Monday, November 30, 2009

Plum...Errr, I Mean PUMPKIN Crazy

I know this will be two posts in one day, but well...I've read three books over the past few days and if I just posted about those, then this would pretty much be "Book Week." And wellllll, I made some fun pumpkin stuff this weekend and I want to share. So! That being said, let's get started!

A few weeks ago I decided to make an attempt at pumpkin puree. I had a really nice step-by-step guide over at the Pioneer Woman. It was a little bit of work, but it make my whole house smell quite scrumptious and it really wasn't that hard overall. When I was done I had 3 1/2 bags (one cup each) of nice pumpkin puree to freeze. AND with the pumpkin shortage this year, little did I know how handy those bags would become.

Fast forward to last Wednesday night. After having a "farewell-for-the-holiday" dinner with my man at Chili's (2 for $20 is a very enticing promo), my mother joined me at my house. There are two things I'm known for during the holidays: devilled eggs and green bean casserole. Most of the time I end up making a ham, my dad's contribution, but for the most part that's it. ALWAYS there are tons of sweets...'s not really needed for me to bring a pie or anything. On the other hand, my mom and step-dad always go to my step-aunt's house for Thanksgiving. Aaaaand, they're always at a loss about what to bring (aaaaand yes, I have a lot of step-relatives-I like to keep it confusing). So, this was probably the best way for me to get my "I-need-to-make-a-Thanksgiving-pie" feeling out of my system. As I've said before, once I've figured out how to do something I just want to keep doing it or making it until I've perfected it. Hence, my invitation for my mom to come over and make a pumpkin pie with me the day before Thanksgiving. We had fun while I made the crust, then the filling and then plopped it in the oven. I made the traditional recipe from the Libby's can, but instead of adding the 15 oz. can of Libby's pumpkin I added 15 oz. of my delish pumpkin puree. The pie did have to bake for an additional 10-20 minutes (I wasn't monitoring it that closely)...I'm not sure if that's normal for using the puree as opposed to the canned stuff, but it needed that extra time. Who wants an extra jiggly pumpkin pie? Not me! Although, the next day there was only one slice left and after polishing off the pie I must say it turned out just as delicious, if not more so, than the canned stuff. It was a little more stringy, but that's just the nature of pumpkin and as the Pioneer Woman said on her website-it didn't hurt anything. Here's a pic of the beautiful, and more importantly-tasty, creation.

Now, while my mother and I were waiting for the pie to bake there was a catastrophe. Why...there was a little over a cup left of my pumpkin puree. Egads! I just HAAAAD to use it up, now didn't I? Haha, why not? We were having fun, why not bake some more! So, I pulled out this recipe that I had printed off from the Pioneer Woman as well. Have you checked her website yet? If not, you should. Ree's got some goooooood recipes over there, and this one is no exception. Moist Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting. Doesn't it just sound good? So, while waiting on the pie I whipped these up and OH MY...these are sinfully good. I sent half of them home with my mom...then she came over to visit on Saturday and asked if there were any left. Yea baby. So good, you're still asking about them three days later. Try them. Now.

Mine aren't as pretty as Ree's. Mostly because I don't have an icing tip set or anything like that. But hey, sometimes things don't have to be pretty if they're this darn GOOD! Notice how there are two muffins missing from the bottom corner sides of this pic? Yea, my mom and I couldn't wait to take a pic...

And to answer your, there aren't any left. They were all scarfed up.

Stay tuned tomorrow for, yet another, book review! Hmmm...will it be New Moon or Reading Lolita in Tehran...hmmm, I don't know. You'll just have to wait and see!

The 19th Wife

I want to preface this book review by giving a little background. There are a lot of places I look when deciding on what book to read next. And constantly, it seems, I have a stack of books on my dresser in order of what to read next. One place I am perpetually looking for reading ideas is through David's mother. She is a former teacher/special education librarian. So, not only is she an awesome cook and baker, she reads constantly. Kinda like me. Are you starting to see how we get along so well? She's also obsessed with audiobooks...but, rather than listen to them in the car, she listens to hers while she's quilting and cooking. We're both awesome multi-taskers. Haha, or something. Anyway! Donna (that's her name if I haven't mentioned it before) belongs to a book club and this was their book for one meeting. I have to admit that I was a little sheepish about reading a book about polygamy. I mean, seriously? Totally not my thing. I remember Donna telling me that it really gave her insight to how a polygamous family lives and functions...and I have to agree. This book is extremely insightful. Also, it was a New York Times Bestseller...and once you read it you'll know why!

First off, I want to say this book kind of confused me at first. I couldn't tell what was going on because it jumps back and forth between two stories. One story is a fictional story about a modern day murder in a polygamous family (the 19th wife is the accused). The second story is the basic history of the Church of Latter Day Saints/Mormon Church, how the church morphs and splits and who the infamous "19th Wife" is, Ann Eliza Young, and her story. Once I had figured this out, I decided I liked the modern day story best. It had a little more action, wasn't quite so dry and was written more like a novel. Then, about halfway through the book I changed my mind. The true story was really good too! However, when I say true, I want to clarify something. In the epilogue of this book the author explains that this book is truly fictional, while Ann Eliza Young and her story are true. The reason he wants to stress this is because the society in which she lived her life is very secretive. Even today if you want to try and write a nonfiction book about this type of society, you will be met with ill discourse and, quite probably, be ran out of town. This, in fact, happened to the author! He even writes a parallel story that occurs to the fictional character in the book. So! That being said, this is a kinda-nonfiction book...if you can say that. The premise of the true story is correct, but Mr. Ebershoff had to fill in cracks in the story so that it all meshes together into a full story and makes sense.

One thing I want to say about this book you ever have those books where you feel like it's taking you forever to get through it? This was one of those books for me. And it's not because it's unexciting or slow because I couldn't hardly put it down once I was halfway through! But, this book isn't small, my copy is 507 pages and it's not the size of a normal paperback or hardback-like the New Moon I read over the weekend in less than a 36 hour period. So, don't expect to just whip on through this book. However, if you want a good book for a long road trip or even one that you don't mind reading for a while, I highly recommend it! Like I said earlier in this post, very insightful and a great read!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve Book Pre-Discussion

Today I fully intended to have posted about either of these two books. I'm very near completing both of them, just not quite done yet. After thinking about it this morning, however, I decided that perhaps neither of these novels are completely appropriate for discussion on Thanksgiving Eve. Then as I started writing this blog, I realized you could actually take the opposite argument. Next week I'll go into more detail about the storylines for each of these books and why I feel this way. Today I just want to state how thankful I am to live in a society that is not in extreme turmoil nor is oppressive (as oppossed to the societies in each of these books). Each of these books are extremely well written and have excellent storylines and I look forward to writing more about each next week.

Since I can't give either of these novels a full book review currently I want to take a moment to share my current schedule for book reading. David's sister's boyfriend, Evan, (I know, confusing, still with me?) explained his system to me earlier this year and I thought it was a good idea. Evan alternates non-fiction reading with fiction reading. So, if he has just completed a fiction novel, he will then make sure the next book he picks up is non-fiction. I'm also trying to do this because I feel it can help mold one into a more well-rounded reader. If you're constantly reading Danielle Steele or autobiographies then perhaps you're never exposed to the variety and different writing styles of another genre. While this is a great idea I also want to add another genre of book to this repertoire. Classics. I have a huge collection of classics in beautiful leather-bound volumes. A lot I have read, but a lot I have not. So, from here on out I will try to stick to this schedule as much as possible. My next read will be New Moon, obviously fiction. In fact, I'm on a deadline because my friend, Susan, wants to see the movie next week and I must finish it prior to our movie date. However, don't be surprised if I read another fiction or so behind it as the two books above as well as my previous read were all non-fiction. And as I'll explain next week, one of the above has drained me a little while reading.

Until then I will be busy spending time with family and friends amongst plates of scrumptious food! Tonight I will be baking a pie with my mother and tomorrow morning, bright and early, I will be preparing a green bean casserole and deviled eggs. In the meantime, I hope everyone has an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday and stays safe over the long weekend!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm So Thankful...

Since it's Thanksgiving week I just want to say that I'm incredibly thankful for the life I have been blessed with thus far. I am so thankful for my three wonderful parents. Yes, I said three: my mom, my dad and my stepdad. And I am soooo lucky to have such an exceptional relationship with each of them. I always feel for those that do not have good relationships with their parents and it makes me feel all that more blessed to have the relationship I do with each of mine. I am also thankful for each and every familial relationship and friendship that I currently possess. Each of these relationships has made me who I am today and for that I'm eternally thankful. It's incredibly sad to me when people violate the bonds of friendship and trust. I have seen this recently and it makes me all that much more grateful for the truly wonderful relationships I enjoy today.

For those that I am thankful for, I wanted to take some extra time this holiday season and give them something special from the heart. Just a little something that wasn't store-bought and that I took the time and effort to prepare. On Friday while I was browsing some other blogs I came upon an idea...a crafty, cute, little idea that spoke to me immediately. This idea involved some buttons and some ribbon...and that's about it. Part of the reason why this spoke to me is, you see, I have this problem. I like to shop. A lot. And you know what happens most every time you buy a new shirt, jacket or sweater? You get this little envelope or plastic baggy attached to the new article of clothing. Inside that baggy or envelope it one or two extra buttons. Do you have any idea how many extra buttons I have at this point in my life? Let's just leave it at...A LOT! Therefore, this idea was perfect for me. Below is the result.

These are bookmarks. They're super cute and perfect for your typical paperback, hardback or even Bible. What makes them a little more unique is they have two markers, so if you're wanting to mark two passages in your Bible, here you go! These were SUPER simple to make. My mother and I went to Hobby Lobby on Saturday and I bought five rolls of ribbon (which were 50% off I might add), then drove back to her house to get busy. We worked for about an hour and half on them, then were able to finish them off on Sunday afternoon following another hour of sewing. So, basically I was able to complete this project with under three hours of labor and a cost of less than $10. Thirty bookmarks made and my mother and I had a blast making these while talking and laughing. If you have a friend to make a few with, I guarantee you'll have a good time. And the best part is I can't wait to see my family and friends' faces when they find these little additions in their Christmas goodies. (P.S. If you're a friend or family member reading this-you must act surprised and thrilled when you open your presents from me ::wink wink::) Finally, if you're interested in making these darling little things, please check out this blog for directions.

I hope everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving week thus far!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good for a Coooooold and Wintery Night

The other night was the first really somewhat cold night here in Oklahoma City. And what better to make for dinner on a cold night than a hot, tasty soup? So, I busted out my recipe book for a soup that I had not attempted as of yet. I found a new twist on an old classic, Chicken Noodle Soup. This recipe was clipped out of one of my Redbook magazines from a year-long subscription I had a while back. This was a subscription I had purchased from a cousin's child's school fundraiser and I figured it was more age-appropriate than Cosmo or Marie Claire (though I still browse those from time to time). When I started receiving this magazine I realized I didn't feel quite old enough to be reading it. Is there a mid-to late-twenties-age targeted magazine? If there is I can't find it, not to mention I don't have the time to read magazines; I barely have time to read the books I acquire (hence the audiobooks). But, a great benefit to Redbook was that they have a handful of recipes near the end of each issue. So, there were a few I clipped from time to time, this being one of them.

Chicken Noodle Soup

2 (26 oz.) cartons reduced-sodium chicken stock or broth (6 cups)
2 cups water
3 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 small parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
3 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (about 1 lb.)
1/2 lb. extra-wide egg noodles (about 6 cups dry)
2 tbsp minced parsley
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. In a 5 to 6 quart soup pot bring stock, water, carrots, parsnips, celery and onion to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 15 minutes
2. Stir in chicken and noodles; cover pot and continue to simmer 7 minutes, or until noodles are just tender. Stir in parsley, salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls.

Makes 6 servings (12 cups)

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 28 minutes

Each serving: 383 cal, 8 g fat, 30 g protein, 48 g carb

Here is a pic of this tasty soup after David and I ladled out our bowls.

First off, I want to emphasize that this is NOT a heavy broth soup. In fact, when I added the noodles I added an additional 3/4 cup of both broth and water. Not all of the noodles were submerged in liquid beforehand, so I had concerns about them actually cooking properly.

That being said, I also want to state this was a man-approved soup. Shocking. David is not a big soup-eater. He even whined when I told him we were having soup for dinner. But, he thought it was very good and ended up only eating one bowl. Part of that was because he fully intended to have a slice of this afterwards, but also because it was very filling. I believe the reason for this is because of the aforementioned reason-it is not a broth-y soup.

We did have a discussion about the difference between this and a canned Campbell's or Progresso comparable soup and we determined this is much better and worth the extra effort. This is sooooo much less salty and flavorable, plus the veggies aren't mushy from being canned. Have I mentioned how much I loved fresh cooked vegetables?

In conclusion, David has requested this soup for the next time he's feeling a little "under the weather." Therefore, I would encourage you to try this recipe and enjoy!

For My Mom...

I'm not big into super crafty things. However, I do have a crafty streak from time to time. I've been know to make cloth books for my nieces as well as the occasional counted cross-stitch. From time to time I am also known to make a dress, skirt or other sort of simple clothing piece. Throughout my grade and high school years my mother and I were known for making then-popular plastic canvas items. Gag anyway. Looking back on it, none of that stuff ever did look quite right. Except for this adorable Halloween haunted house my mom made one time. I'll have to post a pic of that some time...

Another thing, I don't tend to keep my crafty items. I enjoy giving them more as gifts and tend to reserve giving these gifts to those that I know will truly appreciate them. For example, cross-stitch can take an extremely long time to sew and I want to give it someone you understands how long it takes (hours and hours and hours) and won't look at me with a wince and say, "Gee...thanks."

Nevertheless, this crafty urge does occur and when I felt it not too long ago I began searching the local craft stores to find a new cross-stitch (this was where my compulsion was leaning). You would not believe the LACK of selection. At Hobby Lobby, Michael's or Jo-Ann's, nothing. Pillowcases with roses and teddy bears or ducks with umbrellas are not what I had in mind. If I'm going to be working on something like this for any length of time I want it to be something I enjoy looking at. None of the patterns I found met this bar I had set. So, my mother and I decided to check out eBay. The good thing about eBay is they have a superfluous amount of STUFF. However, the problem is you kinda need to know exactly what you're looking for. You can't just put in "needlepoint" or "cross-stitch" and come up with something. If you did, you would come up with a search result of 4,394,303,874. I'm exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea. So, my mother and I started to brainstorm and I told her that since I couldn't think of anyone to sew for currently, I would make one for her. Therefore, she would be able to take part in the final decision-making. Finally, after a couple hours of browsing, we both agreed on a pattern. A gorgeous pattern.

I'm not going to tell you exactly what this piece is. I would like for it to progress and materialize in your eyes. A hint though...the theme of this cross-stitch bases from a book my mother and I have both read, that she owns. This pattern is by no means based upon that book, but this pattern does emulate this type of character. Enough said, I don't want to give it away.

This picture isn't very good, I intend to purchase a cross-stitch ring as I progress since I can't find my old one (I told you this happens infrequently, so stuff gets lost). That will make the mesh less wrinkled and therefore easier to photograph the as-completed work. Overall, I think it's progressing nicely, though you can't really see the white cross-stick to the left. It'll all make sense to you eventually.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pre-Christmas Experiment

OK, so what is it you want to do when you've finally figured out how to do something? Perfect it! Well, I do anyway...if it's something I end up enjoying, that is. So, since my first experiment with pie-making went soooo well I decided to flip through my recipes that I haven't tried yet to find something good. David and I have a tendency of keeping apples in the refrigerator, then not eating them...and we all know what happens to apples after a while. Because of this I was kind of leaning towards an apple recipe, if anything to keep from letting those apples spoil. Plus, apple recipes are always the best, am I right? Therefore, as I was flipping I came across a recipe I "stole" from my Aunt Rosie. I say stole, but she really just let me have it. About two or three years ago I was at her house flipping through a Wal-Mart recipes little magazine and ran across about five or six recipes that looked tasty. After promising to give her back the recipes I tried and discovered were good, she let me take the magazine. Well, Aunt Rosie, here you go!

Cranberry Apple Pie

1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped cooking apples
1/4 cup corn starch
1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine apples and corn starch in a small bowl; set aside. Mix cranberries, sugar, salt, corn syrup and water in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until skins pop, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add orange peel, butter, and apple mixture. Place one crust in pie pan. Pour in filling. Top with remaining crust. Flute edges and cut slits in top crust. Bake for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 40 minutes longer or until lightly browned.

**I actually used dried cranberries for this recipe and they turned out great. However, next time I make this pie I will probably reduce the amount to one cup because they plumped up in the oven. This will only be the case if I used dried again, if I use frozen or fresh it'll be 1 1/2 cups all the way! Also, since I used dried cranberries-the skins didn't "pop" so I just cooked this for the 5 minutes and called it good.

**Also, I cut up the two apples in my fridge, which came to a mound of 2 cups and I used them all, so don't be afraid to throw a few extra in if the ones you cut up give you a surplus.

This is what the pie looked like before I put the top crust on and baked it. It's so priiiiitty! Matches my Pampered Chef Cranberry Pie Stone perfectly!

And this is after. I decided to take this pic after David and I had already taken our first slices so you could see the yummy goodness inside all baked to perfection.

I highly recommend this recipe, especially for a holiday dish. The cranberries give the pie an extra tart-sweetness that is amazing. Happy baking!

P.S. THIS pie crust turned out even better than the first with a phenomenal flakiness that's quite tasty. Yum, yum!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It Really Pays to Date a Farm Boy

David has a garden. A nice, half-your-backyard, home-grown garden. You see, David's parents always had a garden when he was growing up. They still do, and they have some suuuuper yummy things his mom cooks out of that garden when we visit. However, David never really partook in the gardening when he was younger so the garden he has in his backyard is, sort of, a work-in-progress. Earlier this year I begged (and I mean BEGGED) him to grow some tomatoes. There is nothing better than a home-grown tomato, am I right? I had to beg because David doesn't like tomatoes. Weird, I know. Regardless, while we were shopping for tomato plants, soil, cages, etc. David came upon a cayenne pepper plant and decided he would see how well it did. The pepper plant didn't really seem to do anything all summer long (along with the tomatoes, dagnabit). However, a couple of months ago this plant EXPLODED. Every day David was picking red peppers off of it. I would venture to say we now have 100+ peppers. I knew we wouldn't be able to use all of these peppers before they would spoil, so I looked on the internet to see what we needed to do to dry them. Which is almost next to nothing. Pretty much just hang them up and let 'em dry. We then split the peppers up between the two households. I would say this would be half, but some have been eaten and I had already chopped some prior to this pic.

This is a very meticulous job and I was tired of doing it each time I wanted to use some peppers in a recipe. So! I decided to do them all at once. Chop, chop chop...chop, chop, chop...chop, chop, chop. Let me tell you, but the time I was done my fingers were hurting so bad from the repetitious motion. I could see how one could get carpal tunnel syndrome from working their way around a kitchen! However, I now have a little tupperware-type container FULL of red pepper flakes. Yum! I just hope I don't end up having to chop all of David's share as well. My fingers might cry. And you betcha I'm going to be using these wonderful flakes up until they're completely gone. Hopefully that won't occur until the plant begins to bear more "fruit" next year. We shall see, in the meantime I will enjoy them while I can!

Monday, November 16, 2009

1, 2, 3 - First Pie's the Charm

I've always been a baker, ever since I was in grade school. I'm a master at cookies (peanut butter especially), cakes, muffins, brownies, etc. However, I've always been stumped by one bakery item...pies. It's the crust. And since pies aren't my favorite dessert, I've never made a huge effort to learn how to make a good pie crust. The most effort I ever made was those Jell-O pies with either graham cracker or Oreo crusts. Soooo, yea that doesn't count. The little old lady, Ruby, that lives across the street from me has baked me a pie once before and she was very good at it. Little old ladies always seem to be good at pie crusts, why is that? But anywho, I've never felt quite right about walking across the street and saying, "Hey, can you teach me how to make this wonderful, flaky concoction you filled with yummy coconut-y goodness three years ago?" Something about how we've been neighbors for five plus years and only spoken six or so times makes me feel this way. Even though she is adorable and sweet, I still don't feel comfortable asking such questions.

Being that I don't feel comfortable asking my neighbor, one would probably say, "Crystal, why don't you just ask your mom or other female relative that bakes?" Well, my mom isn't a pie baker either and I don't really know of many other "bakers" in the family that are really into pies. I really do think it's a lost art.

Fast forward through all this uncertainess about pies until about late last year. My boyfriend, David, loves pies. And Donna, his mom, is a master pie baker. In fact, she's pretty much awesome in every arena of the kitchen. Well, she has confided in me that she can't seem to bake a good chocolate cake without incorporating a box mix. Go figure, she can make pies and I can make cakes, but not the other way around. Slightly ironic? I think so. Well, since we've been dating David has been requesting pie after pie after pie. But, this is the kind of thing you have to test and retest and retest, until you get it right. How does one do this without it being compared, critiqued, etc.? So, I had a conversation with Donna about a month ago regarding pie crusts. Being the wonderful woman she is, she proceeded to tell me her secrets to a great pie crust. Mind you, she didn't give me her recipe (probably because it's mostly in her head), but she did give me a couple of really good tips. So. That being said, last Friday I tested my first post-advice pie on my stepdad's birthday celebration. Below is the result which, by the way, was quite scrumptious. Let's just say the pie barely made it through a 24 hour period and only four people ate off of it.

I decided to attempt this pie because 1) Bob (my stepdad) loves all pies, 2) David loves coconut-flavored pies and 3) I have been intrigued by this recipe since a bake sale in my office. This pie was described to taste like a white sugar version of the filling in a pecan pie. I thought the taste description was pretty accurate, but my mom doesn't think so. You should try it yourself and make your own determination. Either way, it was quite tasty!


1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 tbsp. flour
3 eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk (I used whipping cream)
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. coconut
1/16 tsp. salt
i deep dish pie shell

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, flour and salt; mix. Add buttermilk, vanilla and coconut. Mix all together. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Going in to the oven:


***Keep your eyes peeled for another pie recipe this week. I baked a scrumptious Christmas-themed pie last night that turned out as a great tester for the holiday season!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Three Cups of Tea

As a general rule I am typically "reading" two books at a time. At least I try to keep up with two at a time. The reason I put reading in quotes is that the second book is usually an audiobook. About a year or so ago I became hooked on audiobooks. My boyfriend bought me an iPod for my birthday and I downloaded a few audiobooks and listened to them in my car. I love, love, love listening to books while I'm driving. They're awesome when there's nothing on the radio. If you think this might be a way for you to get some extra reading time in, I highly recommend it!

But, back to the purpose of this post. I finished this book, Three Cups of Tea, earlier this week.

Everyone I knew that had read this book thought it was wonderful. I have to admit that it took me a little while to get into it. However, once the story got rolling I couldn't put it down. The gist of the story is that a man, Greg, who intended to climb a mountain in Pakistan failed in his attempt, but on his way back down met some villagers in the tiny town at the base of the mountain. The children of this town had an intense thirst for knowledge and an education, breaking the man's heart as they wrote in the dirt with their sticks because they had no chalkboards, paper or pencils. The rest of the book is about the trials and tribulations Greg endures to get a school for these children (boys AND girls) built, then another school, and another, and so forth. Greg has quite a bit of trouble in parts of this story, being that a lot of people in this part of the world do no believe that girls should have an equal chance at an education. Not to mention the fact that corruption is rampant throughout the areas in which Greg is working. This book is an extremely heart-warming true story that I would highly recommend. I would also venture to say that I actually learned a bit about this region of the world and culture simply from reading this book. It gave me a slight tilt in my assumption of what the belief system and culture is in this area. If you haven't read this yet, then consider putting it on your "to read" list.

OK, So Here Goes...

I've decided to start this blog for a hodgepodge of reasons and purposes. I like reading about others' activities, thoughts, plans, stories, etc. After some thought about my own musings, I thought I would begin a blog and see how this goes. There is going to be no schedule, rhyme or reason to how I post and I'm not sure if the posts will even be all that regular. However, I frequently am trying new recipes, reading new (and old) books, performing the sporadic craft that I intend to share. There shall also be the random "Mud blog" as I intend to categorize them. These will be about random frustrations, blocks in life, political-type issues (interrelationships, not government), etc. Or perhaps the infrequent traffic excursion gone awry, shopping trip fiascos and so forth. We wouldn't things to get too serious around here.

Now that my intentions are clear I want to share a little bit about myself. I am a twenty-something woman in a wonderful relationship with the man I love. State beaurocracy consumes my Monday through Friday, eight to five schedule and on the weekends I try to spend time with family and friends regularly. I have a standing breakfast date with my father every Saturday morning (aww...) and go to church regularly with my boyfriend on Sunday mornings. So no sleep-in time for me on the weekends! I am also a member of the Junior Hospitality Club of Oklahoma City. I'll have a link up shortly to their blog, but in summary, it is a wonderful women's charitable organization that focuses on giving back to the community here in Oklahoma county.

Welcome to my official blog and hope you enjoy it!


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