Apocalypse Averted

IMG_6818

I went outside the other day.  It was terrible.  I don’t think I’ll do it again for a while.  Not that I’m having much better luck indoors.  A delightful side effect of these frigid temperatures: reduced amperage to my cable box.  Or something like that.  Translation: my connection freezes every 45 seconds, making it extremely irritating to try to watch TV as I only get about 1/17th of every story on the news.

photo 1

So I had nothing left to do except hunker down and make food like the end of the world was imminent.  I made LOTS of tomato soup, which Eugene and I feasted on for several meals, and homemade meat sauce.  I froze most of it so now I have a very full freezer and I’m tomatoed out.

photo 3

Tomato soup with grilled cheese…

IMG_6770

Tomato soup with garlic bread…

IMG_6788

Naturally, I also had to make something sweet. I decided to make those peanut butter chocolate kiss cookies.  My recipe made 20 cookies but I only had 17 kisses (don’t ask me how that happened) so I had to improvise a little.  I adorned the 3 kiss-less cookies with a row of chocolate chips.  Eugene said she actually preferred this set-up because the chocolate was more manageable and evenly distributed.  I can see her point, but the cookies are totally not as cute without the kisses.

IMG_6738

Scarlett thought these drastic times called for drastic measures and the relaxation of house rules like the one about her not being allowed on my coats or the table and especially not both at the same time.

IMG_6739

She was wrong.  Busted.

photo 1 copy

Gus is having a hard time coping.

photo(1)

Things were getting really rough.  It was so cold that the water draining from Eugene’s car was frozen mid-air.

In fact, conditions were so bad that Eugene casually mentioned something about how she thinks ironing is “kind of therapeutic.”  I think she kind of slipped on some ice and hit her head.

IMG_6822

Thankfully, when the sun comes up tomorrow it will be over 50 degrees.  Back to some sense of normalcy…or as close to normal as things get around here.

Y’all hurry back,

Sugarlump

Advertisements

Crafty Cousins

Christmas Eve night, the Dyer girls got crafty.  My cousin Kristen had bought a gingerbread house kit at Sam’s club for $5 on a whim and asked us if we’d like to entertain ourselves by putting it together.  Of course we did!

999909_10151880649308100_1115266098_n

We sat around Granny and Papa’s table and giggled and cut up like old times as we took a stab at confectionery construction.  We’ve had some good times and crazy conversations at that table.  One thing is for sure: what happens at Granny and Papa’s table stays at Granny and Papa’s table.

DSC_0470

Though we were certainly enjoying ourselves, we took our craft very seriously, too.  We worked hard to get the walls and roof pieces to stick together.  We even enlisted the pepper and jam containers sitting on the table to hold the pieces in place as they set.  We soon discovered that our “mortar” (icing) wasn’t exactly of the highest quality.  I had the bright idea to use marshmallow creme as a binding agent because, as I recalled, it sticks to EVERYTHING.  It wasn’t exactly easy to control, unfortunately, so one side of the house looked like it had insulation bursting out between the roof and the walls.  Rookie mistake.  We kept that side concealed from our photographer.

DSC_0471

The kit also came with fondant (or fon-DANT! if you’re my enthusiastic cousin Kristen) to make the doors and windows.

1475780_10151880649583100_547693547_n

It was looking a little rough there for a while, but with the addition of the windows, bushes, random peppermints adornments, layer upon layer of frosting that tasted like joint compound but didn’t act like it, and dusted flour (an improvised touch) it really came together.  You could barely tell it was homemade.  Ha.

photo 2 copy 3

Papa did say it was the prettiest house he’d ever seen.   It was charming in a very haphazard, out of plumb kind of way.

photo 3 copy 2

This is where the $5 cost came into play.

photo 4 copy 2

Not 5 minutes after we completed the house, disaster struck and it toppled to its death on the way to the dining room table from the kitchen table.  No one was sadder than Granny.  She almost cried for us.  We took it pretty well.

For next year, we’ve vowed to make our own superglue-infused icing and construct the house out of graham crackers instead of gingerbread so the walls and roof aren’t so heavy.  Just wait for it.  It will be epic.  And we’ll have Papa write us a State Farm homeowners’ policy just in case.

Y’all come back,

Sugarlump

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I once had a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie at a local restaurant in the town I grew up in.

It changed my life forever.

After that day, it became my mission to perfect a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe.

It took many a flop for me to get to where I am today.  I tried several recipes I found online and none was peanut-buttery enough.  So I tinkered with this and that and I think I’ve got a good thing going.   The trick is to put in A LOT of peanut butter.  Shocking, I know.  Also, take the cookies out of the oven before they look done.  I mean it. If you leave them in there until they look done, they will turn into bricks.  And no one likes to eat peanut butter chocolate chip bricks.

If you want to become instantly popular among your younger sister’s high school pals, I would suggest making these cookies.  After I made the cookies for the youngsters the first time, I was hit up for a double batch almost every time they came over.  I nearly broke my mixer once when I received a triple batch request.

There were never any cookies left by the time Eugene’s friends went home.

Here’s how to become instantly popular among your sister’s friends:

Assemble butter, peanut butter, sugar, light brown sugar, eggs, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and chocolate chips but NOT vanilla extract.  I don’t know what that was doing there.

Ingredients (recap):

1)      1 stick of unsalted butter, softened

2)      ¾ cup of peanut butter

3)      1/3 cup of light brown sugar

4)      2/3 cup of sugar

5)      1 egg

6)      1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

7)      ½ teaspoon baking powder

8)      ½ teaspoon baking soda

9)      ¼ teaspoon salt

10)   1 cup chocolate chips (preferably 60% bittersweet)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Measure out the first 4 ingredients and throw them into a mixing bowl.

I would highly recommend spraying your measuring cup with cooking spray to help that peanut butter slide right into the bowl.  Keep a spatula handy in case the peanut butter gets pesky.

Cream the butter, peanut butter and white and brown sugars until light in color.

Add the egg and mix until incorporated.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add dry mixture to wet mixture and mix until just combined.

Stir in chocolate chips by hand.  I would have taken a picture but I was stirring.

Drop the dough onto a baking sheet using a large spring-loaded cookie/ice-cream scoop for even cookies.  Press down to flatten the cookies to ¾” thick.  The cookies should be about 3″ in diameter.  If you only have a medium size cookie/ice-cream scoop like the one pictured above, your cookies will be about 2″ in diameter.    Press any straggler dough into the sides of the cookies so they look prettier and more uniform when they come out of the oven.

Bake for 8-12 minutes (depending on your scoop size) or until just barely starting to brown.  The cookies will look underdone.  Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet and then serve or finish cooling them on wire rack.

I tidied up the edges of the dough for the cookies on the left and neglected to do so for the batch on the right.  The ones on the left are much more attractive.   However, I over-baked the cookies on the left and the ones on the right were just right.  You really have the watch these suckers.  The MOMENT you see just a hint of brown on the cookies, remove them from the oven to cool IMMEDIATELY.

I mean it.

You’ll thank me.

Y’all eat up,

Sugarlump

A Woman of My Word

I talked to dear little Eugene on Skype today.  We discussed many things about her first week in Paris, the most important of those being the shopping of course.  She showed me her latest finds, one of which was a pair of shoes.  Men’s style, smoking slippers in cheetah print.  They will look adorable on her because she has narrow feet and a high arch so even though they are based on a men’s style shoe, her feet won’t look manly in them.  Seeing my favorable reaction, Eugene asked me if I might want a pair.  I had considered this a while back when this style starting appearing in stores here and had come to the conclusion that my less narrow and less-arch-y feet might not look so cute in these shoes, but instead rather manly.  Eeek.

So I told Eugene that I would be passing on smoking slippers, but to let me know if she found any pretty blouses.  Surely those won’t look masculine on me.

Not two hours later, I was at the mall shopping for some black pants for work when I somehow found myself in the 65% off shoe racks at Dillards.  I really have no idea how these things happen.  I think it has something to do with a gravitational pull.   Some sort of fundamental law of physics pertaining to women and shoes.  I believe it’s called Prada’s law.

 

Anyway, I was circling the 7/7.5 rack like a lioness on the hunt for food for her cubs, when I ran across these little smoking slipper gems.  I had seen them when they first hit stores a few months back.  I had picked them up, swooned, considered the manliness factor, decided they might not be so bad due to their colorfulness, sequins, and hint of animal print, and then I put them back on the display because I couldn’t justify such a novelty purchase when I needed more basic and versatile shoes for work.  

When I came across them again this evening, I was still on the hunt for practical shoes for work, but these shoes were much more enticing and justifiable at 65% off.  I put them on with my black yoga pants.  They didn’t look half-bad.  I shook my head, telling myself that these were superfluous.  Very fun, but certainly not what I need right now.  I put them back on the shelf and walked around trying to find some basic black wedges, which have proven to be impossible to find this year. 

 

Black wedge-less, I kept finding myself in front of the semi-manly, awesome shoes and I kept telling myself that I really didn’t need them.

But it didn’t matter.  Because you just can’t say no to fabulous.  

 

Precisely two hours and fifteen minutes after telling my sister that I didn’t want any smoking slippers, I purchased smoking slippers.  

Clearly, I’m a woman of my word.

I can’t wait until Eugene reads this.  I predict a lot of head-shaking.

Y’all stay fabulous,

Sugarlump

Let Go and Remember

I have days where I get myself all wound up in a knot about silly things that don’t really matter, but I let them bother me.  Sometimes I blog about these things and other times I don’t because they’re not even worth the energy to write about.  And then, just when I am about to go bonkers over the stupidest thing, someone writes a comment on my blog that cuts to my core and makes me realize that some things aren’t worth stressing over, because in the grand scheme of things, they just don’t matter.

I have written several posts about my sister leaving for Paris for a semester.  I am very excited for her, and yet I will miss having her just a car-ride away.  A fellow blogger commented on my most recent post about my sister leaving, saying that it brought tears to her eyes over her sister that she lost not so long ago.  She thanked me for sharing my story.

Reading that brought tears to my eyes and reminded me how important it is to focus on the things that really matter, like the ones you love and the memories you have shared.  Thank you to my blogging friends for reminding me how much there is to celebrate.

Love y’all,

Sugarlump

Stormy Drive Home

Clearly I’m having a hard time accepting the fact that my sister is leaving the country for 4 months as this is my third post on the subject.  This post is more focused on neat skies and my random thoughts. … Continue reading

Bon Voyage

After even MORE packing, Eugene and I ventured out on our last day together until she returns from Paris. I can hardly type that without tearing up.  I’ll have to make some jokes to cheer myself up. Surprise, surprise, we … Continue reading

Country Weekend

This past weekend, my sister came down for CMA fest.   We missed my cousins who weren’t able to come, but there’s always next year!  Eugene and I pinky-promised that we would make attending CMA fest a tradition. Here we are in … Continue reading

Eugene, can you take a picture for me please?

Last evening, as my sister and I were headed out to dinner, there was a very pretty sunset happening.  My camera on my phone had decided to black out on me and I didn’t have my big girl camera, so … Continue reading