Monday, August 13, 2018

Simplify Your Life - BWF - Parmesan Ranch Chicken

Welcome to the August issue of  Blog With Friends where each month we chose a different theme and each participating blogger works that theme into a post in a way that best suits them and their readers. This month our theme is "Simplify Your Life" well that is perfect because simplifying is exactly what I've been doing.
Cutting down, cutting out, de-clutter, simplify...and not just with donating and/or selling items we no longer need or use. I am cutting down and simplifying my life in other ways. Like cooking. Now don't get me wrong. I love to cook you guys know that. But with this heat...I'm finding myself reluctant.
So what is the solution? Salads? Smoothies? Fruit? Eating out? Yes and no.
Salads are a great solution but it's not just a bowl of lettuce. It can be chicken salad, tuna salad, turkey salad, egg salad, pasta salad or kale salad. I said kale and I know some of you turned up your nose. I did too at first to be honest. But I do love kale. Even in a smoothie, yes that's right and no I'm not crazy.
I find that on mornings when it is cooler I can cook in bulk, saute meat, grill and even roast different foods then later all I have to do is heat them up or chop the meat and add to a salad. I boil eggs, cook chicken, make chicken salad or tuna salad that can be eaten as a sandwich, on a salad or by itself.
This simplifies things for me, creates less heat in the house and I find allows me time to do things in the afternoon without having to stop and cook.
What do you do to simplify your life?

5 boneless skinless chicken thighs
sprinkle with ranch dry dressing mix, cover the chicken
sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan cheese, cover
cover the chicken with Italian bread crumbs
place little dots of butter all over the top
Place in a hot oven and bake for 25 minutes on 400*F



Monday, July 30, 2018

Brownie Cheesecake Pie

I'm always thinking of new things, researching recipes from the past and trying to revamp them. Sometimes I even have a stroke of genius! Yes it does happen. Shocks me too. LOL
This recipe was sort of a throw together, which is what I'm best at.
It is simple and delicious.
The longer the pie sits, the better it is! Especially if you leave it in the freezer for 24 hours. It doesn't not become hard but very firm. We ate the first slices of course while it was still "soft" but the next night! OH MAN it was even better.
Here is what I did...

Grease the spring form pan or spray it if you prefer. I didn't "make a crust" I just sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs and coconut, pressed it down.
In a large bowl, 2 eight ounce blocks of cream cheese (room temperature) beat/cream with 3/4 cup sugar, 1 TBSP vanilla, slowly add in 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream. Now carefully, mixer on low, add in 1 box of fudge brownie mix, yes the dry,until completely blended. Pour into the spring form pan. Be sure you set aside 1/4 cup of the brownie dry mix. Spread the mixture into the pan. Take the set aside dry mix and add just enough water to make it a thick syrup. Sprinkle coconut over the mix, a few more graham cracker crumbs and drizzle the syrup over the pie. Set in the freezer for several hours, overnight is  best. Slice and enjoy! so so good. 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Firecracker Bites - FOTW - July

I know these may be a little late considering today is the 20th and most people were thinking firecrackers and fireworks before the fourth. But here they are anyway.
Firecracker bites. I was actually working on this post just a few days before the fourth and thought, this post needs a recipe, but what?
It hit, firecracker bites, but what exactly will they be. So I started brain storming and this is what I came up with.

Firecracker Bites
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
pancake mix
water
hot sauce (you decide how much)
1 tsp each salt and pepper
oil to cook in
Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Mix your batter (mix, water and hot sauce) to a medium consistency. Dip the chicken, place in hot oil and flip when brown. Drain on a paper towel, dip in more hot sauce or ranch if you made it too hot. Simple and delicious.

If you enjoy spicy food, here's another great dish. Crispy Shrimp with spicy Asian dipping sauce. Mmm similar to bang bang shrimp.

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 5 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Sitting on the couch relaxing, having a drink or two, watching the Game Show Network. We are keeping score, see who can answer first and right. I'm winning. LOL he looks at me and says "okay smartie pants, wanna watch a movie?" Nope this is too much fun! hahaha

This pup/horse/moose has gotten the better of me. Getting up at ... anywhere between 3-5 a.m. and going to bed at 10 p.m. I'm not as young as I used to be. He has pulled me down, slammed me into a wall, crushed me feet, scratched the living daylights out of me, bitten me until I bled and made my house smell. Having a puppy/moose/horse is NOT for everyone. My kitties are not happy either. My bff Di says "but look at how cute he is" and I'm like, then you take him! UGH there are days...but yes, he's cute. 4 months old and over 30 lbs.
This photo was taken on his 4 month bday....July 1
He is 19 weeks, 4 1/2 months old and weighs in at 43 lbs!! Baby Moose (today)

Last month marked 5 years since my Daddy passed. I find myself thinking about him a lot these days. He was not politically correct. Everyone always said, and it was true, you never wondered what Jeff thought of you because he was out with it. No beating around the bush. Blunt, straight forward and to the point. He did not mince words. He had some interesting sayings as well.
Like if he didn't like something "I wouldn't kick a hog in the ass for it". or "I don't give two shits". Or this one"Want me to slap the taste out yo mouth?" I always wondered about that one. Really? Was it possible to slap the taste out of ones mouth and if so, where did it go? And did he really think someone would answer yes. In spite of it all, he was my Daddy and I adored him. 

In GA they just passed a new law. NO driving while using your phone. That means no talking or texting and no looking at it if it is in your hand, laying in your lap or on the dash. You MUST use a hands free device. I think it's great but this sign cracked me up!
Two sinks holes in one parking lot. It has caused a lot of traffic issues.

My cousin is a over the road, long distance truck driver. He is always posting photos of accidents, food, truck stop bathrooms and other interesting things he sees/encounters on the road. He posted photos of a really bad, 20 mile backed up, accident near me. My aunt post "are you on the looky lu side or accident side?" I cracked up! I haven't heard that in years.
Be sure to visit the others!
Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:
Baking In A Tornado                  https://www.BakingInATornado.com
Menopausal Mother                     http://www.menopausalmom.com/
Never Ever Give Up Hope            https://batteredhope.blogspot.com
Spatulas on Parade                   https://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com
Paradoxical Suds                        https://paradoxicalsuds.wordpress.com

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Italian Meat and Cheese Sticks with homemade marinara

I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy old favorites. 
Do you love cheese sticks? I do! Do you love meatballs? How about a good burger? Yeah me too, so...this is all of those things combined.
What? Lost my mind? Oh no honey, I just blew my mind and yours when you bite into one of these mouth watering delectable sticks.
My husband is not overly fond of cheese, and well cheese sticks he thinks are ehh or okay. These he devoured! So there's ya proof!
Enjoy!
 marinara
1 large can - 24 oz of Italian crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1/2 medium Vidalia onion chopped
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
1 TBSP parsley flakes
1 TBSP oregano dried crushed
Saute garlic and onion in evoo, add 2 TBSP butter and remaining ingredients. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
 Meat and cheese sticks
1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
salt and pepper
Mix well.
Unwrap 6 Mozzarella string cheese sticks. Form a patty and wrap around the cheese stick. Now dip in a egg water bath. Egg water bath is 1 egg and 1/2 cup water whisked together in a bowl. Roll the stick around then roll it in bread crumbs. In a hot skillet with oil, fry the meat until done. Don't make the patty too thick, maybe 1/3 inch thick this will ensure the cheese will melt and the burger will be done.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Buffalo Chicken Celery/Anti-Boredom - BWF - July

Anti-Boredom, what a theme. Who's bored? Not me. I have 3 cats and a 4 month old puppy to care for. Add to that the responsibilities of running a home, blog, business, paying bills, keeping up with my adult kids and grand-kids and trying to come up with new recipes/blog ideas.

Welcome to the July Blog With Friends...each month we chose a theme and each blogger puts their own twist or interpretation on it. At the bottom of this post you will find photos of their project and links to their pages.

BUT...I do get bored. There is always something to do and I just don't want to. I'm bored. I don't want to cook, clean, pay bills, walk the dog, clean the litter box or a multitude of other things that NEED doing. Why am I bored then? Companionship or lack of, that is when the boredom hits. When my husband has been at work for 8 hours and it's going to be a late night. I have no friends that live within 4 hours of me, no family within 4-9 hours of me and essentially no one to have an actual physical conversation with. THAT is when I feel bored, lonely, alone and restless.
So what to do then? Go for a walk, get some sunshine, exercise, drive to DD for some coffee, take the dog to the park, go to the farmers market for recipe ideas. These are just a few things I do.
How about you? Do you have an anti-boredom strategy? Do you get bored?
I know when I was growing up, boredom was NOT an option especially during summer break. We had entirely too much to do to be bored. Breakfast, then dishes, get dressed, weed the garden, pick the vegetables, slop the hogs, feed chickens, wash clothes, hand them on the line, sweep, mop, vacuum, clean the bathroom and dust AND all this was done before lunch. After lunch had been eaten and cleaned up, then we took in the laundry, folded, put it away, peeled tomatoes, shucked corn, shelled peas, had a coke while watching the afternoon soaps then it was time to get supper started. My mom believed in keeping me busy.
I think that is the problem today. We have so many things to occupy our time and mind that when we do have down time, we are lost. Boredom hits very quickly due to our minds being accustomed to the constant barrage of technology. Kids especially. They can't play along, go outside or sit silently in a room. They think they "need" to be playing a video game or being entertained. Gone are the innocent days or running around outside barefooted through the grass all summer and drinking water out of a hose.
I watch my grand-kids and it makes me so sad. Even the two year old, she has to have the DVD going all the time and her mom is constantly changing the video from one to another to keep her interest. The four year old is the same and oh man then talk about the eight year old, well she thinks you need to giver her your undivided attention every second she is awake or give her your phone. No way! The other ones have their noses in their tablets, iPad, phones or some other electronic device.
Heaven forbid any of us sit down and enjoy each others company, have a conversation or just "be". Oh the horror if it is even suggested.
The older I get the more content I am to just sit, read, watch a movie, listen to the breeze blow, watch the clouds, listen to music and do absolutely nothing. Sound boring? It's not.
The boredom comes from lack of human interaction.
So for this long winded post, I'll also share with you this. A simple recipe you can toss together anytime you're bored and have the munchies BUT it will not blow your appetite for dinner later, nor will it fill you with unnecessary sugar, carbs or processed food.

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Celery
using leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken or even canned chicken
1-2 cups of chicken, shredded, diced, chopped whichever you prefer
1-2 TBSP mayo (I used 1 because I had 1 cup of chicken)
Hot sauce or buffalo sauce to your desired taste (I used 5 tsp)
Mix it all together and stuff into celery sticks. I cut mine in 3 inch lengths. Perfect for snacking.








Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Everything Bacon

We love bacon and I mean love it. We were sitting around one night talking about different recipes and I said I wanted to stuff some jalapenos and wrap them with bacon well of course hubby was all for that. But I went just a tad farther.
I wrapped from fresh carrots and drizzled them with maple syrup, sprinkled them with fresh cracked black pepper and roasted them with the peppers! OMGosh talk about good.

For the peppers I used bulk breakfast sausage, you know like Jimmy Dean or Smithfield, whatever you prefer. I cut the jalapenos in half, seeded them and sprinkled shredded cheese on one side, then filled the other side with sausage (that I had already cooked and drained the fat off of). Then I wrapped bacon around them. I used sweet salad peppers for myself. I can do more heat than I used to could but these little green bombs were packing heat. I could feel it in my fingers and smell them, so I decided to forego the emergency room trip for now.
Aren't they beautiful? But the bacon will shrink and once cooked, not very pretty. But tasty and that's all that matters!
You could do this on the grill for the fourth!

Y'all be careful while traveling, don't text and drive and please PLEASE if you are playing with fireworks be careful.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Southwest Flat Bread

I love pizza, any kind really. Yes, I will even eat it with pineapple on it. I know, I know, there are the purist who holler that's not right, but hey if it taste good, eat it. Who makes these rules anyway? What should and should not go on pizza, or in pancake mix, or any food rule for that matter?
Okay, I'm straying here.
I love pizza and I've grown to enjoy the spicy kick every now and again too. BIG shock for those who know me well.

This makes a great lunch or quick dinner. You can pre chop all the ingredients and have it ready to go. Serve with a big salad.
If it's too hot to crank up the oven, use flat bread wraps, place all the ingredients inside, roll and eat. Your choice.

store bought flat bread or you could roll out pizza dough very thin
red onion diced
tomato seeded and diced
red bell pepper diced
jalapeno seeded and diced
chicken diced and cooked (you can use leftovers or rotisserie chicken)
bbq sauce
spicy ranch dressing drizzle
jack cheese shredded
cheddar shredded
Roll out your dough very thin or use a prepared flat bread. Top with all the wonderful ingredients listed above in whatever order you choose, no rules. Bake at 450 for 7-10 minutes depending on how crispy you want it.
Allow it to cool off, slice and enjoy. I don't normally wait, I burn my mouth and complain later.

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Adventures of Tucker and FOTW - June

Happy Friday y'all!! And almost the end of the month. I was talking, via FB messenger to a friend/fellow blogger and talking about time flying. Kids being so busy and growing up way to fast. I told her to enjoy it because I missed my boys and our busy schedule. Her reply...it has stuck with me. "The days are long but the years are short."
Just give that a minute to sink in.

I've been at this blogging thing for 6 years. Seems like just yesterday my friends were encouraging me to start a blog and now here we are, six years later. Did you see my anniversary/blogiversary post? You can read it HERE.

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 5 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.
Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado                  https://www.BakingInATornado.com
Menopausal Mother                     http://www.menopausalmom.com/
Never Ever Give Up Hope            https://batteredhope.blogspot.com
Spatulas on Parade                   https://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com
My Brand of Crazy                   https://sarahsbrandcrazy.blogspot.com/

So much happened last month. My oldest son got a new job, oldest biological son and his wife bought a house, my youngest son was promoted and his moving to a new duty station (only 6 hours from me!!) and my middle son got a new job and a new relationship plus his son moved closer to him (yay!) and my daughter finished another year of college. Only 2 more to go! Bless her she has been at this for a long time. Working full time and raising a family, now due to her accident and disability she is in school full time AND on the Dean's list.
My oldest grand daughter turned 21 and is getting married this month. Yikes! My youngest grand daughter is moving closer!!!! If case you missed it there are 5 kids and 9 grands. Yep, it's official, I'm old.

Every night after supper we watch Family Feud on the GSN. We love Steve Harvey. So the question was "name a part of the body that can get you in trouble?" Of course number one was mouth. I was not really paying attention and checking my email. I hear "goose" and turn toward my husband. I said "WHAT? why would they say goose?" He said they didn't, they said boobs. I said, Oh...

Bits of conversation 

Did you see all the musky toes out back?
Musky toes?
Mosquitoes 

Well if you woke up Ett you know there was a tiger hunting ya
Yep. Wake up. Man I can’t see it’s dark in here. And wet. What’s this liquid it’s burning me

The pup snoring. 
Him. What'd you do to him ?
Me. Told him to leave me alone and lay done. 
Him. Why won’t he do that for me?
Me. He knows I mean it. 
**
My big beautiful Beau, something caught his eye. He's up on his hind feet straining his neck to see. I got up and looked out, didn't see a thing but heard a lot of noise going up the stairwell.

Tucker is way more active than any puppy I've ever had. He is more active than my fibro can handle. Poor guy wants to run and play all day, I can't. He has done very well except for killing. He has killed 3 tennis balls. Poor things don't stand a chance around here. **4 as of this morning.
Another one bites the dust...

After giving Tucker a brand new ball. He quickly lost it. I'm thinking HOW and in two seconds, he's pushing the chair, getting under it, having a fit. I walk over and find this.
The ball got caught up in the sheet AND what else do I discover...he's been chewing on the window sill. Oy...good thing hubby can fix anything. See his little face, right where it says Parade. LOL he was still looking even after I said "here it is". Silly dog.

This was just too funny. I walked in the living room and my poor husband was surrounded! The dog is at his feet asleep and the restless natives are circling the hound ready to attack.
On the interstate and we passed a Volvo. On the side was a sign. Honda recall team 1-800... ....

That's it for this month. Be sure to visit the others and don't forget, we do this every month. Sometimes it is funny, sometimes it is just pictures and sharing 'stuff'.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Caramel Coconut Fudgy Brownie - Blogiversary

Welcome! Who would have thought that six years ago when I started this that I would actually have followers, readers and fans. I am humbled and very thankful. Six years! WOW

June is a huge celebration month.
June 1st my youngest son's wedding 5th anniversary 
6/2 the anniversary of my Daddy passing RIP 5 years
6/8  my birthday the big 29 cough...with 23 experience
6/9 my oldest son's birthday..31
6/11 oldest friend's (oldest because we've known each other our entire lives) birthday..52
6/12 my blogiversary..6 years
6/23 Sissy's birthday...we'll leave that year blank
6/26 Sissy's daughter, my heart daughter, 28th birthday
Add to that a dozen friends who are celebrating either birthday's or anniversarys AND 6 blog challenge post. A busy month as you can see.

To make it even more special...my dear friend and fellow blogger Tamara from Part-Time Working Hockey Mom aka The Three Gerbers, is also celebrating her blogiversary. We have been at this for SIX years. I mentioned to her that we were both celebrating in June and she suggested we post together as a party/celebration. I thought it was a great idea. So this post is dedicated to 'us'.

Let's take a look back...my very first blog post. HERE
My favorite post...HERE
Your favorite post...HERE (based on statics from my blog)
My 2016 birthday post HERE because it is one of my favorite cakes!
My birthday post for this year. HERE
HERE
For this post, I'm sharing and celebrating lots of milestones and this killer recipe. I was walking around the grocery store and my husband's words ringing in my head. He wanted me to pick up something sweet. Wasn't I enough? LOL but seriously, I was thinking what junk do I want to buy. Nothing. Then I thought, chocolate, brownies, oooh wait! I LOVE the GS cookies, you know the ones, with caramel and coconut. Mmm mmm good. What if I made a brownie to replicate or resemble the cookie? Oh yeah that sounded good to me.

Here is what I came up with. Doesn't that look decadent? Oh it is.
I purchased a family size dark chocolate fudge brownie mix, the reason is because I rarely bake anymore and didn't want to purchase all the ingredients to make brownies from scratch.

Dark chocolate Fudge brownie mix, prepare according to package
I baked mine in a pie pan but you can use whatever pan you prefer.
Once it was in the pan I sprinkled on graham cracker crumbs to resemble the cookie.
Then raw unsweetened coconut sprinkled on the crumbs.
Last I drizzled caramel sauce all over the top.
Bake
Topped with vanilla bean ice cream and drizzled with more caramel sauce.
When it was baked and cooled, the top had formed a crust, so the top was crunchy and the brownie soft moist and fudgy. Oh man!



Part of the celebration in this post includes the Liebster award. Tamara was nominated and she nominated me! How cool is that? Confused...here's the details.
Liebster Award
"Liebster" is a German word meaning beloved or dearest. It is an online recognition in form of virtual award which started in 2011 passed on by bloggers to fellow bloggers for enjoying and valuing their work. The idea is to recognize the effort and give credit.

The Liebster Award is interesting in that anyone nominated for it receives it by writing an acceptance post. The rules for accepting the award are straightforward:
  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions you were asked.
  • Nominate 11 people and ask them 11 questions.
  • Notify each of the nominees on their blog.
Through the years, the logo has changed as well as the suggested requirements to participate. Here is the LINK to my old acceptance, with its requirements and here is the new logo...
Nominees, should you choose to accept your award, here are your questions:

1.How did you decide to start your blog? 
In June of 2012 my friends encouraged me to write a blog. They were always after my recipes and this would be an easy way for them to find them when needed. Being a new empty nester it also gave me something to do.
2.If you were to start over, what would you do differently?
I would purchase my own domain and hire someone to do updates.
3.If you were a fruit, which would you be and why?
An apple because they come in so many different varieties, shapes and colors plus it is a very versatile fruit.
4.What are some things that sound like compliments but are actually insults?
Oh well don't you look nice today is it a special occasion? To me this says you normally look like crap, what made you look decent today?
5.Show me your favorite purse / bag / backpack!
Michael Kors - I love the classic timeless look of this bag.

6.What is the worst purchase you’ve ever made?
1995 we purchased a used Pontiac LeMans, it was a lemon, the worst purchase ever.
7.Chicken or Beef?
I love a good steak but when it comes to what I cook at home, chicken wins over beef.
8.What are three of your best traits? 
This could be interrupted two ways. Personality traits or physical...let's go with personality: loyal, dependable, funny
9.Have you ever impersonated someone else?
Yes and no. I can imitate most anyone if I am around them for very long but as far as doing an impersonation and dressing up as them, no.
10.What was something recent that you messed up and got away with?
Nothing that comes to mind.
11.After you survive the apocalypse, what will your job be?
Supply organizer, I'm very resourceful at finding things and I'm organized, so it just makes sense.

I am nominating the following, and I have to let them know. I know it says 11 but there were a few that I contacted first and they declined. I was a little shocked, hopefully these ladies will feel honored and accept.

Thank you all for a great 6 years and cheers to the next 6, may they be just as exciting.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Honey Bourbon Brine - Chicken KETO

Are you a fan of brine? You know the salty highly seasoned water solution that you soak meat in for 24 hours. I'm not. I have tried it, now three times. None of the three have I enjoyed.
The ONLY reason I'm sharing this is because someone might like it. Like I said, I'm not a fan of brine, but I thought this would be good. No. It wasn't, well not to me. My husband ate it but wasn't a fan either.
If you try it, let me know. Are you a fan?
Brine mix
4 cups tea
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup salt
2 bay leaves
1 lemon sliced
2 oz bourbon
Place all ingredients in a gallon size zip top bag and drop in your chicken, on the bone or boneless, whichever you prefer. Place the bag in a bowl, in case there is leakage, place in the fridge for 24 hours. Drain the chicken and cook or grill.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Fresh Strawberry Sauce and Chocolate Whipped Cream -Truth or Dare - BWF - June

Welcome to the June edition of  Blogging With Friends. Each month we choose a theme, always different and sometimes relative to the month/holiday coming up. Since we are all different "types" of bloggers our interpretation of the theme will vary greatly from one blog to the other.
I was out voted this month. Our theme is "truth or dare", which I honestly was not a fan of. You may ask why and I'll explain. Have you seen the commercial for the new horror movie? I had, and when I saw this as a potential theme I cringed. No way did I want to do it but alas here we are.
Also, truth or dare brought up some very unhappy teen memories. 

Dare I share? Well, that is the theme...when I was 14 I had a horrible crush on this guy. He was 18. One morning my friends and I were standing out front of the school, waiting on the bell. In pulls this car, music blaring and JJ got out. His brother, Roger, my crush was driving. He said "hey you girls want to have some fun?" My friend Kim ran to the car. The rest of us looked at each other. She was leaning in the window and talking to him. Then she turns around and says "come on!!" so we did. I have no idea what in heavens name possessed me that morning. But I got in the car and away we sped. OH MY GOSH I was skipping school AND with an 18 year old no doubt. My mother was going to kill me, I could see the newspaper headlines now. "LOCAL GIRL KILLED BY IRRATE MOTHER" or "LOCAL GIRL KILLED FOR SKIPPING SCHOOL, LET THAT BE A LESSON TO YOU ALL". 
We drove for what seemed like an hour, and it was close to it. He pulled in a local mom and pop store, and came out with beer. OH MY GOSH, yep, that did it, that sealed my faith. I was dead. Because if my mother didn't kill me, my dad would surely kill this guy.
Then we drove to his house. It was a cute house, surrounded by trees, perfect for a murder. Yes I've always had a dark mind. We sat around the living room, smoking cigarettes and being cool. He popped a top, drank it down and Kim grabbed one. She was the "cool" kid, daring, rebellious, my alter ego. She pushed a bottle towards me. "HERE Dawn, drink one", "no I'm okay." She laughed "oooh are you scared. I dare you." And so the day began. One dare after another. I "dare" you to drink a beer, I dare you to smoke a cigarette, I dare you to take a toke off this joint, I dare you to make out with Roger, I dare you to go in the bedroom with him and on and on it went.
The way the day ended is a horrible nightmare and one I'm not ready to share. But I will say this, NO I did not cower in every dare. I did not make out with him, I did not have sex or give him a hickie and yes Kim and the rest of my "friends" made fun of me. The goody goody girl. I was scared, embarrassed and then I was mad as hell. These were not my friends. Friends didn't treat friends like this. I did say no. I did not give in and "truth or dare" has always been a phrase that gets my dander up and brings on heightened anxiety because I see that scared 14 year old girl sitting in a house surrounded by trees and it could have very easily ended worse than it did. We were stupid to get in that car. Our parents had no way of knowing where we were or what we were doing. We didn't know him. We knew WHO he was but that's different.
Not long after that, just a few months, he shot and killed a man. His best friends father. The mom talked him in to it, offered him part of the insurance money. His best friend was an accomplice. He served 32 years in prison. So yes, it could have ended much worse.
So when I saw the movie advertise, all this came flooding back. THEN the group voted and this was chosen as a theme. Oy!

Can we talk about this for one more minute? Truth or dare, peer pressure, bullying there really isn't much difference. Were you the giver or receiver? How about your children? No I don't believe it's part of growing up, no I don't believe it's okay, yes I do think you can teach your children to be nice, kind and accepting without being door mats. It's called common decency and I believe it packed up and left. It all stems from one thing, low self esteem. If you bully someone, it is a deep rooted issue. The bully is vying for attention, self seeking, they are ultimately afraid of something. They may be receiving this at home, a dad who is trying to make him a man at 12 but really is just a mean old drunk. I'm actually going to stop right here because this is a major hot spot for me, a soap box issue.
I will say this. Teach your children kindness. Teach them to also stand up for themselves. Teach them that it's okay to be different and value their differences, strengths and stop focusing on the negative. The world will give them enough of that all too soon. Teach them to walk away even if it means being alone for a while. It is better to be alone than to walk with idiots.
Stop Bullying campaign...talk to your kids. Maybe read it and take it to heart yourself. http://stompoutbullying.org/

On to a happier topic and memory. How about this...a chocolate chip pound cake with fresh strawberry sauce and chocolate whipped cream!? Dare I? Yes this time!
The strawberry sauce you'll find HERE if you want the recipe. Yes the picture shows just chopped strawberries, I forgot to get a picture of the sauce over the cake, we were in a hurry to eat it. The down side of blogging, pictures MUST be taken first. LOL

Chocolate Whipping Cream
Homemade whipped cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup baking cocoa powder
Beat until light, fluffy and stiff peaks are formed. If you over whip, you'll end up with something close to butter and the cream will begin to break down and separate.

For the pound cake, I cheated. Yep I purchased a mix and added chocolate chips to it. You can bake your own from scratch. It will take about a dozen eggs but you will be able to control the other ingredients and less processed stuff.

That's it, simple, easy and super delicious.

Now be sure to stop by the other participants and see how they interpreted this theme.
Lydia Cluttered Genius : Survive the beach...with kids
Rabia from  The Lieber Family
 Tamara from Part Time Working Hockey Mom