I’m leaving behind the snark today to talk seriously about something very important.


More specifically, fudge.

Peppermint Smores Fudge.

And plain fudge.  Plain fudge is pretty awesome too.  As I say all the time, I am not a chef, so I cannot claim any credit for this fudge recipe.  You can thank Aly over at Fudging Ahead for finding inspiration in her Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and sharing.

I found this recipe on accident when I decided I needed to see where Aly’s blog began.

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25. December 2012 · 1 comment · Categories: Holiday · Tags:

Do you all know the band They Might Be Giants?  I love them.  I have a bunch of CD’s and have been to several concerts.  I have even strummed John’s guitar during one of those concerts.  If you do know They Might Be Giants, you may be wondering which John.  There are two.  That’s irrelevant to my point here and so I’m going to leave you hanging on that one.

Anyway, TMBG has a song called Minimum Wage.

Here it is in a random YouTube video.

Cool, huh?  And, believe it or not TOTALLY relevant to today’s post about Christmas and Dogs.

You see today is 23 Paws over at Cinnamon’s blog Eat Pray Tri.

Still not getting the connection?

That’s odd.

I guess I’ll explain.

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Now that Thanksgiving is behind us and you’re all deeply entrenched in the seasonal favorite of the moment, peppermint, I feel that it’s safe to bring up a topic that has been weighing heavily on my taste buds.


Pumpkin was last season’s “it-food” and nary a food blog neglected to cover it.  Pumpkin made an appearance on Facebook posts and Twitter tweets, Instagram and recipe after recipe after recipe.  Pumpkin chili.  Pumpkin rolls.  Pumpkin cookies.  Pumpkin oatmeal.  Pumpkin ice cream.  Pumpkin soup.  Pumpkin coffee.  Pumpkin smoothies.  Pumpkin bread.  Pumpkin pancakes.  Pumpkin pasta.  Pumpkin fudge.  And of course pumpkin pie.  Ugh.

Not ugh for pumpkin pie.  I LOVE pumpkin pie.  I even asked for it instead of cake for my birthday this year.  Of course what I got was cheesecake and I had to make the birthday pie myself a few days later, but no worries.  I love making pumpkin pie almost as much as I love eating it.  And that’s pretty much all the time.  I love eating pumpkin pie all the time.  Not just in the fall.

But I segue.  My love of pumpkin pie is not the issue here.  The world’s fickle love of pumpkin only surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday is.

That’s right, I’m calling you all out.

Because here’s the thing.  Here’s the thing that has been bothering me like squash bugs on a zucchini plant.


I’m sure there are a few of you out there who roast your own pumpkins to get your seasonal fix, but I’m guessing the majority of you bust open your can opener and crank open that store bought 15 ouncer to mix in with your morning oatmeal and grande extra gigante foamy latte frappe cappuccino spiced chai soy half caf coconut coffee.

So may I repeat.


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Before I get into the Unroasted Roasted Vegetable Soup,

I’d like to take a few paragraphs to talk about a fellow blogger, Aly of Fudging Ahead.

If your first thought was I must have won another blog award to be spreading the Blog Love, you’d be wrong.  I’ve won nothing.  Not by anyone else, that is.  I have seriously considered bestowing an award upon myself, though, to make this post legit.  Perhaps the I’m Awesome and I Know It award.  I even made my own crappy graphic that designer pal Calee will probably virtually kick my ass for.

Nah.  It’s not that bad.  As Cinnamon might say, whatevs.  Feel free to swipe it and award it to yourself if you please.  No reason not to give the ol’ self esteem a little boost from time to time.

But back to Aly.

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14. December 2012 · 9 comments · Categories: House · Tags:

I’m having a hard time concentrating on this post as I just found out a close friend’s daughter was admitted to the hospital for trouble breathing.  So before I go any further, if we could all think some good thoughts and send them Supermom’s way that would be great.

Good thoughts.

Good thoughts.

Good thoughts.

My dining room suddenly feels very trivial, but I promised to finish up so finish up I will.  Then I will go about my silent worrying for little Superchild.

I called my dining room “Grandma” yesterday, mostly because there’s a lot of stuff of our Grandmothers in there.

This hutch was my Grandma’s.

I have a matching table that is currently in our breakfast nook in the kitchen.  Neither piece is in the best condition and I wouldn’t necessarily have picked them out if I were decorating from scratch.  Honestly, I have them because my Grandmother was entering a care facility and I was already paying a mover to bring me a bedroom dresser and it wasn’t any extra to bring these too.  And I needed a hutch.  The hutch houses lots of old and interesting kitchen gadgets from both our grandmothers that I am planning on using as photography props.

The glass jar collection on top belonged to Mike’s grandmother who passed a year ago.

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13. December 2012 · 15 comments · Categories: House · Tags: , ,

For those of you who like house stuff, I am going to regale you with the amazing makeover of the dining room in the new house.

For those of you who just like food, well . . . this is the freaking dining room so food gets eaten there.  Theoretically speaking of course, since we eat our meals in the breakfast nook of the kitchen.

Also, I painted the room Anjou Pear by Sherwin Williams.

Which is a food.  I know the title of this post says Copen Blue but since that’s not a food item, let’s just skip it for now till I have you all reeled in then we’ll get to that part.

First up, for reference, the dining room in the old house.

Oh hey, look at that.  Anjou Pear.  Yes, this is a post about a makeover and yes I did paint the new dining room the same as the old dining room.  At least part of it.  I firmly believe in sprucing up a home every so often, a.k.a if you haven’t spruced your home since the Cleveland Browns last won the Superbowl, it’s time for a change.  Like perhaps rooting for a winning sports team.  In all fairness though, the dining room at the old house was one of the last rooms I painted so the color is still fresh in my opinion.  Besides, I love it.  Love it, love it, LOVE IT!

Those were not my original curtains as I removed a lovely striped pair before we put the house on the market so I could keep them.  They’ll be making an appearance in the breakfast nook someday.  These brown curtains were in Sweetey’s Petey’s room before we swapped them out for blackout curtains.

Out with the old, in with the new-ish. Here’s the dining room in our new pad as seen from the living room.

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The wife has always been a City Mouse, born and raised in one of the Midwest’s larger metro areas.  Even though I grew up in a much, much smaller town, that label mostly applies to me as well.  Yeah, I attended square dances and some couples drove tractors to our Prom, but that wasn’t really my scene. My childhood was spent hunting ducks through an 8-bit video game system, not out in the blinds on a cold, blustery morning.

Further, I detest yard work.  Our suburban sidewalks at the last house got edged once a year whether they needed it or not – meaning our lawn always looked like an unkept 1970’s centerfold.  It certainly didn’t help that we were surrounded by retired folks who enjoyed mowing three times a week. Those people need to find a hobby.

So it came as a surprise to our friends and family when we started telling them we wanted to “Move to the Country”.

Quick Aside: Joanna hates it when I say we did that.  She refuses to move to “The Country”. Even though she’s probably right as we’re only four miles out of our little town, and ten minutes to the nearest Target, I still like to exasperate her. Please assist me when you have the chance.

Now that we’re in our new place, you’ll probably read a little about our adventures transforming this beautiful BeeGees-era decorated house into our home.  Jo will share campaigns from her war against gallons of pink paint and floral wallpaper, while I focus on some more manly endeavors… like following orders to move a hutch into and out of all five corners in our square dining room (yep, do the math on that one).

I can only imagine some of these updates will be hilarious since I personally have no idea what I’m doing… and I’ll be running a chainsaw while doing it.

Today, let’s take a quick peak into the woods around our house.  My woods.  Our woods. In The Country.

Nice, right? Someday I’ll give you the full tour, but the back 40 is certainly laid out well with a mix of different mature trees. It’s not overgrown and there are plenty of natural trails thanks to the roughly 1 billion deer living back there not paying rent.

However, one problem jumped out right away when we had our first visit with the realtor…

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In what may be the most anti-climactic post ever, I’m finally around to reveal the results of last months Foodie Pen Pals Chopped Challenge.

We had it for dinner last Sunday night and dun dun . . . . dun.  It was tasty.

Big whoop.  I always say my challenges are tasty.  Cause they are.

But, yes there’s a but here, that’s not to say I wouldn’t have made some changes.

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Today I’d like to introduce you to a new friend.  His name is Merle… and yes, he’s a Pandora station.

Up until recently, I never really let myself get to know Merle and his buds.  For my formative years we ran in different circles. Back then I almost exclusively hung out with guys like Kurt, Eddie and Trent.  Merle never showed up for road trips or hung out at keggers.  Sure, there were younger distant relatives of his I met during those years, but we never clicked as they were too shallow and glittery.

But now I know Merle and have come around to appreciate his family.

Merle is real.  Merle has soul.  Merle is perfect company and likes coming along when I mow a couple acres at the new house, burn brush, clean firearms, or tip a few cold ones out in the garage.  Cliche?  Oh well.

You think you don’t like Merle?  Dwight?  Willie?  Have you ever tried to get to know them?  Sometimes they’ll make you laugh.  They’ll always make you think.

Do me a favor and give old Merle a chance.



Merle Haggard – The Bottle Let Me Down