Monday, February 29, 2016

An Extra Day, Homemade Oreo's, & A happy end to a rough day


So around Valentine's Day remember I made those things called Red Velvet Oreo's? Today I had a bad day. I know I'll cherish even these bad days someday but boy was it rough! Anyway... I decided to make dessert to go with dinner (post about it coming to a blog near you soon!).

What was dinner? Dinner was Homemade Oreo's. Totally worth it! (Adapted from Your Cup of Cake and Sally's Baking Addition)

Ingredients:

  • Cookie:
    • 1 Box Devil's Food Cake Mix
    • 2 Eggs
    • 1/3 cup vegetable (or Canola) oil
  • Icing:
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
    • 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350˚F.

Mix cake mix, eggs, and vegetable oil in a bowl. The mix will be extremely thick. I got in and mixed it with my hands.

Bake 8-10 minutes. Once you pull them out of the oven, quickly pat down to flatten. (quickly because 1, they're hot and 2, the warmer they are, the easier they are to flatten!

For the icing:
Use a blender or a mixer (I used my Ninja). Add all icing ingredients. Smear a thin amount of icing on one cookie, top with the other cookie. Press together. Enjoy!

And I'll tell you, I totally enjoyed them!!


10 Things to Smile About February

Wow, it's been a while since I've remembered to link up with EmmyMom's 10 Things to Smile about mem... but guess what... I did it today! I tried hard to remember! And truthfully I could have linked up last Tuesday, but... there was still a week left of the month and I just had to hold off.

So in no particular order............ (drum roll please).................

9. National FFA week! FFA was a huge part of my growing up so it's only awesome that there is a whole week devoted to FFA! I mean come on, it shapes a lot of young minds!

5. Because of National FFA week, I got a new pair of boots. Wait, what do those two have in common? Well, they were FFA boots and a special and I think the special was because of FFA week and yeah...

2. The iPhone got my dad. It was great. My dad is a real joker, so it's always fun to pull one over on him from time to time and we didn't actually have any part in it, which makes it even better!

10. So the weather has been kind of crazy for February, even here in the midwest! We've seen 1 snow day at most... 1. We've also seen temps in the 70s in February which is kind of unheard of usually. Because of the warm weather, we've spent a lot of time riding! So much in fact that Abug sees a horse and instead of saying hor (horse) she says ride, ride, ride, ride, ride, ride, ride....

1. Some unfortunate events happened, but because of that we got to try out Jose Peppers. I'm still not in the right mind to voice my opinion on what happened. But, this restaurant is something we pass by quite often when going to Chiefs games and never had the opportunity to try until now. Definitely worth it!

7. I've recently gotten the opportunity to play with a full frame dSLR camera versus a crop sensor camera. While that doesn't seem like much, to a camera/picture lover like me, that's totally awesome!

6. My baby girl keeps getting older. And while that's an awesome thing, it makes me sad too. Time just needs to slow down, not stop, just slow down!

3. These... oh wow, just these... I need more stat! :)

8. Another Bling-i-versary & Valentine's Day under our belts. No he didn't propose on Valentine's Day, he proposed on National Safety Pup Day (Feb 12).

4. My niece turned 1.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Go to the feed store....

This is Devil Dawg, not Mudflap....

As we were pulling out of the driveway this morning I looked down at my phone and it said I had 26 minutes to my parents house and that traffic was clear. I laughed and joked that we go to my parents house a lot on Sunday's I guess.

If you don't have an iPhone, it has some feature about it that picks up on patterns that you normally do and tells you how traffic is for that particular commute. Oh... and we weren't headed to my parents house this morning.

Hubby said that the other day he was talking to my dad. My dad mentioned that he looked down at his phone the other day and it told him what traffic was like to the feed store. Dad started laughing and asked if hubby and I were playing tricks on him. But no, every Saturday is feed store day.

Mudflap used to tell dad it was Saturday and time for the feed store. Mudflap recently passed away though... so now it is dad's phone that tells him it is time to go to the feed store. I can sure tell you the horses will be happy to have dad receiving reminders ;).

Oooooo I wonder if we travel on a trip if it'll say he has to go like 136 miles (or some random number) to get to the feed store.

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Peanut Post - A 20 Month Update



  • 50 million times a day... ride ride ride ride. I think that makes it only appropriate to include a picture of you on a horse!
  • Shoes, you're in a size 6, although some of yours that size are getting small... very close to size 7.
  • Clothes are still 18 month to 2 year. The 2 year fit length wise better, the 18 month fit better around the waist.
  • You LOVE to ride horses!
  • I'm back and forth on thinking you're ready to be potty trained.... So right now, size 4 diapers still... but we're so close to moving on! I think.
  • You're trying soooooo hard to form sentences. Words, but sentences. I have a feeling you're going to start talking 90 to nothing in 0 flat....
  • You're riding your rocking horses.
  • Terrible two's have kind of started. They've been off and on starting since 18 months... but that's okay!
  • You still use that yucky binkie.
  • You love to eat. Although some weeks we eat every other day, and the off day you just much. It's weird. Maybe I need to take eating tips from you.
  • Did I mention you love to ride?
  • So many great phrases. I need to start recording them for you!
  • You Love:
    • T Tea - Sweet Tea
    • Pa-pa - Grandpa
    • Mam-ma - Grandma
    • Memaw - Memaw
    • Tissy - Sissy
    • Dada - Daddy
    • Momma - Mommy
    • Cheese enchiladas
    • Salsa
I love you baby girl!


Unfortunate chain of events landed us here... {Jose Peppers}

A lot of things happened on Monday that landed us here at the end of the day. It was a very frustrating day that I'll probably, maybe blog about, but until then, why don't I share food with you because food is a lot more fun than frustrating days. So anyway Monday we wound up eating dinner at Jose Pepper's in Belton, MO.

Every time we've been up here we've wanted to try it, just hadn't yet. It was cool because I couldn't remember the name of it, but we got off at the Belton exit and started chattering about it. When we went inside, it was like 5:30 at the latest and there was already a 5-10 minute wait. That tells you this place has to be awesome, especially for a Monday. By the time we left the wait was even worse.

They started us with chips and salsa. Hubs loved the salsa, I liked the chips, and Abug liked both. Hey, the kid loves salsa.

So then we were reading through the menu and I landed on an appetizer of Jumbo stuffed Jalapeños just as hubby pointed to it. OMG, I'm sooooooo glad we got these. Now we didn't know how big they were and the waitress didn't tell us, so we were only able to eat one a piece and brought the other 2 home. We could have ordered just 2. Fail on the waitresses part... :(

Anyway the Jalapeños were stuffed with chicken, jalapeño cream cheese, wrapped in Monterey Jack cheese, breaded and deep fried. Served with Tomatillo ranch.

Now the bug loves Cheese Enchiladas with Cheese sauce. She wasn't real crazy about the cheese sauce they topped this one in. I took a bite though and I liked it :).

I'm not sure if our waitress was new or what because when hubby ordered the Chicken Del Mar the waitress looked confused. She was like oh the enchiladas, and he was like no, the Chicken Del Mar and pointed it out on the menu.

Chicken Del Mar: Char-grilled chicken breast topped with jumbo lump crab, shrimp, and scallops in a creamy seafood sauce. Garnished with peppers, cilantro and a jumbo tail-on shrimp. Served with black beans and cilantro rice.

So I tried a bite. It tasted fishy to me ;) but I don't care for the taste of fish. Hubby on the other hand was very happy with his choice.

I went with the Enchiladas Especial, seasoned chicken in two corn tortillas baked with chile verde sauce. It was topped with jalapeño cream cheese, sour cream, and guacamole. Served with rice and beans. I don't like beans and forgot to ask for it without... so I ate a few beans as they put my enchiladas in the beans, but whatever.... I survived!  Now my jalapeño cream cheese was in a pile there with the guac and sour cream, so to get it in a bite I had to smooth it out but my enchiladas were good. The rice wasn't bad either :)

So after stupid people, we were able to end the day with a good meal. I'm still not over what happened on Monday so I don't feel like talking about it just yet. When I do, I want to be diplomatic, not name calling :)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Boots Boots and more Boots {and Tips on taking care of Leather!}

My love/hate relationship with Facebook paid off once again this week. Why do I say love/hate? Well because sometimes I love to hate it! Sometimes people overshare on facebook. Sometimes people take what you say wrong on facebook. Sometimes..... the stories go on and on. Use your imagination.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great place to connect with old friends and new friends a like. a great place to share recipes and pictures. And a great place to find deals on boots!

Oh wait, what? Boots? Yes, boots. This past weekend I was on facebook, and a group that I'm a member of Farm Hats had a post about a Durango Boots discount. I read through the post and it said that if you ordered with the code FFACHAPTER you got a pair of FFA Durango Boots for $49. I thought, that seems to good to be true.

So I went on to the website and it showed that they were $149 (or if mens $152 or something like that). I went ahead and added a pair to my cart, plugged in the discount code and bam... $49 pair of FFA Durango boots. No tax and you could get free shipping for $2 for FedEx shipping. I showed it to the hubs and also shared it on my facebook page for others to benefit from.

Then that night hubby and I decided (and I use hubby and I loosely, he did it ;) I just benefitted from it) to order us each a pair. One... the website said $2 was donated to the FFA (I'd have liked a little more but whatever) and two, you can't beat a pair of $49 pair of boots.

They arrived yesterday. I was sooooo happy! Oh and get this... The box said they donate $5 per pair of boot to the FFA. Even better!!

I may be making a wrong assumption but I assume the discount works this week because it is FFA Week. But anyway I just had to share about my great find! Oh and here are some tips for keeping boots in tip top condition!

Leather Care

  • Wipe them off - Just use a towel, damp it if you must and wipe them down, especially after heavy use. This allows the leather to breathe and stay flexible.
  • Let dry for 24 hours - Remember your feet sweat. When moisture from your feet hasn't had a chance to dry, this allows the smellage (I made that word up). Just let them air dry, drying with heat may cause the leather to crack. No bueno! :)
  • Condition your boots - This is what I'm worst about... dun dun dun. Leather, just like your skin, dries out. Keeping them oiled with leather conditioner allows the boots to stay supple and soft.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

dSLR Education: Full Frame versus Crop Sensor

If you've been friends with me or followed this blog for a while now, you'll know I love photography. If by chance you're new to these parts, let me tell you now, I love photography. Now you're up-to-date :).

I bought my first dSLR September of 2009 before I really even knew what a dSLR was. In fact, I had to research it after my first photography class I took because they were talking about it in the class and I didn't know what dSLR stood for. Sad but true. I feel like I've come a long way since then, but I'll tell you that there is still a ton more to learn.

Photography is one of those things that newbies and oldies can learn something new, if nothing else, a different camera and how it works.

A couple years ago when we were looking to upgrade my Nikon D90 I couldn't decide between a crop sensor or a full frame sensor. I knew nothing about the difference really. I did some research but I really didn't know the difference still. Finally I came to the conclusion through my photography, a camera body was more expensive or a lens was more expensive. Other than that.... I didn't know the difference and couldn't decide what to do.

After weighing all my options I decided to go on to get another crop sensor camera. I upgraded to the Nikon D7100. I truthfully didn't feel like I got jipped by going with the crop sensor, really you just compensate for it. I can tell you my D7100 has a crop factor of 1.5. So if I shoot with a 50mm lens, it's like shooting with an 85mm lens, to get more like a 50, I'd have to back off to a 35 mm lens. I'm still not sure what that 1.5 means, I can just tell you that's what it is.

So with a full frame, if you shoot with a 50mm lens, it's like shooting with a 50mm lens. Wow, like that explanation?

So what does all that mean, really? Again, I wasn't sure. A friend of mine had a Canon Mark 5D Mark II. It is a full frame camera in the Canon series. So I sent her a text asking if I could come play with her dSLR sometime to get the difference. She told me to come on.

Before I made it out there, I actually got to shoot with a Nikon full frame, it is the D610. Upon a little more research, the D610 is extremely similar to my D7100 except well, it's full frame. So let's let some pictures tell the story.

I made sure to put all the settings the same, I had hubby sitting on the floor shooting the same thing. The only thing that changed was the camera. Our shot subject, a jar of candied jalapeños. Nice right? Btw, like Abug's stool? We got it for her at Ikea so that she could be up at the counter with us when we're making dinner. Anyway...

Camera: Nikon D610
Aperture: f/4
Shutter Speed: 1/13
ISO: 640
Focal Length: 24 mm
Lens: AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm 1:4G ED (the lenses will be different because the cameras are different)

Camera: Nikon D7100
Aperture: f/4
Shutter Speed: 1/13
ISO: 640
Focal Length: 24 mm
Lens: AF-S Nikkor 18-140mm 1:3.5-5.6G ED

So you can see all the things are the exact same except for the camera and lens, but I made sure that the lenses were set at the same aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. My goal was to see what the differences were in appearance. It looks like I cropped, but I didn't.

So, what does that mean if you're looking to buy a dSLR? Um.... I guess it depends on what you're shooting. If you're shooting landscape, the full frame works really well. It gives more coverage area. If you're shooting portrait type photos, you can compensate by where you place yourself and/or a lens change. 50mm to 35mm, etc.

One big difference I have been able to find out is that a full frame gives better visibility in lower light situations.

So the next time you're out to buy a camera, ask yourself what you're planning on doing with it. A full frame body is more expensive than a crop sensor body. So ask yourself, will that full frame help you?


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

FFA and National FFA Week

Welcome to FFA Week. Did you know it was FFA week? What is National FFA Week? It is a week for FFA, Alumni, and Sponsors to be agvocates for this great organization and Agriculture as a whole.

Now I grew up on a farm and I have always had a fondness for agriculture, but I have learned there are people out there who think their food comes from the store. Well, yes, but where does the store get it?

Words that scare people are GMO, Farm, Factory Farm, Blood & Guts, Antibiotics, etc. There is nothing scary about those words, especially if you educate yourself to the best of your ability. That's not reading just one side, no, read both sides. You may not agree with what the other side says, but that is how you educate yourself.

I joined FFA as a Freshman in high school (the earliest you could join when I was in school). When I did my student teaching I learned that some programs have 7th and 8th graders taking classes in agriculture to expose them, our school didn't offer that.

But through the FFA I was able to travel both Domestically and Internationally. In fact I got my Bachelors degree in Agriculture Education. Which here's a fun fact, George Straight graduated from Southwest Texas State University with a degree in Agriculture Education. Hey King George, you're awesome in more ways than one!

Anyway I got in to showing sheep as an FFA'er. I showed sheep all over the state of Missouri and took it on to the American Royal. I also traveled to Washington D.C., St. Louis, MO, all over the state of South Dakota, and Costa Rica to pursue agriculture (and that's just to name a few). Yes, Agriculture is that awesome.

In the FFA I learned how to public speak (I am a very shy/outgoing person), judge animals, trapse through muck with the best of them :), achieve awards, and much more. I learned how to be a team player, how to give more than I receive but receive all in the same. How to make friendships with people you didn't know and much more. I can't say enough good things about FFA. And now, some pictures.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Red Velvet Oreos

Just call me Cookie Monster :). Seriously, these cookies are insanely good and will change your life forever. Truth be told, I'm not a huge sweets person, give me savory over sweet! But I didn't want to stay out of these. Hubby said I had a little too much filling in them... what does he know. ha! I've been seeing people making homemade oreos for a while and I really wanted to try my hand at making some. Then I found this recipe for Red Velvet Oreos. Oh be still my heart! Seriously. And like I said, I'm a savory person but YUM! Anyway I can't say enough good things so just make them for yourself, you won't be sad. The cocoa powder gives a hint when you bite in and oh... I want more. We're out at my house..... sad day! But I don't need anymore :).

So a tip, I keep a 1/4 measuring cup in both my flour and my sugar so I'm not having to dig for a measuring cup when I need to go to measure something. Some days like making cinnamon rolls when you have to do 8 cups flour I'll pull out a 1 cup measuring cup just so I don't have to count so many quarters, but otherwise, it's so nice because I'm not constantly digging for a measuring cup, there's just one in there and bam, I'm on my way :).

One day our friend Jared went to get in the cabinet for a cup and asked if we liked JL's that much. We have a bunch in our cabinet and a bunch more somewhere. Hey... we know good food at my house ;)

Red Velvet Oreos (original recipe found here)

Ingredients:
for the cookies:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
8 tbsp butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tbsp red food coloring

for the filling:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
8 tbsp butter, softened
1 tbsp hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Time to make the cookies:
In a medium bowl combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; whisk and set aside.
In your electric mixer beat the sugar and butter until combined and fluffy.
Add the egg and food coloring and continue to beat/mix (with your electric mixer!!)
Slowly add the dry ingredients and turn the mixer on until the dough comes together.
Form the dough into balls (about 1 tbsp each) and place on baking sheets, leave a couple inches between the balls.
Then take a cup and slightly flatten the balls of cookie dough.
Bake 7-10 minutes or until edges are set.
Cool 5 minutes on baking sheets and then remove to cooling rack to completely cool.

Filling time:
We're making a butter cream filling... so....
Beat powdered sugar with the shortening, butter, water, and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Making the Red Velvet Oreos:
Now comes the fun part, assembly. You can place your filling in a piping bag with a small round tip (size 3 or 4). Pipe filling onto one cookie and top with a second cookie, pressing together to spread the filling.
or
Take a icing spatula and just smear icing on one side of the cookie, top with a second cookie and smoosh together.
Enjoy! and whatever doesn't immediately get eaten, store in an air tight container! :)



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