Posted in Family, Food, Holidays & Birthday, School, Travel

DC Bound

I’ve decided that today – I write.  Not that I haven’t tried during the last eleven days mind you, but I haven’t been able to write an entire post that I felt was worthy or that was really even complete!  But today, I’m home alone with minimal pressures to get things done so with coffee, phone, and quiet house, I’m ready to go!

Sunday evening, the youngest boarded a transit bus. She and four full buses of other 8th graders made their way to Washington, D.C. for their class trip.  She (and her sister and me too) was born there so basically she took a very expensive bus trip home.  Her father still lives there and yesterday was her birthday.  Although I haven’t had an update yet, he was supposed to meet her at their hotel to meet her friends and celebrate her birthday.  I can’t wait to hear all the details! *A very brief update – he showed up with cupcakes and cash, it was good.  And like I said – I can’t wait to hear all the details!

This trip brings back memories of my own trip to D.C. when I was in the 9th grade.  I was living in S.C. at the time and although I was born and raised in D.C., I’d never toured the White House or the Washington Monument or really any of the main landmarks you think of when you think of our nation’s capital.  It was where we lived, we didn’t “tourist” there.  My parents were divorced and my father still lived in D.C. so the same situation applied, my dad met me and all my school mates downtown, it was just an exciting and memorable time.  I’m hoping the same for her, that she’ll look back on her trip with good memories.


The trip and her birthday were a couple of the reasons I didn’t have a chance to formulate a full post!  I had to make sure she had everything she needed and we decided to celebrate her birthday prior to her leaving, not to mention it all coinciding with the fall orchestra concert and the end of the soccer season.  Then of course, trying to keep up with Hurricane Matthew and his whereabouts since most of my family and friends live on the East coast.  It’s been a fairly active eleven days.

H’s cake selection this year was a pumpkin spice ice cream cake.  I followed the original ice cream cake recipe that I tried last year and came up with this beauty!


A layer of graham cracker crust, a layer of Edy’s pumpkin pie ice cream, a layer of caramel sauce with crushed gingersnap cookies and toffee bits, another layer of Edy’s pumpkin pie ice cream, all frosted with a layer of Cool Whip.  And I have to mention, I thought it would be cute to decorate the cake with those little Brach’s candy pumpkins, so I bought a bag, and then…I made the huge mistake of reading the ingredients.  The rest of the bag was promptly tossed into the trash.  When the wax candles were blown out and removed from the cake so were the wax pumpkins and before anyone could object they all went into the trash.  Once I read the word shellac on the ingredient list, that was that.


lac tubes created by the kerria lacca insect

Here is the description of confectioner’s glaze from Wikipedia and the reason I’ll never purchase these again <gag>, “Pharmaceutical glaze is an alcohol-based solution of various types of food-grade shellac.[1] The shellac is derived from the raw material sticklac, which is a resin scraped from the branches of trees left from when the small insect, Kerria lacca (also known as Laccifer lacca), creates a hard, waterproof cocoon.[2] When used in food and confections, it is also known as confectioner’s glaze, resinous glaze, pure food glaze, natural glaze,[3][4] or confectioner’s resin.[5]”  Seriously?  Ugh!  Sometimes I think I would be better off to not know so much.



I’d give the cake a C grade.  If I were to make this again, I’d change a couple changes.  The crust would be half as thin as this was, it was simply too thick and it was hard to cut.  I wouldn’t use (at least this particular) pumpkin ice cream again.  I would purchase vanilla ice cream then add real pumpkin and spices to the vanilla.  I found this pumpkin ice cream too artificial or too “perfumey” tasting.  And of course, I’d leave those shellacked wax pumpkins at the store.  The idea was good, but the execution needed a little fine tuning, a couple minor changes and I think this could be a really tasty dessert!

We are on fall break for the next two weeks, so the rest of this week should be a breeze.  I’m looking forward to finishing the posts I started and posting regularly again!  Have a great day everyone!


Posted in Family, School


Half-time at the Homecoming Game!

Depending on age, that word can mean many different things.  Today it means dance, first date/dance, first dressed up date dance!  Aaaaahhhhh!!  “Mom, it’s not Prom!”  “Ok, fine…I’ll back off.”  “No!  I need you to dress me!”  LOL  YAY!!  I’m still needed for something other than a ride somewhere or money!  Go me!

Today my oldest will go to Homecoming with her – dare I say – boyfriend!  Yes – already.  I swear I still look at her and see her as my baby girl, it makes me tear up when I think about it.  Like seriously…how?  I remember her holding my hand to walk across the street and her snappy little flip personality.  And now, she’s transformed into my genuinely sweet, intelligent, responsible teenager.  <sigh>  Where did my baby go?  With boy issues, driving school and college talk, it’s all just overwhelming.

I am much more excited about tonight than she is.  Probably not, but it seems like it since I’m not afraid to actually show my excitement.  But I know that to keep her from backing off from me in horror, I have to reel myself in and “chill”.  Today will be a day of firsts and I’m excited.  I’m hoping she’ll have loads of fun and of course, a memorable time with her friends and her boyfriend.  Me?  As I pose her and her boyfriend for photos, I’ll just be wondering how my little girl grew up so fast.

Posted in Family, Food, School

Croquetas de Jamon

It’s that time of year when organization that I seem to just get a handle on eludes me and I’m back to square one.  It’s May and it’s soccer season, only a few more weeks and it’s summer!  I’m not sure what my days have been consisting of other than focusing on exercise and food.  I’m doing my best to focus on eating properly, although it’s been a little difficult the last two days.  I haven’t over eaten but I’ve eaten things that I had really no business eating.

My daughter asked if I would make something for her Spanish class and being the adventurous cook that I am, I said, “sure!”.  Yesterday the better half stayed home and we headed to our local Mexican grocery.  We didn’t find what we were looking for, but we did happen to venture into the Mexican bakery next door!  Can I just say WOWZA!  The smell when you walked through the door was something dreams are made of, that sweet, warm, freshly baked smell that always accompanies Mom’s homemade cookies.  You know it, it smells like your favorite Yankee Candle scent!

Anyway, we walked out of there with a $10 bag of delicious Mexican baked goods.  We stopped in the middle of the parking lot and taste tested everything we bought!  I so enjoy tasting things I’ve never tried before.  I can’t say that I didn’t like any of it, but of course, my selections consisted of chocolate and powdered sugar covered and cream filled goodness.  The items he chose were more of a “cornbread” texture and taste.  None of it was bad, that’s for sure.

This morning, I dove right in to making the dish for my daughter’s class.  Croquetas de Jamón, basically it’s described as Béchamel sauce with ham and onions, but it’s extremely thick and dense.  It’s made, refrigerated, rolled into cylinder shapes, rolled in egg, breadcrumbs and fried in olive oil.  It’s a lot of steps and it’s certainly NOT diet friendly!

If you’re looking for something to try, give it a shot.  Let me know what you think!

I am giving you the recipe as I believe it should be made.

Croquetas de Jamón

3 1/2 T. butter
3/4 c. flour
1 3/4 c. warm milk
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 T. olive oil
1/2 c. Serrano ham, finely chopped*
salt & pepper
2 eggs, beaten – for coating
fine, dry breadcrumbs – for coating
olive oil – for frying

*This is what we ventured to the Mexican grocery for, they didn’t have it and had no knowledge of what I was referring to – they took me to the chilis.  We actually found this at Kroger in the deli section, $3.99 for 3 oz.  One package will be enough for the recipe.

Melt the butter in frying pan.  Add flour and stir for three to four minutes until blended.

Remove pan from heat and add milk bit by bit incorporating it well before adding more.  Place pan back on heat and bring sauce to a boil, stirring constantly.  The sauce will become VERY thick.  Turn the heat to low and cook for five minutes, stirring.


Gently saute the onion in the olive oil until soft and clear.  Add chopped ham and stir into sauce.  Season with salt & pepper (use discretion as the ham is salty on it’s own)

Spread the mixture in a glass baking dish (I used an 8 x 12 dish).  


Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  When cool, cut the mixture into small bars.  Use your hands to shape each bar into a cylinder.  Coat each croqueta with egg and breadcrumbs.


Heat the olive oil in a small pan.  Deep fry a few at a time until they are dark gold on the outside and warm and cooked on the inside.  


Drain on paper towel and serve hot.