Friday, December 9, 2011
With this installment of Friday Show & Tell, Writers Li.P.P. is going on indefinite hiatus. Even though we will no longer be blogging together, you can keep up with us on our personal blogs, Lindy Chaffin Start and Pam Asberry. Thanks to all of you for supporting us by reading and commenting. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years!
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Okay, so I have to admit that when it comes to the holidays the last thing I am worried about is counting calories. I'm more a "moderation" girl than a "no bread and cheese" girl. Thanksgiving is the only day of the year I EVER feel over-full and Christmas means all of those delectable dishes we only taste once in 365 days.
Since 2011 has been such a challenging year and I have committed myself to taking the 2012 bull by the horns and changing my life in a complete one-eighty why should I concern myself with healthful recipes at the holidays? Maybe I want to set a good example. Could it be that I want to impress my friends with flavorful and healthy food? Perhaps my intent to completely change in 2012 needs to get a good start, or I need to send 2011 off on a healthier note. No matter. Here are some of the "better for you" recipes I will be serving this year. Enjoy!
Ricotta Dip for Fruit
1/2 Cup low fat Ricotta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 6-ounce container vanilla low fat yogurt
6 cups cubed cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple and strawberries
In a blender or food processor, combine ricotta, cream cheese, orange juice and powdered sugar. Cover and blend or process until smooth. In a medium bowl stir together cheese mixture and yogurt. If desired, cover and chill dip up to 24 hours. Serve with assorted fresh fruit.
Chili-Toasted Pecans with Dried Cherries
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce
2 cups pecan halves (8 ounces)
1-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
3/4 cup dried cherries or a combination of raisins and dried cherries (4 ounces)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl combine oil and hot pepper sauce. Add pecans; toss to coat evenly. Set aside. In a small bowl combine chili powder, pepper, salt, cumin and oregano. Add to pecans; toss well to coat. Place pecans in a single layer in a 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan. Bake fro 12-15 minutes or until toasted, stirring every five minutes. Stir in dried cherries. Serve warm or cooled to room temperature.
1 each 13-ounce round Brie or Camembert cheese
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
Apple slices and/o toasted French bread slices
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cheese in a shallow, ovenproof serving dish or pie plate. In a small bowl stir together orange marmalade and brown sugar. Spread on top of cheese. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake about 15 minutes or until cheese is slightly softened and topping is bubbly. Serve with apple and/or bread slices.
I must thank Better Homes and Gardens for these lovely recipes, but for my own personal tips, well, here you go:
- Always go for the whole grain. Be it french bread, mustard or cereal - whole grain is better for you.
- If a recipe calls for crackers or bread, improvise with sliced fruit or vegetables. Serve the brie, as mentioned above, with apple slices. Serve that family-favorite cheese ball with sliced cucumbers, zucchini, celery or carrot slices.
- If you're serving a pasta dish, even spaghetti, lighten it up by using julienned squash (zucchini or summer) or take advantage of the fall harvest and use spaghetti squash.
The best advice I can offer is don't overdo it. Enjoy yourself. Pamper your palette. Don't drink and drive. And if you do eat that one extra cookie, forgive yourself then get up and go for a walk the next day.
Happy Holidays my friends. Feast!
Friday, December 2, 2011
|Girls live here!|
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Aside from the crafty-handmade gifts and the little tokens wrapped underneath my tree I want to give myself and my friends the greatest gift – each other. I plan to open my home to family and friends for one night steeped in frivolous fun – a re-gifters gift exchange, a covered dish, some hot cider, a carol or two, maybe even a viewing of Rudolf or the first Miracle on 34th Street. No matter what we do, just being together is what counts.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.
I like the way you think, Oren. But you know what? My friends and family are going to be looking for something wrapped up under the Christmas tree.
And I am on a budget. I mean, seriously. Those days of reckless spending and paying off the Christmas bills around the fourth of July are over. If there isn't cash to pay for it, I'm not buying it. And there is powerful little cash left over after expenses. So what is a gal who loves absolutely everything about Christmas supposed to do?
I recommend handmade gifts. Whether you cook or bake, sew or craft, work with wood or provide useful services, you can come up with something to satisfy just about everyone on your list. If you're feeling short on inspiration, click HERE for some great ideas. I'm gonna try my hand at those chocolate spoons this week!
And if you're short on time, I would like to suggest that you visit Etsy.com and support small local craftsmen. To get started, I invite you to browse my selection of handmade jewelry at The Wishing Box (click HERE). And if you need a few stocking stuffers, please consider buying a handful of beaded bracelets to support Asberry School of Music's efforts to help Beading To Beat Autism raise $300 million to build an autism research and treatment center in Louisville, Kentucky.
|Bracelets come packaged in a ziplock baggie containing a color insert describing the project.|
The suggested donation is only $3 per bracelet. 6", 6 1/2" 7", and 8" lengths available; we will do our best to honor your color preferences or, better yet, let us choose for you! These make great party favors, stocking stuffers, and holiday gifts for teens and teachers. Checks should be made payable to Beading To Beat Autism; all proceeds will go directly to the organization. Please leave a comment if you would like to place an order and I will get back to you with the details. Thank you in advance for your support!
What are your favorite low cost Christmas gift ideas?
Author: Pam Asberry
Friday, November 18, 2011
|Florida, here I come!|
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
l-r: Casey, Nathan, Eric & SeDonna
I don't do Thanksgiving healthy. Every year, I make Thanksgiving dinner the way I always have, fat and calories be damned. Then everyone at my table eats himself or herself into a stupor and enjoys every delicious minute. I know I do. It's just one day out of 365. Geez.
I usually do both ham and turkey with bread dressing like my mom's, cranberry sauce, homemade rolls and pumpkin pie, with green beans and corn as a nod to balance. My brother and his wife usually join my two sons and me for dinner, and each of them has another favorite side dish/dessert to go along. Here the recipes.
CASEY'S BROCCOLI SALAD
1 bunch broccoli, chopped small
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup red onion, chopped small
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Combine salad ingredients in a bowl, then stir together dressing ingredients and pour over, stirring to combine. This is good topped with crumbled bacon, but I serve that on the side since Casey is a vegetarian.
1 bag frozen hash browns
1/2 stick butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Arrange hash browns in a greased 13 X 9 inch baking pan. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir over low heat until melted. Pour over hash browns. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.
SEDONNA'S SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
3 cups mashed, cooked sweet potatoes
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup flaked coconut
1/ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup margarine, melted
1 cup chopped pecans
Combine mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, milk, 1/3 cup margarine, vanilla and eggs; set aside. Thoroughly combine coconut, brown sugar, flour, 1/3 cup margarine and pecans in another bowl. Spoon 1/2 sweet potato mixture into a lightly greased 8-inch square pan; sprinkle with half the coconut-pecan topping. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
ERIC'S CHOCOLATE CHIP PECAN PIE
3 large eggs
And there you have it: instructions for a feast fit for royalty. Regardless of which way you go - healthy or not so much - I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Author: Pam Asberry
Friday, November 11, 2011
The view from my bedroom window.
|My neighbor's treasured Japanese Maple|
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
- Cleaning out closets
- Hosting a yard sale
- Taking a break from everything I aspire to be to search for a job
- Letting go of a relationship I thought was forever
- Yes, I cleaned out my closets. I discovered half of my clothes were either too small or too big so guess what I did. I bought new ones. One of my favorite new outfits I found at Macy’s. Hot, right?
- Okay, so what. I hosted a yard sale. Big deal! I made enough money to re-do my little girl’s room. It’s very pretty and purple now. She no longer resides in a guest room disguised as a kid’s room. She now has her very own space complete with a newly painted night stand and stars and “jewels” on the walls.
- Yeah, yeah. This is where it gets hard. I took a break from everything I aspire to be to look for a job. Listen, it only sounds bad. My passions (writing, cooking, painting) got put on the back burner one more time in my life but in their place I got to take classes on InDesign and Illustrator and learned some cool new tricks of a new awesome trade. I’ve been doing freelance graphic design ever since. So there is still the ginormous void of an actual job but I know its coming. Living in faith, I know, like I know, like I know. So, now is the time for me to reconnect with my passions while I still have some free time and let God take care of the rest.
|Red's New Room|
- Letting go of that relationship was probably the most devastating, but in the process I connected with old friends and new, especially the girls, like Karen, Zoe, Pam, Megan, Marjorie and a list of others who must forgive me as I only have so much space in one blog post, BUT you know who you are and you know I love each of you so much it hurts. And lest we not forget the boys like Mark, Bryan and Michael who have been like little beacons of hope for me that good, honest men do still exist.
Monday, November 7, 2011
|I gave myself an unusual birthday present this year.|
1. Godiva Dark Chocolate.
2. Pillsbury Mocha Fudge Brownies.
3. Once Upon A Time.
4. 100 Push-Ups/200 Sit-Ups.
5. Pumpkin Spice K-Cups.
6. PaperBack Swap.
Click on the pink links to find out more. Then I hope you will go back and visit my blog Between Birthdays often!
What are one of your favorite new things?
Author: Pam Asberry
Friday, November 4, 2011
This little piggy's pic was taken at Southern Belle Farm in McDonough, GA
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Make me giggle to no end, that is. Like this one...
Lucille Ball is an all time favorite of mine, well her and my mother and my aunt when they get started laughing at something and just can't stop.
Cheers to the girls today!
Monday, October 31, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
|Red as Jesse from Toy Story - 2010|
|The always fabulous Headless Horseman (here he looks ghostly)|
* * * * *
Pam Asberry * Dacula, GA
|Nathan, October, 2005|
I am 5" 2", so when this picture was taken, I towered over my little guy.
My, what a difference six years makes!
My advice? Treasure every chaotic moment with your precious little trick-or-treaters this year.
Your big ones, too.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
|Josh and Casey|
|Nathan and Casey|
|Yep, it's really me. October, 2006.|
Monday, October 24, 2011
|Me and Red - Halloween 2009|
Friday, October 21, 2011
|Do you ever feel this way?|
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
In Lindy Chaffin Start's blog post Monday, she detailed conversations that decisively ended relationships. I was impressed. Me? I seem more like our reader Denise, who commented:
Oh, you are so not alone. I always see the good and write the bad off to just a bad moment. I will forgive just about anything.
Here are some examples from the past.
Me: "I am thinking about going to University of Colorado and getting my Ph.D."
Serious Boyfriend: "Go for it. But I can't promise I will be waiting around for you when you are finished."
Stunned silence. Eventually, I give up my dream of getting a Ph.D. and marry the guy.
Me: "So what's this big secret you want to tell me?"
Friend: "I am having an affair with John Doe."
Stunned silence. John Doe is married and all of our mutual friends know it. I don't approve, but I keep her secret, lying for her when friends ask about their relationship.
Me: "What just happened?"
New Boyfriend: "You're just not as slim and slender as I originally thought."
Stunned silence. I am 5' 2"; at the time, I weighed 105 pounds. My confidence is shattered, but we talk it through and I end up in a four-year relationship with the guy.
Denise went on to say:
I do have a line or two and am drawing more. There's just so much a girl can put up with, right?
I like to think my learning curve is also improving. I am learning to speak up for myself. I divorced the husband. I broke ties with the friend. I ended the four-year relationship. And here are some examples from more recent history.
Me (on a third date): "So tell me more about your situation with your ex."
New Boyfriend: "Well, she isn't exactly my ex. We aren't exactly separated. And she doesn't exactly know I am seeing other people."
Great balls of fire! I don't date married men! Please take me home!
Me: "That's a great idea. I would love to spend Valentine's Day in the mountains with you."
Boyfriend of Six Months: "I'm going to have to cancel our weekend reservation. My mom is expecting me at her house for Sunday night dinner."
I hope your mom will also keep you warm at night! Bye-bye!
I don't know why it's taken me a lifetime to figure this all out. But the good news is that am no longer willing to spend five minutes with a man who diminishes me in anyway or puts me at the bottom of his priority list. Nor am I willing to keep dirty secrets for a friend or put up with any kind of abuse from anyone--whether it's directed at me, at a minority group, or anyone else. At this stage of the game, it's about being true to myself and treating others the way I want to be treated.
If that isn't true love, I don't know what is.
Where do YOU draw the line?
Author: Pam Asberry
Monday, October 17, 2011
5 FINGERS© Nithi Chungyam | Dreamstime.com
Friend: “My ex is after me for back child support.”
Refrain from slapping. See ya!
Me: “Girl, you look great! How did you lose so much weight?”
Friend: “Well, did I ever tell you that cocaine is my drug of choice.”
Head tilt. Huh? See ya!
Me: “I really appreciate your help this weekend. Is there anything I can do to repay you?”
Friend: “Didn’t you tell me once that the doc had given you Xanex for your panic attacks?”
Me: “Yeah. Why?”
Friend: “I’ll buy them from you.”
Are you kidding me? See ya!
Whole host of expletives resound in brain. See ya!
Sadly, I am naïve enough not to pick up on the warning signs like most. Believing in people is what I do. Seeing the good, refusing to admit the bad until it smacks me across the face – WHACK! Gratefully, I am well aware of when to call a friendship quits.
What about you? Is there something you’ve heard from a friend that has ended a relationship? Something you swore you would never repeat?
Pam is up next. Until Friday Show and Tell I bid you a good week.
Friday, October 14, 2011
|The neighbor's mailbox-eating tree...|
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
My blog sister Lindy believes that perfection can be found in pork tenderloin. That may be true for you carnivores out there but, as far as I'm concerned, perfection can be found in a simple pot of homemade soup, like this recipe for black bean soup, adapted from my 1981 edition of Laurel's Kitchen. Yes, I have been dabbling with vegetarianism for a long, long time.
BLACK BEAN SOUP
1 1/2 cups black beans
1 1/2 quarts water
2 heaping tablespoons VegeBase
(or substitute 1 1/2 quarts vegetable broth for the water and VegeBase)
2 tablespoons oil
2 stalks celery
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Pinch garlic powder
Wash the beans, place them in a pot along with the water and VegeBase (or vegetable broth) and 1 tablespoon oil. Cover tightly, bring to a boil, and simmer for 2 1/2 hours or so, until the beans are very tender.
Makes about 9 cups. Great served in a bowl topped with hot sauce and a dollop of sour cream and a side of cornbread, or leftover on a bed of rice and topped with salsa and grated cheddar cheese.
Click the links below for some of my other favorite fall recipes. Enjoy!
Spicy Pumpkin Muffins
Apple Streusel Pie
German Chocolate Pie
Author: Pam Asberry
Monday, October 10, 2011
- 1 split baby tenderloin, fat trimmed
- Emeril’s Original Essence
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Friday, October 7, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
The very best thing I’ve read in the last few days truly made me think on the topic of perfectionism. This is a point made by Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book, Simple Abundance - A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. She points out, “Upon completing the Universe, the Great Creator pronounced it ‘very good.’ Not ‘perfect.’”
|© Aje | Dreamstime.com|
Monday, October 3, 2011
After spending the summer eating frogs, being a total slave to a stack of arduous to-do lists, I am trying a new approach, which seems to be working for the always brilliant Danielle LaPorte. I recommend that you click HERE and read every word of this recent blog post of hers. Here is my favorite part.
Time management systems are tricky beasts. They may help us be more productive, but not necessarily less stressed, or more fulfilled, or more in touch with our true nature. We may look freer with our priorities all tidy, but too often, time remains the master and we get "given" time for obeying the system.
I'd rather be fulfilled than obedient. And it turns out that when I'm fulfilled, I'm...fulfilled--whether I'm productive or not. And that gives me plenty of energy to be more focused on what matters most, which makes me truly productive.
My way isn't working. My daily to-do list is physically impossible to achieve, so I wake up every morning stressed and anxious, knowing that I am going to fail before I even get started. Is this any way to go through life? Obviously, the answer is no.
I love Danielle's suggestions for putting time management in its place. I already "batch and chunk," so that one is a no-brainer. I am super excited about trying some of the others. Like NOT keeping a detailed to-do list. Asking myself every morning what it is I really feel like doing. And, arguably most important for me, focusing on the one or two vocational pursuits that really excite me.
Here is my breaking news: I am finally ready to admit that I cannot do it all: teach piano lessons to 40 students each week--a full-time job--while simultaneously building both a handcrafted jewelry business and a writing career AND taking care of my family. Something has got to give. And over a tear-filled breakfast a couple of weeks ago, my friend Denise helped me realize what that needs to be.
Her question went something like this: "If you designed a piece of jewelry that became so popular that making jewelry could be your sole means of support--if it went viral and you could no longer meet the demand for it by yourself and you got to run a factory to manufacture it--would you be happy doing nothing but that?"
I didn't even hesitate. The answer was easy. "No."
Music and writing are my passions. I enjoy making jewelry and hoped that my Etsy store would provide me with some extra income during this slump in the economy and buy me time to hone my skills as a writer, but the truth is that every penny I earn selling jewelry goes right back into supplies to make more jewelry. And sales haven't been great the past few weeks. I expect that will change as the holidays approach, so it makes sense to stay in business through the first of the year, but after that I plan to liquidate my remaining stock. I still enjoy making jewelry; I will probably keep my store open with a handful of select signature and seasonal items, and do special orders upon request. But I will keep my focus where it needs to be. On my personal development as a musician. On teaching my students every week. On honing my skills as a writer, both of fiction and nonfiction.
The relief I have felt as a result of this decision tells me that it is a step in the right direction. Wish me luck.
Are you a slave to your to-do list? Are you fully engaged in the one or two pursuits that bring you sheer delight? Would you be happy doing nothing but what you are doing for the rest of your life? If you don't like your answers to these questions, what are you going to do about it?
Author: Pam Asberry