Early July Morning, Cocoa Beach, Florida

Friday, October 15, 2010

Banoffee Mess

Being in the hospital for five days and laying on my back for three of those days, I did a lot of TV watching. In doing so, I started watching a lot of the Food Channel. They really have some good things on there, and just the other day I found something I wanted to try. It is a dessert called Bonoffee Mess. It was so good, my crew was fighting over the last piece, so I guess I'll have to make it again. The only thing I would change is to use Cool Whip instead of the whipping cream. It's just easier, and I think it tastes better. I also just used store bought graham cracker crust--I guess I'm just lazy. Below is the recipe and pictures of some of the steps. Hope you try it and like it!

Ingredients
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 2 sticks)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 bananas, sliced
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
Directions:

In a saucepan, cover an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk with water. Simmer for 3 hours, adding water as necessary to keep the can submerged in the water.

Remove the condensed milk from heat and let cool enough to be able to remove the can from the water. Let cool another 10 to 15 minutes before opening the now dark and creamy toffee. (Can you believe this is what condensed milk does after boiling it for so long? It is really good).




Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, then cool completely and refrigerate until ready to assemble the pie. (Like I said, I just buy a graham cracker crust).

Thinly slice the bananas (1/4-inch) on the bias. Evenly arrange 1 layer of bananas over the cooled crust. Pour the toffee over the top and spread evenly. Put another layer of bananas on top of the toffee. Whip 2 cups of cream, in a large bowl, until soft peaks form and spoon it on top of the bananas, spreading it out to make an even layer.

Refrigerate the pie for at least 1 hour before serving

One other thing, it was our opinion (my two boys, my husband and I) that 2 cups of whipping cream is just too much. But if you like that much, go ahead, but you can use less, and it would still be very good.

Here is the website I got this recipe from (after watching it on Food Network)

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/claire-robinson/banoffee-mess-recipe/index.html

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

DVT/PE Beware

We had a very busy summer going here and there and everywhere. We headed to Tennessee for a fourth of July family vacation, and spent time with my in-laws that week. I already blogged about some of the stuff we did--Fall Creek Falls (what a blast). My daughter flew home a few weeks after that, and the family headed down to Florida to visit with my family for a week. While there we spent a lot of time on the beach (my fav thing to do!). We also spent a day at Disney, and the rest of the time just
 hanging out with friends and mostly family.
(blood thinners, uggg)

A couple weeks after we got home, the youth at church had a long day trip around Louisiana. We drove about five hours down to New Orleans, went down to French Quarters and had a really yummy lunch. After that we headed to Slidell, LA to our churches welfare building and took a tour. Then we headed about 1 1/2 hour to the temple in Baton Rouge and did some temple work; after which we headed home. It was a looooong day, but we all had a great time.

The following week, my daughter and I took a road trip up to Indiana to visit with some old friends, and to see her friend boy who just returned from a two year mission in Chile. They had written, but while he was gone, my daughter was told--by him--to date! By the way a friend boy is not the same as a boy friend. I will have to say, though, that he is now her boy friend, but that is a whole other blog. Anyway, back to the story...the trip to Indiana is about a 16 hr trip, so we took it in two days, stopping in TN (half way mark) and stayed with my in-laws.

At the beginning of the summer, I was having some breathing problems. It pretty much started with the Fall Creek Falls trip, and I thought, "boy, am I getting old and out of shape!" The breathing problems probably lasted a couple of weeks and then went away, so I did not really think too much of it since it was not constant, just when I was exercising.

While in Indiana, my breathing problems started up again. I was a little concerned, but brushed it off since it was not constant, just at night before I went to bed. Just thought I was doing too much. On the way back home when we got to the half way mark at my in-laws, the breathing problems really got bad. I could not even unload the car without being very winded. My mother-in-law was very concerned, but, again I brushed it off.

When we got back to Louisiana, I had to take Ashley to her yearly doctor/dentist/eye appointments and I was really out of breath, unless I was sitting down. My parents were on their way back from Colorado to Florida and planned to stay a couple of days. They saw how out of breath I was just walking to use the bathroom. They made me go to the doctor.

I know this is pretty long, so I will cut to the chase--NEVER, NEVER, ignore breathing problems like I did. I wound up in the hospital with blood clots (DVT and PE). They had started in my right leg and moved to my lungs. My leg was a little swollen, but not much, and not even for a whole day. I was not in pain, and had no other symptoms except the shortness of breath, and only when I was walking somewhere, not when I was sitting. I consider myself healthy, I walk about four miles a day and eat a healthy diet. As far as weight goes, I could stand to loose 20 lbs and would be in a size 6!, so I 'm not obese by any means.

I spent 5 days in the hospital (3 of which were in ICU flat on my back with a stint that went from my groin to my lungs). I had all kinds of tests run and now am on blood thinners for about a year. I have recuperated quite well, and think it has to do with the fact that I walked everyday, did not smoke or drink, and was healthy.

So, you may be asking, "how could this happen?" I know I did. Well, let me tell you. Much of it had to do with all the traveling. While in the hospital, I was told several times about one of their co-workers who was in her mid 30's. She flew to Hong Kong, while in the air, she got up to use the restroom, and collapsed and died, right their on the plane! It was a blood clot, and she had never had any problems. When you travel, whether plane, car, or whatever, you need to get up and walk around about every two hours.

The other factors with me having these clots was that my grandmother had these, many times, so heredity is another reason. And..the big one...birth control pills. If you are on them, you should not be on them for long and by the time you are 30ish plus, you should be off, and earlier if you are a smoker. You may wonder, "why in the world was this old woman still on the pill?" (I'm 51) Well, the answer is because I have had a problem with my hip giving out and pain in my hip and the estrogen in the pill helped this to NOT happen. I figured since I never smoked and was healthy, I would be fine. I was considering to talk to my GYN doctor when I went for my yearly physical (October) about other ways to help my hip. But, I was just a month short of being able to ask her.

I want to thank my Heavenly Father for allowing me to still be here, and for all the thoughts and prayers from all my friends and family. I did not realize how serious this was until I was out of the woods, but looking back, it could have been really bad. It has brought us closer as a family (even though we were already pretty close). It has also made me and my husband realize how important we are to each other.

I hope this does not sound like I am dwelling or doing the "woe is me" thing. I just want people to be aware of this. While in the hospital, I was able to research this, and found that DVT/PE is not an uncommon thing, and there are so many who really don't know the seriousness of it, and have the attitude, "it's not going to happen to me." Many are not really aware of it. So, keep an eye on your body, and be aware of any odd symptoms you might have, and don't be afraid to ask the doctor. Hopefully, you will be told it's nothing. Many times we have a gut feeling about things, and you need to listen to that. Life is too precious to be too short.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Carter Cousins Trip to Fall Creek Falls, TN

On 5 July, 2010, Fall Creek Falls, TN was invaded by some of the Carter Family. Two families of Carter's headed to this beautiful place for a day of hiking and fun. Some of us had to travel about 3 1/2 hrs, and some had to travel a little over 2 hrs, but the trip was well worth the beauty that awaited us.

We started out at the main falls. Picture taking was one of the main focuses of the day. Hiking and swimming were the other main activities. Hiking down to the main fall was a little more treacherous than some of us thought it would be. There were a lot of slick rocks and boulders that had to be climbed. Once we made the 4/10 of a mile trip down, the kids cooled off in the water below the falls while the three adults rested and took pictures. Then we had to make the trip back up. After the hike to the main falls, we hiked a couple of other falls, two of which had swinging bridges--fun!

After our hike through the park, we headed to Pizza Hut, and then home. In all there were three adults, and eight kids. There were no problems, just fun times, and I am quite sure that the cousins had a great time hanging out with each other. Wish we could do more things like this together.

one of several swinging bridges

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starting our long 4/10 mile hike back up from the main falls

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splashing around under the falls

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some of the Carter cousins

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Fall Creek Falls

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Canning

For many years, I have wanted to learn to can. We have always had a garden, and I feel the next step is to freeze and can these wonderful veggies, but I could never find anyone who would take the time to teach me. I was always told, "oh, it's very easy!" but I just did not have the confidence to do it myself. (I have actually done a lot of freezing, but canning salsa is the thing I really wanted to learn to do).

Lately, I've been acquiring a lot of canning jars. There are quite a few people out there that have jars and don't want to have anything to do with canning, so I started receiving these jars from friends and family. Last Friday, our family took a trip to Tennessee to visit with my husbands family. I know my mother in law has canned before, so I called her to see if she would guide me in some canning. I brought all my stuff, and we canned 3 jars of salsa and 8 cans of hot pepper jelly. She told me she had a bunch of jars that she was trying to get rid of, so I brought them home, and now I have the confidence to can. I am sooooo excited!!!

Hot Pepper Jelly


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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Has Anyone Ever Frozen Salsa Instead of Canning?

We are very much blessed with a great garden this year. We have tons of tomatoes, cayenne peppers, jalapeno peppers, and green, yellow, red and orange bell peppers. I have a great salsa recipe and I also like to make guacamole. I would love to be able to enjoy these during the cold winter months. I'll just have to suffer with no guacamole, but as far as salsa goes, I know people can that all the time. I was wondering about freezing it though. So, I got online and started to investigate. Some say no and others say sure, it's fine. But one thing that everyone says, that it can tend to be a bit watery.

I have never cooked my salsa, but figured that if I was going to freeze it, I would need to cook it so the water will cook down a little. I used about 30 Roma tomatoes, 2 cayenne (ours are very, very hot this year for some reason), and about 4 very large banana peppers and onion from our garden. I also added cilantro, lemon juice, and garlic. It actually came out pretty good. I am now waiting for the salsa to cool so I can put into freezer bags.

We have also picked some huge green bell peppers. Tonight, I am planning on having stuffed peppers. For dessert--our fist cantaloupe. I do believe it is ripe enough. yeeee haaaa!

this is what I had left over after i made my salsa




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we will soon have some more tomatoes and peppers ready to be picked



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my salsa cooling down so I can freeze it

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bell Peppers As Big As Your Head!

When we lived in Muncie, IN there was a Mexican fast food restaurant whose logo was "Burritos as big as your head." And, yes they were that big. We've been watching one of our green bell peppers grow and grow and grow. Sadly, we had to pick it this weekend. As you can see, it just about is "as big as your head."

In addition to growing peppers, we have some cantaloupe that are ready to be picked. They aren't quite ripe enough to eat yet, but we think we needed to go ahead and pick them, so they won't rot on the ground. In a few days, they should be ripe enough to eat. We can't wait!

As far as the big bell pepper, I may just have to make some stuffed peppers. That one alone could probably feed two of us.

can't wait to dig into this!

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"farmer Bill" with his giant green pepper

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our giant bell pepper

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Friday, June 18, 2010

A New Driver

Today, my baby completed his Driver's Ed class. In the state of Louisiana, you can't even get your permit until you complete a class which includes so many hours in class and behind the wheel. Today, Benjamin came home from his last driving session with form in hand asking when he can get his permit. So, sometime next week, we will be headed to the DMV.

After the previous three children, you would think I am comfortable with him behind the wheel, but, no, I am not. This has been a real stress to me, as each of my four children have received the privilege to drive. For the most part, all of them are good drivers. I will have say my eldest son does have a bit of a lead foot. Anyway--here I go on my next adventure as my baby starts his driving career...I think not only him, but Mama needs a few prayers.

Monday, June 14, 2010

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Photography

I have always loved to take pictures. Before digital or computers even were thought to be in the home, I took many pictures. I had a cheap 110 film camera. There was nothing cheap about buying film and getting it developed though. So...I had to be very selective as to what I took pictures of.

Now in the day of digital, you can take a boatload of photos and if they don't turn out, then you just delete them and try again. I will have to say, the picture taking is not that hard, but the editing, well, that is a whole other story. Once I figure out the computer and program, I don't have a problem, but it is the process in getting the pictures on a dic and copied that I have a problem with. There are many programs you can use to edit, and all say they are easy to use. But...that is not true, unless, of course, you are Bill Gates.

For several years, I have had an inexpensive digital point and shoot. I have found, that I am actually pretty good at taking photographs, and I really enjoy it. I also love to scrapbook, but that is a whole other blog.

I decided several months ago to upgrade my camera. I purchased a Canon Rebel XSI. So far, I love it. I have a lot to learn, though. Last week, I had a friend get married. I had heard they were going low budget. I asked her who she was using as their photographer. They said no one. I had a great idea. I proposed to her that I would take the photos, and put them on a disc and give her the right to copy them. She was very happy, and so, Saturday, I went to the wedding, camera in hand. I had done some internet investigation on how to photograph a wedding, so I had a little idea as to what to do.

After the wedding, I came home and downloaded the pictures on to my computer. The next day, I did some editing. I had taken about 279 pictures, but only edited about 90 of them. The unedited pictures came out fine, and I will be putting them on the same disc. Now I have a dilemma. I am trying to figure out how to put them on a disc so I can take them to have some copied, and then give her the dics. I am soooo computer dumb....! Hopefully, I WILL figure this out.
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bring Back The Fabric!

A few weeks ago, I was in the market for a piece of gold fabric for an activity with the young women at church. In our Parish, there are only two places to buy fabric. One place is a bit pricey, and so I headed to the other place--Wally World (WalMart). As I was searching for the perfect piece of fabric, I noticed everything was marked 50% off. I asked why, and was informed that they were getting rid of all their fabric, and that in a few days all left over fabric was going to be 75% off. I panicked! I could not believe my ears.

I changed my status on my Facebook to something like, "I can't believe WalMart is getting rid of all their fabric". Quickly, I received comments about this. Everyone was devastated. Some already knew about this, as their local WalMarts had already closed out all their fabric. I emailed WalMart about how disappointed we all were about this situation. The reply I got--they were sorry, but due to the fact most people are no longer interested in purchasing fabric, they felt that it was in the best interest of the customer to get rid of the fabric and replace it with something that the customer was more interested in. What are they talking about!? My sister can't even get fabric in her whole county. We are going to be down to one place in our parish, which is very pricey. I've lived in small towns where I actually would have to travel over an hour to get fabric. Sorry, WalMart, but I think you are doing an injustice to your customers. Believe it or not, there are still quite a few of us that purchase fabric on a regular basis.

PLEASE, WALMART, BRING BACK THE FABRIC!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Love Chairs


As I have mentioned before, I walk with a group of ladies in our neighborhood. This morning on our daily walk, we came across these two wood and wicker chairs. They were in pretty good condition, except the wicker had seen better days. There were a few scratches but nothing I could not live with. The chairs were very sturdy. I have been needing two chairs to go into my front bedroom. This room had been my son's room for the past two plus years. It is the biggest bedroom in the house. My daughter, who is away at school has the back room. When she is not here (about 8 months out of the year) it just sits there. I decided to switch rooms with these two, and make the front room a craft room when she is gone. That way we have no wasted room just sitting there for months.

But, back to the chairs. I brought these two home and decided to try to upholster them. I bought some fabric at WalMart the other day (75% off--they are getting rid of all their fabric and not going to have it any longer :( but that is another blog). At the time, I had no idea what I was going to do with it, as it is a heavier fabric, more for draperies, pillows, etc. I thought it would be perfect for the chairs.

I did run into a problem, though. Since the chairs are wicker, a staple from a staple gun does not want to stay. My husband was pretty impressed with the chairs, and how well my upholstery skills were, and he said that he could just use the wicker as a pattern and cut a piece of wood to go in there. That is what we plan to do.

Not only did I find two good looking chairs, but I also found a black iron double bed frame--head and foot boards. I brought that home too. Boy, I sure got lucky today!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

How Does Our Garden Grow?

This weekend, for the first time this year, I was able to harvest some of our vegetables. Boy were they yummy. I've made salsa (had to buy the tomatoes, as ours are not ready yet. It was really good). I also made some zucchini bread. Last night, I picked some yellow squash, zucchini, onions, banana peppers, cayenne peppers and jalapeno peppers. At first, I was just going to make some salsa, and saute the squash with some of the peppers and onions. As I put the salsa together and set aside for the flavors to blend, I started on the squash. I cut up the squash, and threw into the pan. I looked over to the salsa, and decided to dump it into the squash mixture. It looked like it would be really good over some whole wheat angle hair pasta I had. I then added a can of mushrooms and decided to make a cream sauce. Boy did it ever turn out good. Had quite a kick to it too (which is the way our family likes our stuff). Hope I can remember how I made it, because I'd like to make it again when our tomatoes are ready to harvest (which should be in a couple of weeks).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Our Virtue Walk


In 2008, the newly called General Young Women Presidency Hiked up Ensign Peak in the Salt Lake City, UT area, and declared their "Return to Virtue." Young Women all over have followed by doing similar hikes.

Before our girls go to camp, this year, they have been asked to have their three mile hike completed. Since we needed to do this, I figured we could do something else along with this activity (rather than just walking). The thought came to me that we could also do a Virtue Hike. We may not have mountains or even hills in Louisiana, that does not mean we can't have our own Virtue Hike.



As I thought about where we could do this, I remembered not too far from us is a beautiful place I like to go. In fact, recently, I have blogged about this place--Black Bayou. This state park has a really nice pavilion where we could stop, have a sack lunch and a short devotional--perfect! After calling to find out if we could use the pavilion, my husband and I went out on a Sunday afternoon and hiked around to figure out where a three mile hike could take place.


My YW presidency and I decided a Wednesday early evening would be perfect. I headed to WalMart and purchased some gold fabric (75% off!) and came home hemmed it up. I remembered I had some gold rick rack and used that for the edges. Then I used a Sharpie to write the words, "Return to Virtue" on the cloth. We told the girls to make sure they bring water and a sack lunch that they can carry on the hike with them. We also invited the mothers to hike along with us.



We met at 5:00 and had our opening prayer. I then spoke to them about what Sister Dalton said. The Temple is so important--" The temple is the reason for everything we do in the Church. The temple was the reason our pioneer ancestors left their established homes and came west. It was the reason they suffered privation and even death. Temple covenants were the reason that, although babies were buried along the way, those pioneers could sing:
Come, come, ye Saints,
No toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Some lost everything but came into the valley with everything, really—temple ordinances, sacred covenants, and the promise of eternal life together as families." We then sang the first verse of Come, Come Ye Saints and started on our hike.



As we started down the path, and as I had driven to Black Bayou, I was praying that my plans would work out. I really wanted the girls to feel of the Spirit and to understand the importance of Virtue. As we stepped onto the boardwalk that goes around some of the bayou, I looked ahead, and could not believe what I was seeing. On a log just off the the side of the boardwalk in the water was a big fat alligator sunning himself! Probably about 5 or 6 feet long. I stopped and said, "an alligator!" The girls froze in there paths, then started running toward it trying to grab their cameras. I too was digging in my back pack to try to get my camera. The gator was scared off, and dove into the water and headed toward the bank. We got a few pictures, but not as good as it could have been. Oh well!


We continued our hike, and ended at the pavilion. We ate our sandwiches and talked for a little while. After a few minutes, I stood and continued with the subject of our hike--Virtue. I spoke of the beauties of Louisiana, and how we are known for our lovely lakes and bayous. Along with that beauty comes some dangers. I asked them if they would like to swim in the bayou. Of course their eyes grew wide and all answered with a resounding, "NO!" I asked them why? "Because there are alligators and moccasins in the bayou!" was their answer. We had actually seen that first hand. I told them that virtue is a beautiful thing, but that the worlds view of virtue is not. Most see it as "old fashioned." We need to be careful of the dangers of the worlds outlook on virtue and of all of the commandments. After speaking to them, I got the gold cloth out and we all signed it.

In all we had a nice time, and we are grateful for the nice evening we had.