Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pink of Petunia's Peeps

Here is Pink of Petunia's Peeps. She's a fighter, a survivor, a hero. She helps fight breast cancer by wearing pink. Stacey of Bouton Blue, one of the winners of my pay-it-forward contest and long time friend, is now the proud owner of Miss Pink. Stacey graciously walked about a bazillion miles last year in the breast cancer walk. I so appreciated her dedication and willingness to support many of the women and men who have come face to face with breast cancer. Thank you Stacey, I hope you enjoy your peep!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cooking Mayhem

A little while back I had finally succumbed to the fact that my bread maker was going to continue gathering dust in the cupboard and I really wasn't going to be making tons of bread for my family. I decided to ask my sister-in-law if she would like to have it. She said, "sure." So the bread maker went to her house. She baked us up some fabulous french bread a while back in my old bread maker and then I kinda got the urge to have a bread maker again so I could make my own yummy bread. I also thought it was a great alternative for the Scout. I am always looking for breads that have no milk or egg products, and this way I could totally control the contents. I was telling my Aunt Sharon of my longing to again be the owner of a bread maker and she said that she had one that she would give me because she never uses it anymore. Score! I was pumped this afternoon to bust out a loaf of french bread. I made a pot of soup and a key lime pie for dessert. We will be headed to the Jazz Jubilee tomorrow and thought this would be the perfect thing for when we got home late and I didn't feel like cooking. I followed the recipe that my sister-in-law had given me. It was easy. I followed the directions on the bread maker. O.k., no problem, good. I hit the button to start, and the bread maker took off kneading the dough. Excellent, I am three hours away from my hot french bread. And then I heard a loud knocking sound and suddenly the thing shut off. Hmmm. Maybe its starting to rise. No, the book says it has to knead the dough for 18 minutes and its only been 7. Uh oh, I smell the motor burning. Uh oh, its not working. Drat!!!!! So I call up my Uncle Tom and Aunt Sharon and shared my dilemma with them. Not like they would have been able to fix it when they are all the way in Napa, but I needed a consult. They said they didn't know what it could be, but that it was probably something that could be fixed. Now my Uncle Tom has been a fabulous baker most all of his adult life. He started working at Napa City Bakery when he was 14 sweeping the floors and eventually moved to Buttercream Bakery where he decorated beautiful cakes for everyone, and I mean everyone in Napa. His cake decorating was well known wherever he went. He told me "Punkin," this is what he has called me since I was born, "just throw it in your Kitchen-Aid and put the bread hook on and let it knead it for awhile. Then just let it raise where its warm and throw it in the oven." O.k. I will try it. I really had my doubts, not in his abilities, because I know his would turn out good, but I was worried about my ability to follow his directions properly. So I kneaded it with the bread hook in the Kitchen-Aid and then let it raise for about 45 minutes and then I threw it into the oven at 350 for about an hour. This was a total guess on my part. I just sat by and watched it. In the meantime I went to work on my key lime pie and the recipe called for me to whip the mixture until it formed soft peaks. I have made my own whip cream on several occasions and know it takes a while for it to form the soft peaks, but I whipped this thing with my mixer for over 20 minutes and then got frustrated and threw it in my Kitchen-Aid for another 10 and no soft peaks. It got a little bit foamy, but there was no peaks. My brother popped by at this time and I was so frustrated with cooking I was about to cry. The kitchen was a mess and the poor guy was trying to tell me about his day and all I could think about was my stupid bread maker not working and the dumb key lime pie not making those foamy peaks. Sorry bro, next time I promise to be a better listener, I was a little to preoccupied with my many mishaps. To make a long story short, the key lime pie came out o.k. minus the peaks and the bread came out of the oven and was "done to a T" as my Uncle Tom likes to say. Thanks Uncle Tom, you really helped me out with your great tutelage! The girls dug into the bread like it was the last thing on Earth to eat and I thought it was pretty great too!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another Yummy Recipe

I am always looking for good alternatives for foods that I love, but now have to avoid due to food allergies. I found out a little over a year ago that I am allergic to soy. A lot of people with heavy duty peanut allergies (such as myself) are allergic to soy. I was lucky, because I got away with 30 years of being able to eat it without incident. I have found through researching labels, that it is in literally everything processed or store bought. So goes my quest for finding soy-free, but still yummy products. With that said, I was deeply saddened by the fact that I could not have my favorite ranch dressing anymore. You see, ranch dressing in the bottle is full of mayonaisse, which is made with vegetable oil, which is soybean oil, which is what I have to try to avoid. I can eat it, but then I begin paying for it with losing my voice and trouble breathing and heaviness in my throat. As much as I love it, its just not worth the feeling.

I happened to turn on Rachel Ray today, which is the Peanuts favorite show, (the girl loves to cook) and she was making homemade ranch. I was sure it was going to be loaded with mayonaisse, but then to my delight it didn't contain any soy products at all. Hallelujah! It is made with lots of buttermilk, which I thought was always heavier than cream, but found out it is made from skim milk and has way less calories than cream. Could that news get any better? So here is the recipe to make your own. I am hoping it turns out as good as it sounds.


1cup buttermilk

1/4 cup sour cream (you can use light)

1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, grated

2 tablespoons (about a palmful ) fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons (about a palmful) fresh dill, chopped

1 tablespoon (a small palmful) fresh chives, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Yields 6 servings

In a medium-size bowl, mix together the buttermilk, sour cream, white wine vinegar, garlic, hot sauce, parsley, dill and chives. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix in any of your favorite ingredients to make it special

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Gift In The Mail

I love getting mail. I wish everyone would just stop emailing and go back to writing letters, it would make me so happy. I have always had an affinity for stationery and pens, stamps and sealing wax; so you can imagine my delight when I opened up the mail the other day and found the best present waiting for me. It was personalized stationery made for me by the very talented Melissa Haworth of Haworth Handmade. She is also a fellow Craft Mafia sister of mine. I didn't realize till I opened them, that there were many different designs that she had included. How awesome is that! I was a winner of her pay-it-forward contest on her blog and this was my prize! It is so fabulous, I can't wait to write a note and send it on. Thank you Melissa for my nice present and for spelling my name correctly!! I love them!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Scouts Big Girl Bedroom Renovation Part #2

The hubby, the Peanut and I headed out to IKEA yesterday to do a little shopping for the Scout's room renovation. We ended up buying her a dresser. I have been eyeing it for over a year now along with the bedding. Here is a sneak peak at the bedding that I just purchased last week at Target. Its called the Preppy Girl Collection. I bought two bedding sets. One in twin and the other in double. Sometimes I like to have the length of the double on a twin bed. I have had them where they are two short even with a bedskirt. So we will be returning one after we try it on for fit. Our plan is to put up white bead board on all four walls and in the closet along with new white baseboard and white crown moulding along the ceiling. The hubby is going to be scraping the ceiling first to get all the old nasty popcorn off. I was really hoping to have my hardwood floors installed before we did the Scouts room, but maybe next year! The hubby is making shelving for the closet and new hanging bars. I can't wait to see how everything will turn out. Back to the trip to IKEA, the place was dead because it was a weekday afternoon. It was so nice. We cruised around with our Starbucks coffees and tried out all the couches. I actually got to check out a lot of things that I never got to check out before. We looked at some new cabinets for the kitchen (YAY!- my kitchen has 70' retro cabinets right now) and a closet or wardrobe to replace ours in our bedroom. The hubby was driving one of those flatbed carts with the Peanut riding on top of the boxes. He thought it would be a brilliant idea to jump on the cart and ride it all the way up to the register. He is a rule breaker unlike his wife! He didn't make it too far because halfway through the warehouse the young and ambitious IKEA staff caught him and yelled at him to get down off the cart and to walk. He He! I just walked about fifty feet behind him and acted like I didn't know him. I am always having to do this because he is rebel and embarrasses me on a regular basis!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Petunia's Peeps

For a while now I have been calling my little "people" paintings by the title, "Little Folk Art Primitives." I decided that it sounded boring and needed to be kicked up a notch, so I settled on a new name for these little folky divas. I am now going to refer to them as "Petunia's Peeps!" I love it when people use the term "peeps!" So here are a few of the recent creations that went out to the pay-it-forward winners. I still am working on two more and almost have them complete. They are so much fun to paint and I really tried to capture the winners interests in my paintings.

Here are a few of Petunia's Peeps that are proudly displayed somewhere in America!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Secret Indulgences

I know the picture looks kinda gross, but let me tell you how good these sweet potato french fries are that I made last night. They are so good, that I might even give up chocolate for them. What?!? Yes, they are that good. Here is how I made them:

I purchased two sweet potatoes (not the yams but the sweet potatoes) at the store. They are both sweet potatoes of sorts, but the ones that you want are white in the middle, not the orange. Sweet potatoes have been found to be one of the most nutritious vegetables out there. They are super high in fiber, beta carotene, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C.

Peel them or leave the skins on whichever you prefer. I peeled them, because you know how kids get with skins or crusts left on anything.

Cut them however you prefer your fries. I cut them in about 1/2" layers and then cut them into skinny fries and laid them out on a cookie sheet.

Next, I drizzled a little bit of extra light virgin olive oil over the top. I learned with the oil that less is more - see oil in picture.

Sprinkle a little bit of salt and pepper over the top to your liking.

Pop them into a 450 degree pre-heated oven for fifteen minutes. After fifteen minutes use a spatula or tongs and flip them over and let them bake for another fifteen minutes. When you pull them out they should be pretty well done. If you want them a little more brown just pop them back in for a few more minutes.

They don't come out especially crispy, but Wowee, I ended up eating almost the whole cookie sheet.
While we are on the subject of secret indulgences, I have a confession to make - I snuck out of the house this afternoon while the hubby was still at home watching the kids play and cruised over to get my daily Starbucks vanilla latte and they had one of my favorite cookies of all time in the display case - Snickerdoodles!
I looked around and made sure there was nobody watching and when the barista asked me if I would like to have anything else, I smiled and did a jig and said, "One Snickerdoodle Please." I really would have preferred to order the whole case, but one will have to do for today. I couldn't go home with my huge delicious cookie in hand (there would have been some hurt feelings and big lips mainly from my husband for not getting him one) so I decided to indulge even further and eat the whole thing in my car in the parking lot. It tasted so good especially with my iced vanilla latte. Even though it was like 100 degrees in my car, I enjoyed every second of it. Its amazing how secret little indulgences like these can make a person so happy. Tomorrow I meet my personal trainer Jenn and there will be no more secret indulgences for awhile. Just thought I would get that little confession off my chest. Man, that cookie was good!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Mama for Owen

Wanna read the cutest book ever? Check this one out, it's called "A Mama for Owen" by Marion Dane Bauer. Its about a baby hippo named Owen who gets lost from his Mama and adopts a 130 year old tortoise named Mzee (pronounced Mazay) to become his new mommy. This is actually based on a true story and is about the sweetest book I have ever read.

Friday, May 16, 2008

You Can Feel My Pain

Yesterday I saunter over to Wal-Mart with the Scout to pick up some rather unimportant items. I like to slither through my secret entrance in the garden department where I always find the shortest line and get super-close parking. So I am standing in the line in the garden department realizing that everyone else found out about my secret entrance and is now in line with me when the Scout (who up until this point has been strangely quiet) begins to speak...........

Scout: "Mama?"

Deb: "Yes, Scout."

Scout began to speak with the most clarity and tone that I have ever heard come out of her little mouth. Picture the President's Inaugural Address. Here it goes..................................................

Scout: "Mama, did you know that Poppy (grandpa) is a boy......................................................
so HE goes potty standing up!"

It was an epiphany that had been brewing the entire Wal-Mart trip.

Wal-Mart Customers & Employees in the Garden Department: (Uproarious Laughter)

Trying to maintain my composure. I really didn't know whether to burst out laughing or to drop to my knees and cry from embarrassment.

Deb: "You know Scout, you're right, he does go potty standing up!"

The woman behind the counter was very nice and scanned my stuff rather quickly with a huge smile on her face. I was hoping that she was a Mom and could feel my pain as I wanted to escape out of my secret entrance as fast as possible. I almost ran-over the greeter with my cart on the way out. Sorry guy!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Scouts Big Girl Bedroom Renovation Part #1

Craigslist is the best! I just purchased this "big girl" bed for the Scout for $100.00 on Craigslist. The footboard is not pictured here. Its just a little bit smaller then the headboard and oh so shabby chic. I have been literally looking for months for a wrought iron bed for the Scouts "big girl" room. I have been to antique stores, garage sales, combed ebay many times and finally found the perfect bed just waiting for me in Carmichael for $100.00. Such a steal when most of the places are charging $500-$600 for a brand new one minus the mattress and box spring. Can you tell I am a bargain shopper. I was a little worried when I saw the picture online that the bed was going to be smaller than what I had wanted, but I was pleasantly surprised when the lady opened up her garage door, and their stood the bed that I was looking for! Yipee! Right now the bed is a white enamel and I have big plans on painting it black. We have plans on gutting the Scouts room and starting over with bead board on the walls and crown molding along the ceiling, a new closet and new furniture. I will be adding a few of my own paintings to the walls and already have a few good ideas about what I will be doing. Right now we are tentatively scheduled for mid-June for the big project. It will be interesting with her moving into our room temporarily along with all of her clothes and belongings for the duration of the project.I will be keeping you posted on the upcoming renovations!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Great Mother's Day

Its been a few days or a few weeks since I have posted. Life has just been so busy lately. I haven't even had time to catch up on my blog reading. I have been busy with the Peanuts school activities, Little League, family stuff and my school stuff. There is only three more weeks of school left for my big kindergartner and then she will be moving to the first grade. Oh my how time flies! I have been totally neglecting my Pink Petunia Designs, and for that, I apologize.
I hope all of my readers that are mommy's out there had a fantastic Mother's Day! Mine was perfect. I woke up in the morning to the Peanut bringing me toast (that she had toasted herself) and orange juice in bed. I then was taken by the hand by both the Scout and the Peanut out to the kitchen where I was dazzled by a fantastic white bag full of handmade BEAUTIFUL cards! It was the best gift a girl could get. The hubby and the girls also garnished me with a new I-tunes gift card (because I had used up all of my husband's a couple of days before. Sorry Sweetie!) I also am the proud new owner of a new pair of pink Crocs. My girls both have a pair and I really wanted a pair, so the hubby and the Scout went to every store in the mall to find them for me. They are probably the ugliest pair of shoes on Earth, but you should really try a pair, the comfort will overwhelm you, and you will quickly toss out your Manolo Blahniks for a new pair of Crocs. After I lavished in all of my beautiful gifts and cusine, we had our baths, packed up the good old gas saving Yaris, and threw in the kids for a fun-filled day at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. It was Girl Scout Day so the Peanut got in free and the Scout did too! Nice! The day was so fun. The girls loved the sea lion show and Thomas Town. The Peanut rode the big log ride with her Daddy (see pic above where the hubby is waiving) and had a great time. She's a daredevil like her Daddy. Her Mommy is a pansy ass and hates big rides that make you want to barf or pee your pants. I know, what a wus!
I have to say that Six Flags is seriously throwing back some cash. $15.00 to park and then you have to walk literally about a half of a mile to get in the park with not a porta-potty in sight and two kids that have just been in the car for over an hour. $25.00 for 1 drink, 1 order of chicken fingers and 1 order of french fries with onion rings. Is this just a little bit out of hand, or is it just me? There was a sign posted that no outside food was allowed, so being the "rule follower" that I am, I didn't bring in any snacks or anything for my milk/egg allergy kid into the park. My husband who likes to break the rules, told me to just stick it in the backpack. They were searching backpacks out in the front and I was afraid they would make me throw it out, and then we would be really screwed. They opened our backpack for two seconds and said, "o.k. you are good." Everywhere I looked, people had brought in their own food. I was frustrated and at lunch the only thing that the Scout could eat was french fries from Johnny Rockets. I wanted to cry because I was so mad at myself. Note to theme parks out there: Sometimes outside food is necessary, especially when dealing with little guys that have bad food allergies to everything you serve. Note to self: Break the rules! Sometimes, it's o.k.! We ended the day with a wonderful meal at Denny's where I lavished in the super-bird (that sucker hit the spot) and french fries and the Scout finally got her chicken nuggets, soy milk and animal crackers that she been pining for all day. Poor kid! All in all it was my favorite Mother's Day to date!
O.k. off to bed. Crafting coming sometime in the near future, I swear!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Big Girl Happenings

There is some big girl stuff going on around here and I thought that I would share it with you. Here is the Peanut riding her big girl bike minus the training wheels. Last night she asked my hubby if she could have them off, and he said "Sure!" I think that he was more excited then she was. He held on to the back of her bike for about two seconds and off she sailed. A huge grin on her face. It even brought a few tears to my eyes and I was wishing that I had charged the batteries for the video camera, but who knew?
Today we went on a five mile bike ride down our beautiful American River Bike Trail. She would have gone fifty miles if we would have let her. When she got home she wanted to get back on and ride again. I love how small things like riding a bike can make kids exponentially happy! Who needs a Wii when you have this (see above). Its just her and the open road - and maybe Mom, Dad and little sister too!
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