I think today was the seventh day the kids have missed school on account of snow this winter! That is practically unheard of here in central Arkansas. Looks like they’ll be in school until the 4th of July! Let’s hope not.

Last night’s snow storm produced the most winter weather we have seen this year. We had about 3  inches of sleet followed by about 3 inches of snow.

snow tracks

deep snow

I know some of you from outside the South are laughing at that. I get it. We used to live in Indiana. This stuff shut down the schools, the malls, offices. Chip drove home yesterday as it was all getting started. He said the Interstate was bad.

Check out my fancy snow trekkers! They are little slip-ons that go over your regular shoes. Nifty, huh?! My in-laws got them for me for Christmas. At the time, I wondered if I would ever use them-that’s how little winter weather we get around here.  I sure was glad I had them today! I didn’t slip once!

snow trax

We are all home today. Our “to-do” list consists of drinking hot chocolate, playing board games and strolling around the block.

So, here are scenes from the walk!

I was happy to have a walking partner today.

walking partner

snow shadows

Many of these buildings and houses are on the National Register of Historic Places.

First Presbetyrian Church Lonoke

Lonoke United Methodist Church

church pew

We weren’t the only ones out and about–

snowplow

some folks, however, might wish they had stayed home!

cars stuck in the snow

Looks like this awning had all the sleet and snow it could handle.

awning repairs

Having 4-wheel drive means you are invincible, right?

driving in snow

4-wheel drive

road workers

railroad lights

Lonoke train depot

Here is Chip-standing in the middle of the road while there is zero traffic.

desserted street

Hey, look! Signs of Spring!!!

signs of Spring

Dr. Holmes office

Eagle house

Sambo

critter tracks

kids

ivy

magnolia

For some reason, I don’t think our little solar lights are going to gather much sunshine like this.

solar lamps

solar lights

Even the winter decorations on the porch (okay, they are leftover from Christmas) look pretty with snow on them.

snow-covered lantern

I hope you have enjoyed your snow days this winter. I was glad we got a really good dose this year. I think I’m ready for Spring now.

 

I’m enjoying a little tea on this cold, rainy day. How about you?

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When I was a kid, my grandmother gave me a set of Rook cards for my birthday. I never played. The cards looked weird. They were different from standard cards. I could never get anyone to play with me, probably because they didn’t know how. The instructions were long and confusing.

rook cards

Last weekend, we were invited to our friends’ house for dinner and a Rook tournament. Yikes!

Dinner I was excited about-but Rook?!

It did help to learn that none of the other folks attending knew how to play either. (At least that’s what they said! I think John and Leta had played a time or two!)

We knew, of course, that we would have fun regardless of the game.

I asked what I could bring (I took Carrot Cake) and didn’t bother to ask what we were having for dinner.

Boy, was I excited to find John in the kitchen making Petitzas! Leta has mentioned John’s Petitzas several times. Always saying “Oh, we’ll have to make them for you!” Finally that day had come!

chef in action

If I had known it was a Petitza Party, I would have brought the good camera! Thank goodness for smartphones!

John has been making Petitzas for YEARS! He learned from his brother when he was seeing this Italian girl.

frying pizza dough

The Petitzas don’t seem too hard, just a little time-consuming.

I’m sure you have to get a feel for exactly how long to leave the dough in the pan before flipping it.

Don’t those pizza shells look yummy?!

pizza shells

petitzas

Leta and John have the serving of Petitzas down pat!

Check out those crock pots! Homemade pizza sauce-Italian Sausage-Hamburger

crockpots

Leta also had a sectioned Tupperware dish for all the other toppings–ham, cheese, pineapple, olives, peppers, mushrooms-whatever you like!

This was how Leta showed us to assemble a Petitza. Sauce-Meat-Toppings-more sauce

Leta's Petitza

John goes a little more extreme with his toppings!

loaded pizza

Mine was rather conservative.

meat lovers

Nice air pockets!

air bubbles in pizza dough

John said the record Petitzas anyone had eaten at one of their Petitza Parties was seven. Ugh! I ate two.

We had a great time eating Petitzas AND playing Rook. Thanks, John and Leta!

By the way, the girls won!

Petitzas
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. oil
3 ½ cups flour
1 cup water (warm)

Dissolve yeast in very warm water.  Stir in sugar, salt and oil and 2 cups flour.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Turn out on lightly floured board.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Place in a greased bowl; brush top with oil.

Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. When doubled, punch down; divide in half.

Shape into hand-size shells and deep-fry.

Toppings include:

Your favorite marinara sauce
Cheeses
Onion
Sausage
Ground beef
Bell pepper
Pineapple
Mushrooms
Jalapeños

John’s Pizza Sauce
1 8 oz. can tomato paste for every 16 oz. can tomato sauce
Oregano, basil, garlic salt, onion flakes, salt, pepper, honey, Parmesan and Romano cheese.

 

Little Meats?

Sounds like something from a Chevy Chase movie–but no!

little meats

I credit my sister with the invention of Little Meats. She made them for us about 13 years ago while we were visiting from out-of-town. We all loved them! Megan loved them so much, she asks for them every year for her birthday dinner.

Little Meats are simply Chicken Fried Steak nuggets.

Never had Chicken Fried Steak?! Bless your heart!

(You can check out the wiki-history of Chicken Fried Steak if you are interested.)

There are hundreds of ways to make Chicken Fried Steak. I’ll walk you through how we make ours, the bite-sized version.

First, you get some cubed steak. Laura, my sister, pounds her meat a bit before doing anything else to it. I never do, mainly because I don’t have a meat tenderizer–mostly because I’m lazy!

cube steak

Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. You can make strips if you would rather. We like the little pieces.

cubed meat

Get your prep station ready. Don’t you like my fancy prep pans? I got them from Pampered Chef several years ago.

Organization is really important when frying. It gets kinda crazy, so you need to have everything ready!

What you see here is the meat, flour with a little salt and pepper, and milk.  You can use buttermilk. You can add an egg. You can use cracker crumbs. You can add different seasonings. Hundreds of different versions!

Plain Jane is easy and everyone likes it.

breading station

The next step can also have multiple versions. You can go flour-milk-flour or flour-milk-cracker crumbs or milk-flour or any other combination you can come up with. A very forgiving recipe-huh?

milk wash

I go with the milk-flour routine.

breading

All of this flouring is going on while the oil is heating up in the pan. You can use a deep-fryer if you like. I just use a pan on the stove with vegetable oil. I have used shortening before and they turned out great!

flour

I always try the one had for wet and the other for dry technique. It never works for me. I end up with globby, flour hands anyway.

two handed battering

flying flour

Into the pan! I always test a little piece to make sure the oil sizzles before adding any extra meat.

frying meat

Don’t cram the skillet full of meat. If you do, you won’t get that yummy crispness that you want. Plus, it makes it harder to turn the meat when it is all crowded in there.

hot oil

Once the Little Meats are golden on one side, turn them over. I don’t know how long-just until they are done.

Put your cooked Little Meats on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Making Little Meats is a labor of love! It takes a long time. It is hot standing over the stove all that time. It makes a huge mess of flour and milk and grease.

prep station

It is so worth all the trouble, though! They are yummy! Plus, I get lots of hugs!

little meats

When I make Little Meats, I make a lot because they get gobbled up so fast. I plan for leftovers (planned overs) because the best way to eat Little Meats is to sneak a cold one from the refrigerator!

leftovers

One time I made white gravy to serve with the Little Meats. No one took the time to use it, so I don’t make it anymore. We do usually have homemade mashed potatoes!

There you have it, our special occasion meal–Little Meats. I’m so glad Laura made these for us all those years ago-thanks!

Do you make Chicken Fried Steak? What method do you use?

 

 

When life gives you rotten bananas–make banana bread!

Rotton Bananas

Okay, that doesn’t flow quite like the lemons to lemonade quote.

The only time life has given me rotten bananas was the time the grocery store bought too many. They were selling bags of black bananas dirt cheap!

We buy bananas on a fairly regular basis around here. Folks like them in cereal or smothered in peanut butter.

When they start to go to the “dark side” I usually chop them up and freeze them for smoothies. Sometimes I squish them up and freeze them in a baggie.

Usually, they get black and leaky and I end up throwing them away! Wasteful!

This time I actually had time to make banana bread. Not just ordinary banana bread–

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Bread

I made it to eat for breakfast. The kids ate it as a dessert and a snack. The loved it!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter ( I used crunchy Jif.)
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, divided (I used semi-sweet.)
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Spray the bottom of a loaf pan with cooking spray.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. I find that using a whisk to combine dry ingredients works well.

Add bananas, milk, peanut butter, oil and egg. Stir until moistened.

Stir in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Sprinkle chopped nuts and the rest of the chocolate chips on top of the batter. I press the topping into the batter a little.

Bake about 60 minutes. After checking with a toothpick, mine took a bit longer.

Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pan-remove to a cooling rack. Cool completely.

YUM!

Critics’ Corner

Chip: Simply fantastic. I’ve always been an advocate for putting peanut butter on bananas. This bread does it for you — plus it has chocolate, too.

Megan: If this stuff was illegal, I would be incarcerated. Seriously-it’s that good!

Katie: This bread is INSANELY EPIC! If people were immune to sickness, I would strongly consider eating it All.Day.Long. (and then some!)

I love plaid! Some folks like stripes, others polka dots. I’m a plaid girl!

I don’t really know how this obsession began. (Okay, obsession might be a little strong.)

I have plaid tablecloths, placemats, pillows, dishes, and quilts. I have decorated with plaid and worn plaid. I have several pins on Pinterest that show plaid. (Obsession is starting to sound a little better.)

Yesterday, when I saw a little plaid box in a flea market booth, I was intrigued.

Plaid box

It was on a low shelf on the last aisle. I was lucky to see it at all!

Upon further investigation, I found that it was an Avon product–not just an Avon product though–a plaid Thermos Avon product.

Avon Plaid Thermos decanter

Ooo, the excitement was building!

I could not wait to open the box. I was not too keen on the Sweet Honesty Body Splash smell still lingering after all these years. (There was no date on the box.)

Thermos box

I carefully opened the box. As I did, I lost my breath–and not because of the Sweet Honesty! Oh.My.Word!!! The cuteness!

Plaid Thermos

Isn’t that the cutest thing?!

Here, look at it next to something to get a feel for its size.

Size of thermos

Oh, the plaidness! Oh, the cuteness! Fortunately the owner of the booth was not around. He would have seen my face and charged me a ton of money. The price tag said… are you ready for this… $2!

AAaaaaah! Oh, the cheapness!

Thermos logo

I didn’t even know such a cute thing existed until yesterday.

I was very glad to get my plaid fix for the day! I have no idea what I will do with this adorable little plaid thermos. I’ll probably just pull it out of the box from time to time and shake it around, being careful, of course, to not spill Sweet Honesty all over the place.

 

Last week, I was sitting at the computer when I suddenly felt the urge to do some organizing. That urge is sporadic at best!

I decided to go through some of my back log of blog post photos. I had some in a file from another computer. Some were on the external drive. There were things in wrong folders, and duplicate files were making me crazy! I’m sure NONE of you can relate to such madness!

I finally got everything moved from the computer to the external drive that needed to be moved. Happy dance!!

One of my now nice-and-neat files is “PCTuesday in the Queue”. Unfortunately, there are close to 100 files within this file. UGH!

WHAT ON EARTH?! you may be asking.

Well, these are photos I took for blog posts that I just haven’t gotten around to writing yet. Some of them are missing the ever-important “final” picture. Others, I had hoped to get comments from the Critics but never did. Then there are items that I look at now and go “really?”!

So, all that introduction brings us to today’s post–Vegetable Tart. I’m working on finishing up some of those posts. Hooray for me!

Vegetable Tart

 

You may have seen a photo similar to this floating around Pinterest a while back. (Y’all, I pinned this recipe over a year ago and actually made this last APRIL!)

It is a very fancy looking dish. It takes a little time to prepare but is not difficult.

Ingredients:

Pie crust

3-4 carrots

5-6 zucchini

salt, pepper, thyme

olive oil

Start by prepping your vegetables.

peeling vegetables

Use a vegetable peeler to peel thin slices of each zucchini and carrot. When you start to get to the middle of the vegetable, turn it over. Then you will have nice, wide slices with color on them. Of course the carrot is colorful all the way through. Still flip it over. It makes for nicer slices.

Now the recipe didn’t really say what to do with the oil or spices. I’ll tell you what I did and what I’d do next time.

I did all my spiraling, you’ll see that in a minute, then drizzled oil and sprinkled spices over everything.

I used a bit too much oil and my crust got soggy-and not in a good way.

Next time, I will mix the spices with the oil and toss over the vegetables BEFORE I put them in the crust.

For the spiraling:

Just start in the middle and work your way out.

I had a little piece in the middle. Alternate zucchini and carrot rows.

starting the vegetable tart

Keep adding vegetables until your crust is full.

Isn’t it pretty?

I can’t believe I actually made that!

spiral vegetables

The recipe was vague about the cooking time. I just baked my Vegetable Tart like I would bake a pie. Just follow the directions for your crust. Usually about 375˚ for 30 minutes will work. Just keep an eye on it.

Zucchini and Carrot Tart

I was not sure how well this would go over with the family by itself. So, I served some grilled chicken with it.

I think I could have used a few more veggie strips in my tart.

It was tricky to cut. It kinda fell apart.

veggie tart slice

Ooo, maybe next time I will add a little egg in there, too! I guess it would be more of a quiche then.

I know you gardening folks are planning your vegetable gardens now. Be sure to plan on some zucchini and carrots!

Vegetable Tart

 

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