New Kitchen Toy

My husband recently gifted me with a new toy for my kitchen that he found on Brad’s Deals.  An 8-qt. pressure cooker that he got for $50!  WooHoo!  Isn’t it pretty?!

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One of the first things I made in it was a super cheesy Mac n’ Cheese, from scratch, in about 20 minutes!  It was awesome and really tasty!

Since then I’ve cooked a roast from frozen to fabulous in about 90 minutes, Egg Roll Bowls in less than 10 minutes start to finish.  I’ve made Curry Chicken, Lentil Stew, and even yogurt!  I am loving this thing!

The kitchen is a more challenging place for me since my diagnosis and as a result, we’ve been eating out more, which isn’t good.  It takes me longer to prepare things and there is a level of frustration that causes me to get a little discouraged and take even longer, or give up altogether.  Then, there’s the whole, “I forgot to thaw the meat!” thing.  With this new pressure cooker, both of those challenges are alleviated.  Even if it takes me longer to do the prep, the cooking time is cut so short that it balances out.  We dont end up eating at 8:00 (which I hate) because I’m a slow poke in the kitchen now, or abandoning the prospect of cooking dinner altogether because I forgot to thaw the meat out.  It’s a win-win!

I’ve only begun to learn all the things I can do with this time-saver.  I’m very excited to try new things in it.  I’m especially excited that I can make my own yogurt again via a much easier process than the crockpot or stovetop, not to mention it’s quicker.  I’m also excited that we got such a great deal!  These things aren’t cheap.  If you’ve never heard of Brad’s Deals you might want to check it out.  Not that this is a plug for them, it’s not.  If you’re in the market for a pressure cooker, that just might be another place to keep an eye out for a deal.  Either way, I’d say a pressure cooker is a good investment for any kitchen!

👩🏻‍🍳😊👍🏻

 

Kitchen Genius

Last week I had a couple of grandgirls over for a sleepover. One of them, Leah, has enjoyed being in the kitchen since she was little.  She’s very creative and likes to invent things.  My plan was for us to make banana muffins together.  Leah, however, needed to take it to another level.

We started with out basic banana muffin recipe and this time Leah did most of the work while I supervised.  After all, she’s 11 now and quite capable in the kitchen – not to mention tall enough to reach just about everything that I can reach. 

After the muffins were baked is when the real fun started.  Leah decided she wanted a peanut butter filling in the muffins.  So, we brainstormed a couple of ideas for doing that with muffins baked in a liner.  After trying a couple different methods including sticking an icing tip directly into the top of the muffin to extrude filling into it that way, and using a straw to make a small indentation to put filling in, Leah had a stroke of genius.  She used a small spoon to scoop out some of the muffin from the top, piped filling into the indentation, then sprinkled it with pieces of the muffin she had removed.  Brilliant!

 

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The result was quite tasty and not too bad to look at.  I’d say our little pastry chef has some potential.  The recipe is below if you’d like to try it out for yourself.

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LEAH’S PEANUT BUTTER FILLED BANANA MUFFINS

3C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1t. Baking Soda
1t. Salt
1/2 t. Baking Powder
2C. Sugar
1C. Vegetable or Canola oil
3 Lg. Eggs
2t. Vanilla
4 Ripe Bananas, coarsely mashed

Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.  Preheat oven to 325°F.  Mash bananas and set aside.  Whisk together all dry ingredients except the sugar in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl, beat wet ingredients and sugar to blend.  Stir in the banana.  Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.  Drop batter into muffin cups with an ice cream scoop.  Bake 25-30 mins. until tops are golden brown.

PEANUT BUTTER FILLING

1C. Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2C. Unsalted Butter, softened
1/2C. Powdered Sugar

Using a stand or hand mixer, combine all ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Let muffins cool completely. With a small spoon scoop a small amount of the muffin out of the top.  Using whatever icing tip you prefer, pipe a small amount of filling into the recess you created in the muffin.  Sprinkle the filling with pieces of the removed muffin and enjoy!

Monday Mug Shot

Happy Monday all!  I have decided that since it’s December, I would share with you some of my favorite Christmas mugs.  Yes, I also have a collection of Christmas mugs.  I might have a problem. 🤔

I’m kind of excited to share today’s mug with you!  This is one of my all-time favorites of all my mugs.  I have had it since my boys were babies and it’s just so darn cute!  So, without further ado . . .  Ta-Da!

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Right?!  I bought this one at a Macy’s after Christmas sale sometime in the mid 90’s.  I prefer after Christmas sales to Black Friday.  I don’t even do Black Friday.  Anyway, I drink homemade hot cocoa with a splash of Bailey’s in it every Christmas Eve.  It’s basically a tradition.  I love snowmen and I love that this one has a snowman shape rather than a typical mug shape.  I love the colors and somewhat retro look of it.  Of course, it might be even more retro now that I’ve had it for 20+ years.  One of my sons loves this mug too.  He tries to convince me every Christmas that it’s HIS mug and HE drinks out of it every Christmas Eve.  😂😂😂  He’s a funny one, that one!  You know exactly who you are . . . MATTHEW!  Don’t worry, when I go to be with Jesus THEN it’ll be yours. 😘

This mug brings back SO many wonderful Christmas memories and, I hope this doesn’t sound weird, but it invokes that sense of stability that comes with history – our own history.  Growing up, my family was a bit nomadic. My life with my husband has been almost completely the opposite and I have felt very stable.  I have very few family heirlooms from my childhood and my boys have many.  I think the stability of our family has facilitated the ability to hang onto things longer.  Like this mug that I’ve had since one of the boys’ early Christmases.  Does this make any sense?

Either way, I really enjoy this mug and the fact that I’ve been able to enjoy it for so long.  I consider it a family heirloom and hope it will be enjoyed for many Christmases to come!

🎄☕️😊💕

Monday Mug Shot

I apologize for missing last Monday.  Things were a bit busy with it being Thanksgiving week.  I hope you had a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving!

For this week’s mug, I’m sharing another newcomer.  This one is from our Branson trip with my bestie and her hubby this past October.  We’d never been before and were sufficiently impressed.  We plan to return as much as possible.  If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it.

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There’s a fun little story with this one.  The four of us were shopping in one of the stores on Main St.  The girls were in one part of the store and the guys in another.  I found the mug section fairly quickly, of course, and as I spotted this one my husband came up behind me, pointed at it, and said “That one’s cool.”  That pretty much sealed the deal.  I think that was the first time we spotted a mug we liked at the same time.  My hubs doesn’t usually care that much about mugs since he’s not a big coffee or tea drinker.  So, this was a momentous occasion.

This mug reminds me of a wonderful time with wonderful friends, the great entertainment that is a big part of Branson, and that one special time when my sweetie and I spotted a mug we both liked at the same time.  It was simply serendipitous and I hope to enjoy this one for a long, long time.

😊☕️💕

Monday Mug Shot

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Today’s mug is in honor of my home state.  It’s heavy on my heart today due to the devastating fires that are going on there.  The “Camp Fire” in Northern California is being called “The most destructive fire in state history” according to CBS News.  The evacuation of 250,000 people from Malibu in Southern California was a horrifying thing to see as I watched some footage from it on T.V. last night.  My heart hurts for my fellow Californians and my prayers are going up for my friends, family, and all of those who have lost so much in these terrible fires!

I acquired this mug during our most recent visit to our hometown of Concord this past May.  There is a brand new shopping area where a Chevron office building stood when we left in 2006.  In that shopping area is a Peet’s coffee.  It was close to our hotel, so this was where I got most of my morning coffee.  We don’t have Peet’s coffee here in Central Texas, or at least not that I’ve been able to find, so this mug really needed to come home with me.  😉

This is the exact store we visited.  Normally, this mug puts me in a California dreamin’ state of mind; sunshine, cool breezes, no humidity, and reminds me of my roots.  Today it reminds me to pray; for rain, for safety, for comfort, for ways to help and for the recovery of my beautiful home state once the devastation passes.  This isn’t our first season of wildfires and it won’t be our last, but it is proving itself to be one of the most devastating.  Please pray and help if you can.

Blessings!  🙏🏻💕

Monday Mug Shot

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Today’s mug is an interesting one from an interesting place.  It’s fairly new to the collection.  As I think I’ve mentioned before, our youngest son is attending college in Canyon, Texas. This past summer was his first summer away from home.  In the past, he has come home for summer break, but this year he’s doing the whole grown-up thing.  Working, paying rent, etc.  So, in August we went to visit him right before he started his junior year.

Canyon is called “Canyon” because it’s home to Palo Duro Canyon.  We have been there many times in the past three years and never once actually visited the canyon . . . until this summer.  We did a little research before visiting and found out some amazing things.  For one, Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States.  Second only to . . . you guessed it, the Grand Canyon!  Right here in Texas!  Who knew?!  We sure didn’t.  It’s a beautiful place and chock full of history, but I won’t ruin that for you by telling you all about it.  😉

Inside the canyon is a cool little place called Palo Duro Trading Post. You can eat, grab some snacks for the trail, or do what we did and shop.  There’s no shortage of souvenirs there.  You can see the rest of my mug’s family there on the bottom shelf in the pic on the right.  As you can see, there are plenty of mugs to choose from.

I chose this one because of the design on the inside of the mug.  I’d never seen one like it before.  I’ve seen plenty of mugs with a picture on the inside bottom, like a prize for when you reach the end of your cuppa.  Or even a little ceramic figure sitting in the cup, drowning until you rescue it by drinking all your coffee.  But never have I seen the entire inside of a mug decorated in such a way and it really appealed to the hippy in me.  The creative free-spirit that almost never appears was all over this mug.  All the other mugs disappeared when she saw this one!

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No, I’m not a multiple personality, just multiple moods.  These are moods I’m talking about.  Ok, now that we’ve cleared that up – Oh!  I also love the contrast!  I love contrast anyway and somehow the black and white inside just really works with the blue outside for me.  I also find this mug intriguing because I can’t totally make out the design on the front.  In fact, without my glasses, I can’t even read where it says “Palo Duro Canyon, Texas”.  The design looks like maybe a canyon formation and some Native American art???  If you can make it out better than I can, I would love a translation.

This little mug makes me feel grateful that we finally visited the canyon and brings back a happy memory.  It also inspires the artist in me with its unique interior.  I’m calling this one my “happy artist” mug.  ☕️🎨😃💕

 

Monday Mug Shot

The mug I’m sharing with you today is only a few years old.  How many years?  I’m not exactly sure, but it was purchased here in Texas upon the occasion of a visit from my bestie, Angel.  We met in California where we raised our kids and grew in Christ together for almost ten years.  Strangely enough, the Lord moved both our families out of California within months of each other, they went to Arkansas and we went to Texas.

That was over twelve years ago and we have managed to visit about once a year. Mostly, she and her husband come here.  We have a silly habit of getting each other gifts when we visit.  On this occasion, I got us matching coffee cups so we could think of each other when we used them.  I found them at World Market, I believe.

At first, I used mine on Fridays to celebrate the end of the work week and remember our last visit.  I’m not sure why Friday except that it’s my favorite day of the week and it just seemed appropriate.

I continued the tradition the following year (that one will come up eventually).  After that, I didn’t think it would be as special if we had cupboards full of “bestie” mugs and Angel eventually stopped drinking coffee anyway.  She does tea now, so maybe I’ll switch to pretty little tea cups for her.  🤔  Angel says she has three mugs from me.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember the third one.  Maybe she’ll read this and refresh my memory.  😉

A little side note:  I saw this mug on a T.V. show one night!  I thought that was pretty cool.  Also, as you can see, it’s been well loved as evidenced by the little chips in the rim.

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This mug reminds me of my bestie and how thankful I am that even though we’re farther apart in distance, we’re as close as ever.  😊💕