Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year

I didn't get a chance to wish you a Merry Christmas, so today, while I'm available I want to wish you a Happy New Year!

I hope that 2011 for you is successful and blissful, much like I hope 2011 is for me.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by this year and I hope to bring even more in the next year.

Much Love,
Kelli

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Things Around the Web

I'm a bit of a news junkie.  If I could make a career of reading the news I would be making millions.  So, every once in a while I like to share some of the interesting things that I've seen or found cool and share them with you.  As my family  has already heard about it and doesn't want to hear about it again.  Aren't you lucky?

So, for things around the web and world:

1. Eclipse.  I did see the eclipse last night.  L. woke me up at 1:30 am and we went and watched it.  Since I live in Texas our weather was rather warm for winter so no need for jackets, blankets, or frankly shoes.  It was great.  My pictures from the event weren't, but the even itself was great.  I like being a part of history.

2. Net Neutrality.  I know some of you have no idea what this is but if you own a website and are not a Fortune 500 company then it is something you need to look into.  What was going to happen was Internet, wireless, and cable providers were going to charge you to see certain content and they would give faster load times to those companies who could afford to pay for faster load times.  This penalizes those companies who could not. Such as anyone who is not Fortune 500.  That further puts a strain on small businesses because people don't like to wait more than a second or three for a page to load.  Imagine waiting a whole 60 seconds, most wouldn't do it. 

Today the FCC in a 3-2 decision voted for Net Neutrality with some rules.  So it is a compromise, but it is better than getting what the large companies wanted.  You can read about the Net Neutrality verdict here.

3. The Nativity Story. Have you seen this video about the Nativity Scene as done through Social Media?  This was a fun video to watch and still kept up with a the greatest story ever told.  You can see the Nativity Story as Told Through Social Media here.

4. Justified Season 2.  It starts up again on February 9th on FX.  This show stars Timothy Olyphant as US Marshall, Raylan Givens.  Oh so good.  Really good.



Mary Did You Know
by Kenny Rogers & Wynonna Judd

Okay that is it for the moment.  Will be planning my final Christmas Dessert Extravaganza and posting some recipes to go with it.

Much Love,
Kelli

Monday, December 20, 2010

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies


I was reading over my blog and realized I said I would have this recipe up today.  I have to quit doing that.  As I'm sure is the case with many of you my week is filling up quickly with last minute details.  For example I have to get everyone's Christmas gifts.  Except for Shas's and her mother's.  In which case I made those and now have to deliver them. 

My mom also said I could take over the desserts for Christmas.  That means pecan pie, applie pie, and grape salad.  There will also be an assortment of other treats that I plan on making, but those are the big three and specific to Christmas.

These cookies I will probably be making again because they were so good and I have left over ingredients and would like to use them.

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies
adapted from Guy's Craisy Oatmeal Cookies



Ingredients


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar  * I used light brown cause that was all I had
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
3/4 cup dried cranberries
2 cups quick oats

Directions


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, soda, powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with a mixer. Mix in honey and vanilla until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Mix in coconut, dried cranberries, and oats. Fold dry ingredients into butter mixture. Form into balls, approximately 2 tablespoons. Place 2 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake until cookies turn golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven to cooling rack. Let sit 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
 
These were really good.  In my next round I will probably use a tad more cranberry and an extra pinch of salt.  Other than that they were really good.  This recipe also calls for rosemary, but I didn't have that on hand, but will probably try it at some point.
 
So now I have to go to the post office with the others who need to be there on the busiest shipping day of the year.  I promise to refrain from singing Christmas carols unless you annoy me, then you're in for a treat.  You've been warned.
 
Much Love,
Kelli

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Treats

I think I'm finally going to be able to do my sum up of the week. These categories might change because I have the propensity to change my mind a lot, but I think most of them will stay.

Song That Tickled My Ears:



Grace Kelly
by Mika

----
Tweet of the Week:

@fredthompson: Man claiming to be doc for 20 yrs exposed as fraud. Huh. Obamacare's so bad, even FAKE doctors are getting out of the business. #ftrs #tcot

 - I laughed so hard after I read that.

---

Favorite Show of the Week:

Comedy: The Big Bang Theory - Everyone needs to see this.  I almost shot liquid through my nose when they were talking to Penny's new boyfriend.

Zack: You know, I saw this great thing on the Discovery Channel. Turns out if you kill a starfish it'll just come back to life.

Sheldon: Was the starfish wearing boxer shorts? Because you might have been watching Nickelodeon.

Drama: Burn Notice - Bruce Campbell as Sam gets me every time and this past week he saved the day.  He was awesome.  Awesome I say!

---

Picture of the Week:


I saw this picture when I went to fotolia to find some stock photos for a client and I just loved it.

---
Recipe I'd Like to Try:

Iced Oatmeal Cookies
from Smitten Kitchen

So I made no-bakes, white chocolate pretzels and pies yesterday and today.  So at least two people will be getting their gifts from me.

Tomorrow I will have my oatmeal cranberry cookies up.

Much Love,
Kelli

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Banner

So I have a new banner.  I actually have quite a few planned for the upcoming year, but this is the first. 

Now onto the fun stuff.  I love stocking stuffers.  Usually more than the gifts I receive.  I don't know why, but in my house they are always fun, personal, and very surprising.  So, I thought I would give some ideas on last minute stocking stuffers or small gifts you can get if you need to:

For the Baker/Cook:

The Pioneer Woman Cooks - if they don't already have it.  I don't know anyone who doesn't like this delightful and funny woman from Oklahoma.

Best part?  Retail is $16.99
(obviously this is for someone special)

Other Ideas:
 - Measuring Cups
 - Measuring Spoons
 - Whisk
 - Good Peeler
 - Apple Corer
 - Ice Cream / Melon Scoop
 - Baking Pans
 - Baking Bowls



For the Music Lover:

Bill Graham Presents:
If you have a music lover in your life this book is great.  Bill Graham was one of the most famous concert promoters and this autobiography with a finish by those who knew him best and comments from the acts he booked your music lover is in for a delightful and insightful treat.  I can not express how amazing this book is.

Retail price is only $16.99

Other Ideas:

 - iTunes Gift Cards
 - Amazon Gift Card
 - Life by Keith Richards (Rolling Stones)
 - Motley Crue: The Dirt by Motley Crue



for the Fashionista:

The Fashion File: Advice, Tips, and Inspiration from Mad Men

I have a great friend that I would give this too who is both fashionable and into Mad Men.  I have a sister who would also like this.  I personally want to read it and get it myself.  You can pick this up in many stores.

Retail $18.00

Other Ideas:

 - Gift Card to Sam Moon or other beloved place
 - Make up kit from Ulta (they have several to choose from)
 - Really cute socks


These are just a few, but hopefully they will give you some ideas about the people in your life.

Much Love,
Kelli

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day Fourteen: Uh oh Two Weeks

Confession: I have not worked out since I was so sick and I have bitten my nails.  I did that last night.  I have found I'm not allowed to be bored with nothing to do with my hands.  It gets me in to trouble.

I'm blushing. 

Thank you for reading this.

This is a fun song:



Grace Kelly
by Mika

Much Love,
Kelli

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Having a Jessie Spano Moment

Do you remember this?



Okay the part I'm referencing is "NO TIME!  There's NEVER enough time!"  Not all the drug parts, I promise!  So, I'm having a tough time - pun intended - getting enough time to do what I want to do.  I dream about updating this blog more, I even have a new banner I would like to work on, but alas, no time.

Granted we all have the same hours in a day to do what needs to be done.  I am probably not the most efficient person ever, but there is so much last minute stuff going on that my day seems to be taken from me.  Except for Monday night, that was because I really, really wanted to watch Tabatha's Salon Takeover.

So, yes, this blog is over due for an update, especially on my challenge, but I don't think this time of year was the best idea to start the whole thing.  Lesson learned. Hopefully...

Meanwhile I've really gotten into this song:



Difference Between Us
by The Dead Weathers

"I'm not the way you found me.
I'm neither here nor there.
One day I'm happy and healthy
Next I ain't doin' so well."

Kinda depressing for this time of year, so here's a Christmas song we enjoy at my house.



Christmas Vacation
by Mavis Staples

Much Love,
Kelli

Monday, December 13, 2010

Clothing & Cookies

I've been a little busy these past few days.  I gave a huge presentation on Friday and nailed it.  I can't tell you what a feeling of accomplishment that was.

Then to celebrate I baked.  I made white chocolate covered pretzels and brown - edged cookies which I will share the recipe down below.

Meanwhile I played this song the other day and it so does bring a smile to my face:



Your Wildest Dreams
by the Moody Blues

So for the clothing part:

My dearest second-mother, Shas's mom, bought me this cute head scarf at a craft fair a couple of Saturday's ago and I had to share it with you.  I think it is adorable.



Then I got to borrow L's cute hat and wore it on Saturday.  I want it now of course, but I'll go buy my own so we can exchange on different days.



Since it has been such a limited year financially I'm making Christmas gifts this year.  This includes pies, cookies, fudge (well mom is making that), and anything else that I make that others would want.

So these are my white chocolate covered pretzels.  The only other ingredient you might want to add is cinnamon.  It really makes these easy, if sort of tedious treats, taste even better.



White Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Bakers White Chocolate (or Vanilla Candy Coating)
Pretzel Rods
Cinnamon * optional


And these are my mom's favorite so I made them just for her:


Brown Edge Cookies
adapted from my mother and grandmother

Ingredients

* 1 cup sifted cake flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup shortening
* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 1/4 teaspoons lemon extract
* 1/2 cup cottage cheese, creamed

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Mix until creamy shortening, sugar and egg. Add lemon extract. Mix in cottage cheese until smooth
3. Add flour mixture and mix just until blended.

Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheet. Bake ten to fifteen minutes, or until brown around the edges.


So, that was my weekend.  I'm feeling back to my old self so I will start to work out again and hopefully have other postings for you. 

Much Love,
Kelli

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Movies

So I've seen a few posts about books.  One day I'll post about books, but today I'm posting about movies.  More specifically my favorite Christmas movies.  Or more to the point, movies I watch at Christmas time.  I would love to know what yours are so feel free to share them!

* Slight warning the final movie does come with some expletives.  You've been warned.


5. Elf.
" I just like to smile, smiling's my favorite."

"We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup. "

"I like to whisper too! "

"Have you seen these toilets? They're GINORMOUS!"

"It's just nice to meet another human that shares my affinity for elf culture."

"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."
There are so many great quotes and the innocence in this movie is just perfect. 


4. Gone With the Wind

My mother and I try to watch this every Christmas day.  After we finish we watch the TV Special, Scarlett, if for no other reason than to see Rhett and Scarlett back together again.

Now, since Gone With the Wind is three hours long and Scarlett is six hours long we sometimes make a monopoly of the TV.  Some years we trade this tradition in for a game with the rest of the family or a new movie, but we always come back to it.

In our opinion there is nothing more beautiful than technicolor.  And this movie shows why.  Who hasn't wanted to wear just one of the gowns that Scarlett did for an evening?  Truly a great and beautiful movie.



3. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

L., is the person who introduced me to this movie, and we have watched it every year since.  Is it traditional?  No, but it does offer the song, "Hard Candy Christmas" sang by the awesome Dolly Parton.

Since this movie was discovered around this time of year so long ago it has stuck as our sister tradition to watch this movie at Christmas time, specifically, Christmas Eve.  It used to be so hard for us to fall asleep and stay asleep on Christmas Eve always wanting to see what Santa had brought us.

This movie is something we would watch when our parents had gone to sleep and we had control of the TV for a few brief hours.  Or, when we had awoken at 4:00 am and had to do something to occupy our time before we could open up the gifts.



2. Love Actually
This is my own special movie that I watch at this time.  No one else in my family really cares for it, but me.  It has so many actors I like and the story for me was just perfect.  My favorite, of course, being the Hugh Grant story line.  However, Emma Thompson's was right up there.  Anything with Alan Rickman is a good thing.

Okay there is a soft spot for Bill Nighy as Billy Mac and his manager.  Just perfection as far as I'm concerned.  So if you like romantic movies with great stories and comedy and are looking for something this season I suggest this movie.


1. Christmas Vacation
As far as I'm concerned there is no better Christmas movie than Christmas Vacation.  And there is no arguing about it either.  My family quotes this movie on a regular basis for all sorts of situations.  And yes, "The shitter's full." is a great response to almost any question.

[Todd and Margo Chester, the Griswold's yuppie neighbors, appear]

Todd: Hey Griswold. Where do you think you're gonna put a tree that big?
Clark: Bend over and I'll show you.
Todd: You've got a lot of nerve talking to me like that Griswold.
Clark: I wasn't talking to you.  - Julia Louise Dryfus' face on this is priceless.

Clark: Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monke
y shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?

Eddie: Every time Catherine revved up the microwave, I'd piss my pants and forget who I was for about half an hour or so.

And the beloved line, Clark: We're gonna have the hap hap happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny 'f***ing' Kaye.
 


So what is yours?

Much Love,
Kelli

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day Ten: In Need of Prayers

What is going on with me is not the end of the world.  Not by a long shot.  I have my health (back, praise be to God), my family is all relatively happy and nice, and for that I am grateful.  But, it is a difficult time.  There are times that if I dwelt on it I would have a panic attack.  And the worst of it is the situation isn't new.  It's not the first time I've been through this, and quite frankly I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.

However, I am praying.  I know He will bring me through this, and that this is just a season in life.  Not a very fun one, but one that does come with its own blessings.  I am still laughing, enjoying life, and living life as best I can.  I just wish I had a little relief, but then again who doesn't? :D

I just wanted to say I'm still praying, I haven't bitten my nails, and as soon as I'm recovered I will get back to working out.

Much Love,
Kelli

Feeling Better

I'm feeling much better today.  I missed out on a friend's birthday party last night though.  I do hate that, but I'm sure they were all happy I wasn't spreading my germs around until I was healed.

If you find yourself with this stomach virus these two items will be lifesavers for you.

1. Charcoal pills.  You can find them at Wal-Mart as CharcoCaps. They're pink caps, but contain the all important, charcoal.  Charcoal works the way burnt toast would and absorbs anything in your stomach, so if you have a bacteria (which the stomach virus would actually be a bacteria, not virus) it will help you.  Just read the directions. -- This is also great if you travel to some weird places.

2. Tylenol Sinus.  Especially if your sinus' drain into your teeth like they do to me. 

Aren't you glad we had this conversation?  I'll forever thank Dr. Salih for the charcoal tip.  It's been a great help to me.

So, I think I might actually attempt to make something tomorrow if my healing continues.  Nothing difficult, but some white chocolate covered pretzels sound really good with some cinnamon.

In the meantime Glee was fantastic last night.  Even my mom liked it, which is quite the compliment.  Here was my favorite song, wish you could see the scene, from the episode:



Much Love,
Kelli

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day Eight & Nine: Eek!

I do have so much to catch up on, but the truth is I've been out sick since Sunday night.  I usually only get sick once a year, if that, but this year I've been out sick three times now.  I hate it.  I just absolutely HATE being sick.  I know no one likes being sick but I resent it.  I know I can't help it, but it doesn't make me accept what is happening any easier.

Great shouts of gratitude to God though and great friends.  I sent out a distress call on Facebook last night asking for prayers that I get better so I could come to work today.  I have a lot going on these next two weeks and since this is partly my company it is a big deal.  And God blessed me with enough health to make it.  Now I'm just nursing a sinus infection, which isn't fun, but at least manageable.

I will have posts coming soon, but not today.  As I said to the office today I may not move fast, but I will move diligently.

PS: I did bite a hangnail off, but other than that I still haven't bitten my nails.  So another yay!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day Seven: Shopping & Family

I did not technically get on my elliptical and work out, but I walked, a lot, today.  And I carried a baby and let him bounce in my arms.  My chest is going to hurt like a mother bear tomorrow.  That kid was my weight training, but he is so darn cute that its worth it. He has the biggest smile and unless he is hungry or tired he doesn't cry or get too upset.

Meanwhile, my second mom, Shas's mom, bought me the cutest accessory.  I'll have a picture for you later because I'm so wearing it very, very soon.  I'd say tomorrow but I never know what exactly I'll wear until I put it on.  I have this habit of changing my mind, which my dad might tell you about if you ask, or perhaps if you don't.

You need to see this video especially if you're a Big Bang Theory fan like me.  Dr. Sheldon Cooper for the win indeed.



Oh No
by Marina and the Diamonds

Well no food for today.  Tomorrow I have to make an appetizer for one Christmas party and find an elephant gift for the second.  Two Christmas parties you may ask?  Yes.  One is for my Sunday school class, the other is for the older group in our church, whom I just adore. They are sweet and have adopted me as an honorary member.  I'm very humbled by it and so blessed.  Great stories and sweet people who know how to have fun.

Also this video is from the season finale of Sons of Anarchy.  It is a different version.



Hey Hey My My
by Battleme

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day Six: Confessions of an Inexperienced Baker

I'm still learning to bake.  Most of the things I make come out well in-spite of some of the things I do.  Last night was no exception.  I know that this is the process in learning how to bake I'm not worried about it, but I feel the need to tell you that there will be no original recipes here until I'm on more solid footing with my baking skills.

For example the red velvet cupcakes I made.  I used Duncan Heinz.  There were a ton of cupcakes and although these were good I think if I do it myself it will probably be much better.  And next time I can make my own color.

The no-bakes I made "from scratch" but these cookies are so easy.  Unless of course you are me...

Confession time: So my top-stove takes a long time to heat up.  A LONG TIME.  So, last night I heated up my pot to medium heat as directed.  I finished measuring out all of my ingredients and then I went to the stove.  The first thing I put in there was butter... suddenly there was an explosion of smoke and a smell that wasn't that pleasant.  Wow.  Yeah.  So apparently the rule where it takes forever did not apply to me last night.

Needless to say  I'm glad I only put one ingredient in there first.  My no-bakes taste great, but because of a mis-read they weren't as goopy as I normally like.  Still taste great though.

So, this morning I took a picture of my creations and after tasting them this morning felt much better about the whole thing.


Of course today is Friday Night Dinner with the friends, so these delicious treats are on their way to celebrate Shas's birthday with her.

However, I wanted to leave you with this Christmas gem because I really do like Christmas music.  Even if you don't...



No word yet on the work out because Friday's are crazy, but I'm not giving up.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day Five: Cupcakes, No Bakes, and Back Breaks

To say my back hurts right at this moment would be an understatement.  However, I have 48 red velvet mini-cupcakes and I don't know how many no-bakes but quite a few.  I'll have pictures of them tomorrow.  Meanwhile, I'm resting and enjoying one of my favorite shows, Burn Notice.  Perhaps it has jumped shark with the character, Jesse, but Bruce Campbell is still incredible so that is what counts.

Anyone else love Bruce Campbell besides me?  I'll never forget my senior year of high school and we would watch movies during lunch before our fifth period started (and by us I mean my English class).  We watched Evil Dead 2... great camp/horror movie.  And I don't like horror, but again, Bruce Campbell made it great.

I'll have pictures of my food tomorrow when I have better light.  I really liked my pictures of the blondies in the morning light, so that is what I'm going for.  Meanwhile quick question why are there so many bad guys who have such loyal followers?  Always found that odd.

Well I worked out tonight it actually wasn't that bad.  Maybe one day it won't be as bad.  And I haven't bitten my nails.

I know I posted this on here earlier, but seriously a great song!

This Charming Life
Joan Armatrading



Much Love,
Kelli.

Happy Birthday Shas!!

Did you know I have a friend named Shas?  Well I do.  Her and I have been friends since the seventh grade.  We had gone our separate ways after high school, but she found me, put up with my stubbornness and now we're back to being friends.  I do so love this person, Shas.  So in honor of her, I dedicated my Top 5 to her.



The River
by Garth Brooks

It is because of Shas that I really got into Garth Brooks and was even able to see him in concert. When he bought free HBO for those with cable so we could see his special I was at Shas's house. Great times. Happy Birthday my dear, dear friend.



X's and O's (American Girl)
by Trisha Yearwood

So Shas had a car before I did and she was generous enough to pick me up every day for school, and we must have listened to Trisha nearly every morning. This was my favorite of the tape.



You May Be Right
by Billy Joel

So Garth Brooks was Shas's favorite and Billy Joel is mine. However, Shas did like this song. I was quite excited when she told me that. Oh if I could only recount some of the great times we had/have. Like the issue of high-waters and the movie, Emma. Or the term 'schmegma' from Homecoming. Thanks for the great times friend!



I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas
by Gayla Peevey

Christmas is another thing Shas and I share. Especially Christmas music. This is such a fun song and I so enjoy when we can listen to it and sing along. I really hope you all have a great friend like Shas in your life.



Aquarius / Let The Sunshine In
by The 5th Dimension

Now this is how cool Shas and her husband, Joe are. This was the song they walked down the aisle to after being pronounced husband and wife. Honestly awesome. I hope you have an amazing birthday and wonderful day friend, much love from me to you!

May your Thursday shine as bright as I hope Shas's does!

Much Love,
Kelli

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day Four: Break

I know what you're thinking, a break on day four?  Why yes I will take that.  Wednesday night is when I go to church and therefore it is the night I relax and don't rush to do anything.  Therefore, no I didn't work out tonight, I'm not making any dessert and I'm totally going to watch Psyche.

I will however tell you that I haven't bitten my nails yet.  Four days without is a big deal for me.  It's not easy.  My natural instinct is not to leave them alone.

Tomorrow is Shas's big birthday so I'm going to bake her Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and no-bake cookies.

Much Love,
Kelli

Peanut Butter White Chocolate Blondies

I had a poll yesterday between the Peanut Butter White Chocolate Blondies (PBWC) or no-bakes.  The PBWC won until some stragglers came in and voted for the no-bakes, but I had already made up my mind.


Breaking News: Sons of Anarchy last night was BRILLIANT.  Seriously best episode I've seen.  So I have this song for you:



John the Revelator
by Curtis Stigers & The Forest Rangers

- Great song by the way.  Really great song.

Meanwhile I made Blondies last night.  I've never had a Blondie before which is odd since I am, in fact, blonde.  However, they were delicious.  Taste like a more moist peanut butter cookie.

I did the recipe straight from Rachel Allen who is from England so the recipe is in ounces.  Thankfully I had a way to measure that.


Peanut Butter White Chocolate Blondies

Ingredients

7 tablespoons butter, softened, plus more for greasing

4 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 ounces crunchy peanut butter
6 ounces soft light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ounces white chocolate, chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the sides of an 8 by 8-inch square cake pan and line the base with parchment or greaseproof paper.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a small bowl, and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the 7 tablespoons butter and peanut butter together until very soft. Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla extract, and beat until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, and the chopped chocolate, and mix to form a dough.

Spread the dough in the prepared pan, and bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and almost firm in the center.
Allow the brownies to cool in the pan, before removing and cutting into squares.

So there you go.  They were delicious!

And this song was featured in the beginning of the episode and it was so nice I had to share this too:



This Charming Life
Joan Armatrading

Much Love,
Kelli

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day Three: Cookie Week & Working Out

So I did work out tonight too, even though my schedule is crazy because, it is Tuesday.  And Tuesday is TV NIGHT!!  Yeah... okay so this is my Monday Night Football if the Cowboys were winning. Hehe... yeah.

So of course there is Glee - Fabulous! (do you hear me singing that?  Because I do every time I type it)  Then here is One Tree Hill (which I will have to watch later because I'm baking blondies and need to do my Bible Study before...) Sons of Anarchy, which tonight is the 90 minute finale.

Yeah.  So my nails are looking better but that praying without ceasing was a fail today.  I remembered every once in a while and then I was sucked into whatever it was I was working on.  Will need to try again later.

So the Blondie recipe tomorrow!  Sorry so short, but like I said, TV NIGHT!!!  You can celebrate with me too.

Much Love,
Kelli

Okay, okay the music, the music.



I still love this mashup.

Strawberry Gooey Butter Cookies

As I said last night I made the first cookie for the 12 Days Of Cookies! Instead of Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies I used strawberry.

A couple of things to note:
  1. If you don't like cookies that are over-sweet these are perfect if you forget to roll them in powder sugar before you bake them.  They taste good, but not sweet.  Now, I have a sweet tooth that borders on obsessive so they weren't my favorites, but my mom loved them.
  2. If you do like yours sweet, please roll them in powdered sugar like I did on the second and third batch.  They were absolutely perfect.
  3. It is a very thick dough.  My mixer told me I could forget it.  So I ended up mixing the remaining part by hand with a spoon who would've also liked to tell me to go away.
Here is the Recipe for

Strawberry Gooey Butter Cookies:
Ingredients


1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (18-ounce) box moist strawberry cake mix
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner's sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and "gooey." Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar, if desired.

* remember to roll the little guys in the sugar, unless your like my mother who doesn't have much of a sweet tooth.


I haven't decided if I'm going to do another cookie tonight or not.  I probably should though...

Much Love,
Kelli

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day Two: Strawberry vs. Chocolate

So I did work out this evening.  After I made the batter for my cookies.  That's what I call a balanced life.  Today's work out was a little harder than yesterdays, that is for sure.

So, today is the first day of the 12 Days of Cookies.  And the first one up is Paula's Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies.  They looked delicious.  The only issue was that I didn't have chocolate cake mix.  And my mother doesn't really like chocolate.  However, we did have a strawberry cake mix.  And my mother does like stawberry.  So voila.  I haven't made them yet, just the batter.

It called for two hours in the fridge.  I don't have time for that so its an hour in the freezer.  I hope it all comes out good.  I'll have it posted tomorrow one way or another.

And today once I gave my permission to not worry about certain things I went on and it was actually a really nice day!  So good day.

I do have some prayers for this week, but either way it will be fine.  At least that's what I'm praying for!

Much love,
Kelli.

As if I would leave you without music!

Need A Little Christmas

It is day two of my challenge, but since I'm still at work I haven't been able to accomplish some of my personal goals.  Although I'm trying this praying without ceasing businesses.  Sometimes I forget, but then I remember again.

So, I'll have more information about my day two tonight versus right at this moment.  At this moment I'm thinking how wonderful the Christmas season is and how much I am not feeling it right now.  Which is a shame.  I think I'm going to start decorating tonight, I'm sure that will help.

I also have this desire to bake, but Shas's birthday is not until Thursday (I'm hoping to make red velvet cupcakes - if I could pull of purple I would since that is her favorite color, but we'll see.)  So I need to conserve my money for that.  However, that doesn't stop the desire to make the cookies that sound good from the 12 Days of Cookies from Food Network. (PS I so got Paula's cookies in my inbox but Food Network says Nigella is up first...)

All of that to say that this song,


We Need A Little Christmas
by Johnny Mathis

The reason this one gets me into the spirit is because of this line, "Because I've grown a little leaner, grown a little colder, grown a little sadder, and grown a little older so I need a little Christmas."

I'll post my favorite Christmas song later, but if you need a little Christmas come join me.  I might even make cookies!

Much Love,
Kelli

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day One: Nails & Working Out

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". - Albert Einstein.

For weeks now that quote has been playing around in my head.  i keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  This is true of nearly every aspect of my life, and if I want something to change, I must change.  This is not easy for me as I, like many, am a creature of habit.  I also have this terrible desire to have things change for me instead of me doing it for myself.  I do have a lazy side when it comes to things I don't want to do.

However, my life is in some what of a rut, and some that is on me.  So, I need to do different things.  I need to make a change.  So, this is day one.

This is what I'm changing:
  • Trust in the Lord.  Real trust.  I'm adopting the attitude that no matter what may be thrown at me God will work it out.  I obviously can't do it and worrying about it hasn't helped, so He can take over now.  He's in charge of moving me, inspiring me, and getting me where I need to be.  I, in return, will be open to His calling and voice.  My nails will be a visual reminder of that trust.  Because when I'm nervous or worried I bite them.
  • Working out.  It is ridiculous that I don't do it.  No, I probably won't get the results I want because of my hormone level, but I can at least be doing everything on my part to to be healthy.  So, no more excuse.  Crazy elliptical that makes me want to pass out at minute two here I come.
  • Writing.  I love writing and there is an article I want to write.  I need to do that now.  No excuse.
I think that is about all I can handle for now, but it certainly is a list.

So much love to all of you.  Oh and for confession's sake I did bite a nail today until I remembered I'm no longer doing that. Oops.

Okay, now much love,
Kelli.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Different Focus

Yeah.... so, for me right now my financial situation isn't what I want it to be.  It's to the point where it is what I focus much of my thought towards because everything you want to do takes money.  I'm so sick of being broke and discussing it that I want to scream.  So, I need to focus my energy on something else.  Some people focus on vegetable gardens, others Farmville, and still others focus on collecting buttons.  I know we are to put our focus on Jesus, this isn't about that, this is something that I can tangibly do when the need to obsess over this brokenness gets to be too much.

So, I 've decided to focus on... my nails.  Vain perhaps, but they are something that are always with me (at least I would hope so!), and they are a visual reminder to quit focusing on the bad stuff.  On the other hand I have the worst nails possible.  And, okay, a BIG confession I like to bite my nails.  That's right, bite.  I feel no shame and I feel no guilt, for the record.  So, perhaps if I focus on keeping my nails pretty, and maybe one day longer than they currently are I can accomplish two goals: quit focusing on this hard time in my life and have pretty nails when it gets better.

I will get a picture of my nails so you see I'm not joking in how bad they are, and I will begin a goal. 

I just want to say if you too are going through a rough time that I'm there with you and I pray we all get through this better than expected. 

Much love,
Kelli

PS: I used to love this song and I still play it occasionally when I'm feeling kinda low and it does make me feel better:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

So the chances of me actually getting on my computer are slim to none, so I thought I would take today to wish you all a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

So as you can guess I dedicated my Top 5 to it today.  And I'm putting the Top 5 here for you to listen and enjoy.



When I Get Where I'm Going
by Brad Paisley

I love Thanksgiving. I love spending time with my family and I also like to give thanks for all that I've been blessed with. I chose this song because I think of my grandma who has passed and I think of friends who have lost loved ones this year. May God bless you and keep you safe this holiday season. Thank you Jesus, for your love.



Teenagers
by My Chemical Romance

* Lyrics Warning

So for the rest of the countdown I picked songs that, as a family, we enjoy together. Yes I did thank Jesus in the above statement and this song has a curse word in it. We believe in being honest. Now sing it with us!



Total Eclipse of the Heart
by Bonnie Tyler

80's song: check
Slightly cheesy: check
Great song: check

There is a reason this is a classic and yes we sing it with no shame.



Road to Nowhere
by Talking Heads

This song plays at the end of one of the best movies ever, Little Monsters with Fred Savage and Howie Mandel. Family favorite. Us girls loved the movie and the song was cool and Dad knew the song. Now it is a requirement for all road trips.



Boy Named Sue
by Johnny Cash

My dad's love of Johnny Cash is legendary and is only matched by my sister's love of him. The love affairs isn't only with those two the whole family likes him. And we all sing this song when we hear it.

I hope you have a most blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving. If you're ever in the area and need a friend our door is open.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Confessions & Covers

I have a confession to make.  I love covers.  Not covers of books (although some of those are cool) or DVD covers (same as the books), but music covers.  I can't explain it as I used to hate them.  I was always for the original, and some what of a purist, so I didn't like them.  Then, something happened, I don't know when or where, but suddenly I was in love with covers.

Did you know in my family that most of the women married men they didn't like at first?  Of course you wouldn't know that, unless you were in my family, but for the record that is the case.  My Grandma Kansas only dated my grandpa because her best friend was dating his best friend, but after the friends broke up my grandma decided that she did kind of like him.  They were married for 49 years and 364 days before she died.

My Grandma Oklahoma didn't really like my grandpa either, but she thought he was cute.  They've been married for fifty-one years!  When my parents met my dad had left my mom a 23 cent tip, all in pennies too. (Can't forget that detail!)  They went on a date when my mom was 16 and she came home and told my grandma she was going to marry him.  And as you know from yesterday they've been married now 30 years.

All that to tell you the fact that I didn't like covers before and now I love them shows that this affair will probably go on for quite some time.  Maybe forever.  Of course you can't have covers without originals, and I haven't left them behind.  And like the fabulous original a great cover always brings something new to the table.

Wow, that was a long intro for telling you I heard this great cover of Sarah McLachlan's "Possession"  It is by Evan Blue.  Take a listen:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Speaking of Giving Thanks

So today my incredible parents celebrate 30 years of marriage, which is incredible.  I know how blessed I am to have parents that are still happily married and have been such amazing parents.  So, much like a birthday I had to create a Top 5 to celebrate this Big Deal Occasion:




You Never Even Call Me By My Name
by David Allen Coe

Today my parents celebrate 30 years of marriage. So, of course, I needed to dedicate my Top 5 to them. Believe it or not this is "their" song. This starts to explain a few things about me doesn't it? Actually the fact that this is their song shows how cool they are.



Beth
by Kiss

As I stated on my dad's birthday he only likes two slow songs. This is the other. For one it was written by the drummer, which my dad is a drummer. In fact on my the day of my actual birth he was playing a gig in Detroit. So my mom always teases my dad he wants a girl like Beth. I think he found her. :P



Remember When
by Alan Jackson

Finding other songs for this remarkable couple is tough. Beth was for my dad so this one is for my mom. I think it is a very sweet song myself and something I hope to have some day.



Oh How the Years Go By
by Amy Grant

As the daughter, the first born, I chose this song. It reminds me of my childhood and the evenings spent at the dinner table, and the summers spent in California where Dad was working. It reminds me of how great my paretns are, how loving they are to us girls and each other. I was blessed with incredible parents and a remarkable childhood. So Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. Here's to 30 more years!



You Never Even Call Me By My Name
by David Allen Coe

I couldn't decide if I wanted to play this at the beginning or the end of the countdown and then I thought why not both? Besides this is their song. It should be played more than once.

Much love and happiness to you my wonderful parents and to th rest of you out there!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Conversations

Because this week has been particularly tough for me I thought I would recount some of the conversations that happened to me this week:

Salesman: Can I speak with So&So
Me: I'm sorry he's not available right at the moment can I take a message or help you?
Salesman: Oh no I can just leave him my information.
Me: Okay, what is it?
Salesman: Can I just fax you my info?
Me: We don't use the fax.
Salesman: Oh wow really?  That's odd.  I'll just call back at a later time.
Me: Okay, no problem.

My thoughts: We are a tech company.  It is 2010.  Who uses faxes?  Furthermore who uses faxes to fax over their information?  And finally I'm the odd one because I don't use fax?  I guess I could've told him that he could tweet us if that made him feel better....

================

Message: Yes, I need to speak to So&So and I thought they would've called me back, but I guess they can only do that if you gave them my message. I wanted to learn more about your stuff so if you could email the specs to me I'd appreciate it, but if you're not capable of that then you can fax me.

My thoughts: So the first guy was weirded out that I didn't use a fax and the second guy didn't think I was capable of email?  Again we are a TECH company.  It is 2010.  Who uses fax?  Why didn't they read the email I sent them with the appropriate links (I double checked)?  Finally, I did give So&So the message, but he was still busy.  Actually this guy called three times in the span of five minutes, which I was in the restroom, and he dialed my direct number....

================

Me: This is Kelli can I help you?
Same Guy As Above Message: Yeah, I did get those specs, but I didn't read it and wondered if you could just tell me about.
Me: Sure... blah blah blah

My Thoughts: Really?  I mean really?

And this was my week....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

To The Greatest Dad Ever

Today is my dad's birthday.  This is a tribute to him:



Kickstart My Heart
by Motley Crue

Coming up with five songs for you was tough, not because I couldn't think of any but because I could think of too many. There were several Motley Crue songs to choose from, but I chose this one because this line in the song, "Years gone by I say we've kicked some ass... I say we're still kicking ass." I certainly think you are still awesome and I think you'll be badass no matter the age.





Sing, Sing, Sing
by Benny Goodman

Because you do love Big Band music and you've passed that love on to all of us. Again there were many to choose from from, but I chose this one because it is timeless like you, has a range of musical variations like you, and its popular because it is that good. Just like you.




For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)
by AC/DC

When it was my birthday you dedicated AC/DC to me, so I could do no less. As someone who always rock we, everyone who knows and loves you, salute you today on your birthday. Thank you for being so amazing.





He Stopped Loving Her Today
by George Jones

My dad only likes two slow songs and this is one of them. So I had to include it on this countdown...

I'll never forget hearing this song blasting out of your radio at work and shocked because it was such a slow song.





Small Town
by John Mellencamp

Because my dad was born in a small town and grew up in a small town. I don't know what song describes you more perfectly than this song. And although we no longer live there we are grateful to have it in our lives, just like I'm grateful to have you as a daddy. I can say with all confidence you are the best dad ever!

I hope you have a most blessed birthday and the best year of your life yet.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pears & Crackers

It's a good thing this blog isn't about food otherwise you would be horrified.  Today I'm going to give you an example of why because I have this bizarre need to confess if for nothing else than to horrify others and or find out I'm not alone.

Today for lunch I had pears (from a can - light syrup) and club crackers.  I haven't had my pickle yet but rest assured I will not be forgetting that.  Today has actually turned out to be a good despite the fact it started off with a rocky attitude.  It hasn't been the easiest time lately.

However, as much as I wanted to play sad songs on my countdown today I couldn't.  I just couldn't.  So I decided to pick myself up and play happy songs.  Well songs that make me happy.  Songs that had a good theme to them anyway.

You see this song did appear in the Disney movie, Oliver & Company, but you see this song, this one below, it features the voice of Billy Joel.  And I'm a sucker for Billy Joel. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sometimes It Is Worth It

Yesterday was a tough day.  I went to a funeral of a man who was a deacon in our church.  A good man.  I teach two of his grandchildren in my Sunday school class.  And then, as life is so famous for doing, my brakes started making an awful sound.  I don't have the money for repairs.  I literally do not have the money for repairs.  Never the less I'm leaning on the good Lord to help me because that is the only way this is all going to work out.

So, what is worth it?  A blue cheese burger from OC Burgers.  I don't like onions or lettuce and I hate tomatoes actually in or on my food.  They can be beside it or near it, but they can't be on it or in it (raw tomatoes that is).  So, when I order the blue cheese burger all I get is meat and cheese, and let me tell you, best burger ever.  And I live in Texas and have had some delicious burgers.  Now since my taste buds seem to change at least once a month I don't know that I will be saying this in the month of December, but for the month of November, best burger ever.

Sometimes forgetting for two minutes all the pressure you have on you is a good thing.  I had a great lunch, I didn't obsess over what I was eating, and I will eat light for dinner, not a big deal, and my craving satisfied.  I hope you find something that is is worth it to you this weekend.

Much love,
Kelli.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Advantage

I know that I've spoken on here before about how much I hate confrontation.  It makes my heart race, I start shaking, it's not pretty.  It is also not very intimidating when you see a person's eye twitch and they're shaking worse than your standard chihuahua pet.

So, it should come as no surprise that after I made that declaration that there would be numerous things I would need to confront.  I got another one today.  These are more on the professional end than they are on the personal end so to handle it requires a different approach, but my reaction to having to confront seems to be the same.

I do have two things on my side though: God and my desire to quit being taken advantage of.  I'm a nice person, I like to help people, and I bend over backwards to do a great job.  Lately though instead of getting a thank you (which I do like) I've been getting attitude and demands.  Now my first instinct is to stop being nice, to stop helping people more readily and to do only the minimum necessary.  However, that doesn't reflect well on me, and I don't like that option.  Why should others suffer because a few are jerks.

Because I've chosen to approach this in a biblical way: approach the offender with the offense, I am now in confrontations I don't want to be in.  I know that this is teaching me for things that are coming up and the more I do it, correctly and for the right reasons, the better for me it will be.

Until then of course I will continue to shake, much like the dog.

Of course this post begs for a anthem so here it is:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Incredible Truth

I don't know about you, but when God is teaching me lessons and I'm learning about Him and how things work he usually starts with something small. Then I start to hear or see whatever it is everywhere. Today was no different.

Now my frustration with teaching Sunday school is well known. Most of it due to the fact that I'm not sure how to engage kids ranging from 2nd to 5th grade. And it can be difficult when you have to discipline, but not really disciplining them as you would if you were their school teacher.

So, of course I've entertained the idea of quitting. To not let it be part of my life, to not have to deal with the frustration and difficulty that it brings. However, it is not in my nature to quit. After I made the decision to not quit, but to keep going and perhaps see this as an opportunity I came to realize that the idea was not my own.

God has placed me in this position and it is to my best interest to see it as an opportunity He has provided for me to move on to the next step (whenever/wherever that might take place). This thought/idea gave me great comfort, gave me a goal, something to work for.

Then, just as I was about at my wit's end again, he brought this message from Andy Stanley that summed up exactly what God had been telling me. You can view the whole sermon series here:  http://www.northpoint.org/messages The whole series has been incredible, but the 4th one was the one I heard today.

So, thank you God, this was very much appreciated.

Love to you all!

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8th

I forgot to use this song in my countdown today on Artist Avail and I feel horrible.

This is for them: