Wow, the end of the month sure does sneak up on a Challenger doesn’t it?

If you’re new to these parts, I’ve been participating in the Foodie Pen Pals program sponsored by The Lean Green Bean pretty much since I started blogging.  Okay, so that means it has only been three times so far, but they’ve been three really good times.  Fourth time’s a charm too, right?

Foodie Pen Pals works something like this:

1) I send a foodie package to a new randomly assigned friend.  Hi Angela!

2) A new randomly assigned friend sends me a foodie package.  Hi April!

3) I do something super awesome with the ingredients, like creating and winning the Chopped Challenge (Glazed Chocolate Bunny Cinnamon Pancake Bread on a Cliff), winning again in the rematch (Pita Encrusted BBQ Gnocchi, Gnocchi Spaghetti BBQ Meatloaf w/ Breadsticks, Chocolate-dipped Pretzel Sandwiches) and oh yeah, winning for the third time in the Copy Cat Challenge (Homemade Caramel Apple Butter). Then I post about my triumphs on the last day of the month.  Hey, It’s my blog, I can win against myself if I want to.

4) You all love me forever.

Number four is optional, but my fragile ego highly recommends it.  Right then, let’s get this party, er Challenge, started.

1) Did everybody say Hi to Angela over at Happy Fit Mama?  Go on, don’t be shy.  Please come back though because I’m not done here yet.  If all goes according to plan, you should find a post on her blog highlighting what I sent her.  My ego would like you to tell her she clearly had the BEST Foodie Pen Pal ever this month.

2) April from April’s Mooseathon sent me a package.  Much like I like goats, apparently she likes moose. She indulged me in my gluten-free month and sent me the following fabulous package:

Tangy Pineapple Chips – they were oh so tangy so yay for truth in advertising

Gin-Gins – also quite tangy, like chewing on a quick burst of fire (this is funny later if you keep on reading and you like AC/DC)

Cheesy Poofs – !!!!!! (in case you can’t decode that, it means I love cheesy poofs)

Cocoa Power Cookie – that’s some powerful cocoa

Pumpkin Ginger NRG Bar – less pumpkin, more ginger, all bar

Honey Nut Rice Cakes – probably the best rice cakes I’ve ever had


Thanks April, you rock the party that rocks the party!  Seriously, I couldn’t have done it without ya.


3) I do something super awesome with the ingredients.  Normally this means I embark upon the Chopped Challenge and endeavor to use all the ingredients in one dish or meal.  This month is no exception.  I accept the Challenge.  Not only do I accept the Challenge, but I’m going to whip it, whip it good.

I’m really sorry for this people, but I just couldn’t help myself so without further adieu, I’d like to present this month’s Chopped Challenge . . .

My apologies to AC/DC for this.

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27. July 2012 · 31 comments · Categories: Midwestern Life · Tags:

Before I comment on the Florida Avocado, I’d like to comment on commenting.

When you comment on my blog you have the option of clicking the little box to subscribe to comments.  I have to confess . . . I don’t often click this box, especially on the bigger bloggers I follow.  I’m usually not interested in what 65 other people have to say about Allie’s First Race Announcement.  Maybe I just want to say “Congrats” and “I love ya” and “I’ll be cheering for ya”.  That might be a bad example because I think I read the post from my phone and didn’t comment at all.  I meant to though and not click the box.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to know if Allie had responding directly to my comment saying she loved me too and my comment made her entire day.  Another bad example because that probably wouldn’t have happened either, but you get the point.

Fortunately for you all I’m a new blogger and have never had 65 comments on a post before so maybe this is a non issue.

But what is this issue you keep dancing around?  Well, Cinnamon turned me on to a plugin for the blog that notifies the commenter when their comment receives a response directly.  No check box to click, no need to be alerted when others comment on the post.  Cinnamon thinks it’s great and I agree with her.  I like getting an e-mail that she responded to me.  I can check back.  We can chat and make friends.  This ultimately leads to spongy poofs being sent to me in the mail (I’ll explain this another day).  It’s a win win WIN if you ask me.

The Husband is on the fence though.  He thinks maybe if you wanted to be notified of comments, you would have just checked the box and I will annoy you with my friendly banter.

I’d like to know what you all think . . . plugin or no?  It may lead to spongy poofs so keep that in mind when you make your decision.  Also, I am in no way trying to convince you not to check the box in the first place.  Go ahead.  Check it.  Check it good.

Now on to the Florida Avocado.  Here he is.

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23. July 2012 · 32 comments · Categories: 23 Paws, Humor · Tags:

It’s July 23. Of 2012. So what? Oh, you don’t remember, do you? That’s okay, it’s pretty new and I’ve only participated once.

Dun dun duuuuuun.

It’s 23 Paws Time!!!


That means cute pictures of our pets, but better than that, a blog post I don’t have to think too hard about. It’s been awfully serious around these internet parts, what with that one serious post I wrote and all.

No worries, I’m back now in all my whimsy. Thanks Cinnamon for reminding us that blog pets need some virtual attention too, a mouse click behind the ear if you will.

Last month around this time I talked about how our poodle, The Snoops, had some pets. A hamster. A mouse. A complex to go along with them. So this month I’d like to focus on our Chocolate Lab. Her name is Sadie, but we affectionately call her The Destroyer.

Quite simply, I’d like to list the things she has destroyed over the years. I’ll try my best to get them in chronological order for ya. Any psychiatrists out there??? Maybe there’s a progression here.

Please note I am shy on the pictures of Sadie actually destroying things. She started destroying long before I started blogging and it’s particularly hard to photograph things clearly with your fist shaking angrily in the air. To compensate for the amount of nuts her destructive tendencies have driven me over the years, I’d like to intersperse the text with pictures of her as a puppy when she was too cute to yell at.

A face you can’t yell at.

Are ya ready kids . . .

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20. July 2012 · 18 comments · Categories: Midwestern Life · Tags:

This post will be a little short on pictures and a little long on the serious. I know. I’m not typically a serious person. It might be a little short on words too because I’m beat.

So, I painted the kitchen Thursday. Twice. That’s a lot of work for me because I don’t half-ass home improvement. I carefully patch all spots, vigorously sand, wipe down all walls and tape off, smoothing each edge individually. Then I paint and I always paint twice. Ugh. It’s a lot of work.

Today I have to paint the trim on four doors and, if I have enough paint, the doors themselves. Then Saturday I have to scrub every inch of the kitchen and lemon oil all the cabinets. And that’s just the kitchen.

Why so much? Why all at once?

Well, we are perhaps getting close to moving and preparing the house quickly in case we need to put it on the market. Don’t worry, I’m not leaving the Midwest. I’m not even leaving the general area.

But, like most things, it comes with the good and the bad.

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Since alliteration is all the rage in the blogosphere, I declare this Watermelon Wednesday.

That does not mean you are getting a recipe.

Watermelons don’t really require a recipe.  Slice.  Eat.  Do not, I repeat do not add feta cheese.  I know bloggers love to do this, but here’s my theory on that: you’d put feta on a pizza but you wouldn’t put watermelon on a pizza, therefore don’t put feta and watermelon together.  I’m sure this is a flawed theory, but it’s mine and I’m sticking with it.

So perhaps I should clarify . . . I declare today Watermelon Plant Wednesday.

May 22, 2012 my bitty watermelon looked like this:

On June 12, 2012, like this:

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Hi all. How was your weekend? I was fortunate to have some extra Just Me and The Pete time as the Husband was volunteering for a bit again. I think he’s trying for another Cub Scout Merit Badge.

Organized the garage. Took a nap. Painted the trim in the master bath and walk in closet. Took the Pete to a new park and was overrun by wedding parties. Outran a swarm of the largest bees ever at the same park. Okay, out speed-walked and by swarm I mean a half dozen. Still, those suckers were enormous and scary! Hunger Games Tracker Jacker scary.

Clearly you’re not reading my blog for its excitement.

Speaking of blogs, I’d like to talk a little about blog headers.

Here’s mine.

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You should all know by now that I like to poke fun at things. Kale chips. Stacking cookies. My in-laws. The Snoops’ haircuts. Baby hats. Myself. Pinterest. My in-laws again. People that hate the word moist. The phrase “I digress”. I could go on, but you’re all faithful readers so you already know this.

I promise in real life I’m not that judgmental . . . just hilarious. My mom still thinks so anyway.

In honor of how crazy funny I find myself, I’d like to list a few things that currently annoy me.

1) Sadie Fur: You probably know our Chocolate Lab, Sadie, as The Destroyer. Whatever her name is, she sheds. A lot. How many of you out there claim to be a dog lover? Yes, lots? Me too. Now, how many of you claim to be a dog fur lover? Anybody? Anybody? That’s what I thought. Dog fur sucks and it sucks big time. We call Sadie The Destroyer because she destroys things. She destroys things because she is anxious and I swear anxious dogs shed twice as much as non anxious dogs. I brush her every day and vacuum every day and my house is full of the same amount of fur as it was the day before. But it’s not just the house, it’s the yard. When you brush her outside it rolls around and gets stuck in the deck slats, the potted plants, the fence, the vegetable garden. Sometimes we vacuum her just to contain the mess but that’s a two person job and the Pete hasn’t exactly volunteered to help. So, yeah, Sadie fur annoys me. Annoys me so much it’s on my Arch Nemesis List. But, I segue, that’s a post for another day. Dear Sadie: STOP SHEDDING!

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11. July 2012 · 6 comments · Categories: Blog Love · Tags:

Well, the unthinkable has happened.

I’ve been nominated for a second blog award. I know, right? You all have to be as shocked as I am. I mean, here I am, just minding my own little corner of the blogosphere when the lovely Cinnamon of Eat Pray Tri suddenly offers some encouragement and positive reinforcement. Out of nowhere. Ain’t blogging grand?

I found Cinnamon, pretty randomly if I recall, through Twitter. She clearly has a similar sense of humor and a fabulous conversational writing tone. I think we’d get along famously if we ever met in real life. Even my husband has become addicted to her blog.

So Cinnamon nominated me for The Versatile Blogger award.

It’s pretty. A lovely shade of green. Oh, and in a very nice font.

Okay, this is my blog and I get to be brutally honest here . . . I kinda think blog awards are just a Pyramid Scheme to get hits on the award creator’s website. There, I said it. It’s kinda genius. This particular award asks each nominee to nominate 15 additional bloggers and link back to the original site. And so on. If it works as planned, that’s a LOT of hits and a LOT of coverage.

I could be wrong (it happens occasionally), and I sincerely hope I am.

Despite my hypothesis and whatever the motive may be, blog awards do urge the nominated blogger to love on some other bloggers. I am truly honored that Cinnamon thought to include me.

Cinnamon tweeted the other day “I love being built up by others….why wouldn’t I do the same for them?”

So whether blog awards belong in Egypt, or not, I will choose to use them as an excuse to build others up. I will celebrate and share fabulous bloggers with you. I even made a page up top. It’s called Blog Love. See it? You can click on it if you want, I don’t mind.

You can read about the first award I received here. Take note of the thinly veiled reference to the Pyramid Scheme.

As food story tellers, I celebrated Sara from Stories and Sweet Potatoes, Faith from gracefulfitness, Bethany from One Girl’s Taste on Life, Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers and Angharad from Eating for England.

Today I’d like to celebrate a few Moms that inspire me. That’s right, Moms. Don’t click away just yet if you are anti-baby because these Moms have more to offer than just diaper talk, I promise. Some of them don’t talk about diapers at all. As I mentioned last time, these ladies are in no particular order.

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I usually post on Mondays, but the Husband was volunteering all weekend and I was on baby duty pretty much 24/7.

I was gonna post Blog Love Part 2 today, but when 11:30 last night rolled around I was still typing it up and beyond ready for bed.

I don’t bank posts, so what you read is what I thought.  Recently.

So, where does that leave us?

It leaves us with some pictures of Key Limes that I really like, but never amounted to anything interesting enough to warrant a recipe post.  In my personal opinion, Key Limes and low sugar are about as great a combination as garlic and ice cream.  Don’t do it.  It doesn’t work.  Not even at a Garlic Festival.

Enjoy and see ya tomorrow with a brand spanking new Blog Love post.

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How was your Independence Day? With a mid week holiday, it begs the question did you celebrate the weekend before, the day of, or are you celebrating this coming weekend? We celebrated the day of – going the traditional route and all.

Having any day off is never a bad thing in my blog, but it does unbalance the rest of the week. Resets it, if you will. Oh, and to all my Twitter friends who tweeted that Thursday felt like Sunday . . . YOU’RE WRONG! It felt like Monday, cursors down. So get your facts straight before you tweet.

Right then, back to it. Did you celebrate your freedom by reading the Declaration of Independence and eating good food with good people? We did. Supermom invited us over for dinner and prepared classic picnic fare of grilled burgers and corn on the cob. She did let me bring a side dish though (she throws me a bone every now and then).

I decided to go with a non-traditional, traditional dish.

So I made potato salad.

With sweet potatoes.

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