November 28, 2009


So sorry, I have to do a part four. I just had to share with you that me, and Dee made it on the Pioneer Woman's "so thankful" post on Thanksgiving Day! My, my, my, its a good thing I was sitting down when I spotted us right there.... well I had to kinda look.... uh, yeah, well if you were to look you probably would never spot us. But I did! Cause I recognized the lady in the red sweater who was even more excitable than me. She is standing up and yes there we are about 4 rows behind her. Dee with her camera up, me with my flip video thinga-ma-bobber in front of my face. I started singing "looks like we made it" by my ol' friend Barry Manilow ......(did I mention we are the last picture, so you must scroll all the way through all her pictures on the post)

All silliness aside. I am still quite geeked about my cookbook signing. I read the whole cookbook from cover to cover this weekend. I was thinking maybe I would do the Sheila and Ree Project. Where I try to cook through the Pioneer Woman's cookbook in say three months and try to not go up a pant size, and blog about it. What do ya think??? Comments please.

November 22, 2009

THANKSgiving EarlY

Aren't the lil' Pilgrims cute? My sister and I both have a set. I love um, I usually have to give um a little hug, and pinch their cheekies. Then I play with them a lot during the meal. Make them kiss, lay them down (they passed out from to much tryptophan), and they even dance sometimes (that depends on how much holiday cheer I have had before sitting down for the Thanksgiving meal).

So, we decided to be daring and try something new for Thanksgiving this year. Daring for us over this holiday is going to Chicago and not having our dinner with my sister her husband, my dad, and my sisters in laws, at my sisters house. We have some pretty strong traditions over the Holidays and going to Chicago breaks three of them. #1 Having the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner. #2 Creating our gingerbread houses the day after Thanksgiving. #3 Decorating for Christmas. Oh Heck! For one year we can messed things up and do something different. And my sister was very accommodating and said she would do Thanksgiving the Sunday before.

So what do "the sisters" put on the table for Thanksgiving dinner? Many things from the Pioneer Woman's website, so if it says PW after the name you can go to and get the recipe for your self. Otherwise, I will hand over the goods.
-Brined and Butter basted Crestwick Farms turkey PW (Crestwick Farms is a local farm, awesome! google them)
-Mashed Potatoes PW
-gravy PW
-Rice and Corn Casserole PW ****YOU MUST TRY THIS ONE! IT'S AMAZING.****
-Sweet Potatoes with pecan crumble (to DIE 4)PW
-home made Cranberry Sauce
-Carlas Green Bean Casserole
-deviled eggs
-cheese and crackers
-chips and Amish corm salsa
-hot artichoke and spinach dip
-Pumpkin Pie
-Larry's Apple Pie in a Bag
-Whipped topping NOT cool whip

CRANBERRY SAUCE- 1bag(12oz)fresh cranberries, 1/2cup brown sugar, 1/2cup orange juice, 1/4 cup water, 1/2tsp cinnamon, dash of clove, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2cup light raisins, 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans(optional). mix everything together in a sauce pan EXCEPT nuts. cook on medium for about half an hour until all the cranberries pop and the sauce thickens. Let cool. You can make this a couple days ahead. It will make you house smell fabulous!

CARLAS GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE- you will never want to make your old GBC again, unless of course you already make this one! EASY its so EASY! 6cans of green beans drained, 3cans of mushroom soup, 1/2 of a block of Velveeta cube it up, Frenches onions. Mix the first three ingredients together and add 1/2 cup Frenches onions. Dump it in a greased 9x13 dish then put as many Frenches onions on the top as you can stand and bake at 350degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly and the onions are browned.

ROLLS- easy peasy chicken squeezy! Love these rolls! You do need a BREAD MACHINE though.... 1cup warm water (not hot just warm), 3Tbl softened butter, 1egg, 3 1/4 cup bread flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1tsp salt, 3tsp yeast. Put water in bread machine then butter, egg, sugar, salt, then add flour, make a little hole in the flour for the yeast, add yeast. Then set your machine on dough mode. Check it if it looks too dry add a Tbl of water at a time until it looks like its good. Then when dough mode is done, take it out and cut into 16 rolls. (I half it then half it again, and again and well you got it until I have 16 cute lil rolls) put on Pam sprayed cookie sheets cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 1hr. preheat oven to 375. bake rolls for 12-15 minutes. brush GENEROUSLY with butter right when you take them out of the oven. Try not to eat them all before you get them to your destination.

STUFFING-this is one of those recipes I feel my way through. I just make it, and see how it turns out. So I will try to convey my recipe from my head. You cant really ruin it, unless you over salt it. We don't stuff our turkey we just bake it in a pan on the side so it gets those crunchy edges. YUMMY! 2 bags of herbed bread cubes, 4cans chicken stock (maybe 5), 2eggs, 1med onion, 1 bunch of celery(cleaned up outside banged up stalks taken off ends cut off, but leave the middle leafs in), 1small hand full of poultry seasoning, 2sticks of butter. Saute your chopped onion, and celery (yes leaves and all) with one stick of butter, saute until its translucent, not browned. When done throw in 2nd stick of butter let melt. Mix stock with eggs whisk together. Pour this over bread cubes, then add sauteed vegis and butter, mix well, add spices, some salt a pepper to taste. Add extra stock if it seems dry should be kinda wet. Then butter a big ol' dish and smash it all in there bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours or until brown and crunchy edges form. Savory bread pudding is what it is!

There are a couple more recipes that I would like to share with you like Larry's Apple Pie(need to get permission to post the recipe from Big Lar) and the Artichoke Dip, maybe even the deviled eggs. But right now I gotta go I am starving. I pray you all have an AMAZING and BLESSED Thanksgiving with your families!

November 21, 2009

PW part III

Phew! Okay, it was getting hot in there, there are about 50 of us jammed in to a little seating area and another 200 standing around waiting. The Barnes&Nobles chick has announced the rules for the 6th time. Then finally, she announced "with out further ado, Ree Drummond........" Squeals, and giggles, gasps, cameras flashing where is she? Oh there she is coming in from the back, but first Marlboro man and the two cutie patootie boys.

There was alot of hub-ub about Marlboro Man. This is what I have to say about that. He was handsome, rugged, but he IS her husband. And no I did not get him to sign his butt in my cookbook. (Only my friends cookbooks......ha made ya look) The boys did sign my book though. So funny, the littlest guy had sharpie marker all over his forehead.

PW answered questions for about 15min. "Tell us about your perfect marriage"..."no marriage is perfect" she answered "but we are perfect for each other". "Do you make your kids eat things they don't like?" "No, not really I am lazy that way." Love the honesty! "Are you going to open the lodge up as a B&B someday?" "Nope cause then I would have to change the sheets often, and that would be buzz kill." LOve this woman! Finally some one asked her about her Ethel Merman impression, and would she please do it. Well, after a bit of prodding, but not too much, she broke out into a perfect imitation of Ethel's song "Theres no business like show business...". It was awesome, so fun. I wished she could have left with Dee and I right then and gone had a bottle of vino!

Q&A over it was time to get into line. First twenty five on the first floor from 26 to 250 something line up upstairs wrapping around the store. If I didn't say it already we were 67 and 68. One hour and fifteen minutes later we were up next. YIKERS! Talk about ring-o-fire. My pitts were pumpin out sweat. I felt a little light headed. OOOOh, what was I gonna say when I gave these stupid cupcakes I'd schlepped all over Chicago. How embarrassing, I wanted to kick them to the side and act like I had not just held them for the last 1 1/2 hours. So Dee went first. Thankfully she didn't push me and say "you go first". They chatted like ol pals, Dee is so thoughtful and smart she had her put Hebrew 13:1 (look it up) in each of her books. So they chatted about that verse. Then me with my 10 cookbooks and box-o-cupcakes. I told her that I was member of her sisterhood of the ring-o-fire. She took a look at my sweaty pit and giggled, then told me about her silk shirt incident in Denver. Then we talked about cinnamon rolls. Then I presented her with the cupcakes I had baked her. Hoping she would love them and then HAVE to have the recipe and read my blog to get it. CRAZY I know I am a dreamer, but a girl does have to try doesn't she? She asked if I had a cupcake shop, I told her no baking is just a passion. (I didn't admit to my dream of having some sort of baking business) Then she sniffed the box. Some how or another I blabbed that I had a blog. She asked me to write it down, DONE its already on the attached card. Did we hug? No, maybe, oh probably not, my memory and my day dreaming get things all mixed up. She was sweet.

Pour Dee. While I'm chattin' up PW is stuck with Marlboro man. That made her nervous, what do ya say, "Hi I love your wife"??? We did get to see what was in the bags though T-shirts, Pioneer Woman T-SHIRTS. Nice ones! Like designer cute sleeved t-shirts with out a tag! Yowza! And we each got one!

Ok, so are you wondering who else we saw? What other famous person? Author and fellow foodie, Shauna Niequist! She wrote the book Cold Tangerines. Check it out its really goooood....I tried to find her after we had our books signed, but she was either hiding from me, (cause I also once had her sign a stalker-level number of books for me) or she got sick of waiting and left. You should check out her blog its at or even better read her book!

Oh my gosh if you have stayed with me this whole time till now, you truly love me. And I truly love you even if you didn't!

PW part II

Land of Goshen! How could two girls have more fun going to a cook book signing???? I have not giggled that much in a long time. (at least a couple weeks!)

Well to start out our perfectly placed peeps that were supposed to get our tickets for us, were not really at the right shopping mall area. We found this out about an hour into our adventure and my right foot got a little heavier on the pedal when I heard Dee say, "oooooh, you can't find the Barnes&Nobles". It will be "ok" we told each other, it will be "ok". We will just go straight there, no stopping for lunch or peeing, just straight to get our "golden ticket", which turns out was red.

We arrived at the Westfield Mall in Skokie. Got a parking spot. The lot looked very full, they must be lining up already, at 12:30. (I will use Chicago time, so don't get all confused and try to subtract and hour.) But to our astonishment there was no line and wE GOT Number 67 and 68. No not the next number, husbands who think that would be funny.... no names mentioned. YAHOO! We did not do a funny dance or make a scene but we were very pleased with our accomplishment at this point. So we took some pics of us buying stacks of cookbooks by the sign of Ree the pioneer woman. And headed out to get some food! (that is another post entirely, sorry mole lovers you will have to read another days entry to get that story, cliffhanger...)

The Barnes&Nobles lady gave us the scoop. Keep your number, at 5pm limited seats would open up for a Q&A with Ree, at 7:30 she would come out and do Q&A, then shortly after they would line us up like cattle, no posed photography, we had to quickly move through the line. They were expecting about "200", she said. "Ok, good thanks, we got it, we will be back!"

So at 5:15 we arrived back JUST in time to snag the last two seats together! My, my, my that was very now we wait. Mind you we have 16 books between the two of us, a RedLetterword print and a big box of cupcakes, two purses, water bottles, and two very little butts to fit into the area of two small folding chairs. I could hear the moans and groans around us.........but we bounced back quickly and made friends with our neighbors. "So whats your number?, how much of a stalker of PW are you, are you more into her photography, cooking, homeschooling..." It's always easy to jab jaw with people you have a common thread with. THEN at about 7ish I get a elbow in my side from Dee, at the same time I hear gasps from the crowd "Marlboro Man!". It was Ladd, Rees husband hauling in black garbage bags. The time was drawing near...
Oh my goodness, I need to add pictures and tell you about who else I saw at the signing besides PW. Sorry this is going to have to be continued, in PW part III, my kids are all staring at me with hungry Saturday morning eyes. Stay tuned.....

November 18, 2009


Oh my goodness gracious can one girl get so excited about meeting another mom, lady, fellow foodie. I feel like I am going to see a friend I haven't seen in years, BUT she doesn't even know who I am! Isn't that crazy??? I know I am not the only one. She is so easy to relate to. When I read her blogging and even the way she describes food, I am like "yes, yes I hear ya, that is what I think of cheese dip too!" or "yes my pits pour out like fire hydrants too!" It's so embarrassing 99% of my wardrobe is planned around whether you will be able to see a giant sweat ring or not. I do the spit test sometimes before buying if you can see wet bright and boldly I can't buy it. Its pathetic.
So back to The Pioneer Woman, if you don't have a clue who I am talking about you need to leave my blog immediately and go to her website.( It is B-awesome! She loves to cook, she loves her man (she calls him Marlboro man), and she loves being a mom, and extra bonus, she is an amazing photographer! (photography being my long lost love, I can live vicariously through PW) And most of all she is just down right funny and real, she says things 75% of us only think and never say. I know this is why she has best friend wanna bees lining up all over the country to have her sign their cook book!
And tomorrow I will be one of them! The excitement has been building since early September, when my friend Dee (the totally awesome friend that shared her knowledge of PW with me) emailed me "Hey what ya doin on November 19?". Then she blew the news on me that Ree was gonna be in Chicago. I said "oh man I am sooo there with ya"
So we had to wait to see where she was gonna be, it just said on her site "to be announced". Then they announced Skokie, Ill. Skokie??? Okay for you PW we will drive to Skokie. Turns out its just north of Chi-town. She will be at the Barnes and Nobles. We planned on arriving at around 4 o'clock for her 7:30 book signing. But then we saw they are handing out numbers starting at 9am! WHAT! AHHHH! Now what, do we have to to early, do we risk going and not even getting our cookbook signed??!! But God had our peeps in place....a good friend of Dees just so happened would be there early Thursday morning with her mom and they are going to get us numbers so we can still show up later. YaHOO, look out Ree we are comin darlin' and we are coming bearing gifts. You don't show up to see a old friend with out a gift do you? Oh we are such be continued.

November 13, 2009


I do love me some mexican food. I think I could eat it everyday of my life! Chips and guac, fresh salsa, carnitas, tacos, fajitas, quesidillas, chips, did I say chips. OOO la la. Ken and I went to Maggies for lunch yesterday. You MUST go to Maggies if you never have been, its on Bridge near the corner of Stocking. What is so special about Maggies? Well, for me its Maggie. I wished yesterday that I would have had my camera, cause I would have asked her if I could take a picture of us together and put it on this blog. She is so darn cute. I don't know how old she is but I would guess late 70's. Her food is fresh and good and I think authentic, seems authentic, I cant really read the menu, so it must be the real deal. I ordered the pork burrito with green sauce. The sauce was on the inside not the out, so you pick it up and eat it like a wrap. It was huge! But I finished it no problemo!

At one time we saw in the Press that Maggies was closing, we were bummed. She said it was time in the article. But then she never did, guess maybe she realized people couldn't do with out her, she is an institution. Yesterday as we were leaving out the back door, Ken pointed for me to look in the kitchen, there she stood, preparing something, just the sweetest thing, talking away to the other cook guy. I had to restrain myself from hugging her. I wonder if many people do just burst into her kitchen and hug her, just a thank you hug. Thanks for workin so hard, thanks for hanging in there for us mexican food freaks.

Ok you get it I like Maggie, but I LOVE Little Mexico! I should say my whole family loves it. We were seriously in mourning when it burned down. I did shed a tear, I think I might have bawled if it had been my time of the month. We watched the paper like hawks waiting to see, would they reopen, what the scoop was. I have heard many people say "oh Little Mexico isn't that good....", its not that authentic, or whatever. But it is also and institution. It has been there for as long as I can remember. So when I was a kid and we would go to mass at St. James on Sunday night, I can remember turning the corner and wondering what that crazy restaurant was right smack dab on the corner with the weird windows and funny door handle. I never got to go there until I was an adult though. We are still waiting expectantly for it to reopen. Its been nearly a year! Even going out of our way every once in a while to check the progress. Yesterday we watched from Maggies, all the scaffolding is down now so they must be finishing up the inside.... Maybe by Christmas! That would be a present. My favorite is the #13 with poblana sauce. Its a brown, chocolaty, spicy sauce. Its a mole sauce actually. It does have chocolate in it and peppers, its awesum! And I haven't found it anywhere else in G.R.. I am praying that they do not change their menu AT ALL. Cause I will be all grouchy if my #13 is the #5 or worse yet not even on the menu anymore. No I refuse to let my mind go there.....

Okay one last mexican food story.(for today) This summer we took the kids on a 5week adventure. (you can read all about it at Anyway I had done much researching, probably too much, about where we should eat etc. The ONE place that I did not want to miss was the Red Iguana in Salt Lake City, known for their in house made mole' sauce. Well, of course the place was packed, and my over hungry bunch of campers would not wait. I almost just let them leave me and pick me up later, but I pulled it together and we ended up at eating at a touristy Thai restaurant. I should have just eaten there though because I have NOT been able to let it go. I seriously have been planning a mini trip to Salt Lake just to eat at this one restaurant! Yes it is true I am crazy for spicy south of the border food.
Marinated Skirt Steak Fajitas
juice of 2 limes
2 Tbl vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 jalapeno, seeded
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 lb skirt steak or chicken
salt and freshly ground pepper
In a food processor or blender combine all but the meat. Puree till it is all combined really well, then put meat in a zip loc bag and pour marinate over the meat. I marinate mine at least a day, but the recipe says 30 minutes. Pull out of marinate season with salt and pepper, and grill to your liking. Let set for 5-10 minutes after taking off the grill before slicing up to eat on your fajitas. If I have a big crowd I slice the meat up put it in crock pots with a little chicken or beef stock to keep the meat moist and we have ourselves a fajita bar! with all the fixins. cheese, sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, fresh salsa, onions and peppers sauteed. Its an easy crowd pleaser.

November 10, 2009

Special FOOD

I have been doing a Bible study this fall on Esther. I have always loved the story of Esther especially the Vegi Tale version. Okay, lets pause here and have a show of hands. Who, other than me can say they learned bible stories from appendage lacking vegetables? Okay I knew that I could not have been the only one, thank you for your honesty. Before studing the book of Esther, it was always a glamorous story for me. Sure Esther had alot on her shoulders saving all the Jews and everything, but she was chosen by the King of Persia for goodness sake....come on we are talking lap of luxury! And to a middle class girl from Coopersville that was all way more appealing to me than the pressure of saving Gods people.

What did I see when I actually had the opportunity to study the book of Esther? I saw alot of partying. Wow, those people could put on a banquet. Lots of food, lots of doing nothing but eating and drinking all day long. Day after day.....that would be fun for a while but even this girl that loves to eat and eat some more and then have dessert too. Would need to have a change of scenery. I also saw that Esther was young, alone, orphaned and raised by her cousin, she was thrown into a beauty competition for the kings favor and had to live with lots of other women. SCARY! She must have been one tough cookie. Okay, this story isn't looking so glamorous anymore. Plus Xerxes the king of Persia was gross. He had different women every night, he drank and ate all day and took evil peoples advice. No, not attractive, or glamorous.

What I saw today, in chapter 9, made my heart LEAP! After Esther rose to her God given task ("for such a time as this"), and went before her gross husband and petitioned for the salvation of her peeps. After the Jews won the battle against their enemy. The people rested THEN they celebrated and gave gifts.(Esther 9:19) Only because of Beth Moore and her research and commentaries from smart Bible people did I find out that "gave gifts" meant gave special food! I love that, cause I love to give gifts of special food. It just gets me sooo excited. ooh... I hope when people see me jumping out of my van with a pie or a dinner or at Christmas time cinnamon rolls, they are as excited as I am. What is your special food? Mine just happens to be food. I find joy in giving people nourishment. Some might find joy in giving laughter, time, teaching, money, labor, a hug, encouragement. I have some friends that are super encourager's, that is something I admire in a person, not just when they encourage me, but when I see them encouraging others that is food too, food for the soul. Wow, God has given us all gifts that we can share. What gives you joy to give? What makes you gasp and feel like smiles are popping out all over your body?

5 qt popped corn (not microwavepopped, but real old fashioned popped corn)
3 sticks butter
3 cups brown sugar firmly packed
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 generous tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
spread the popped corn in a large shallow sheet pan (like a 12x15 sheet cake pan)
Combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a 2qt pan. Place on med. heat, stir until sugar dissolves. Continure to boil to the firm ball stage (248) about 5 minutes (i usually go with the minutes) Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. It will foam, so dont be alarmed just keep stirring. Pour carmel over popcorn stir to mix well. Put carmel ocrn in a preheated to 250 oven bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. cool it and then shovel it into containers and get it to all your friends family and coworkers before it cools!

Hey did you think I was gonna give you my CINNAMON ROLL recipe? Well its not really mine, but I call it mine now cause I have made too many batches to count. You can go to Plus you will find lots of other awesome, yummy recipes there, have fun! LuvU!

November 01, 2009

NEVER say Never....

If there is one thing that I have definitely learned, BUT not perfected, is that I need to never say "never". Oh I have done it so many times, its SICK. Made a statement about how I would never do this or that or maybe I haven't even voiced my opinion out loud, but I have had strong thoughts about it. You know what I mean. Like for example. "Who would be dumb enough to take a guinea pig to a veterinarian?" For crying out loud, its just a rodent, that cost $11. What a waste of time.....blah blah. I have made many a statement like this about anything from animals to cell phones to music. Oh it is so pitiful. Yes this is true confessions by Sheila. I am a wretch. Oh if not by the grace of God.....

Where am I going with this? Ask me where I was yesterday. Okay I will tell you. In the vet with Penny the guinea pig and my frantic daughter. The silly piggy couldn't move its back legs. (We think it was possibly loved a bit too much by lil sister.) It had been discovered the night before dragging its hind side around. We just put it to Ainslie plain, its probably gonna die, it doesn't seem to be in pain. She sobbed as she begged us to take the pig to the vet and see if he could help her pretty Penny. Please, please. She so loves this pet and has been so good with it. And she begged for at least two years for one, and now after two months the thing has been fatally injured. YIkes! I felt horrible for her, Ainslie that is. I didn't really answer her questioning about the vet, because her father, my wonderful husband had said, "do NOT take that thing to the vet, its gonna cost 80bucks".
But after I tossed and turned all night thinking of how Ainslie was probably gonna wake up to her beloved Penny dead and how I was going to have to bury the stupid thing and Ken and to work early(how convenient!) I got up and looked up our Vets phone number. Yeah! they opened at 8am, they could see us at 9:30 and it was going to cost $23 max. But now I had to call people and finagle a ride for brother to soccer and explain I had to go to the vet with a pet. "No not Jack our guinea pig" sheepishly, feeling very foolish. Jack by the way is our 4yr old golden retriever.

While I am in the vet with Ainslie bawling her eyes out, my good friend D calls me, to ask a food question, but I tell her quickly and quietly (too quick and quiet apparently) I would have to call her back because we were at the vet with the pig whose back legs aren't working might have to put it down, please pray for Ainslie she is a wreck, good-bye. After we leave I call D back, her husband says she is at the grocery store. So when I get home I call her on her cell. She says "I am almost there with some donuts hows everybody doing?"( in a very upset and crying voice. Yeah we're fine we brought the pig home. "The Pig???" she says. Yeah they said to watch her and sent us home with oral cortisone. "What you're not talking about Jack?" My dear, amazing, good friend thought we were going to have to put our precious Jack down, NOT a blasted guinea pig! And she was on her way over with fresh, warm pumpkin spice donuts from Post Family Farm!!!! To ease our pain and loss. Oh my goodness gracious, God is so good. We got a good belly laugh out of that mix up, as we watched the silly guinea pig drag its back side around the kitchen island as we ate our yummy warm donuts and gave thanks that we have friends who know what will comfort us when we are down!
I am hoping for mercy in those areas where I have been rigid and said I would never do this or that. And I will pray that I can be merciful, and forgiving to others that I catch in this trap of nevers. Because you just never ever know when you are gonna end up in a veterinarian clinic with a guinea pig.