Tag Archives: children’s books

Fabulous 4th of July Cheesecake Flag

2 Jul

If you make one dish for Independence Day, make this fabulous 4th of July cheesecake flag cake and you’ll be the hit of the day! I first made this in 2010 for the Fourth but it is so delectable that I get requests for it all the time and decorate it to suit any occasion.  The true beauty of this cake is that it serves a whopping 48 persons and it’s finger-food that can be passed…no plates or silverware, just a napkin!

This is a recipe from Martha Stewart that I tweaked a bit by adding fresh whipped cream icing instead of confectioner’s sugar for bright white stripes of the flag, and canned strawberry pie filling for the toppings.  Here is Martha’s cake photo but it looked too messy. I just pictured kids (and adults) dropping fruit and confectioner’s sugar all over the place and opted for ‘stuff that stuck.’ However, the choice is yours.

Print out Martha’s recipe for convenience, as I follow it to the letter to bake the cake. If you choose to go my route, pick up a can of strawberry and blueberry pie filling or fresh blueberries. Here’s a simple recipe for whipped cream for the stripes:

Simple Whipped Cream

Be sure to start with a metal bowl and whisk that’s be chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes.

1 Cup heavy cream

1 Tsp. vanilla

1 Tbsp. sugar

Whip all in bowl until stiff peaks begin to form. Do not over-beat as it will become buttery and lumpy.

Here’s a slideshow of the baking steps; the decorating is up to you!

Need another tasty dish for your cookout? Try my Super Crispy Chicken Wing recipe.

Enjoy the holiday everyone!

Pssst, anyone wondering why there are only 42 pieces of cake in the top photo? I always take a row for my hubby and I to nosh on the next day. :0) Try this fabulous 4th of July Cheesecake Flag; your peeps will love you for it!

Bagels – Make Your Own Bagels – with Bread Machine Ease



Hiya Folks,

Don’t you just love bagels? As a born-and-bred New Yorker, Saturdays would start out every weekend with a baker’s dozen. As an adult, nothing really changed…except the water.

Good bagels didn’t exist when I lived in Florida because of the water. Sure, there was Einstein Bros Bagels but they just didn’t taste the same as a good ‘ole NY bagel. It was only until moving to Texas, and receiving a cast-off bread machine from my hubby’s mom, that I discovered I could make them myself.

The beauty about this recipe is that most of the work is done for you in the bread machine. You just need to measure out a small amount of ingredients, throw it into the bread machine and walk away to do something else for an hour and twenty minutes. I’ve looked around and most bagel dough recipes are similar. Here’s a BAGEL RECIPE for a Toastmaster Bread Machine, which includes the ingredients and steps, so all you’ve got to do is print it out when you’re finished reading this post. I will list the steps here for you now, so you will see that it’s a breeze and YOU CAN DO IT!

No bread machine? No worries. The related article below will show you how to make the dough from scratch.


Add ingredients in this order to the bread machine bucket: 1 Cup hot water, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 Cups bread flour, 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast. Add bucket to the machine, set on ‘dough,’ and start the process. The machine will mix, rise and knead the dough for you in about an hour and twenty minutes.

Place dough on a floured surface and divide into 8 pieces. Then roll into smooth balls and make a hole in the middle with your thumbs and pull open an inch. Place on greased or silpat-lined baking pan, cover with cloth and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until they double in size. Beat an egg with a little water in a small bowl for an egg wash and put aside.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then add 2 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of sugar to a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Once bagels double in size, place 2-3 bagels in boiling water for 3 minutes, flipping them half way through. Remove with slotted spoon and place back on baking pan. Brush with egg and sprinkle toppings of your choice. Try minced garlic, salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and onion flakes.

boil bagels

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until brown, and cool on wire rack.

This recipe makes 8 bagels. Slice them and freeze, and they’ll be perfect out of the toaster too. Enjoy!

Now that Football Season has started, why not checkout this fun recipe for the super crispiest chicken wings here?

HANDY TIP: I’m a home chef and can whip up fancy dishes off the top of my head, but for some reason I don’t keep basic recipes in my head, and I don’t have a lot of counter space to bring my laptop in the kitchen. I got tired of printing out recipes for often-used items, so I started taping them in the inside doors of my kitchen cabinets. (It’s clear that I do not live in the Taj-Majhal so forgive the rustic-ness.) My cabinets holds cake transfer images, a 7-step pie crust dough, and recipes for chicken pot pie, fresh flour tortillas, fajita seasoning mix, bread machine soft pretzels, and of course, BREAD MACHINE BAGELS.


Dag Nabbitt, I Have Texas Hair!

13 Sep Texas Hair, lucci the no smoochie poochie, dogs, bedtime story, children's book

lucci the no smoochie poochie, dog story, children's book, pets

This is my profile pic; the one on Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else that associates my friends and readers with me. Before you read on, I ask that you remember me this way because things have changed drastically!..

One of the first things I remember soon after moving to a small town in Texas close to 4 years ago was something Joy Behar said on “The View” one day. She mentioned a nation-wide poll that listed Texas as the “worst hair” state.

I recall saying, “Fabulous, I live here now,” but didn’t give the statistic more thought. Then, I soon became aware of some kind of a difference while walking through stores, parking lots, all around really. I noticed amateurish cuts, God-awful highlighting jobs, grown-out roots and pony tails…pony tails and hats. I promised myself that would never be me.

Take a look; Texas claimed two out of 13 of the worst cities in the country in a 2009 survey. “For the least hair-friendly cities, TotalBeauty noted a number of factors that contribute to frizz, dryness and other common hair complaints. These include humidity, hard water and a dearth of hair salons.”:

Donna L. Sadd

Unfortunately, the 2012 survey stayed the same.

Now, I’m a New Yorker who was used to plunking down $150.00 at the ‘beauty parlor’ for a color and a cut, more if it was time for highlights, the same in Florida. Yet, since moving to a ‘rustic’ small town in Central Texas Hill Country, I gave the 4 home-town salons a shot, but they were all sub-par. It’s just a different world out here, and I can attest for the “dearth” of hair salons.

It’s been such a slow process that I just had’nt noticed. The intense Texas heat found me cutting my hair short and I began coloring it myself. Let’s put it this way, after one showers and dresses then does farm chores, one needs another shower! It’s daunting and I guess somewhere along the line, something shifted.

I settled on a small neighborhood place that equates more to a barber shop than a salon, where I now pay (wait for it, wait for it) a WHOPPING $12.00! That’s if I drag my boney butt down to town to get it done; usually, I just trim my bangs over the bathroom sink. The one-woman shop owner is also the minister of the Korean church next door. I get a trim and a sermon all at once; now that’s one stop shopping!

I had always wanted to be an “Ivory Snow’ kind of girl, natural and make-up free, and I soon realized it out in this country. When my hubby and I get together with family, I’m the one in jeans and boots, hair up, no make-up (well maybe a tad of mascara) and they’re all face-painted, dressed up and acrylic-ed out. I shake my head; what’s the point? We’re out in the sticks for Pete’s sake and there’s no one to impress.

This stark reversal of mine found me feeling quite liberated, but lately it’s gotten a bit out of hand. Focusing full-time on writing hasn’t helped. I wake at 4:30 every morning so that I have some quiet time before my 3-mile morning walks at 6:30. I try to catch up on Twitter and Facebook so that I’ll be able to concentrate later on writing after I come home and get all 10 animals and a husband fed. Then I’m out in the goat yard for an hour or two cleaning up. By the time I get back in the house it’s noontime, and I get stuck in my pink Texas Longhorn ball cap that I wear on my morning walks.

Texas hair, lucci the no smoochie poochie, dogs, bedtime story, picture book

I’m beginning to think the “Great Grandma” is looking better than me.

Sometimes I can be found in my dilapidated cowboy hat feeding the dogs, doing farm chores, writing, cleaning the house, caring for the goats, writing, secretarial work for hubby, and writing.

Texas Hair, lucci the no smoochie poochie, dogs, bedtime story, children's book

It’s gotten so bad lately that I’ve regressed to pig tails!

Texas hair, lucci the no smoochie poochie, dogs, pets, bedtime story, children's book

Notice the roots? I went past Ivory Snow Girl, did not collect $200.00, and landed at Frump. I’ve become a statistic!

I only dare post shots from the back! Whaaaaah, I need a trip back to New York. :0(

DAY 30- WINNING- #BlogFlash2012

30 Aug


So how does one know they’ve ‘won’ exactly? The dictionary states ‘winning’ as to have taken a territory or in gaining a large amount of money. I’ve done neither. 

Is winning having raised a fabulous family? I couldn’t have children, yet I helped raise two young brothers to fine fellows, and babied and loved countless four-legged kin as my own. 

Is ‘winning’ having a ton of friends? I only have a few that I can count on one hand. 

Assets? I don’t have much to speak of really, but I do have the love of a very good man.

Am I winning? All I know is that each night I lay my head on the pillow, I can say that I live my life being kind, always putting others before myself, and will reach out to do good every time.

So the way I see it, as long as I’ve got time ahead of me to do just that, I am WINNING! :0)

This is the last day of Terri Giuliano Long’s August #blogflash2012. This was a terrific experience; I met new friends, read wonderful authors’ pieces and I am sorry to see it end. I want to thank Terri for the opportunity and would suggest that writers who want to learn and improve their writing to follow Terri’s blog. While you’re at it, why not pop over to the #blogflash2012 contributor’s sites listed on Terri’s page and follow them as well. You’ll be glad you did. :0)

DAY 6 – READING – #BlogFlash2012: 30 Days, 30 Prompts, 30 Posts

6 Aug

Day 6 – Reading

There’s a book I yearn to read again,

Yet it’s nowhere to be had.

Got alerted about a year ago,

Its cost was exorbitant, too bad.

Wish I could find that tale I loved as a child.

To hold it in my hands again

Would be awesome fun and wild!

Related Articles:

#Blogflash2012- Day 4- Busy

#BlogFlash2012- Day 5- Frustration

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