Wednesday, November 24

A Dog Name Cooter

I will be the first to admit that I wasn't always a dog lover.  I tolerated animals because other people loved them. There was even a disaster of dog ownership one time when I was in college that I can't talk about to this day because I am ashamed of it (even though I partially blame that on someone else, but that is neither here nor there).  Anyway, I married my Matt and almost immediately he started working on winning me over to the dark dog side.  He won and now we have a furbaby.  I know you know about Duece because not only do I reference him all the time in real life but also on this blog.  Yes, I am that lady.  You know the one, I pull out pictures of my dog when you run into me at the grocery store and I am the only one that can talk bad about him.

Even in the two short years that I have been a dog owner, I am fully convinced that my heart has grown an extra chamber for all of the love I have for dogs (sorry kitty cats, you have to work on that dander thing before I reconsider loving you).   I officially have to change the channel when the ASPCA commercials come on and show pictures of all of the pitiful dogs in the world that need my love a good home while refrains of the saddest song ever is playing in the background.  Should I continue to watch without averting my eyes, the back end of Matt's truck would be loaded down with every sad eyed dog at the pound.

I am getting to my point, I promise.
Meet Cooter Brown.  He is not my dog, I actually do not know who he belongs to, but for the 4 days that I lived in a camper with my husband, he was our companion and I felt like he deserved a name.
Doesn't he look like a Cooter-Brown?

We came really close to bringing him home with us, he was so loyal and friendly, and honestly would make a great hunting dog, but Duece doesn't need the competition.  I am just hoping that he finds his real family sometime soon.  I may or may not have fed him, but I did really like him.  It is probably a good thing that I am not going back to the camp for a few weeks, because if I had spent one more day with him hanging around looking all cute and lovey we might have become a two dog family and I just don't think my vacuum could handle that.

Monday, November 22

Thats a yummy squirrel you have right there.

Why thank you!
I have a beagle and lets face it, as much as he likes to lay around and be my sweet baby, he likes to chase squirrels.  I found a really cute squirrel cookie cutter and I just made me smile, so I had to buy it.  I picked it up with the intention of making some dog friendly cookies with it to feed Duece.  How cute would it be to make him squirrel cute.  I didn't though, I just made me cookies.  Bad mama!  They turned out really good though.
I have struggled in the past to find a cookie recipe for dough that makes good cut-outs.  My friend Stephanie had a great one and if you are interested in roll-out cookies you need to copy this down.

Cut-Out Cookies
2 c sugar
1 c butter
2 eggs
1 - 8 oz. container sour cream
2 t vanilla
1 t salt
2 t baking soda
6 c flour
Cream sugar and butter together.  Add eggs, fold in sour cream and add vanilla, salt and soda.  Mix well.  Add flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Chill dough for at least 2 hours.  Roll out dough, one fourth at a time, to 1/4-inch thickness on a floured surface.  Cut with floured cookie cutters and place on cookie sheets. Bake at 350 or 375 degrees to desired doneness (depends on how think you roll them and how crisp you like them).  Once completely cooled, frost. 

This is will give you a great dough that is easy to roll and cut.
My little squirrel friends just waiting to be baked and frosted.

Frosting for Cut Out Cookies is tricky, or at least it always has been for me.  Recently my mom finally was able to find a recipe that make a great glaze type frosting.  It spreads easily (I personally like to put it in a squeeze type bottle), and it dries hard so that the cookies can be stacked without the frosting smooshing everywhere.

1 cup of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp almond flavoring
food coloring

I mix it using a hand held blender.  I think that these measurements can be changed slightly to give you your desired thickness.  You should also go easy on the milk because you can always add more if you need it.  Same with powdered sugar.  Those measurements should get you started though. 

My decorated Squirrels.
I promise that next time I will make some for my dog.

Sunday, November 21

Come Sail Away

See y'all next week, maybe...if I decide to come back.  In celebration of the end of Matt's deployment we are going on a cruise. So next week I will be 
and here
and here

Ahhhh....the life. 

Friday, November 19

What do you call a forest that is scared?

You see what I did there?  

Matt and I have lived in Mississippi our entire lives and recently we started talking about some of the things in our great Magnolia State that we have yet to visit or see.  The Mississippi Petrified Forest is one such place.  Since our hunting trip took us almost sorta right by it we decided that we would be crazy not to stop and check the place out.  

I was always under the assumption that I would walk through a clearing in the trees and just over the horizon I would see a forest of trees that had turned to rock, tall and sparkling in the sunlight.  Okay, maybe not quite like that but I did expect a lot of stumps.  To me a "forest" is a clump of trees all together that are beautiful to look at in the daytime and scary at night time, so what would a petrified forest be any different?  It was.  Oh...there were stumps, spread out sporadically around a 6 block nature trail.  Some were buried under years of clay, some were cleverly disguised under pine straw, some I really don't even think were there even though the brochure said they were.  

When we walked into the gift shop to buy our tickets (yes our tickets, this is not ran by the state therefore the private owners jacked up the price to $7 a person for us to look at rocks wood), the sweet old lady working there told us to make sure we stop by the "black light fantasy room" before we left.  And yes, the "black light fantasy room" was as creepy as it sounds.  In case all of the trees and black lights weren't enough for you, they also have a random fossilized shark jaw...score!

Even if I would only give it a 5 on a scale of 10, my curiosity has been satisfied. 
Registering...maybe they will send us a Christmas Card this year!

The first piece of petrified wood we saw, we drove a long way for this.

Apparently this really big tree trunk was dated all the way back to 942 A.D.  I honestly don't know if I believe that... 
I make him pose for me and he happily obliges me.

America's Next Top Wood Model right there

Looking GQ on a naturally occurring wood/rock bench. Neato!

He told me to Vogue and I gave him what he asked for

Just some roots

Thank you timer for being able to get a picture with both of us in it.

Wednesday, November 17

How To Cut A Pecan Pie

Before Matt and I packed things up for the month, we spend the weekend with all of our Georgia friends having a very special Friendly Thanksgiving.  It was very sweet for the Lauren and Kenny to host us and it was fun spending the evening with some really fun people.  This event was held on the first weekend in November, so even though it was still a good way until the actual holiday event, we got the month of giving thanks started off right!  The Langford's had to miss last year's fun, so I was really excited that we would still be in town.  
Kevin and Jill all smiles because the turkey not only turned out edible but it turned out delicious.  They fried the turkey this year and it was kinda scary for Jill who was in charge of making sure that the turkey was completely dry before Kevin put it in the oil.  We all held our breath and when there was no explosion we went bake to snacking on the pre-dinner treats!

Our Thanksgiving Haul!

Green Bean Casserole, Stuffing, Hashrown Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, Broccoli Cheese Casserole, Potatoes, and Corn. If you ask me I think that we really needed one more Casserole...
Just kidding, I LOVE casseroles and if you ask me Thanksgiving isn't Thanksgiving unless the buffet is FULL of casseroles, YUM!

Desserts.  I will be honest people, when it comes to desserts, I am all about making them, but not so much about eating them (even though you couldn't tell from looking at me).  Unless it is a yellow cake with white frosting, I will just about pass it up every time.  We still had a plethora of desserts...Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, Monkey Bread, and Pecan Pie (more on the pecan pie later) 

Dig in boys! 

I am thankful that my husband made it home safe from Iraq.

More about Pie.  
Matt and I had a little argument, when I told him that I was making a pecan pie, he proclaimed that he knew the perfect way to cut it.  He assured me that you could dump the pie out on a cutting board upside down, cut it with a knife, replace the tin, turn it right side up and then you have a perfectly cut pie.  
I do admit that cutting pies during the holidays are quite problematic because the first person that cuts it usually messes it up and there is no hope from pretty slices from the pages of a magazine.  Matt's idea was a solution to that problem.  I told him that it would never work on a pecan pie because the center was oozy.  We took votes and decided to try it out. 

Matt cutting the pie.  I didn't get a good "after" picture.  He was halfway right.  I agree that this would be the best method of cutting pies, but maybe not a pecan pie.  At the end of the day we decided that we both won and lost.  

Thanks to Lauren and Kenny, Jill and Kevin, Katie and Matt, and  Kristy and Robert for a fun friendly Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 12

A Weekend Getaway

I am going on a weekend getway with Matt.  Where I am going there is no internet access.  It is a remote destination.  Do you know where I am going?
See ya Tuesday!

Yes I realize and take full responsibility for the 'redneck' factor of this blog.

Thursday, November 11

Down in Mississippi and up to no good

There hasn't been much on my radar for blog chatter.  But Matt and I have been back in Mississippi for the past few days, so between traveling from GA to MS and then back and forth between our families over the past couple of days I haven't much felt like getting on here.

Matt is currently on his 30 days of block leave that ever solider gets as a part of their re-integration following a deployment.  It is nice, just having time to do what we want, not having to worry about work or anything really.  The past week as been fairly low key.  But come Friday our motors will be geared up and we will be going full steam ahead until the beginning of December.  I probably won't be around much at all until then.  In the coming weeks we have a 5 day hunting trip planned, a 7 day cruise over Thanksgiving, and more family time when we can squeeze it in here and there.

When I opened my computer today it was crying, "Chelle I missed you."  I know...I missed you to.

Wednesday, November 3

Bland Bland Bo Band

Vegetable #3  
Spaghetti Squash

I will say off the bat.  I was excited about Spaghetti Squash.  I had heard from several sources that I would love it, and I tended to believe them since I am usually a squash lover.  I definitely wanted to give it a try!
First I had to cut it up and boy, I might not have went to the gym today but I certainly got a work-out from trying to cut that thing up.  Seriously you guys, don't attempt it with a regular butcher knife.  Matt even walked in while I was grunting and said, "baby, do you need a chainsaw?"  
Yes, I do believe that a chainsaw would have made it A LOT easier, but my biceps and I got the job done.

Close up of what the inside of the squash looks like.  

I preheated the oven to 375, put the two halves face up on a cookie sheet.  Put a few tabs of butter on each half and baked it for about 45 minutes. 
After about 35 min, I flipped them over so they were cut side down on the cookie sheet.

After 45 min, they were looking nice and golden brown.

Scooped out the seeds

And you are left with two hulls like this.  I then put a few more tabs of butter inside the "boats" and sprinkled them with brown sugar.  I put them back in for about 5 min.

Then you just grab a fork and scrape the half out.  It just comes out in strands just like "spaghetti" (well almost).

One spaghetti squash filled up an entire dinner plate and was definitely more than enough for 2 people.

The Langford are ready to deliver their verdict:
I thought it was kind of bland.  Not really what I was expecting out of it.  I honestly don't know what I was expecting.  
Matt said, "It was bland".
I guess it is safe to say we were in agreement.  I am willing to concede the blandness was probably partly my fault because I didn't DO much to it.  I didn't really know what to do.  Most of the recipes I found online called for stuff that I didn't have on hand.  I think that we would be willing to try this veggie again but it would definitely have to be fixed a different way.  So if any of you adventurous veggites out there have a favorite SS recipe let me know!

Tuesday, November 2

Cay Creek Wilderness

In efforts to do some things around this area before we have to leave next year we decided that the nice weather we had today in Hinesville, made it the perfect afternoon to check out Cay Creek Wilderness  area.  I have seen the sign numerous times going up and down 84, but we always just seem to busy.  You know how it is, life just gets in the way sometimes.

It wasn't really what I thought it was, but it was a fun hour spent outside doing something new.  I think everyone enjoyed themselves, especially Duece.  He loves his backyard, but we have gotten spoiled with just being able to put him out back so he definitely welcomed the change.

The website alludes to a .7 mile trail of boardwalks, upon which you will see alligators, beavers, deer, racoons, birds, etc.  SOLD!  I should have known, I never see any of the stuff that the advertisements say we are going to see.  It was actually.7 mile roundtrip, so .35 out and .35 back which when you are walking with Duece doesn't take long at all.  

Enjoy my pictures.

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