December 11, 2012

Tuesday, Tuesday...what's for lunch?

If putting cotton candy in my 5th grader's lunch is wrong, then I don't wanna be right.
Ya gotta have fun sometimes!
Happy something fun today!

December 9, 2012

December crafting

/// Christmas crafting time \\\

/// beautiful deer die cuts \\\

///baker's twine love \\\

/// handmade tags for my baking business \\\
/// I only bake for local family and friends \\\

/// my little December specials menu \\\

/// sweet little deer with bakery twine bow...precious \\\

/// Here's a peak at just some of the pies I made for my business in November. \\\ 
/// This was my very first sale for Sweet Mamma's Pies & Pastries. \\\

December 6, 2012

gingerbread cookies, old recipe, new designs

Gingerbread cookies! I just love 'em! My favorite recipe for gingerbread cut-out cookies came from my Home Economics/Cooking teacher, Mrs. Johns, my senior year of high school, 1988.  She made us keep a recipe box all semester. We students would grunt a little, what with the constant copying of recipes from the board. But, I have kept that box, and cherished that box, almost weekly, if not daily, for the past 24 years. I remember, each class, we'd add to it daily. Some recipes Mrs. Johns gave us...some recipes were from other students...some were of dishes we prepared during class. One I'll never forget...Steak in a Bag, cooked in the microwave. We actually cooked a steak, in a brown paper grocery bag, in the microwave. I kid you not! Truth was down right delicious and very tender! I still have that recipe tucked away in that box...and I am never ever gettin' rid of it...or any other recipe in that box...especially the recipe for gingerbread cookies!
Well, you can't make gingerbread cookies without molasses. Here's the brand I use. 
Brer Rabbit Molasses. Don't you just love the vintage art work on this bottle?
It is simple, classic and beautiful.

Ok, let's get to the cookie designs! I could not resist making a gingerbread Yeti. You know, the Abominable  Snow Monster that lives in the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal. I guess you might say he is Sasquatch's snowy cousin. LOL! I just love the folklore behind Sasquatch and Yeti. It's just too fun! Don't forget the ever famous clay-mation, Abominable Snow Monster character from Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.


Beautiful colored Sixlets chocolate candies in the middle. 

Gingerbread Cookie Cut-outs

1 1/2 cups dark molasses
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup cold water
1/3 cup shortening
7 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix molasses, brown sugar, water and shortening with electric mixer. Beat in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate dough until chilled. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters. Bake 10 minutes. Cool and decorate with any basic decorator frosting and sugar.

December 4, 2012

old fashioned nut rolls, yields 5

A good old fashioned nut roll...just like grandma used to make! Oh my gosh, I just love nut rolls. They are so delicious. I especially love when some of the nut filling oozes out of the roll while gets all crisp and sugary....oh man, that is the best part! It's pure heaven! There is nothing better than sitting down to a cup of coffee or hot tea and a few slices of nut roll. It just makes my afternoon. Especially on those cold, snowy's the best! 

How do you like this wintery, owl wrapping paper? Isn't it adorable? I bought it at Target, in the Christmas section. (about $5 dollar)  I'll be using this paper to make into bags for the nut rolls. I purchased long, clear, "hoagie sandwich" type sleeve baggies to put each roll in. You can usually find them for sale at your local cake and cake supply store. I purchased mine for 14 cents a piece. I wanted something extra special to package the nut rolls in...that's where this cute owl paper comes in!  It will make great custom made bags for gift giving!

Nut Rolls
*makes 5,  15 inch rolls

the dough:
1/4 C. lukewarm water
2 packets dry yeast
2/3 C. evaporated milk
2/3 C. water
6 C. flour (possibly more, depending on dough)
1  1/2 C. sugar
1  1/2 tsp. salt
1/2  C. butter
1/2  C. vegetable shortening
4 eggs, beaten

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water and set aside. Beat together eggs, shortening and butter. Add the sugar and salt and mix. Add the evaporated milk and the 2/3 C water, the yeast mixture, and 1 C of the flour. Beat well. Add the remaining flour gradually. It is quite possible you will need more than the 6 cups of flour. Sometimes I need to add as much as 2 1/2 cups of extra flour. You are done adding flour when your dough is no longer sticky and it is smooth and elastic and easy to knead without it sticking to your hands. Don't over add flour...just be careful and do it a little at a time. Knead the dough until smooth. Place in a greased bowl and cover until the dough has doubled in size. This dough will not rise as much as bread dough, so don't worry. Give it a good hour or so, and you will be fine! While the dough is rising, make your nut filling.

nut filling:
2 pounds shelled walnuts
2 1/2 C sugar
1 C melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 C milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Grind the walnuts in a food processor for best results. The walnuts should be ground to the consistency of finely chopped. Combine all the ingredients into a large saucepan and cook over low flame until thickened. Stir almost constantly and keep flame low. Cook for at least 10 minutes. Allow nut filling to cool. This will take a while and I sometimes divide up the mixture into 3 separate bowls to help the mixture cool faster. You can refrigerate for a few minutes as well. You don't want to spread the raw dough with hot nut filling, so make sure it is at least cooled down to just warm to the touch.

assemble nut rolls and bake:
When dough is doubled, divide it into 5 equal parts. Roll each piece out to about 1/4 inch thickness. You do not have to roll dough into a square. Roll the dough out into a circle...not a perfect circle...but a big awkward circle...this will be just fine! Divide the nut filling into 5 equal portions and spread filling on each circle of dough you roll out. Spread to within a 1/2 inch of the edges. Roll up like a jelly roll and tuck in the ends. Place on baking tray. Prick top of roll with a fork a few times and brush with an egg yolk wash. (1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tsp. water) Let roll sit 30 minutes before baking. Rolls do not need to rise like bread dough. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing. Enjoy!

December 3, 2012

I remember.....handmade ornaments

This is one of my favorite ornaments. It was made by my son when he was 3 years old. He was in Playgroup at our church...pre school for 3 year olds. My son is now 14. Fourteen. My baby boy is 14. When I think about him, being 3, his tiny little hands painting and glittering this pine's just too precious. I wish I could go back in time and glimpse a shot of him, sitting at the table, creating, watching the other kids, waiting for me to come pick him up, giving me this ornament, hanging it on the tree. Days gone by. It's almost torture for a mom to think back on these memories. Though they are fond and precious and sweet and wonderful...the longing to be there again, just for a's a little torture-ous.  Those precious, sweet, innocent days. I miss those days. Little boy, so cute and sweet, red hair, freckles, little nose, little mittens, little winter coat. 

If I told him of this memory, how much I adore it... he would say to me "ok"....and I would have to say "ok??? What do you mean, ok? You should say, aw mom, that is such a nice memory." Then my 14 year old will repeat what I said he should a monotone voice, "aw mom, that is such a nice memory." 

But, really, I just love this pine cone!

November 4, 2012

Children's art, it's a beautiful thing

You know.....
my boys amaze me with their art projects they bring home from school.
I know I'm their mother...but come on....look at that! 
Look at the depth perception! 
The tree is drawn from the view point of someone looking up. 
The tree is not drawn straight as an arrow... it has life!
It is looming into the night sky.
Look at the gradation of color on the tree trunk.
How it goes from very dark, 
to very light... 
as the tree climbs higher into the moon lit night.
Notice the sparse leaves. 
Notice the gradation of blues... 
as they stream down from the bright, bright light of the moon.
First stark white... 
then pulling off into multiple shades of blue...
getting darker and darker as they reach the earth. 
Look at the tree limbs closing in above...
encircling the viewer.
That is brilliant!
Ok, seriously.
That is just a beautiful work of art.
I asked my son...
Did your art teacher give instruction on color gradation?
When they first enter the class...
they gather 'round her at a table.
She will draw and give a lesson 
on a technique she wants them to learn.
Then the kids will go to their tables 
and begin their own creations.
I asked him if the teacher helped him with his drawing and gradation.
So, you did this whole piece on your own?
I am impressed.
I am very, very impressed.
I am in love with this!
What is it about child art that is so captivating??? 
I honestly...
enjoy it MORE than any famous artist.
And that goes for any child... 
Not just my own.
There is just something so raw and organic about it.
When a child is asked to draw or paint...
they just do it.
They don't painstakingly try to get it right.
They don't worry about proportion.
They do not fear judgement.
Look at the face of a child when they are drawing or painting.
Do you see stress? 
Their little faces are as calm and peaceful as can be.
That's a beautiful thing.
Should not we, as adults...
draw and paint with abandon?
Should not we, as adults...
just create... 
and not critique ourselves endlessly?
I think I we should try it.
It could be freeing.
It could be fulfilling.
Deep breath.
Let's create something and not worry about it.
You don't have to show anyone.
You don't even have to keep it.
Just give yourself permission to try.
Give yourself the freedom to mess up proportions.
It's okay.

November 2, 2012

The Popcorn Ball Incident

Autumn is slowly moving into winter. It's rainy and cold, and I've been in the mood to make some sweet treats for my boys.  A couple of days ago, in honor of Halloween, I made popcorn balls {recipe link for popcorn balls below}and candy apples. Both recipes turned out fantastic!

While making the popcorn  balls, I was fondly reminded of a Trick or Treat night long ago.  It was  Halloween night, many, many years ago.  I was trick or treating with my little sister and my friends. We were all about or 8 years old, give or take. We were escorted by two of my friends' older brother and sister. At one of the houses, they were handing out homemade popcorn balls! We all screeched in delight! This was a real treat! In my opinion, getting a popcorn ball for Trick or Treat was the best thing you could get!!

Huddled 'round the front door, reaching up as high as our little arms would stretch,  we held open our  pillowcase candy sack. The popcorn balls were dropped into the sacks one by one. I remember small talk and laughter between the home owner and our teen escorts. Everyone was happy. Everyone but one. One little girl who did not get her popcorn ball.

That little girl was me.

I knew I was accidentally overlooked, but I was too shy to say anything! I wanted desperately to say something but I just couldn't!

I was devastated!

Oh, I fancied Cracker Jacks, Reese's Cups and Clark bars...but a popcorn ball!! It was the CROWN JEWEL of Trick or Treat!!

As I stood there with a lump forming in my throat, I prayed silently that they would SOMEHOW notice my misfortune. Good-byes and good-nights were warmly exchanged, and we wandered back into the night. As we walked away, toward home....down the dark street lit by the white glow of street lights....I hung my head low.

Finally I spoke up.  "I didn't get one." My friend's big brother Steve said, "What?! You didn't get one?!" He reached inside his bag and pulled out his popcorn ball. "Here, you can have mine." Shocked and absolutely delighted, I was dumbfounded that anyone would actually GIVE UP a  popcorn ball...willingly!!

I was thrilled! I took his popcorn ball for my own and dropped it down into my pillowcase...all nestled between the Sugar Babies, Mallow Cups and Hershey Bars.

Wow, what an incredible, kind gesture from a teenage boy! How selfless! His parents raised him well. I can only hope that either one of my son's would do the same for a small child in a similar situation.

Recently, I have been reunited with my childhood friend. Her older brother is the one who gave me the popcorn ball. I mentioned the cherished memory to her, and she asked him if he remembered. No....he doesn't remember...but that's ok.
I remember!!
And to this day, I love popcorn balls!
It's one of my favorite Halloween treats!

The end!
*recipe for popcorn balls found here:


September 29, 2012

just a quick note

hello peeps! I'm just popping in for a quick note, and I will be back later this weekend to write. I have been focusing on getting healthy and at the same time, ignoring my blog. I was going to say, sorry 'bout that, but that is kinda silly...cause I'm getting healthy! yay!! Anyhow, I haven't even checked in on all of your blogs, and for that, I am sorry! I need to get caught up on everyone and see what's been going on. Right now I am about to go for a long walk. I'm shooting for 4 reason I can't do it...but I'm headed over to my sister in laws as part of my walk and there are some nice hills on the way! If you know Pennsylvania, our roads are hilly and winding!

P.S. I tried on a shirt in the athletic department of JC Penney's was an XL....and it looked great! I am normally a 1X, which, for those of you who don't know, that is definitely bigger than an XL. Anyhow, I didn't bulge in it and there was even some loose material on the sides of the shirt. The arms were not tight at the top....unbelievable! I do declare I will be going back today and buying that shirt!!! It is so's light weight, great for walking, long sleeved and the color of a dusty pumpkin....I love it!

Ok, love you guys, I will be back before the end of the weekend with a post!! I haven't forgotten about you all...I'm just focusing.

P.S.S. Did you see those gray hairs up there on the right side of my forehead! I didn't even photoshop those out! au-naturale baby! hehe!

September 10, 2012

Feeling the health of eating a rainbow!

It's Monday morning and I am happy! Not because it's Monday...I'm just happy! My mood has been so good lately. I feel like I've gotten my old spunky self back. Also, the cooler weather is down right exhilarating! I actually WANT to take brisk walks for exercise again! You know....summer is beautiful and all, but me and heat just don't get along these days! Even more so, humidity and I are down right enemies!

So anyhow....why is my mood so freakin' fantastic???? The past 2 weeks, I've been eating extremely well...mostly raw fruits and raw vegetables. I've had meat only about 4 times: chicken burgers twice, pork roast, BBQ pulled pork, and chicken....ok, that's 5 times. Ya, basically, I'm only shopping in the produce section and at fruit markets. It's been fun though!!

The variety of foods I've been eating is a blast....and it's all so delicious it's not even funny! My energy and mental clarity is fantastic. Oh, I almost dairy and no breads the past 2 weeks either. I have had a few multi grain wraps though. The only dairy I've had is the half n half in my morning coffee...{as well as 3 tsp. sugar.} 

The differences I have noticed these past 2 weeks have been pretty cool! For instance, the very first thing I noticed was on day 4 of eating like this. When I walked down the steps first thing in the morning......there was no pain in my hips, knees, ankles and feet. That in itself is pretty amazing! The crazy thing is, I never ever expected that. It just happened and I noticed it right away. I am telling you the truth people, for the last 4 years at least....every single solitary morning, without fail, when I would walk down the steps first thing in the morning, it was painful and I would hold on the sides of the wall to kinda brace myself...and I would sorta ease myself down the steps.

In my mind, it was 100% due to my weight. I am 5 ft. 3 inches tall and I weigh right around 200 pounds. I know extra weight is very hard on knees and I figured I would be in pain until I lost about 30 pounds...something like that...something that would make a significant difference to the weight load on my joints. day 4 of eating 95% of my daily food as raw fruits and vegetables....I may have lost about 3 pounds maybe, maybe 2 pounds.....whatever...but I don't think losing  a few pounds would be enough to take away pain from the waist down in my joints. Sooooo, the only thing I can attribute that to is the surplus of natural nutrient intake from the fruits and veggies that I've been feeding my body.

It's been 2 weeks since I started eating like this and the pain has not come back! Very, very crazy!! I also used to experience that same pain after sitting on the couch for a long time at night....I'd get up and go to walk to the kitchen and I would literally hobble!!  Seriously, the hubs and I would joke about it. This has been going on for longer than 4's just I'm going by how long we've been in this house....we've been here for 4 years. By the way, I have lost a little weight during these past 2 weeks....don't know how much, I don't own a scale, and I don't care....scales will get me into trouble anyhow!!!!'s not important what the scale says, it's important if my clothes are getting loose and too big. I haven't gone down a size yet...but the clothes are feeling a loose and that is great!!

The main reason for me eating this way is to be as healthy as I can and to try to eliminate and or prevent disease.....losing weight is just a nice,wonderful, awesome bonus! Of course I want and really, really need to lose weight...but that will happen if I'm eating clean. The nice thing about this so far is the's fast.....not sluggish. Also, I have no feeling of lethargy. I can't tell you how many naps {prior to the past 2 weeks} I have taken on the couch, mid-day, after the kids get home from maybe a 1 hour nap...because I felt so sleepy and blah. I don't feel sleepy anymore...I don't feel blah anymore. Bonus!

One last note here...when I go up the steps, I am not out of breath anymore...when I walk up my driveway, I am not out of breath anymore. I mean, not like I was gasping for breath before....but it would make me feel a little winded and I'm straight up and bam...that's it, no ill racing heart, no heavy breathing. Pretty cool.

The above photo there is the breakfast I just ate while typing this. As you can see, I'm still drinking coffee in the morning. Like I said, still using half n half and sugar. That is the only sugar I eat all day though...other than the natural sugar I get in fruits. One more thing I wanted to say in case anyone is curious. I have no restrictions on eating. I eat meals at the normal times...I eat again if I am hungry...and I eat whatever fruit or veggie I feel like at that moment. It does seem that I eat the majority of fruit in the morning and then lots of greens and veggies the second half of the day. Not that I won't eat an apple or watermelon as an evening snack...I'm just saying that's mostly how I've been doing it. It's kinda like...whatever I'm attracted to during that part of the day. I have also been eating 2 eggs some mornings when I feel like I am craving them. Also, in the evenings sometimes, I will have some organic blue corn tortilla chips. That's it people. So far so good!

September 7, 2012

roasted red pepper wrap

Ohhhh  my stars in heaven.....this was the best wrap ever!!  
I was "mmmmmm'ing" from the first bite!! It totally  had-me-at-hello!  In fact, it was so good...I'm making it again for dinner tonight. It is simple, simple simple to make!  The most effort you will need to put forth is roasting the red peppers. That's not so bad, right?!

I roasted the peppers in my broiler drawer at the bottom of the oven...I put my broiler setting on high and checked on the peppers every 5 minutes or so. It took them about 15 or so minutes to get charred like this. After they are blackened, place them all in one ziploc bag to let them sweat and then cool. You can then easily peel off the charred skin.

Ok, on to the other ingredients: sliced tomato, sliced onion, romaine lettuce, and hummus.  I was actually going to make the hummus myself...but...I had been to 3 stores in this little county here, and could not find tahini...a key ingredient in hummus. I know where I can get it...but was running short on I grabbed the pre-made hummus from the shelf at Wal Mart...looked at the ingredient list...and was pleasantly surprised.

It's by Cedars and it is the first time I tried this brand. It was only $ bonus! I've always eaten "Sabra" brand hummus and liked it just fine... but now...look out...I am in love with Cedars!

 So basically, you all know how to make a wrap...I used multi grain. I purchased these wraps, but I do want to make them from scratch some time.


So....just lay out your wrap, spread on some awesome garlicky hummus, layer fresh lettuce, sliced tomatoes,  cucumbers, a little red onion...and the most importantly....roasted red pepper!! Serious yum factor there! That's all there is to it. My husband loved this! He ate 2!!

My 14 year old son ate one....he ate the whole thing and never complained about all the veggies...he totally rocks....will eat anything now...unlike his little brother....who, had he been home for dinner, would not have touched this meal with a 10 foot pole!  LOL! Anyhow, I really hope you give this wrap a will undoubtedly be happy you did!! Let me know!


 Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

September 6, 2012

Mamma's Back {that's me....Mamma}

I am here!
I've just been a little pre-occupied!
I know I gotta be puttin' some stuff on this here blog
or you guys'll done forget about me!
Sorry for the poor English and grammar!
I'm just funnin' around!
I am planning on writing a post tonight....
right now I've got to run to the fruit market and pick up:
1) red peppers
2) seedless cucumber
3) can of chick peas
4) tahini
5) pitas
Tonight I am making a totally awesome dinner:
roasted red pepper and veggie stuffed pitas with a slathering of freshly made hummus
Does that not sound amaaaaaaazing?!
I've been cooking up a storm here and I have recipes to share with you all.
So, that's kinda the reason for my absence here on my blog....
I'm cooking....
I'm slicing and dicing....
I'm watching youtube recipe videos....
I'm getting inspired....
I'm creating!
Ok, until tonight!

I will leave you with a picture of our chicken, Crystal Gale, crossing our bridge.
Our chickens cross this bridge allllllllll the time! 
It is so cute!
And, sometimes they RUN across the bridge when they see me on the other side with food!

....and a picture of my son crossing our bridge... 

and a picture of my feet crossing our bridge....

all this just after a beautiful rain storm.

You've seen photos of our creek's nothing!
But, when it rains, man it quickly rises!! 
Happy rain storms to ya!