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It’s true. For anyone who loves fried green tomatoes, you’ll be surprised at how similar this tastes. And talk about waste not, want not.

Cornmeal mix (you can buy this pre-made or make it yourself by mixing 1/2 flour and 1/2 corn meal)

1 tsp of salt

Pepper to taste

Slice the white part *only* of watermelon rind into slices similar to the size of tomato slices. Coat in the corn meal mixture, salt and pepper .

Fry in 350 degree oil for about 8 minutes or until tender and lightly brown.

We tried this tonight and I’m just amazed I didn’t know about this already. I’m in love. Honestly in love.

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Ok, so my mother made some brownies for a potluck at work today.  She saw this recipe (if you can call it that) in some random cookbook at some point in her life and finally decided to try it. 

To say it was a big hit would be an understatement.  These things are just white trash heaven.  So here’s what you do:

Buy your favorite chewy fudge brownie mix (the richer the better). Make the brownie batter according to directions and spread in your pan.  (We also used real butter versus stick margarine for our batter because….. well…….  we’re Southern).

Get a bunch of mini Mounds bars. (We bought 2 of the 10 pack “sheets”). Lay them out on wax paper and smash them flat with a glass.  Lay them on top of your brownie batter to make your second layer.

Pop open a can of sweetened condensed milk and drizzle the whole can over everything as evenly as possible.  Bake according to the directions on the brownie mix.

Let them set and cool because they fell apart horribly when we attacked them fresh from the oven.  However, if you’re like us and have no objection to eating brownies with a spoon, then go ahead and attack them fresh out of the oven.  You could even spoon this stuff over ice cream as a topping while it’s hot, come to think of it.  Oh my gosh, this stuff was so worth the 2.3 seconds of guilt…….

My friends, who know me well, know that I have an eerie obsession with throwing things away. There are times I have to mentally wrestle with myself to not clear out things I actually use. But overall, I think it’s a healthy habit that everyone should develop an appreciation for (if not a love, like myself)!

Throwing away stuff is easy once you learn the basics. These are the rules I follow and can say that it makes my life much easier, more organized, and I sleep a little better at night. I do want to point out that I’m going to use the term “throw away” but it means either garbage, bags for Goodwill (which you need to take immediately), or recycle bins.

1. Every single day, empty all the garbage in the house. Go room to room. Gum wrappers laying around, the little cans in the bathroom, old newspapers, the half eaten banana on the coffee table… clear it out daily! Keep a handle on it and make it a habit. Before you tie the bag up, open the refrigerator and find something that needs to go. Eventually there will be days there’s nothing old in your refrigerator, can you imagine??

2. Once every few months go through all the clothes, underwear, shoes, etc. Anything stained beyond wearing that you won’t wear to clean or garden, toss. Socks with holes, toss. (If you’re a crafter, shred or cut for cleaning rags). If there’s something in your wardrobe you haven’t worn since 1987, get a therapist to figure out why you’re keeping it………….

3.  There is absolutely no reason to keep grocery store receipts from six months ago. There’s no need. So stop that.

4. When the Purging Bug hits you, go through your books and movies. Find the ones that you thought you really wanted and then realized you don’t really care about watching/reading it again. Bag up what you find and go trade them in for a classic book or movie that you’ll never get tired of. 

5. The golden rule of all things, your house included is “Quality over Quantity”.  Are the things that clutter up your house (aka life) things that you love? Do you use them? Or do they take up space? Do you fear empty space in your home, on your counter tops, under your sinks?  If so, why? 

I think one of the main things I focus on is the idea that space and organization is more than it appears. It’s time, it’s money, it’s peace of mind.  If I have 50 blouses in my closet and I wear less than half of them, there’s over 25 pieces of clothing I have to shuffle through and wrestle with to find the one thing I will wear.  It might seem like wealth, but it’s not.  Sometimes it might be, but a lot of times it’s just fear.  Fear of want, of need, of the “what if’s”.   But the most important thing about removing clutter and organizing your life is that it makes room in your life.  Room to breathe easier.  Room to rest.  Room to not have big choices.  Room to put out that amazing new vase you found without it looking like it’s on a table at a yard sale.  And that, dearies, is priceless.

 
 
 
 
 

 

These cookies are fabulous. They are dense and really chewy, the texture is amazing. And worth the trouble, trust me. Mama’s been making these as long as I can remember. She said she got the recipe out of a Southern Living book at some point years ago.

3/4 c butter
1 c light brown sugar
1 c molasses
1 tsp Allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
3 2/3 c plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Combine butter, brown sugar, molasses and spices. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, let cool, and sit at room temperature for 8 hours.
Combine flour, soda and salt. Stir flour mixture into syrup mixture. Chill several hours.
Roll out and cut -or- press dough into a 10×15 pan cake pan for bar cookies. (this dough is difficult to work with… roll out small bits at a time and keep the rest chilled as you work if you don’t do the bar cookies). It’s going to be thin.
Bake at 350 degrees. This is the tricky part. For the 10×15 Mama goes about 10 minutes watching veryyy carefully. It puffs up and you want to pull them out when they seem a little undercooked. Because if you cook them too long they get hard as rocks. For individual cookies (which again is *really* difficult with this dough, but possible if you’re adventurous) it’s going to take less time. And depend on your oven.

Enjoy!!

When Febreeze put out the Scent Story player I waited a long time before I bought it. I just didn’t trust it. Then I came across a coupon for $10 off and bought one. It is WONDERFUL.

But now……..now………I’m euphoric. Yankee Candle has entered the scene. Just in time for Fall and Christmas. Get this. You’ll be so glad you did.

http://www.yankeecandle.com/cgi-bin/ycbvp/freestyle.jsp?category=%2fRetail%2fNew+Scentstories

Ok, it’s that time of the year!!

Time to purge, clean, organize and get ready to nest for the winter. Ready for those out of town guests who meander in during Thanksgiving and Christmas. This time of the year is so exciting…. I’m going to post each project as I do it to inspire and motivate! Get those rubber gloves and cleaning supplies ready. And please…… please…… get lots of trash bags. Because I KNOW you have lots of things to throw away.

1. All rugs, shower curtains, liners (if they’re not the cheap disposable), curtains and decor towels get hauled to the laundry room. Extra rinse and Snuggle, please! If you use the cheapie liners, buy replacements now.

2. I sprayed the shower/tub down with the new Oxyclean Soap Scum remover (let it sit for at least 10 minutes) and it’s like a new tub. (I’m not kidding). Get the crud around the drain with an old nail file and cleaning rag. Spray down the toilet and sink. Get around the base of the toilet really well. Do the Windex last on the faucets and mirrors.

3. Now’s the time to check all medications, topicals, anything that expires. Throw that stuff away! If you haven’t used that partial bottle of shampoo you bought in April, get it OUT of the house. Go through your make-up now, too. (Perfect timing because the winter shades are out, girlies).

4. Soak the soap dish, lotion dispensers, anything like that. I run mine through the dishwasher. Refill dispensers, put out new soap and just stand and admire a minute.

5. Replace toothbrushes if you haven’t lately. Soak/dishwasher the toothbrush holder if you have one.

6. De-hair combs and brushes. Soak in a warm water and clarifying shampoo solution. Rinse well with cold water and let them dry outside if you can.

7. Sweep floor really well. Then get on your hands and knees and *really* clean it. Luckily our bathrooms are small enough this isn’t a big deal. I use a wet cleaning rag and a bottle of my favorite cleaner and just hand clean the floor in small sections. Get the baseboards and in the corners really well where the dust collects and junks up.

Now! Re-hang your curtains, put your warm Snuggly rugs down, hang the shower curtains and revel in it. This is where you could also get a new air freshener to celebrate. (I love the Method Green Grass from Target for the bathrooms).

From here on out, keep a container of cleaning wipes stored in each bathroom. I use the Clorox toilet bowl cleaner contraption and keep those replacement heads in the bathroom closet. If you use the brush, keep whatever cleaner you use stored in the bathroom too. A couple of minutes a day will keep it this clean. Don’t forget to wipe out the shower/tub after you use it, or at least a few times a week. When the guests start showing up, you’ll never have to worry about the bathrooms. Because, girl, you’re done.

Growing up, Mama told us kids that you would, in fact, go to Hell for ironing. If we owned an iron (which I’ve really searched my memory and can’t remember ever seeing one) it was never used in my presence. I can remember being at my grandmother’s house, watching her iron, and being mesmerized by the smell of spray starch and shiny smoothness she created.

Now Mama’s alternative was “fluffing”. My little brother asked her once if we’d go to hell for fluffing but she quickly set him straight with a loud “NO!”. Fluffing entailed getting the dryer hot, spraying down your article of clothing with water from a spray bottle, and tossing it in to steam the wrinkles out. Quick, easy and had the added benefit in the winter of wearing fresh dryer warm clothes.

Obviously, we didn’t buy clothes that fluffing couldn’t remedy. Daddy worked construction and the only time I saw him in a suit was for funerals. At church he stuck to the no-iron slacks and polo type shirts. Mother was prone to buy the silky, flowing type fabrics. And we kids stayed in good old cotton which is very fluffable.

As I grew into adulthood, there were times I went against the grain and ironed. I bought an iron that had a steamer function but was horribly disappointed. Those things always leak little bits and leave water spots on your clothes. My attempts at spray starch left white flakes. I could never master the technique itself of ironing and actually created wrinkles. It’s just not in my blood, I suppose. I often wonder if Mother’s deduction of ironing leading to Hell may in fact be logical. Anytime I tried, my rage and anger would reach levels that prompted me to scream profanity and my eyes would cloud over in a red murderous haze.

I’ve went back to the way I was raised and have found that the no-ironing mentality is now socially acceptable. I still use water bottles but also fell in love with the Downy Wrinkle Releaser. If you haven’t tried it, I challenge you to see for yourself how easy this makes life. I not only spray it on clothes fresh out of the dryer, but use it to fluff in place of my water bottle. Check it out: http://www.downy.com/en_US/products/wrinklereleaser.jsp

Obviously, I don’t really believe ironing is dangerous for your soul. But why take that chance?

Ok, I know…. it just doesn’t sound good. But I have gotten numerous requests for this recipe this year. People who try it just can’t quit thinking about it! It invades your dreams. You can’t go to the produce section without almost physically restraining yourself from filling your cart with grapes. It’s just that good, girls.

1 1/2 pound seedless green grapes (make sure they’re not mushy!)

1 8oz carton of good sour cream (don’t go buying that light crap)

1/2 cup of white sugar

1 tsp of good vanilla

1 block of good cream cheese (I don’t need to repeat what I said about the sour cream do I?)

A box of brown sugar…. I like the light

A mess of chopped pecans. Get alot.

Let the cream cheese come to room temperature. If your a/c is cranked, toss it on the back steps a while. Cream together with the white sugar, vanilla and sour cream. (Now I will personally toss in a handful of the brown sugar, too, just to make it rich… taste as you go to get the right amount). Fold this into the grapes that you have washed AND dried. (Dry is important). Some people half the grapes, whatever cranks your tractor. Layer the grape mixture with a thin layer of brown sugar and pecans. Make like a trifle. Top with generous amounts of brown sugar and pecans. And stand back so you don’t get trampled.