Wish I Could Try Every Single One!

I came across this mouthwatering article titled ‘10 Most Expensive Chocolates in the World‘, and being probably one of the world’s biggest fans of chocolate the title caught my eye immediately. Chocolate is wonderful when it melts in your mouth and leaves a sweet taste in your mouth. I love chocolate cake, chocolate bars, chocolate covered fruits (ohhhh chocolate covered cherries!), chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup…..you may be seeing my thought process here. So I stumbled onto this article somehow and first clicked through pretty quickly to just get that first visual of the most expensive chocolates in the world. I didn’t want to see the prices or the descriptions – I wanted only to see the art that chocolate is! Then I returned to the beginning and nearly choke at the prices of these exquisite little pieces of happiness but understand that it is an art form & such artistry does not come free. After I looked at it a couple of more times, daydreaming the entire time about eating what must be the best and most very smooth little delights probably ever crafted; I just had to show the hubby. We are most definitely self appointed “Foodies,” and we love the amazing flavors we can create in our own kitchen – but surely appreciate more the culinary delights crafted by those who excel at cooking. I have decided (Surprise Hubby!) that I just must try at least one of these before I die! The next task comes at choosing the one – not an easy endeavor I assure you. And the winner for me is #7 – Richart! Looking at these beautiful squares make me smile, they are like individual works of art! Also quite tempting are the range of flavors citrusy to spicy – and quite a range in between. Would you eat any of these? Have you tried any? Do you think they are worth the costs, or is it just madness? If you could try one or two of them, which ones would they be? Looking for a little feedback, as I’d love to hear what you think!...

US Government Standstill 2013

I titled this post with a year as the current one is virtually over.  I personally don’t see time for another shutdown before 2014 & honestly, I have zero faith that the government will fix this one before the year runs out. Worse still, from how it looks here, I see a month year date format coming for any future posts on government furloughs. The government has frivolously wasted so much of our nation’s capital and assets, meanwhile they just keep taking and taking from the people. I could go on all day about how they’ve sent money to places that we don’t have to send. How we pay for all those plushy vacations and pensions and paychecks for our elected officials’ padded pockets and many other obvious transgressions of mismanagement of finances documented out there under bills and line items –  but that is not what really just burns a fire in the pit of my soul. For them to close down all National Parks is ridiculous. I get that there are many people who just throw trash around willy nilly, and that things like toilet paper in restrooms and trash needing dumping is a must; but I don’t think there wouldn’t be someone who wouldn’t be willing carry a roll up from home; or day trippers finding it too taxing to carry out a bag of trash from a can – I know I wouldn’t. One small victory  today, I did find a pretty great story though on this Day 1 of our shut down. A victory that came in the form of 90 WWII Veterans who ended up peacefully ‘persuading’ some congressmen to move the barricades to the National WWII monument in Washington D.C. Read the entire story here and hear the words of an 89 year old Vet with quite the personality from Mississippi. Another kind of interesting read comes from CNN.com with at least a partial list of departments shut down, what services are affected; as well as those unaffected or only partially affected by the shut down. Visit the Interactive Database. I think that Americans can and will be responsible for the things that we hold near and dear. For the government to shut down access to National Parks and museums (although sad, this one I can somewhat comprehend due to costs of security and other overhead in a secure type building) just seems to be a message to further crush the American spirit and patriotism by killing all access to the beauty and history in our nation. It feels like the government is pushing us right into a socialist or communist regime. I see the very foundations upon which this country was built being broken down like an individual dismantling a home brick by brick. The worst part of all, is that we are not really protesting – we whine and complain via blogs and Facebook or anonymous comments posted throughout the web and as we sit and watch our country fall into teeny tiny pieces without a shred of recognition of what it is to be American. Yet, we keep electing these self righteous idiots, who care no more for you and I than they do a filled trash can, into places of power and control – and they keep blowing not only every bit of income they get from the people, but have the power to just keep on jumping up the limit on maxed out credit cards. If an individual in America somehow found a way to play the system in this way, I can pretty much guess the fate of them. It’s time to stand up and hold your government accountable and make them responsible for the choices they’ve made. Get them out of there. Let’s refuse to accept these perverts, self serving, overpaid, indiscriminate, and soulless infidels OUT of our governing bodies – not even accept them on a platform – cut them out before they can even get there. I am sick of being in a country that sits and lets the people that speak for the whole in public forums talking from their nether regions and ‘representing’ America here and worldwide. Shame on us America, we can do better than...

Comin’ Straight At Ya!

Just so you all know I haven’t forgotten my audience; I am working on a new format to my posts – structure and whatnot (my favorite thing! Not lol); as well as four coming posts covering: * Samuel L. Jackson’s Grammar Tips For President Obama * What A ‘Soul Mate’ Is To Me… * Abby Scuito of NCIS – Pauley Perrette: Who is she? How did Abby’s persona come about? * And the exit of Ziva David and how that could affect the show… Stick around! I’ve also planned a great week of recipes to share and review!

How It Began…

What a wonderful surprise I encountered today in a conversation starter sent by my cousin, who lives in Virginia (just up the road from us here in Tennessee). The message really made me feel great, I enjoy managing the families meals and it is a task that has taken a lot of time and effort in figuring out. Cousin says, “So tell me, what is the secret to your terrific suppers? Where do you get all these delicious recipes. I love to see what you are having each night. I feel like I say the same ole thing over and over.“ I have decided that since it opened up a great dialogue and really had me thinking about how all of this began, I would love to share the back and forth banter as this is kind of how I figured out how to easily manage my family’s meals. “Well, it’s kind of funny actually – the menus began as a way to ensure my husband wasn’t having to worry about what is on the table that night. And like you, we felt like we kept cooking the same stuff over and over.” “Most of my recipes come from hours spent perusing different dishes on Pinterest. I do have a board that I call ‘Recipes: Tried & Reviewed’. Some of the recipes, I have found using Google search with the search parameters like ‘quick dinners’, ‘kid friendly recipes’ or search for a recipe with a specific protein source or vegetable. (These same search strings work in Pinterest as well.)” Also worth mentioning, I have heard the horror stories of the Pinterest fails, luckily we have been successful pretty much each time. So, I guess the biggest thing is be daring and know that you may not be perfect on the first time but the more I try, the better I get at pairing flavors to make a good meal. We also always make sure we have protein, carb, veggie and fruit. So the biggest thing for me is being ‘daring’ and with more practice, I have even figured out what types of flavors go well side-wise. And always protein, carb, veggie and fruit!” “All of your meals look yummy. I am trying to figure out today, what to make for supper. I have grandkids and Kiddo A is a very picky eater, where Kiddo B will eat anything. Hubby eats just about everything. I like to cook but it is sometimes hard with watching the Kiddos and trying to cook.“ “I know how that goes! Both of our kids have gone through terrible picky phases. Have you seen the Sloppy Joe Squares? Everyone who has tried them – big & small, love them! The Taco Cupcakes are also a slam dunk and I double that one so we have lots of leftovers! I have also found that the kids LOVE the mango from the jar sprinkled with cinnamon. We had to try every fruit and berry out there. The biggest hurdle for me, is setting up a week’s worth of menus – I usually also try to put 2 leftover or fend for yourself nights in there. There are also days that we stray from the menus for a regular dinner (spaghetti, meatloaf, etc).” “Kiddo A isn’t much into fruits or veggies, she LOVES cheese though! And of course she likes hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets – the stuff she probably shouldn’t eat as much as she does. I like your idea of planning meals for the week. What a time saver! I love that you have fresh fruit with your meals.” “It took years of giving in, if the kids would eat 1-2 bites each of whatever they didn’t like. Now that they are older, it is ‘eat that first & then enjoy your meal.’ Kiddo A’s faves sound like what the kiddos here did until they were about 5, then we really started changing the thought of, ‘Well they are eating something at least.’ We no longer allow it all the time, but they do get them sometimes! 😀 Also successful for us was freezing fruit pieces. They were convinced it was a popsicle or ice cream – and we call it ‘Nature’s Candy.’ Sometimes we sprinkle a small amount of sugar to sweeten up some of the tarter fruits, and you can make a ‘fruit dip’ using confectioner’s sugar and milk. We use it very sparingly but will usually perk up even the pickiest eater! So the timesaver starts with the planning and making a list of what you don’t have on hand already. (I use the iPhone app for Publix and it...

On The Soapbox Again ;)

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a news hound. I love hearing about what is going on around the world. I see a lot of wonderful stories that make my heart swell with pride and love for my fellow humans. I have seen stories of homeless men returning found money, children saving others from a fire coming back from buying GTAV, and strangers paying entire layaway bills for struggling families. And then I see a lot of things that shouldn’t get as much airplay (I believe), such as constantly talking about and popularizing the evil deeds people do. Ariel Castro – the Ohio Demon who kidnapped 3 young women; the Boston bombers and their family – who blew up a national foot race, and whose mother fled the US because she was a thief running from prosecution…Today I would like to add my own 2 cents on a couple of stories: First, this hullabaloo over the death of Michael Jackson. I am a child of the 80’s and I remember being so in love with him as a kid. He was a superstar. He was a musical genius. And he was a drug addict. The family and music exec’s keep fighting over who did what etc., honestly at the end of the day, no matter who administered drugs – I can just about guarantee he asked for them. There was an obvious decline in how he looked and plenty of evidence of mental instabilities (anyone remember him dangling ‘Blanket” over the balcony, or multiple accusations of inappropriate behavior with little boys?) The long and short of it is, it doesn’t matter who wins – he’s still dead, he was still living the life of an addict and it has obviously affected his family negatively. Another sad detail of this drama is that his daughter, Paris, watched him stay drugged up most of her life – and her response to the stress was to take pills to escape. I think that everyone would be better off if they would all just bury Michael and be done with it. His musical legacy is strongly intact – his personal legacy is in a wrecking ball state and it’s time to let him R.I.P. It is also time for the fighters to start thinking about the future – and not stay lost in the past.  Next is this silly little ploy by Burger King – “Look,we’ve made healthy ‘Satis-fries’! We are still encouraging you to eat these junk foods that are terrible for you, under the guise that you are getting out healthier by a reduction of 20% of the fat in our fries!” Ok, one – did you get rid of the carbs and ridiculous amount of salt on your fries? Have you brought back salads, or is your menu still full of heart stopping, grease filled burgers (anyone had a double stacker?) and other junk food menu items? It cracks me up that they took a side item instead of the main meal portion to make healthier. BK – give me a break! When I think junk food, french fries come first to mind, followed by pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs. If you really want to be healthy, ditch the burgers and fries and give us some healthier options, not a false sense of health with 20% fat removed from a french fry. And a final item that I think is going to be a GREAT book! Stephen King released ‘Doctor Sleep’ where we get to see what happened to Danny, the son from ‘The Shining’ and see where his life went following the terror he lived through as a child at the hotel. I personally can’t wait to read this...

Getting Better – Like A Rockstar ;)

On Monday September 16, 2013 I had the carpal tunnel release performed on my right hand. This is the second procedure of this type, as I had the left hand done in January of this same year. The left hand was a great success, when I had the stitches taken out, I did not even have to go to physical therapy – I had apparently done just the right things during the recovery/healing process. I will admit, I was a little apprehensive at having the right hand done, even though there was a great response from the left, I am a dominant righty and the thought of losing my main hand scared me some.  Fast forward to now and I feel like we are doing great once again! I have a very talented orthopaedic surgeon, who has impressed me. So less than a week following the surgery, that is – by Thursday; I have been able to touch the thumb to each finger except the pinky and it feels like it’s healing right up. Everyone keeps asking me how I manage to retain wonderful movement and heal so quickly without the need for PT. (Of course, the real test will come this Friday when he removes the pressure bandage.) So, for me, the quick recovery happens from a combination of different actions. First is keeping the hand elevated as much as possible to help with swelling. To help range of motion I have been wiggling all fingers and thumb, as well as rotation of the wrist. This is followed by stretching exercises, both extending and retracting (bend and straighten) the fingers and the fingertip touches mentioned above. The biggest thing I believe has aided, about 4 days following surgery I had enough strength and control over the digits to begin playing a little Xbox 🙂 I played a little Saints Row IV, and followed up with Rockstar’s GTAV. I really believe that the repetitive motions and different small movements performed during gameplay, has helped just as much as PT sessions. Bear in mind, I am not talking about the marathon 8+ hours I like to usually give a new game release, typically I find that 30-45 minutes of gameplay at a time is...