies)

1 cup lard or shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

3 cups flour

1-1/2 tsp baking power

1/2 tsp salt

1 teaspoon anise seed (or 1/2 tsp anise flavoring)

3 TBS sweet wine

1/4 cup sugar with 1 TBS cinnamon for sprinkling cookies

Directions:  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream lard (shortening) and sugar until quite creamy. Add egg and beat until very fluffy. Sift together flour, baking power and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Stir in wine and anise seed (or flavoring). Roll dought out on floured board at least 1/4″ thick (no thinner – you want them “plump”) and cut in plain squares or fancy shapes (I like mine as Stars).  Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar on tops of cookies before baking 12-15 minutes or until light brown.

If you’ve never tried Bizcochitos, I hope you will give this recipe a try and experience a traditional taste of a New Mexican Christmas! Feliz Navidad!

 

The Best Pumpkin Pie – Ever. Period.

For the past 25 years or more, I have been making a Pumpkin Pie recipe from Julia Child. I got it from the Sunday newspaper’s “Parade Magazine”, and I’ve been making it every year since then. My mom doesn’t like pumpkin pie, so she gladly handed that task over to me many years ago. The recipe is not the super-duper easy recipe found on the side of your Libby Pumpkin can. While this recipe is not totally intimidating, it has a few more steps than the can-recipe version, and some folks may not want to bother with – but let me tell you, I think it is 100% worth it!!

This pumpkin pie is not heavy at all.  It is light and so, so flavorful! Ugh, my mouth just waters thinking about it.

Best Pumpkin Pie

A couple of years ago, things were really hectic for me and I was really tired (having gone through chemo and radiation the previous Fall to battle breast cancer) and I figured, “What the heck. How much difference can it make? I’ll just make the recipe on the can.”  Well, yuck! I was so dissappointed, that I vowed to always make the Julia Child’s recipe. It really didn’t require that much more effort and I feel it is soooo worth it!

Julia Child's Pumpkin Pie

So, if you want to kick your Thanksgiving dessert menu up a notch, give this Pumpkin Pie recipe a try! I won’t serve any other Pumpkin Pie at my Thanksgiving table.

Pumpkin Pie – Julia Child

(this recipe makes 2 pies)

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

You will need 2 – 10″ deep-dish pie shells (frozen shells work fine, but if you want to make your own crust, see the pie crust recipe below)

Blend:

3-1/2 cups pumpkin

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp salt

3 TBS molasses

3 TBS Bourbon or Rum (you can use 2 tsp rum flavoring if preferred)

3 tsp each:  cinnamon & ginger

1/4 tsp each: nutmeg & cloves

4 egg yolks (keep the whites – see below)

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup milk (a few drops more if stiff)

Best Pumpkin Pie

Beat: 5 egg whites (yes, 5) until “frothy” – add a pinch of salt and beat to “soft peaks”

Beat: 1/4 of the whites into the pumpkin mixture

Best Pumpkin Pie

Then fold in the rest of the egg whites & pour into pie shells

Pumpkin Pie

Bake on middle rack of oven for 15 minutes at 450

When crust colors slightly, reduce heat to 375 for 15 minutes – Lower heat if crust browns too much; then

Lower heat to 350 for 15 minutes; then

Turn off oven – leave door ajar and let pie set for 20 to 30 minutes more

Best Pumpkin Pie

Let pies cool completely before covering and refrigerating (or else they will sweat and have little water puddles on top – yuck). But please, do refrigerate them – they have milk and eggs.

If you want to make your own crust, here is an easy and fool-proof recipe I like to use.

Pie Crust Recipe

3/4 cups Crisco (I used butter flavored Crisco sticks)

2-1/4 cups Flour

1/2 cup cold water

Directions:  Cut Crisco into flour until you get “pea-sized” lumps.

Pie Crust Pie Crust Pie Crust

Add cold water and blend with a fork to moisten all of the flour/Crisco mixture. Dough should stick together, but not be sticky to the touch. Add more cold water 1 tsp. at a time if too dry, or add flour 1 TBS at a time if too sticky.

Pie Crust

Refrigerate dough at least 30 minutes. (this dough can also be frozen for use later). After refrigeration, divide dough in half. Roll out dough on lightly-floured board. Fold dough in half and lift over pie pan. Unfold dough and press down into pan. Trim off excess dough over pie pan lip.

Pie Crust

There are numerous ways to finish the edges of your pie crust. I’m out of practice of creating the usual “notched” pie crust, so for the second crust I chose to cut small circles and use them for the edges (I used the cap to my vanilla bottle for the small circles). You can just use a fork and press down on the dough on the pie pan edge.

Pie Crust Pie Crust Pie Crust

I promise you that you will have a tasty pie that is light-as-air and a bit darker in color (because of the molasses) that you will love!

Pumpkin PIe

You may not notice a huge difference when you first try it, but trust me – after eating this pie, other “normal”, can-recipe pies will pale in comparison.

Best Pumpkin Pie

It’s really not that much more work, and, to me,  it is certainly worth it!

As Julia would say, “Bon’ Apetite!”

 

 

 

Why We Love Thanksgiving

Like many people, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the Fall – the change to cooler weather and the beautiful colors nature splashes at us.

Give Thanks

Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is such a warm and inviting holiday. You get the much-anticipated, yummy comfort foods, and you also get to spend time with family and friends you don’t likely get to see very often.

Family Thanksgiving

Family Thanksgiving

It has many of the good things Christmas brings without the stress of tree decorating, shopping, wrapping and the expense of gifts. Thanksgiving is Christmas’ laid-back, favorite cousin you always look forward to seeing.

Be Thankful

Be Thankful

There is something about the “feeling” of Thanksgiving I’ve always loved, but could never quite find the words to describe – but today I realized what it is.

Thanksgiving Nostalgia

Thanksgiving Nostalgia

Thanksgiving is just so cozy and warm; comfortable and familiar; safe and sound.  In one word – Thanksgiving is nostalgic.

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey

This epiphany came to me today as I came across a “Thanksgiving Playlist” on Pandora. I’ve been jamming out and “waxing” nostalgic to the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Harry Connick, Jr.  This music and the entire Thanksgiving holiday make you long for old times – simpler times. You know, the good ol’ days!

Mr. Scarecrow

Mr. Scarecrow

I was just wondering a couple of weeks ago, “Why aren’t there Thanksgiving songs, like Christmas songs?” I could think of some church hymns that come to mind, but no other Thanksgiving songs. So finding this playlist has been a boost to my “Loving the Fall” feelings. There are a couple of other Thanksgiving playlists on Pandora I plan on checking out – and I encourage you to also.

Thanksgiving Wreath

Thanksgiving Wreath

As I’m writing this, I am working on my “World’s Best Pumpkin Pie” (Julia Child’s recipe) to be posted tomorrow. So, there you go – something to be thankful for on this first Thursday in November.

Thanksgiving 2010 at the Ranch

Thanksgiving 2010 at the Ranch

Wishing you all cool  nights, colorful leaves, and all the Pumpkin Spice everything you can handle!

Fall Decor

Fall Decor