Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Murder Takes a Breather--Chocolate Cookies

Good Morning all,  we are taking a breather from Murder Mystery Cooking today.  I've got to increase my stash of murder mysteries with recipes.  But I have a family favorite to share with you today, a no bake chocolate cookie recipe.  Now who doesn't love chocolate.  This is a very easy recipe even the little ones can help make it.

                                               Chocolate Mint Wafers

                                               4 ounces dark chocolate candy coating
                                               1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
                                               18 to 24 vanilla wafers

Place candy coating in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 30-60 seconds or until smooth, stirring every 15 seconds.  Stir in extract.  Dip vanilla wafers in coating; place on waxed paper until set.  Store in an airtight container. Makes 1 1/2 dozen cookies.  Note you can make this with other extracts i.e. banana, orange etc.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Where to Find Good Vintage Jewelry

Good Morning all,  I wanted to share my love of vintage jewelry and tell you how you can find beautiful pieces for pennies on the dollar.  I'm a firm believer if you get into a hobby you learn everything you can about it. The local library has a lot of good books on vintage jewelry collecting.  I have a tendency to haunt antique stores and one in particular had a woman who was the go to gal for jewelry.  Every time I would go in there she and I would talk. She would show me pieces and tell me how to take care of the jewelry.  If you look at something enough, you get a feel for it.  You come to recognize certain designers from certain eras.  First off, check the newspapers or craigslist for the local yard and estate sales.  You don't just pick any yard sale.  You look for the ones that say words like 20 years accumulation or estate sale clearing out whole house.  Look for yard sales in the more affluent areas of town.  This is where you are more likely to find some good vintage pieces for a good price.  Also check out the American Cancer Society thrift stores, they have an annual jewelry sale which includes vintage pieces. You can also check out consignment stores and other thrift stores.  I found a Mexican silver cat one time that looked like a Laurel Burch cat pin. I sold it to my jewelry store friend.  When you find pieces check for marks and dates on them.  You can then look them up online to see what you've got.  Also check for broken parts and missing pieces these can be repaired.  Get to looking this coming weekend and see what you find.  Here's some pictures on what I've been able to find

Monday, July 29, 2013

Healthy Relationships

I walked up to a group of middle schoolers and I said to them "Your Stupid and You Can't Do Anything Right".  If someone said that to you how would that make you feel?  Their responses were that it's  not good.  Then I said What if It was your Boyfriend or Girlfriend who said that to you?  It's not okay for people who say they love you to turn round and call you names.  It's called verbal abuse. This is an early warning sign of an unhealthy relationship.  Domestic abuse is on the rise and teens and children need to learn what a healthy relationship is all about.  Abuse is not just physical, it's also verbal and emotional.  Verbal and emotional abuse are more damaging then physical.  It takes the psyche along time to heal. I think if we taught teens how to recognize a bad relationship, their would be a lot less abuse out there. Here are some Red Flags you need to watch out for in relationships and this applies to anybody not just teens.

1. You've only been together a short period of time and he/she's already talking long term.
2. You've set boundaries but he/she ignores them.
3. Constantly jealous and accuses you of being with other people.
4.  Frequently calls, emails or texts you throughout the day.  This is a sign of a controlling personality run for the hills.
5.  Does not take responsibility for own actions blames other people.
6.  Constantly tries to change you by saying something makes you look fat or not right. Calls you names and belittles you to make you into their ideal person.  This is a control freak, run.
7.  Tries to isolate you from family and friends.
8.  Wants you to spend all of  your time with him and not have other interests.
9.  Ultimately you start to feel uneasy around this person and afraid.

When you are in a relationship take it slow and never rush through things. You need to get to know this person find out about them through family and friends.  Pay attention to the little things. They do add up and tell you a lot about the person. These are just some tips that I wish I had when I was younger. Everybody smile and have a good day get past the negativity.

Their is someone out there who will say to you one day.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Frankie on Guard Duty

Sorry this is late this morning but the motion detector went off last night.  If you've been following my blog you know what that means, Frankie turns into Guard Cat.  That also means I don't get any sleep.  I got up several times and didn't see anything, but Mr. stubborn kept insisting their was something out there. I always remember what the Cops said Listen to the Cat, Lady.  So, I check it out.  Here's the little nuts photos.

                                                       Guard Cat Mode

I just want to be left alone.

What are looking at?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

All this for $.43 cents

Good Morning all I did one of favorite shopping trips--the CVS trip.  I love this store because I never have to pay a lot of money for my toiletries.  This is what I got.

                                  1 can Friskies Cat food on sale for .45 had a free coupon
                                  4 rolls of CVS Bathroom Tissue     .59 each
                                  1 bottle Extra Laundry Soap          1.48
                                  1 Crest Toothpaste                        1.99
                                  1 Roll Paper Towel                          .79
                                  1 Bottle VO5 Shampoo                 1.19

                                  used 1 $3 ECB
                                          1 $4 ECB
                                          1  .45 MC
                                          1  .79 CVS Coupon

                                Total out of pocket expense    $.43

Frankie ate the can that's why it's not in the picture.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Murder and Coffee Cake What A Way To Go

Good Morning all, how is everyone on this Wednesday.  Today's recipe comes from Lorna Barrett's "Chapter and Hearse".  If you like Books, Murder and Recipes you'll love this book. Small town Murder Mystery Bookstore owner gets involved in murder when she helps to launch her sisters new cookbook.  Lots fun twists and turns so kick back and enjoy.  But before you do that pull that apron out, your gonna love this recipe. I started cooking this recipe and Conor, my youngest took over.  So if you have kids they might like to help you.  Conor loves to cook and this was very easy recipe. This recipe was adapted to fit my families needs.  So here's the recipe.

                                               Cinnamon Coffee Cake

                                               1 1/2 cups all -purpose flour
                                               3/4 cups sugar
                                               2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
                                               1/4 teaspoon salt
                                               1/4 cup unsalted butter
                                               1/4 cup milk
                                               1 egg

                                               Topping for Cake

                                               1/3 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
                                               1/4 cup all- purpose flour
                                               1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
                                               3 Tablespoons firm unsalted butter

Heat oven to 375. Grease 9x1 1/2 inch round layer pan or 8x8x2 inch square pan. Blend all ingredients except topping. Beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Spread batter in pan. Sprinkle topping over batter. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Frankie Freaky Friday + Pet Parent Questions

Okay here's some pictures mom just had to take of me.  I have questions along with my pictures so enjoy.

                                           Aww! leave me alone I'm sleeping
                              1.   If you leave your pet do you do anything special  for them.

                                            It's mine now.  
                                           2.  Can or Wet Food.

CAT YOGA or you can't leave me
 3.   Craziest thing  they've done to keep you from leaving.  

It's now my bed you can't have it.
4.    You gave up because they wouldn't.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Long Quiche Goodbye

Good Morning all it's another day of Murder Mystery Foodie cooking.  This recipe comes from the book "The Long Quiche Goodbye" written by Avery Aames.  The setting is Providence, Ohio and our intrepid sleuth is the proprietor of the cheese shop. When her grandmother is accused of murder, she as to stop everything she's doing and find a murderer.  The story is excellent and setting is beautiful and the recipes are to die for so enjoy. This recipe was adapted to fit my families needs.

                                             Ham and Pineapple Quiche

                                           1 pie shell (home baked or frozen)
                                           4 thin slices of ham (black forest ham from the deli) diced.
                                           2 slices of pineapple, fresh, diced (we used chopped from a can)
                                           1 tablespoon of brown sugar
                                           2 ounces (1/4 cup) milk
                                           2 ounces (1/4 cup) sour cream
                                           2 ounces (1/4 cup) light cream or whipping cream
                                           2 eggs
                                           2 ounces (1/4 cup) shredded Edam , Cheddar and Monterrey Jack
                                           Cheese (could not find the Edam went with the others already
                                           Dash of Cinnamon

                                          Sprinkle white pepper on pie shell.
                                          Arrange meat in pie shell. Arrange pineapple on top and sprinkle with

                                         Mix milk, cream and eggs.
                                         Pour into pie crust.
                                         Sprinkle with cheese and dash with cinnamon.

                                         Bake 35 minutes at 375 degrees until quiche is firm and
                                         lightly brown on top.

                                         This was my first quiche and it turned out good. I think next time I
                                         will precook the crust enjoy your quiche and check out the book.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Twitter Party Blue Berry Muffin Recipe

Hi everyone joined that lovely twitter party with Driscoll's Berries and Save mart hosted by mom with a dot com and clever housewife this morning.  We were all talking about berries and recipes we use with them.  So here's one I've made dozens of times and love it a lot.  Hope everyone enjoys it.

                                   2 cups biscuit/baking mix
                                   1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
                                   1 egg
                                   1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
                                   1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
                                   2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

In a large bowl combine the biscuit mix and 1/2 cup sugar. Whisk the egg and sour cream; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in blueberries.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups half full. Combine lemon peel and remaining sugar; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm Yield: one dozen.

Note you can use any kind of berry it turns out great i.e. strawberries, blackberries and mixed berries.  Sorry no pictures in the middle of making the quiche for tomorrow's murder mystery recipe.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Teens and Body Image

Where do kids get their ideas about what is acceptable or attractive in their circles? I always cringe when I here the words, I'm to fat or I'm to thin.  Growing up should not have the added burden of not liking yourself because of  body image.  Kids see beautiful people in movies and TV getting whatever they want. This teaches them to be ashamed of not being thin and beautiful.  This can lead to all kinds of problems.  I had the boys ask me, at various times can I try diet pills.  I'm like No, No  and No.  Their is a better way and a healthier way to lose weight.  You can eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more water and walk 30 minutes to an hour a day.  This does work because you lose the weight gradually, not all at once. If you lose the weight to quickly it comes back.  Diet pills can cause all kinds of problems inside the body.  Do we all remember Phen Phen, scary. Dieting and poor body image can lead to Anorexia.  Anorexia is were the victim believes they are to fat, but in reality they are bone thin.  They are literally starving themselves to death. Bulimia is another disorder where the victim binge eats and then induces vomiting.  The constant vomiting can cause damage to various parts of  the body i.e. tooth decay. dizziness and weakness, acid reflex.  We need to teach our children the ideal person on TV is not reality.  We need to come up with better words to describe ourselves and teach acceptance of the way we look.  My word for what I look like is I'm Zaftig.  Have fun with it with and tell your kids their fine the way they look.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Frankie's Corner + Fill in Friday Hop Answers

Finally I get my paws on the keyboard.  Mom is in the kitchen making that smelly coffee stuff.  Can you believe she put purrrfectly good meat in coffee yuck!  Personally I prefer it raw.  My fellow cats when we Meow it should come out MEEEEow.  Because isn't it really about us.  Humans just don't realize it.  She even had the nerve to not include me in my boys Birthday singalong.  They were singing Happy Birthday and didn't include me sniff, sniff, cry, cry.  Oh poor pitiful me.  Finally Mom noticed me glaring at her while I was sitting on her computer.  She made some lame comment, your birthdays in February.  I don't care I want it now.  Frankie Get Off the computer!! I got to go bye for now.

Good morning all trying to get some coffee in me, because Frankie wakes me up early with that snoring going on all night. I've been reading my fellow pet bloggers stuff. I just love how we anthropomorphize our pets.  I know some people think we're crazy, but we know what are dogs and cats are saying.  We've been around them long enough to know what's coming out of their mouths. What would you do if they really could talk? Something to think about.  If you like talking cats check out Shirley Rousseau Murphy's Joe Grey.  He's a talking cat who solves murdery mysteries.    Here's the latest of Frankie have a good weekend.

Adding my answers to Fill In Friday Hop

This week’s statements:
1. I am never late its ruins my whole day.
2.Not Stressing is hard for me.
3. My favorite place to vacation is any place not sunny heat makes me sick.
4. The best concert I’ve seen have not been to one.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Coffee Lovers Get A Load Of This!!!!

Good morning fellow Foodie Lovers its Wednesday and time for Murder Mystery Food.  Today's recipe comes from Cleo Coyle's Through the Grinder-A Coffeehouse Mystery. It's an unusual recipe I've never done this before, but I love coffee. So, I'll try it with anything.  Unfortunately the boys are not to keen on the idea.  So, I'm doing a steak and eggs breakfast deal to try this out and they get theirs later.  I don't mind making something different because it's Conor's Fifteenth Birthday today.  If you like murder mysteries with a  little bit of information, you'll like the Coffeehouse Mysteries.  Besides a good mystery it includes some coffee facts, things you didn't know about coffee. The books have excellent and knowledgeable characters with recipes. This recipe has been adapted to fit my families needs. So here we go with the recipe.

                   Put 2 to 4 of your favorite steaks in a pan (T-bone, Rib Eye or Sirloin) pour strongly brewed coffee over them completely covering meat (you need to use a South American blend of coffee for acidic level, I used Folgers Colombian Coffee).  Marinate for at least 8 hours overnight if possible.  Cook in a cast iron skillet or in the broiler( I used my Teflon pan and it was fine).

It turned out great steak and eggs with lots of my coffee.  Oh Conor says, it taste good mom.  That's surprising because his brother can't stand anything coffee.  So coffee lovers give this a try.

Barbeque season is upon us check out these deals

Monday, July 8, 2013

Life After Highschool-How to help your teen learn how to budget

My son Kyle is 17.  He will be graduating next summer.  I wanted to make sure he will be able to take care of himself.  What I mean by that is he can plan a menu, shop and cook without any problems. Because when I was growing up, we had gender specific roles.  Boys repair cars and other electronics and girls ran the household. Obviously this dates me.  That does not work in to days world.  My boys love to cook.  They each have their own recipe books, after watching me put my together. This becomes a family tradition and can be shared with their children.  I digress here. To get Kyle started, I had him write a grocery list using the sale ads and his recipes. He was told if you had $20 per week what would you do?  He had to try to come within budget. He did pretty good. I had to remind him to put veggies and fruits to his list. This gets the kids thinking about saving money and being on a budget.  We also talk about Fast food.  If you had $10 would you blow it on McDonald's or go shopping at the grocery store.  His answer shopping at the grocery store.  He also has learned how to use coupons.  Kids should know how to use coupons to get items cheaper.  My explanation to my boys, if I don't use it all for groceries their is money leftover for other things. Here's a couple of recipes.  They are very easy and will last for more then one meal if only one person.

                                                  Shrimp Newburg

                                                  1lb. salad shrimp (defrosted)  coupons gets this for $4 lb
                                                  1 can (10-3/4ounces) cream of shrimp or mushroom soup
                                                  1/4 can water
                                                  1 tsp seafood seasoning
                                                  Hot cooked rice

In a saucepan, combine soup, water and seafood seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; stir in shrimp. Heat through. Serve over rice.

                                                 Parade Salad

                                                 1 bag very veggies mix salad
                                                 Add fruits- we use cut up strawberries, grapes and kiwis
                                                 Add cut up cucumbers
                                                  Toss together in a big bowl and your done

This is an easy salad recipe that gets kids to eat fruits and veggies. My youngest would say the Chinese pea pods are bitter mom.  I'd say put a strawberry on it.  This recipe is interchangeable you can use other fruits, veggies or even meat and nuts to it. What I like is you don't need salad dressing.

Until next time where we'll hear my son Conor say eew! Steak cooked in coffee.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

College Students or Anyone needing Free Stuff

Good Afternoon all it's Estate and Yard Sale season and this is the best time to get Freebies.  Mom's and Dad's you can get stuff for your College student for free. Some of the things you can find are furniture, lamps, desk and various small kitchen appliances.  You will need to check Craigslist and your local paper, these sales will give stuff away toward the end of the day.  They just don't want to deal with it especially if they're moving.  If you see something you want and the sale is almost over they will come down on price, some even 50-70 off.  So give it a try.  Some of the items I've gotten in the past include:

Antique Danish Modern Chair
Needle Point Framed Picture (looks very old)
Wrought Iron Shelving Unit
Complete Set of China
Books (these can be resold to used book stores)
Chinese Tea Pot Set
20k Framed Music Box
Various Small Kitchen Appliances.

Happy Yard Sales

Friday, July 5, 2013

Frankie's Obsession (photos now included)

Frankie as a couple of obsessions that drive me crazy.  He hates my cat collectibles and will do anything to knock them down.  I've had to get a shelving unit to put most of them inside it.  If anything is within reach, he will knock it down or god forbid chew it.  I have beanie babies and he will steal them and chew them. It got to the point I ended up giving him one.  It's now his favorite chew toy.  I've come across an item that will let me put my collectibles on the dresser without fear of breaking.  I'm talking about the glass and ceramic ones. It's called Museum wax and its non toxic and will hold glass and ceramics safely.  I'm ready to give this a try because I'm tired of gluing my collectibles back together.  Has anybody tried this item?  Those of you have kids and pets probably know the other problem I have with Frankie.  Well kids eat snacks that come in cellophane and plastic wrappers.  If their left lying around Frankie will eat them which can cause bathroom issues.  So I tell the boys to pick up after themselves (that doesn't always work).  I check before bedtime to make sure nothing is lying around, because if its out there he'll eat it. So if you have kids and pets look before  bedtime because pets love to play when everybody's a sleep.

Sorry  everyone due to technical difficulties Frankie's picture will not be up.  The camera and the computer don't like each other.  The same thing happens when I hookup my printer.  I have to get my tech guy to help me fix it.

Thanks everyone and thank god the heat wave is over in California.

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Shopping Trip and A Contest

Good Morning all and happy 4th of July.  I went to CVS this morning for the digital camera and not bad at all with coupons.

                        Vivitar Digital Camera                            $20.00

                         Used                                                     $4/$20 trip
                         Extra Care Bucks                                        .50
                         20% off shopping pass                            $4

 Total Out of Pocket Expense                                        $12.41

Total Savings                                                                 $8.50

                                                                       SaveMart Trip

Today is the last day for this Best Foods Mayonnaise   $1.99 used $1 coupon got it for .99
But that's not the best part,  I got a $3/$30 meat coupon good on the Pick 5 for $25 deal going on through  9th July.

                                                       Dollar Tree

Head on over to and sign up for their Value Seekers Club and you could win a $25 gift card.
That's all I got for now, Frankie's pictures will be  up tomorrow trying to figure out the camera as we speak.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Halloween Ribs for a 4th of July Barbecue

It's fourth of July week and I wanted to find a barbecue recipe for today's Foodie Murder Mystery Recipe.  I don't know if any of you are familiar with Krista Davis series The Domestic Diva.  It's an excellent series were the character cooks up great recipes, helpful hints and solves crimes.  The recipe comes from the book "The Domestic Diva Haunts the House".  Yes, I know Halloween in July.  Who knows maybe it will start a trend.  So here it goes.

                                               Dead Man Bones(otherwise known as a slab of Baby Back Pork Ribs)

We cooked this recipe in the oven but it can be done outside on the grill its takes a half an hour done this way.

                                             1 slab baby back pork ribs
                                             4 garlic gloves, chopped (we substituted 1teaspoon minced)
                                             3/4 cup apricot preserves
                                             1/4 cup soy sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a shallow roasting pan with aluminum foil.  Lay the slab of  baby back ribs on it, meat side up, roast in oven 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix the garlic, apricot preserves, and soy sauce in a small bowl.  Remove ribs, flip bone side up, and slather with half the sauce. Roast 15 minutes. Remove ribs, flip to meat side up, and baste with remaining sauce. Roast another 15 minutes and they should be done. When done, they will tear apart easily between the bones .  Slice into two-bone portions and serve!

There you have it enjoy your 4th of July Barbecue.  Check back on Friday, for first time pictures of Frankie the Snowshoe Siamese who think he's a German Sheppard.

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Developing New Traditions With Your Children

  When I was in college, I got the opportunity to teach Health Education programs to a wonderful group of ladies.  This is one of those programs.  They wanted something to involve their children.
Alot of Moms and Dads have a limited amount of time with their kids.  So making something memorable is important for everyone.  These are ways to increase time with your kids and possibly make some memories.

  One that is really popular is having them help with the cooking.   Depending on the age of your children, you can assign them various tasks.  Someone can wash vegetables, cut them up if their older, dipping it in flour and many other chores to get them involved in cooking.  This also has the added benefit of getting them to eat something they made i.e. vegetables.  You can find alot of kid friendly recipes online.  My kids love this and have favorites that we make all the time.

  Movie or Game Night is very popular at my house. To make it really special turn it into a party and order a pizza or make popcorn and punch.  Dim the lights and make it like a movie theatre, sit back, relax and enjoy the time with your kids.

  Another little tradition I found is the YES box.  Parents are always saying no to their kids.  How would you like a chance to say YES to them.  If you have told them no to something, let them write it on a piece of paper and put it in the YES box. Make sure its something that you can say yes too (My kids tried to pull fast ones with this idea).  You can find little plastic flip top boxes the kids can decorate.  They can paint them, put stickers on them, anything to make it their own.  It's a great family project.

                                              A Little Summer Time Treat--Chocolate Milk Shake

                                               2 Scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
                                               2 Scoops Chocolate Ice Cream
                                               1/2 cup Milk
                                               A couple of squirts from the Chocolate Syrup bottle

Put everything in the blender and voila Chocolate Milk Shakes.


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