Text Tuesday ~ New Potato Chips

Since I can’t seem to sit down and actually write a complete blog post with photos…

I thought I could change up my favorite random Typo Tuesday and make it Text Tuesday.

My kids randomly text me throughout the week and I’m sure many of you receive amusing texts like I do.

I especially love the ones with an accompanying photo like this one from Rachel.

I’m so glad someone finally though of this. I was tired of eating chips and hot dogs separately

Humpfreeze humor is alive and well. Thanks to darling twin #1 for this one.

Keep sending the typos if you see a good one. Meanwhile I’ll mix it up now and then with some funny texts.

I don’t want to over-commit but I might be back tomorrow. 😉

sdhsig1.gif

Food Trip Across the Midwest

Scary Baby and I took a semi-spontaneous eight day road trip at the end of July. I drove (and she rode) over 2,000 miles.

Driving from one city to the next anticipating our next meal was the only way we survived the car trip. Meals that we ate from recommendations on urbanspoon.com and roadfood.com were almost always the best. A little computer research was worth the time.

Besides eating, we attempted to mix in some education. So much to learn on a car trip together…

Map reading, navigation skills, budgeting, history, communication and conflict resolution were our main topics throughout the trip.

Here are some food highlights of our trip to the great Midwest.

Pancake Pantry – Nashville, TN

One of our most favorite meals. And not just because we drove around in circles in Nashville for 40 minutes and it was way past lunch time. Scary Baby talked about her silver dollar pancakes for days. Said they “might” be better than the Humpfreeze pancakes which means they have to be fabulous.

Adding pecans to pancakes wherever you go is highly recommended. You might not be able to see it with our stellar photography skills but Pancake Pantry puts pecans in the syrup!

I had to send my eggs back – over medium eggs seem to be difficult to get right depending on where you eat. I love them and that means a runny yolk with a solid white. I can’t do jiggly, runny whites. Eww. In spite of that mistake which was corrected, the food is really delish.

Gigi’s Cupcakes – Nashville, TN

Love their packaging.

They looked great in the bakery case. Though they didn’t travel well in the backseat.

White Midnight Magic and Raspberry Buckle were our picks. Scary Baby only ate half of hers. Claims it would have been better the day of purchase. Unfortunately we ate them the next morning in our hotel room. Cupcakes for breakfast are absolutely acceptable on road trips!

Garrett’s Popcorn – Chicago, IL

Scary Baby’s personal food highlight. No line, right downtown on a 100 degree day. Warm popcorn. She picked cheese and I picked caramel with cashews. How did we forget to take pictures of the popcorn?

We walked 2 more blocks to a 7-Eleven where Scary Baby had her first Slurpee®. I have to confess the banana piña colada Slurpee I felt compelled to order because I really the combo sounded great was disgusting. OMG – I didn’t realize it was made with banana soda so it was fizzy. Gross. Thankfully, I bought a back-up Coke.

Harry Caray’s Tavern at Navy Pier – Chicago, IL

Fun to walk through Navy Pier at night when it had cooled down to a breezy 90 degrees. Bonus fun was taking Scary Baby on her first taxi ride from our hotel downtown. Harry Caray’s Tavern was very marginal. I would have been happier with a Chicago hot dog. I forgot until after we got home that I really wanted to go to Superdawg but alas, we were on the wrong side of town.

Perkins Restaurant & Bakery – Janesville, WI

BONUS LESSON: Scary Baby now knows where the newly announced Republican Vice Presidential candidate is from.

Yes, it’s a chain but not in Georgia. They have perfected breakfast and I know because I had it twice. Egg perfection on both visits but different locations! Brioche french toast anyone?

And they have pie.

Scary Baby is still talking about the chicken noodle soup and the pie.

Johnny Pamcakes – Rockford, IL

A brief history lesson for Scary Baby meant I had to introduce her to swedish pancakes. It’s a Rockford specialty that I love. My “Swedish Connection” breakfast was delicious. Are you getting the idea that I really love breakfast for lunch? 🙂

Winner of Best Breakfast Meal on Entire Trip.

In addition to delicious food cooked exactly the way we ordered it, this family-owned restaurant did everything right. From the hostess to the waitress and the chef and kitchen staff, it was a well-oiled machine where everyone was friendly and they all helped each other on a very busy Sunday afternoon.

Even if Scary Baby was less than impressed with the pancakes and said “they’re like crepes and I really don’t like those that much either.” She order a bagel with cream cheese and one swedish pancake. She can’t be related to me.

Culver’s – multiple locations in several states.

Maybe, just maybe we had Culver’s custard more than once three times. But who counts when you’re on vacation and it’s one of the hottest summers of our lifetime.

Lynn’s Paradise Cafe – Louisville, KY

A personal recommendation from my friend Laura inspired us to visit this fun and funny restaurant. We have rarely driven through Louisville at meal time in all our years of traveling to visit family so this was a treat on our last day on our way home. My breakfast was good not great – I had to send the eggs back. Yes, it would be easier to order scrambled as PhilBillPaul has kindly pointed out several times. But I really like over medium eggs and think restaurants should know how to cook them correctly.

The highlight was an order of Bourbon Ball French Toast made with cinnamon swirl bread, bourbon vanilla sauce, chocolate sauce, pecans, strawberries and bourbon whipped cream that was featured on Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay“.

Order tip: I asked if they did a 1/2 order because I knew after a full breakfast, I couldn’t eat a whole order. It wasn’t on the menu but the waitress said yes and brought the perfect-sized 1/2 order. YUM!

Scary Baby had scrumptious macaroni and cheese.

Click here for Lynn’s Paradise Cafe macaroni and cheese recipe on their website

I made it for dinner last night.

Pizza, Wisconsin cheese curds and a few other meals and we rolled ourselves home.

Later this week, I’ll show you what else we did on our trip and how much weight I gained as we ate our way through the Midwest.

sdhsig1.gif

Once a Month Blogging

After I hit the 500 blog post milestone, it certainly appears that I’m become a once-a-month blogger. Never my intention but…

Life happens.

I can’t really blog about the trivial stuff of our summer and ignore one of the worst tragedies we all woke up to on Friday last week. Sad, sad stuff and my heart goes out to all those families in Colorado.

We are all fine, fine, fine here.

It seems a little funny to think our summer is busier this year with one 13 year-old at home and the 3 college kids mostly managing their own lives than when we had all 4 kids at home. Feels weird to me anyway.

More to come because I really don’t want to abandon my neglected little blog. Until then, here are some snippets of the Humpfreeze summer memories.

Reminder/Disclaimer: Food pictures follow even though this is not a food blog which is obvious when you look at the pictures.

Even though we’re working hard to stay away from boxed foods and make homemade things as much as we can, I will confess that many convenience foods were used to make the darling twins birthday dessert requests.

I used The Best Chocolate Cake Ever recipe and cheated with a box of Jello chocolate mousse I didn’t even remember buying that I had in the pantry. Homemade no-bake cheesecake filling and homemade whipped cream. We all thought it was one of the best cakes ever!

Rachel’s dessert request took on a life of its own. Recipe inspiration came from this crazy Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Oreas ‘n Brownie Bars recipe. It was surprisingly edible. Even at 21, who doesn’t appreciate monkey party hats and plates I brought to as well as the princess napkins? It’s a twin thing to pick a few special things for each twin and I picked things that match their personality.

We delivered their cakes after making them cut them so we could bring 2 pieces home for Scary Baby and took them to dinner.

Forgot to take a picture of Rachel’s monstrosity after we cut it.

I bravely cooked again at 4th of July. The summer heat has us avoiding turning on the oven so I opted for crockpot shredded pork BBQ.

I used two recipes from Monica’s blog, The Yummy Life and we all loved the BBQ. I really liked it because even though “they say” the fat from pork roast adds flavor, I don’t like it and don’t like to strain it all off. Picture of the pork is before I added the Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque sauce. Here are links to both recipes:

14 spice dry rub mix
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

We also enjoyed the super sweet variation of strawberry shortcake that my friend Leigh Anne had posted. It’s hard for me to say anything is too sweet but the frosting layers on this cake were very sweet! I loved the butter almond cake but would use a lightly sweetened whipped cream with the lemon curd next time. We shared half the cake with neighbors who raved about it.

Berry Almond Butter Cake with Strawberries

It’s rare that all six of us are all in one place at one time with the 3 college kids’ summer work schedules but whenever we can capture any of them it seems to usually involve bribing them with food.

How are you surviving this summer heat?

sdhsig1.gif

Typo Tuesday ~ Catering Menu Options

One of my favorites…

Especially when the subject matter is clearly about food, cooking, restaurants, menus, etc.

sdhsig1.gif

Our Last Tween

We enjoyed 22 months of teenage-free living and then, darn it, if that Scary Baby didn’t go and turn 13 and put us back in that parenting mode. Again.

Though really, her tween years counted double since she had three teen siblings for those years.

The tween and teen years really put the toddler years to shame. Oh how I yearn for those cute, funny days.

Alas, we can’t turn back time and here we are with a teenager once again.

We continue to keep birthdays pretty low key around here at the Humpfreeze house and have never caved to the peer pressure of extravagant, expensive parties and typically opt for family celebrations.

After her birthday weekend was spent with the grandmothers, she patiently waited two weeks to have a few friends over for dinner and a movie at home.

She picked the menu.

Fruit kabob appetizers. She was inspired to make kabobs when she found the funky skewers at a garage sale the weekend before for the bargain price of 50¢.

Chinese carryout – sesame chicken and fried rice.

And a birthday cake.

Selected by her via the Publix website.

Ebony & Ivory cake.

The chocolate pudding was suspiciously missing between the layers as described on their website but the cake was otherwise good.

Side note: I’d personally recommend the Chocolate Ganache Supreme instead. I also have a few customer service tips for Publix about the bakery clerk taking the cake order over the phone. Very surprised to get anything less than stellar customer service from Publix. (Especially since my 3 darling Twenties were forced to work there by their mean parents so they could learn the art of stellar customer service.)

Now we look forward to the next five years with our new teenager. She has so much potential and we can only hope her elderly senior citizen parents can live through it.

sdhsig1.gif

Cupcakes & Horses

I’ve read in several places that a blogger should take time to write good headlines. Seems it can help your SEO and Google ranking and what not.

Pretty sure no one will be searching for cupcakes and horses but it is the first thing that came to mind when I sat down at my laptop to write this.

The cupcakes and horses are actually unrelated except for the fact that I wanted to share pictures from Easter weekend and Easter weekend seemed like a really lame headline since I’m writing about it a week later.

I know you like to get a glimpse of the inner workings of my mind.

Horses

Friday night that sweet sister Roger Leroy came to the house and picked up Scary Baby and took her up to her college dorm to spend the night.

A twelve year-old’s dream. She might have changed outfits 3 times before her sister arrived.

I reminded her she wasn’t going to any college parties.

Ahem.

Instead, her sweet sissy was taking her horseback riding.

This is a HUGE deal because she has had this obsession idea since Thanksgiving and is relentless about not letting an idea go until one of the Humpfreeze family members gives in to silence her begging.

Does she look excited? I love that she accessorized with a scarf.

She said she was eight feet in the air.

The trail ride was in the beautiful North Georgia mountains.

Parts of the trail up the mountain were very narrow. I heard it was a bit challenging to snap pictures from the saddle.

Apparently, Meadows’ horse had some personality and she had to pull over to adjust her saddle.

And Rachel’s horse had no personality and was a bit of a slacker in keeping up with the group. Our speed demon circus baby is not familiar with coming in last.

Thank you Roger Leroy. From the bottom of our hearts.

Cupcakes

I cooked my heart out for Easter this year. The twenties and the tween each invited a guest so we were feeding ten.

Cooking all day on Saturday so we could enjoy a meal together was my plan.

Our menu included a marginal Costco ham but the side dishes made up for it.

If you haven’t made Pioneer Woman’s Au Gratin potatoes yet, do so immediately. Your family will thank you.

PhilBillPaul said the macaroni and cheese was the best ever. Big compliment because I’ve always made fabulous mac & cheese. I tried a new recipe that I’ve had for years but just got around to trying. It’s a keeper.

Love that you don’t have to make a roux or melt all the cheese. My changes to the recipe: I used muenster and mozzarella in the pot with the noodles and then topped it with shredded cheddar before baking. I omitted the onions and added a little onion salt. Loved the dry mustard, nutmeg, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce. Yum!

Mose-e-ack jello a.k.a. mosaic jello was a special surprise for Roger Leroy. My little thank you for taking Scary Baby horseback riding.

I did manage to snap a quick picture of the Easter treats. I even whipped up little cellophane bags for the guests.

Don’t worry, that concludes any attempts at craftiness from me for the year.

Obviously, I failed in Easter picture taking this year since I didn’t take any pictures of the people. But I think I passed in the cooking category.

It might be because I have cut way, way back on sugar and the idea of making TWO desserts made me dizzy.

Or not.

Just know that in addition to making my absolute favorite and perfect lemon cake, I made the best cupcakes I have ever made or eaten.

Please admire the white, wrinkled sheet we used as a tablecloth.

Fan-cee is how we roll.

Special thanks to My Baking Addiction for the Chocolate Malt Cupcakes recipe inspiration on Friday night.

The cupcake recipe is very close to our favorite doctored up cake mix recipe which is the one I used. One subtraction: I left out the espresso granules. One addition: 2 cups of chocolate chips.

The buttercream frosting is so freaking good that we are still talking about it this week and I’m making them again on Wednesday. One change on frosting recipe is that I used 1/3 cup of regular baking cocoa and 1/3 cup of Hershey’s® Special Dark cocoa…only because I ran out of regular baking cocoa. Pretty sure it will be sublime with what ever cocoa you use. Maybe it’s the 4 sticks of butter and/or the 5 minutes of beating.

I recommended them to my friend Leigh Anne and suggested she might just want to make the frosting. No cupcake necessary.

But if you want something to hold the frosting other than a bowl, go ahead and make the cupcake too.

sdhsig1.gif

Crazy March

I’d like to blame the current heatwave on my blogging break. Who can think clearly when it’s 80 degrees in March?

Have you ever turned your air conditioner on in March? I don’t think we ever have.

But we did turn it on this weekend. Crazy but I don’t like to sweat when I’m inside my house.

Fresh air is really nice except the Georgia pollen is turning everything yellow.

The heat, the pollen, the never-ending projects. March is feeling a little crazy at the Humpfreeze house.

March Madness Delirium

PhilBillPaul reminded me no one is allowed to use that trademarked phrase. Delirium seemed more appropriate than hysteria but neither have the same ring to it.

He’s been pretty excited to watch Indiana win this season. Saturday night’s game was no exception and Roger Leroy was home to watch the game with him.

Saturday at Ikea

I could also blame my March hysteria on spontaneously deciding that PhilBillPaul and I should go to Ikea.

On a Saturday.

The older I get, the less I like crowds.

I thought I could handle it. Especially if we ate at The Silver Skillet first.

Such a cool, authentic old diner.

Delicious breakfast with to-die-for biscuits.

I was fueled and ready for Ikea which is right around the corner.

Or not.

I may have experienced an actual, legitimate anxiety attack as we tried to find our way out of the maze that is Ikea.

A few too many people, a few too many foreign languages, a few too many pieces of furniture to look at.

Not sure the $10 table was worth the stress.

I did recover sufficiently to visit a few more stores. We’re on the search for some inexpensive furniture for another DIY house project that I’ll document here soon.

I took this picture with my cell phone and sent it to The Grunter…

…asking him which monkey he wanted because they were 50% off.

Do people really put this in their house?

Leave a comment and tell me if you have a monkey with a plunger as a hat picking his nose toilet paper holder. I’m fascinated by this purchase decision.

This weekend, two of the darling daughters were with us Friday night so we checked out some futons.

We had to twist Scary Baby’s arm to get her to try out a floor display.

Finally she did.

Maybe she was not very willing because it wasn’t exactly on the floor.

When in Walmart, act like the people of Walmart.

Roger Leroy fit right in.

I think she looks like a giant only because the futon was on a shelf which wasn’t really an accurate scale of a room. We plan to put the futon on the floor so I needed them to test it because I didn’t want to buy another toddler futon.

Obviously we all fit in since their Dad hoisted them up to the 2nd shelf to sit on a futon.

And their mom took pictures.

Yay-hoos. That’s us.

And I can’t wait to show you what I did with this weird stuff.

Because you know how crafty I am. 😉

DIY room makeover coming soon…

Meanwhile, how’s the crazy weather where you live?

sdhsig1.gif

Dessert Bliss Part Two

Love the Longhorn Dessert Sampler I told you about yesterday.

You might be asking,

“How could it get any better than a little chocolate, a little fruit with pastry and a little cheesecake?”

Three words.

Mini Dessert Trio

Less guilt is what the “mini” implies.

But it really moves into a new category of B-L-I-S-S if you can choose your mini combination.

Imagine my excitement when I discovered this very mini dessert trio of my dreams when I was out of town last week.

Yes, I lifted asked if I could have another dessert card to take home and scan.

We picked the seasonal pineapple-upside-down cake because I never see that as a dessert choice.

I told the waitress that I had finally found my dessert bliss.

I also told her that the Bourbon Pecan Cupcake was NOT mini.

But it was soooo good, we went on my last day in town for one more cupcake.

Tony Roma’s wins!

I’m sure they will be thrilled to know of their victory in my personal, unpublicized, dessert bliss contest.

The only bummer is that I’ll have to fly or road trip to a Tony Roma’s to get a mini dessert trio.

There are no Tony Roma’s in Georgia. 🙁

Let’s be real – it’s probably best for me to not have one near me.

Tell me your favorite restaurant dessert…in case I’m still allowed to eat sugar after this week.

sdhsig1.gif

Dessert Bliss Part One

Edit: My feedburner email subscription does not always work right so if you get two emails today know that it is a fluke and I haven’t gone crazy. I do know it’s Wednesday even though email subscribers are getting Typo Tuesday on Wednesday. It was posted yesterday. Look at the chaos that happens when I start blogging again. 😉

It may not be a coincidence that I’m writing a two-parter about dessert during the week I go back to the doctor to get the results from my blood work including a glucose test and depending on what you may not hear from me again. Just sayin’

I looked back in my archives feeling sure I had written about one of my most favorite desserts when PhilBillPaul and I go out to dinner.

In full disclosure, we do split one entree so we can justify this dessert. Not that you’d know if from looking at us.

If we have kids with us, it’s every man/woman/child for themselves and you would think they never get dessert.

Which you know is not true at the Humpfreeze House of Sugar.

I have said for many years that restaurants could do a booming dessert business if they would make a dessert sampler much like their appetizer samplers.

I have a hard time deciding and I often want a little chocolate and a little fruit and a little cake or pie. Yes, I’d like several desserts, thank you very much.

My dessert bliss happened back in April 2010 and I guess I forgot to write about it.

Leave it to me to report up-to-the-minute dessert news.

I searched and found this picture on my computer that I had scanned from the dessert card I lifted asked our waitress if I could take with me.

LongHorn Dessert Sampler

A shareable sampler of three favorites: Chocolate Stampede, Caramel Apple Goldrush and Mountain Top Cheesecake.

Here’s a belated shout out to Longhorn Steakhouse for this excellent dessert marketing.

NOTE: It is a chain. Even though we prefer to support locally owned restaurants, some chains get it right and Longhorn is one of those chains!

I guess it’s a winner if it’s still on their menu a year and a half later.

Try it, you’ll like it.

Stay tuned because tomorrow I’m going to tell you who beat Longhorn in my quest for dessert bliss!

sdhsig1.gif

A Few of My Favorite Things

I’m pretty sure I blinked and December was over.

It was certainly not my intent to blog just one puny time in December.

We’re all fine, fine, fine here in Georgia.

When I don’t blog it does not necessarily mean that bad things are happening at the Humpfreeze house or I have taken extra medication to get through the holidays.

In fact, December was medication-free and it was a very good month! It just went by entirely too fast.

I’d like to tell you it is because I’m busier than the rest of the universe. Especially in December.

But that would start my new year off with a big lie.

Instead, I decided to share a few of my favorite things from our Humpfreeze holidays where all six of us gathered in our house together for almost the whole month and we have all lived to tell about it.

For those of you who might not remember, that means 2 adults, 3 semi-adults (the “twenties” people) and one tween all lived under one roof.

At. The. Same. Time.

We squeezed in the baking frenzy for the teachers and grandmas. PhilBillPaul made 3 kinds of fudge, pecans and pretzels. Then I got busy with bread and cookies. Scary Baby helped wrap and organize her 5 teacher gifts.

Guess we forgot to take pictures of the cute packaging and gift tags this year.

Plus random photo of small Charlie Brown-like blue Christmas tree in Scary Baby bedroom. She loves it.

And one darling twin and a friend (hi Rowe!) helped with the packaging until 2:00 a.m.

Perhaps she helped (for the first time ever) because she wanted to send a giant care package to a soldier friend in Afghanistan.

That’s a pretty good ulterior motive in my book and I appreciated their help!

I traveled at the beginning of the month and when I came home, Scary Baby had done a superb job of trimming the tree that she and PhilBillPaul picked out at Costco from the Marines selling trees there this year.

It’s not Christmas until we take at least a few of the kids to Waffle House. We like to reminisce about the year we drove to Illinois for Christmas and Waffle House was the only place open so we had to eat there 3 times in 24 hours with three toddlers in tow. Super fun!

On Christmas Eve we stuck to our regular traditions…

A special thank you to Mr. Humpfreeze who took it upon himself to get almost everything ready for fondue. I only had to make the breakfast casserole and cheesy potatoes for the next morning.

Never happened before. Very nice. Think it should be a new tradition!

Opening one gift on Christmas Eve

Please take note of how dressed up my darling children get for Christmas Eve. It appears some of them are in pajamas opening pajamas.

They are always *shocked* that the gift is new pajamas. Correction – it is fuzzy sleep pants and t-shirts that don’t match because wearing a matching set of pajamas is very uncool.

We played a few games.

Then another darling twin actually helped me wrap. And announced,

“I’m tired of wrapping.”

To which I replied,

“Imagine that I’ve been doing this all by myself for the 4 of you for 20+ years.”

I liked the help. Another new tradition to add for next year.

Christmas Morning

Bad cell phone picture of sweet daughters keeping warm and sleeping a little more with their daddy while trying to convince Everett to get up.

This almost became our first Christmas where we weren’t all together on Christmas morning because Everett had to work at 7:00 a.m. Luckily, his shift changed at the last minute so he came down in his uniform and opened his gifts.

Our pumpkin has worked on Christmas day for the last six years. Remember to thank those people who go to work so you can see a movie or get gas on Christmas day.

My favorite Christmas gift…

My favorite Christmas gift I gave Scary Baby…

I ordered this print after seeing it many months ago online and being on a wait list for the next printing. I think it should follow her all the way to her college dorm room to remind her how much we love her. 😉

During the holiday break, the darling twins took their darling little sister ice skating. Tiny cell phone picture not available.

PhilBillPaul and I also took Scary Baby and a friend to a movie.

War Horse ~ worth seeing but…the horses are quite large when you are sitting in the SECOND ROW of a very crowded, small theater.

This picture taken with my cell phone really doesn’t do justice to the view. No extra charge for neck strain. Or the bonus 4 year-old who joins your family to watch the movie with you talk to you during the movie. Repeatedly. His family didn’t seem to mind him walking down the row as he hopped from seat to seat.

This future blog topic on movie etiquette will be followed by a discussion on why I’ve become a recluse and no longer engage in public outings in small places and why people bring young children to 2-1/2 hour movies they are not suited for.

New Year’s Eve

Ours was wild.

Or not.

The darling twins went up to North Georgia for their own party. Everett and 3 friends came to hang out after a movie.

We went to the store because I declared “no more cooking!”

Frozen cream puffs for Scary Baby – her personal favorite. Store bought cookies and cupcakes. Leftover candy and fudge. Paper plates and plastic silverware. Frozen pigs in a blanket. Tablecloth? Nah, we were washing the sheet we had used at Christmas. Don’t judge.

Potato chips, dip, cheese, crackers – super fancy.

Scary Baby couldn’t wait to open the sparkling grape juice.

She washed a champagne flute she found that I had purchased at Target years ago. Clearance price tag on it said .62¢

We squeezed in a game of Bananagrams.

And toasted in the new year…

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and spent it with your favorite people…

More fun stuff to share but first, I have to try to figure out a manageable blog schedule for 2012.

Until then, please do tell how you spent the holidays and what you’re looking forward to in the new year!

sdhsig1.gif

Blog Widget by LinkWithin