on the menu

Happy Halloween! This year I gave up giving out candy because with commuting we just don't get home early enough.  By the time we normally get home it's just the teenagers who scare the living you know what out of me.  The upside: no candy!

No, this is not our lunch for the week (although this would more than make up for not having any Halloween candy!).  It was supposed to be for a potluck at Jay's work, but he conveniently "forgot".  This is my go to dessert because it easy and simple.

Rum Cake
1 cup chopped pecans
1 package Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 package French Vanilla instant pudding
4 eggs
1/2 C dark rum
1/2 C oil
1/2 C water

1/4 C butter
1 C sugar
1/4 C water
1/2 C dark rum

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour bundt pan.  Sprinkle nuts in bottom of pan.  Mix remaining ingredient will.  Pour into pan over nuts.  Bake for one hour.  Cool inverted onto serving plate. 

For glaze, melt butter on low, then stir in sugar and water.  Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in rum.  Cool the glaze slightly then drizzle evenly over top and sides.


friday faves | a little bit of this, a little bit of that

TGIF!  It's been a good week except for this cold I seem to have developed.  Oodles of awesome stuff this week, from paper crafting to knitting, and everything in between.

Who doesn't love a garland (or two)?  Especially with the holiday season creeping up on us.  A Beautiful Mess features several fun ideas.

This DIY tutorial for a bag using u-shaped handles was too cute to not share.

Perfect for fall and winter, this cowl will be keep you very cozy.

It's still fall so I'm still obsessed with pumpkin, but only if it is paired with chocolate.  Here, instead of chocolate chips, it's a chocolate pumpkin cupcake.  Yum!

And my sweet tooth just can't let this one go, just too divine.

Looking forward to the weekend and crossing my fingers I won't spend it in bed sick.  Have a great weekend!


a to z

I've feeling a bit under the weather today.  I woke up with a sore throat and I haven't quite shaken it off.  I'm hoping it's nothing and that it will run it's course quickly.  (Of course, I had planned on getting my flu shot over the weekend, looks like it may be a no go.)  So I'm sitting here resting with the pups and my honey and calamansi tea.

I've been seeing this meme around lately and it seemed like a lot of fun.  So here goes.

A.  Age: 38

B.  Bed size: King

C.  Chore that you hate: toss up between vacuuming and everything related to laundry

D.  Dogs: 2 chihuahuas, Max & Sparky

E.  Essential start to your day: whole wheat toast & peanut butter or steel cut oats and a cup of coffee

F.  Favorite color: changes with the season, right now it is eggplant

G.  Gold or Silver: both

I.  Instruments you play: ukulele (at least I'm trying to) and piano

J.  Job title: Peon

K.  Kids: do my dogs count?

L.  Live: San Francisco Bay Area

M.  Mother’s name: Premia

N.  Nicknames: Char

O.  Overnight hospital stays: 1

P.  Pet peeves: people talking on their cell phones in public

Q.  Quote from a movie: (crickets)

R.  Right or left handed: righty

S.  Siblings: only child (and no, I'm not spoiled!)

U.  Underwear: of course! (shudder)

V.  Vegetable you hate: I'm an equal opportunity vegetable eater

W.  What makes you run late: snoozing and little doggie accidents

X.  X-Rays you’ve had: way to many to count

Y.  Yummy food that you make: linguine & clam, garlic fries, rum cake

Z.  Zoo animal: um, IDK, giraffe?  lol

What's your A to Z?



Evidence that my scrapping mojo has so graciously made an appearance.  And I'm so deliriously happy.  (Please excuse the state of my scrap table.)

The past couple weeks or so I've been happily making some headway (finally) on the mini book of my niece, Ms. H.  I've been working with an older Cocoa Daisy kit that contained lots of pinks and blues. Fun mix of stuff for a little girl.  I pre-made the first five of so pages, but I ran into a bit of a problem: 4 x 6 photos are not ideal for an 5 x 7 mini book. I've made adjustments and it's coming along really well.  You can see a couple of the pages in the picture. I am hoping to order a couple more pictures before the weekend.


one the menu

Since my weekends are consumed with cooking our lunches and dinners for the week I thought it would be fun to share my weekly cooking endeavours both good and bad.  That and I'm still suffering from a bad case of unabletowriteintellibly syndrome.

While Jay and I have our own tried and true favorite recipes, I also like to try out new recipes.  I was inspired by a conversation with a friend about Fall and crock pot cooking, about how Fall inspires stews, soups, and gumbo.  I found a crock pot recipe for gumbo here, but after reading through the comments I knew I had to make a few changes.  One substitution I made was using fresh tomatoes instead tomato juice; however I also added 2 cups of water.  Big mistake.

Overall I liked how it turned out, but I agree that it is not real gumbo. The test though is if Jay liked it and he did so I'm happy. I will definitely try this again this fall and winter with more tweaking of course.

I paired the gumbo soup with saffron rice as suggested by one of the commentators.  I used this recipe here.  Overall it was good, but I would not substitute the broth the recipe calls for with water. And don't skimp on the saffron, be sure to get nice "big" pinch.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 (16-ounce) package frozen okra, thawed
4 links andouille sausage, sliced
1 onion, chopped 
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 bay leaves
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon tablespoon creole seasoning

1/2 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to your taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
5-6 tomatoes, diced 

In a slow-cooker, combine all remaining ingredients except the frozen okra. Mix well to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. Add frozen okra three hours before end. Serve with rice.



12 by 2012

With the holidays approaching I have a long list of crafty to-do's waiting for me to work my magic. Unfortunately last time I checked I don't have any magical powers that will get them done in a snap of a finger. To keep on track and honest Danni at ohhellofriend has an awesome idea 12 by 2012.

My list of 12 by 2012

1.  Sew pillowcase for Sparky's bed

2.  Damson hat (for me)

3.  Meditate twice a week.

4.  Eleanor cowl (for gift)

5.  Shale scarf (for gift)

6.  Christmas cards

7.  Minibook of my niece

8.  December Daily (from 2009)

9.  Read 6 books

10.  Autumn wreath

11.  Bake a cake with everything

12.  Transfer recipes to index cards.

I love a list and I hope I can most, if not all, of the things on this list done before I ring in the New Year!

What do you say? Is there anything you want to get done by 2012?


friday faves (saturday edition)

I wish I could claim that these beauties are from my garden, but they are not. Thankfully my in-lays have green thumbs, and they've had a very bountiful year. I decided I wanted to make pasta sauce from scratch with these lovelies. I've already made three pots of homemade tomato sauce which I've frozen for future use.

And yes, it's Saturday, but I'm still not quite up to speed. I'm a bit rusty in the writing department, but I wanted to share some of my favorites from this past week.

I fell in love with the cool colors of this beautiful throw

Check out the fun collection of products for a December journal kit.

Looking forward to trying to make this and that in my kitchen really soon!
It's never too early to start thinking about the holidays.  This is a cute idea for office mates.

And I'm hoping that my in-laws still have tomatoes because I need to make this awesome tomato soup.

Have a great Saturday!


hello october

It's definitely fall, but winter is currently threatening a hostile takeover.  Winter storm warnings and snow in the Sierra at this time of year is, well, unusual.  Strange as it may sound, I am reveling in the cold and overcast skies. 

This kind of cold calls for comfort food.  My favorite comfort food is a bowl of hot soup like the split pea soup I made over the weekend.  Absolutely fulfilling, absolutely serendipitous!  I think this winter is going to be all about soups, chilis, and stews, especially if I can make it in my crock pot.  (And I found a new crockpot cookbook that I can't wait to use.)

 What's your favorite comfort food?


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