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Sunday, May 4, 2014

It's been so long since I blogged (with the exception of posting one I wrote months ago). I have missed all of you so much! Sitting for long periods of time is still difficult...and taboo (according to my doctor!), so I have avoided my computer as much as possible, using it only when I needed to do some actual work.

Like many of you, life has become so busy! With trying to sell our house (and keeping it clean!) and making decisions where we want to live for the next couple of years, I have felt a bit overwhelmed. We have a buyer...but the bank is dragging its feet. We are so OVER this! All I want to do is close this chapter of our life and get on with the next. But we wait...knowing God has already settled this matter and we just need to sit back and let Him deal with the mess... We've decided to stay local, for the time being. We love being near our kids and granddaughter. But all these ideas may change. We'll see...

As I mentioned above, I'm still dealing with sciatica, so I don't sit at the computer for long periods of time. That's one of the reasons I have not blogged in awhile...  The good news with the sciatica is that I am really exercising and I've lost a lot of weight...and three sizes! And I am getting better each day. My treatments are down to one day per week...and soon, the doctor/adjustments will be twice a month...then once a month. (Think I'll keep going for the massages, though...they feel soooooo good!) Had a bit of a scare this week...the massage therapist noticed a possible clot in my calf...had the sonogram, but have not heard the results, yet. I assume since I was not called on Friday afternoon, that there was no clot...but I will be calling the DR. tomorrow morning to make sure.


In the past couple of months, I have catered two events...a baby shower and an engagement party. It was so much fun planning and researching menu ideas. I used the Billionaire Bacon-Wrapped Chicken  (from an earlier post...HUGE hit!) at both parties...along with an assortment of other delectable dishes. Both were successes...and at both events, it was suggested that I make this my business. NO WAY! That would take the fun out of cooking. But I'll do it for special friends... (The photo is Chicken and Apple Salad in Wonton Cups. Yummy!)



And recently, I have had the privilege of caring for my granddaughter one day a week. Oh the fun we've had! (and oh, how tired I am when she leaves!!!) Little Miss is 2 years old. I cannot believe how time has flown...

Painting has not been a part of my life for awhile...somehow, I have not been able to create anything. But that seems to have come to a halt...I actually painted a commissioned piece and delivered it this weekend. It really felt good, using my brushes. Can't show what I did...it's still a surprise for the recipient. But here a couple of my favorites:



Our "travel season" is just around the corner. I'll be accompanying Mac Daddy to South Beach (Miami), Atlanta, and Jacksonville in the coming weeks...then later in the summer,/fall , we'll be heading to St. Augustine...for a long visit!. MacDaddy can work from there...and I can paint and spend time on the beach!

Now that I've begun blogging again, I hope to see you more often...

With love,
Jane






"MORNING HAS BROKEN..."





Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the Word

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dew fall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Spring in completeness where His feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

Cool the gray clouds roll, peaking the mountains
Gull in her free flight, swooping the skies. 
Praise for the mystery, misting the morning, 
Behind the shadow, waiting to shine. 

I am the sunrise, warming the heavens, 
Spilling my warm glow over the earth. 
Praise for the brightness of this new morning, 
Filling my spirit with Your great love. 

Mine is a turning, mine is a new life, 
Mine is a journey closer to You. 
Praise for the sweet glimpse, caught in a moment, 
Joy breathing deeply, dancing in flight. 


This is one of my favorite songs of all time. Whenever I see the sun rise, this song plays in my head...and my heart. May the beauty of the sun rise be with you...and may you always recognize the beautiful creation God has given to us. PRAISE HIM.

With love,
Jane

Saturday, February 1, 2014

BILLIONAIRE BACON - WRAPPED CHICKEN!!!

Chicken...Bacon...Brown Sugar...Spice
The PERFECT combination!
Just in time for Super Bowl Sunday...

BILLIONAIRE BACON - WRAPPED CHICKEN

This is so easy to make! Simply cut 4 boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) into 1 inch cubes. Using 1 pound bacon, cut each strip into 3 pieces. Wrap 1 piece of bacon around 1 cube of chicken and secure with a wooden toothpick. (You may need to stretch the bacon piece a little.) Set aside.

In a bowl, combine 2/3  cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp. chili powder, 1/2 -1 tsp. cayenne pepper. (Adjust to your taste)  Dredge each piece of chicken in the sugar/chili powder/pepper mixture. Be sure you cover all sides.

To bake*...spray a broiler pan/rack with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken on the rack/tray. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until bacon is a bit crispy. Do not overbake! This recipe makes about 15 appetizer servings. Careful, they are addictive!!!
(What you see on the Deep Flexipan is 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces. It made about 30 pieces.) 

*I baked this on a deep flexipat/perforated baking tray by Demarle at Home. No oils, butter or nonstick sprays are needed. The chicken came out perfectly...AND as it cools, the sugar/spice/bacon drippings harden...as my son says, "Dessert!"  It peels right off the pan! The flexipat was easily cleaned with just soap and water. I LOVE DEMARLE PRODUCTS!!!
(This is all that's left...just some bacon fat and a little chicken drippings. Let it cool. While cooling, fit a piece of aluminum foil into a glass or mug. Pour the drippings into the aluminum foil, and let cool. When cooled...and thickened...wrap the foil up and toss into the trash.)

These are delicious hot, warm, or room temperature...

ENJOY!

(adapted from Paula Deen's "Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps" recipe)

Please note...if you make prepare the chicken ahead of time, the sugar/mixture may "melt". No problem...just sprinkle the chicken with a little more brown sugar/spice and bake as directed.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

HERITAGE

 These are my grandparents...my mom's parents. My grandfather's family was from Spain...and were exiled to Cuba. It was there (Cuba) that my grandfather was born. As a young man, he and his family emigrated to Florida...living in the Ybor City area of Tampa, FL.  My grandmother came to America as a young child. She and her brother traveled by ship, from Cicily. Eventually, she moved to the Ybor City area of Tampa. As the story goes, my grandparents met, fell in love and married. The families frowned on the marriage...a Spanish guy and Italian girl. It just wasn't "done", in those days. But the marriage was successful...and produced 10 children.

This is the location of my grandparnet's first (?) home. It was right on the shores of Tampa Bay, by, what is now, Desoto Park. The hurricane of 1921 wiped out this whole area. My mom was a baby...but remembers the storm and being evacuated in a boat, pulled by a horse. Later, this was the spot Mom and her siblings would go "skluking" (the parking spot for dates). This was something she shared just a couple of months ago...(Dementia has robbed her of the present, but stories from the past keep surfacing. And it's fascinating!)
                                     
My grandfather borrowed $3000 dollars and built this house. It is several blocks away from the coastline, and still standing! It's 90+ years old! Can you believe that 10 children were raised in this home??? In the backyard, my grandfather built another structure...from Mom's description, a dormatory-like building...for the 5 sons. 
Over the years, this area has truly changed...it's called Palmetto Beach. And just across the street from the house is DeSoto Park...the location of the beginnings of the "Tin Can Tourists" (I wrote a post about this a couple of years ago.)

                               
During Tampa's heyday, party houses were built in the bay..There are still a few remaining...mostly in ruin.

                               

                                 
This was the cigar factory where my grandfather worked. Not only did he roll cigars, he was a reader. He read the Spanish newspapers to the other rollers, as they worked. The factory was a couple of blocks from the family home. In the evenings, when work was done, my mom, her siblings, and the other neighborhood kids would often walk to the factory to meet my grandfather. They would escort him home, singing and hoping for a penny or two to buy "peedalees" from the "peedalee man"...the guy who carried a huge stick filled with coneshaped lollipops. My mom always referred to him as the "peedalee man" because he had a flute which he would blow when he was walking...the sound was pee-da-lee. 

Mom celebrated her 95th birthday this past weekend. She was surrounded by all of her children and their spouses. After feasting on her favorite BBQ and chocolate cake, we all gathered around the piano and sang Mom's favorite songs. It was a fun way to celebrate this wonderful woman.

Monday, January 13, 2014

I'VE GRADUATED!

Yep...I have graduated! After 4 months of 3x a week treatment, I no longer have to visit my chiropracter...except for a monthly maintenance...and I can start physical therapy and exercising. This really excites me!!!

My advice to all of you...strengthen your core! Keep exercising! Be healthy!!! From everything I have learned from this ordeal, I would have avoided much of this pain...and it would have ended sooner...if I had a stronger body. 

So...this morning, I started my new routine and walked...well hobbled might be a better description. Yes, it was difficult. But as a fitness instructor/friend once told me, "the first step is the hardest...now get moving!" I made it almost the whole way around the neighborhood...about 3/4 mile. And I'm feeling great!


And now that I can sit for a longer amount of time, I will be catching up with all of you. (And I'll begin painting, too!!!)

So here's to a healthy 2014!!!

Jane

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas...and WAR EAGLE!


As my family celebrates the Auburn win over Alabama...then the SEC Championship...

We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!


Friday, October 11, 2013

PINTEREST PARTY???


Have you ever attended a "Pinterest Party"?

Abby and her friends have been hosting these parties for the past few months...and I finally had the opportunity to join in the fun.

What is a Pinterest Party, you say?  

Each hostess chooses a SIMPLE craft or (two, or three) from Pinterest. She gathers the needed materials and has them ready, with instructions, for all who attend. 

Each guest brings an appetizer, dessert, etc. made from recipes found on Pinterest....

Here's some of the foods brought to this Pinterest Party:


Cinnamon Wonton Crisps
(Cut each wonton wrapper in half and place on a Silpat/Perforated Baking Tray...or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Spritz each crisp with canola oil and top with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake for 6-7 minutes at 350 degrees. Place on a cooling rack. When cool, store in an airtight container. ***Watch the crisps when baking.They cook quite fast... Serve with fruit salsa.)

Fruit Salsa (my personal recipe) to go with the Cinnamon Wonton Crackers
(Mix diced and peeled apples, chopped strawberries and chopped bananas - or any combination of fruit - a little lime juice, a sprinkling of sugar or sweetner, and a couple of dashes of ground cinnamon. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, to allow the flavors to blend.)
Delicious Trifle

Chocolate Chip/Peanut Butter Cup Brownies (in a mini muffin pan)
Using a brownie mix, spoon batter into a mini muffin baking tray (I use the Demarle at Home mini muffin flexipan and the Perforated Baking Tray). Top with a miniature Reese's Peanut butter cup. Bake according to the directions on the mix box. The batter encloses the PBC for bites of deliciousness!

Strawberries dipped in White Chocolate, drizzled with blue 
Cheesy Artichoke Bread
Oh this was sooo good! (and I don't like artichoke!)
Wrapping Pool Noodles with torn denim jeans...Hot glue and persistence. 
(And a few burned fingers!)
Done! Now to add decorations...
Bow-making 101
Wrapping is "dangerous" work...that glue is HOT!

One of the finished wreaths...
We also made cool flip flops...gift card holders...rice candles...and more. Mostly, we laughed and ate and just enjoyed being together...

This is a fun evening to share with your girlfriends. 
Give it a try.....