Custom Search

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Mothers Day

Decorated Pretzel Rods

Your choice of chocolate chips, almond bark or candy melts
Rod Pretzels
A loaf pan or jar full of dried beans
A container to catch sprinkles

Gather supplies
Melt chocolate/bark/candy melts per package directions {handy tip: to keep it melted while you work, you can sit your container on a warm heating pad}.
Dip pretzel rods into melted chocolate/bark/candy melt {covering 1/3-1/2 of the pretzel rod}.
Let excess drip off.
Hold pretzel rod over container and sprinkle away.
Place pretzel rod upright in loaf pan or jar.
Allow chocolate/bark/candy melt to harden.
Package in treat bags or store in a tightly covered container in a cool place.
ENJOY! “Inspire

Friday, May 12, 2017

Snake Cake

So the little or big boy or girl in your life has asked for you to make them snake cake. What do you do next?? Well try to figure out how to make it of course. This cake took a bit of creative notion but this is how it all came together

The cake started like this

Using a bunt cake cut in thirds , a tub of vanilla frosting tinted green using a few drops of green food coloring (blue will help change color if you like) Pecan halves to line the back appearing like scales, chocolate chips for eyes and a piece of licorice for the tongue.

Spinach Lasagna
12 cooked lasagna noodles (follow package instructions)
2 bushels raw spinach (wash well then dry before using)
2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
15 ounces ricotta cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon parsley flakes
¼ teaspoon cracked pepper
3 cups tomatoes, diced
½ onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons basil flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon cracked pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 350.  Have ready a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a large sauce pan make the sauce by sautéing the garlic and onions in the oil until translucent. Then stir in the remaining sauce ingredients.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally and mashing the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon for about 20 minutes.  Cover and simmer until ready to use for lasagna.
In a small mixing bowl mash together the ricotta cheese with the 2 garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon parsley flakes, ¼ teaspoon pepper.  Set aside.
In another mixing bowl mix together the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.  Set aside.

Spread about ½ cup of sauce onto the bottom of the pan.  Place 3 cooked lasagna noodles side by side, covering the pan lengthwise.  Spread ½ of the ricotta mixture over the noodles.  Spread out a layer of raw spinach, using up one of the bushels. Spread 1 cup of sauce over the spinach.  Then spread about 1 cup of grated cheese over the spinach.
Next place noodles side by side widthwise, covering the spinach (you pay need scissors to cut the noodles to the appropriate length).  Spread the remaining ricotta mixture over the noodles, then remaining spinach.  Next spread another cup of sauce, then another cup of grated cheese.
Lay three more noodles side by side covering the lasagna lengthwise.  Then spread over the remaining sauce.  Lastly, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until all of the cheese throughout is melted.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Re-Cycled Gift For Mom

My mother used to love when I would bring her the trinkets and treasures that I would make for her. I find now that I am the mom that I am the same way each little treasure is special to me. So today I share with you a great way to make a recycled gift for mom.

All you need is a recycled container, fabric that may be left from a past project and paper to wrap up the delightful gift for mom. Simple wrap, tape, and glue some cute pieces of your choice on the container.

Fill the container with a sweet treat for mom. You can find many recipes here on annies home. 


Around the World 5 Odd Plants

Armillaria ostoyae.

This fungus is very interesting in that it may be the largest living organism on the planet. The underground fungus may be up to 7200 years old. They can cover up to 3.5 miles across and over that is like 1600 football fields. Little clusters like the one in the picture pop up above ground a bit of here and there.

This plant is known by many different titles including Dragon Lily, Voodoo Lily, Snake Lily, Black Dragon, and Stink Lily The plant is native to Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Turkey, and Italy. The plant grows like a weed

The name of this plant is Hydnora Africana and looks as if it can be terrifying. This plant can be found in Africa. It is a parasite plant that looks like a cantaloupe with teeth with tentacles which are actually leaves.

This plant known as the castor oil plant is also thee most poisonous plant in the world. Just a couple of beans can kill an adult if eaten. (true fact) Castor oil comes from the seeds of this plant. Ricin is the poison inside the seeds

This odd looking plant is known as the Amorphophallus titanum. Named after the Greek "amorphos" which means "enormous" "misshapen" and "phallus" which means..... well you will have to look that one up. The Greeks must of loved their plants. This plant is the largest flower in the world. They grow in clusters and can reach 10 feet tall. Often found in Sumatra they are sort of pretty but rather large as well.

Horseshoe sandwich

one of my children favorite recipes is horseshoes. NO!!!! Not the kind you find on horses feet but the sandwich variety. One of my great friends who comes from the area of Springfield Illinois made the horseshoe sandwich for my children and since that time they have loved them. Here is a great recipe 

(makes 2 sandwiches per recipe)

1 (16 oz.) package frozen french fries
1 lb ground beef or 4 hamburger patties
4 slices bread, toasted
1/2 cup butter
1 jar ragu cheese sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spread french fries out on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, divide the ground beef into four equal parts and form into patties. Fry the patties in a large skillet over medium-high heat until well done, about 4 minutes per side.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Cook while stirring constantly for 4 minutes to cook out the flavor of raw flour. Gradually whisk in the half-and-half so that no lumps form. Bring to a simmer then remove from the heat and add the cheese; stir until melted. Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste.
Place 2 slices of toasted bread onto 2 dinner plates and top each slice with a hamburger patty. Top each patty with cooked french fries. Pour the cheese sauce on top of everything and serve immediately.

Spaghetti Dogs

While you may have a picture like this in mind when you see the name of the title  What I
am sharing today is a great fun recipe for families looking for a quick meal. 

The recipe even includes a cool, scientific and fun way to prepare the dish. Your kids will
love it. 

Start by having the kids place the spaghetti through the hot dogs. Do not push all the way 
through but just til the edge of punching through. The spaghetti will resemble a handle for the diced
up hot dog.

I think when you reach the final dish a handful of cheese would be great melted over top. 

recipe source here

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Iris Flowers in May

The Iris is a tall beautiful flower that is named after the Greek goddess who rode rainbows. Iris's come in over 200 magical species similar to the great variety of colors in the rainbow. The Greek goddess Iris would carry messages from heaven to earth on the arc of the rainbow. Iris also would accompany female souls on the way to heaven. For this reason Greeks plant purple irises on women's graves so that Iris will guide them to their resting place.

The iris also means wisdom, hope, trust and valor. Iris's can grow in a variety of temperature zones around the world. In the 16th century BC irises were introduced to Egypt from Syria. Stylish Iris's decorate the scepters of pharaohs The colors of the iris give the flower symbolism as well

Purple irises symbolize royalty and wisdom

Yellow irises symbolize passion

Blue irises symbolize faith and hope

White irises symbolize purity

The great state of Tennessee honors the Iris as their state flower. The Iris is also the birth flower for those born in February. Those that stay together long enough to celebrate the 25th anniversary will be happy to see that the Iris is the flower that honors them

Iris's love the sun and need at least half a day of sun. Well drained soil is also a need of the Iris. Not given enough of either of these will leave the flower bloom less. Iris bulbs are best planted mid to late summer. Plant the bulb by digging a shallow hole 10 inches round and 4 inches deep. Place bulb in hole and fill the hole with soil and firm it gently. Water.

shared at
DIY by Design Swing Into Spring

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Sorry for your loss

I am the mother of 6 children, the aunt to several including a beautiful angel named Gretchen that did not live long enough to go home from the hospital. My sister is the mother of this beautiful angel that touched all of our lives in so many ways. I believe that the death of her child brought us closer as sisters. It was a tragedy that affected us all but her most of all. We were there to face this together including the stress and sorrow she felt for days, weeks, months, lifetime together Even today 26 years later we talk about what Gretchen might have been. Many prayers have been said and our hope is that one day we will see her again.

This poem I found here sums it up if you have a friend facing the fact of losing her child

What I need as a grieving mother

What I need…
I need to say her name without bringing everyone to tears.
I need her life to be included in the count of children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
I need kindness on birthdays and understanding on holidays.
I need to stay in bed and a reason to get out of it.
I need to talk endlessly and to let the phone ring.
I need an extra hug and respect for my space.
I need someone to ask how I’m doing and want to know the real answer.
I need careful announcements of pregnancies, baby showers and births, mine did not turn out as I hoped.
I need a “handle with care” sticker for my heart, my emotions have been fragile since the day I said goodbye.
I need patience and reminders for my mind, part of it will always be somewhere else.

Infertility a Real Disease

one in eight couples struggles to build a family. No one should suffer through infertility alone. Reach out and know that you care. Simple I love you can let someone know you are thinking about them. Advice is great but listening to others may just let them feel even better.

I personally am a mom of six wonderful children. So you may be asking what if anything I care about infertility. My middle daughter has been trying for a few years to become a mom. Her and her husband would delight at the words "you are pregnant"

There are days that my daughter feels as if her body does not work properly as if she was given a broken body. She cries several times a week sometimes several times a day because she feels as if she can not give her husband a child.

What can you do to help your friend or loved one that may be going through their own infertility journey

  1. Some women that travel through infertility may not ovulate at all and telling them to "wait" and "be patient" or "relax" is never a good idea.
  2. Your friend does not really care to hear "there is a reason for everything" either as they do not know the reason or rhyme of what is happening to them
  3. Adoption may be a great idea for those who desire to adopt but those who are going through infertility may not even desire to talk about adoption
  4. My daughter has been on so many diets, fitness programs, etc.. to help herself get pregnant. Yes, they are aware of the fads and desire not desire to hear all about the ones you may just happen to hear about
  5. Do listen as it is often a way for them to vent and one of the best things you can do for the one you love.
  6.  hugs help a lot 
  7. stories of new born babies, someone being pregnant etc... may be great but to much of it can really bring a lady that infertile struggling to have their own child down.
The struggle is real and while there are many in the battle those on the forefront often feel they are alone. 

Toasted Coconut Custard Tart


    adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
    serves 8-10

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons cold butter, chopped in small pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • custard
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut, lightly toasted
  • topping
  • 1 cup very cold heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • shredded sweetened coconut, lightly toasted to top it off


  • make the crust
    Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Then line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Butter and flour the parchment.
    Mix the flour, powdered sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the pieces of butter and pulse the ingredients using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. The flour should combine with the butter and begin forming small balls. In a bowl break up the egg yolk then add it in increments, mixing in pulses after each addition. Keep pulsing for 10 second each until the ingredients begin to mix. Mix until the ingredients could be formed into a ball of dough. Don’t over mix.
    Using a floured surface, carefully knead the dough just enough to get all of the extra dry ingredients combined. Evenly, lightly press the dough into the bottom and sides of the tart pan. Reserve a small amount of the dough to repair cracks in the crust after baking. Freeze the crust for 30 minutes. Refrigerate the extra dough. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
    Butter the shiny side of aluminum foil and press the buttered side down against the crust. Bake on a baking sheet for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and press down the crust. Fill any cracks or thin spots with the extra dough. Bake for 8 more minutes until the crust is lightly brown. Let cool. Cover until ready to use.
    make the custard
    Bring the milk to a soft boil. In a large saucepan whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch and salt until well combined. While constantly whisking, pour 1/3 of the milk into the egg mixture. Continuing to whisk, slowly pour the remaining milk into the eggs. While still whisking, heat the mixture over medium heat until it begins to boil; let boil for up to 2 minutes, until it thickens. Mix in the rum and vanilla. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Then add the bits of butter. This should make the custard very smooth. Stir in the toasted coconut. Cover with plastic wrap pressed against the custard and cool in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. You can also store the custard overnight until ready to use.
    make the topping
    With a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it holds medium peaks. Add the powdered sugar and mix until firm peaks are formed, but be careful not to over mix. Fold in the rum and vanilla. If you like a lighter rum flavor, I would omit it from the whipped topping.
    To put it all together, lightly whisk the cooled custard and pour it into the crust. Spoon the whipped cream all over the tart and spread evenly to the edges. Sprinkle toasted coconut on top of the whipped cream.

Spring Salad

2 eggs
1/2 cup Plain Low-Fat Greek Style yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 teaspoons minced shallot
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoon cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
8 cups mesclun greens, washed and spun dry
2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup sliced radishes

Place eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Drain off hot water, and place pot under cold running water for several minutes to stop egg from cooking. Crack and peel egg. Slice or chop the egg.
Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, shallot, dill, vinegar, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
Arrange salad greens on four plates. Sprinkle bacon over the greens. Arrange radishes and the egg over the top of the salad. Drizzle the dressing over the salads. Extra dressing will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Left-over dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Monday, May 8, 2017

May is Arthritis Awareness Month

May is recognized as Arthritis, Lupus, Osteoporosis and Lyme Awareness month. Arthritis is so much more than a little pain in your knee that disappears with a couple of over the counter pills. Arthritis and rheumatic diseases are the leading cause of disability in the U.S.. It limits the activities of around 23 million adults. Two thirds of this number living with arthritis is under the age of 65. An approximate number of adults being told by a doctor they have a form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus or fibro numbers over 52 million. Approximately 300,000 children suffer with arthritis as well. Under the umbrella of arthritis lays over 120 different conditions. Major depression often accompanies arthritis as well. 

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis which occurs when the tissue that provides cushioning between the bones of a join (cartilage) begins to break down. This may be referred to as "degenerative" or "non-inflammatory" arthritis. It is a physical breakdown in cartilage over time or after heavy use.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Juvenile arthritis (JA) are autoimmune diseases. An individuals immune system malfunctions and attacks healthy joints. . The disease creates inflammation and chronic pain in the joints. Weakness, fatigue and organ damage may be present as well. Autoimmune arthritis often requires use of special medication to control a person's overactive immune system. 

All types of arthritis are serious, painful and debilitating. The nations lead cause of disability is more frequent cause of activity limitation than heart disease, cancer or diabetes. 

Be Aware of Signs of Asthma

Asthma is the most common chronic childhood disease among school aged children. It affects about 7 million kids in the U.S. and countless number of adults. Asthma is an inflammation that causes airways to narrow, making it hard to breathe. Those with asthma have periodic "attacks" where symptoms worsen. Asthma attacks not quickly treated can  lead to severe injury or death. 

If someone is having an asthma attack you will have one or a combination of any of the symptoms below: 
  • Cough
  • Wheeze
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Too breathless to finish a sentence
  • Too breathless to walk, sleep or eat
  • Lips turning blue.
Be aware of those you know who suffer from asthma. You may just be the one in position to help

Dinner Salad with Home made Croutons

This simple yet sophisticated salad is sure to please.  It goes great with fish or chicken entrees, or can stand on it’s own as a lite lunch.  The vinegar and heat from the Chipotle Tabasco compliment the tangy olive oil, salty cheese, and crunchy croutons perfectly.

Romain Lettuce, chopped or torn
Romano Cheese, shaved
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Chipotle Tabasco Sauce
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Directions (per person):

Place 2-3 handfuls of lettuce in the center of a plate, forming a mound.   Apply the Chipotle Tabasco Sauce to the lettuce, about 5-6 shakes.  Place 4 Romano Cheese shavings on the lettuce, and then drizzle olive oil over the lettuce, cheese, and plate, probably about a tablespoon’s worth.  Season everything with the black pepper, and then place a handful of croutons on top of the lettuce.  Garnish the plate with drops of Chipotle Tabasco Sauce and serve.

To make the cheese shavings, simply run a vegetable peeler across a block of Romano Cheese, being careful not to break the shaving.  If you do break one, promptly put it in your mouth and try again.


You can make them out of any bread, even hot dog buns, and are a great way to do something with stale bread rather than throw it away. You can season them with anything you like.  Herbs, cheese, chili powder, sugar and spice, whatever.  Let your imagination go wild, you can’t really screw them up.  But today, I’m going to focus on a basic recipe that I love and seem to make the most.  The bread I’ll be using is week-old Grandma’s Bread, which I’ve decided makes the best croutons ever. Start by slicing the bread in uniform sizes.  I like mine about ½ inch thick, but you may like yours smaller.  Once sliced, turn the stack and slice in strips, then turn again and slice to get uniform cubes.

Place the cubes in a baking pan and drizzle with oil.  I like extra virgin olive oil, but you could use any that you like or have on hand.  Butter is especially delicious if you’d like to use it. Season with fresh-ground black pepper and kosher salt.  You won’t need a lot of salt because of the dressing you will be eating the croutons with later, so a couple of pinches for the entire pan should be sufficient.  Sprinkle with thyme, maybe ½ teaspoon for the entire pan.

Finely grate some Pecorino Romano cheese, sprinkle liberally on top, and then toss the croutons with your hands to coat with the oil and seasonings.

Bake at 350˚ for twenty minutes, then turn them with a spatula and bake for an additional 20 minutes.  They should be perfectly golden brown and very crunchy.

mock oyster casserol

4 cups eggplant, peeled and cut into small pieces (about 1/2-inch cubes)
88 single saltine cracker squares or 2 individual packs saltines, broken into crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 stick butter
1 pint half-and-half (approximate)

Soak eggplant pieces overnight in salted water. Drain before preparations continue.
In a cooking pot, cover eggplant with fresh, lightly salted water and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until eggplant is tender. Drain in a colander. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line bottom of large casserole with about a third of the cracker crumbs. Cover with 2 cups of the eggplant. Season with half the salt and pepper.
Cut half the butter into small pieces and sprinkle over top of eggplant. Cover with another third of the crumbs. Add remaining 2 cups eggplant. Season with rest of salt and pepper. Cover top with remaining crumbs. Cut remaining butter into small pieces and sprinkle over top of crumbs.
Pour in enough half-and-half to cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until top layer browns.

recipe source here 


The tuba is the largest and lowest pitched musical instrument in the brass family. Instruments in the brass family produces music by moving air past the lips, allowing the air to vibrate or "buzz" into a large cupped mouthpiece. 

The tuba first appeared in the 19th century. It is one of the newer instruments in the modern orchestra and concert band. An orchestra normally has a single tuba in occasions though there may be 2. The tuba helps reinforce the bass voices of the strings and woodwinds. It also provides the bass of the orchestra. Tubas are widely used in marching bands, drum and bugle corps and in jazz bands. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Treats for mans best friend

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dog Treats

1 cup whole wheat flour (I used WW pastry flour)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick oats
¼ cup wheat germ
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder, such as Rumford
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two large cookie sheets with parchment. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, wheat germ, and baking powder. In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, peanut butter, honey, and olive oil. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until incorporated. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or up to an hour. This gives the flour and oats time to absorb moisture and it will become thicker and easier to work with as it stands. Roll out to ¼ inch thick on a floured surface and cut into shapes. Place treats on prepared baking sheet. You can pop the first one in the oven as you cut out shapes and place them on the second sheet. Bake cookies for 15 minutes.
If your dog prefers softer cookie-type treats, cool the treats at this point and package in airtight containers. If you want to bake them into hard biscuits, which stores better and has the added benefit of helping clean your dog’s teeth, simply turn off the oven with the cookies still inside and leave them in overnight, or until the oven is cool. If you bake them in batches, remove each tray as they finish, and let them sit on the sheet until all the batches are baked, then turn off the oven and return all baking sheets to the oven to sit overnight, or until the oven is cool.
Recipe source: Shared Sugar

Roast for Today and Tomorrow (recipes included)

Italian Roast Beef

1 (5 lb) beef roast
1 (.7 oz) envelope dry Italian dressing mix
½ cup dehydrated red & green bell pepper (optional)
¼ cup dehydrated minced onion
1 (12 oz) jar banana pepper rings
Place beef roast in the bottom of a 6-quart crockpot. Sprinkle the dressing mix, red & green pepper (if using), and minced onion over it, then pour the jar of banana pepper rings over the top, juice and all. Cover and set to cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
Remove the roast onto a platter and shred with two forks. Return to the juices and mix well, then serve with mashed potatoes.
To make sandwiches, you’ll need:
Sandwich buns or rolls
Ranch dressing
Dried basil*
Italian roast beef, warmed
Fresh mozzarella or provolone cheese, thinly sliced
Tomatoes, thinly sliced
Other toppings of choice, such as shredded lettuce, sliced olives, chopped onion, etc.
To make sandwiches, split the buns and cover the insides with a generous smear of ranch dressing. Sprinkle with basil.*
*If you use fresh basil, add it along with the tomato at the end.
Visit your local shopping place and you should be able to find a variety of Italian buns. I love them and that yummy taste they offer 
Draining off as much juice as possible, put some roast beef on the bottom buns, then place a slice of mozzarella on top. Please slice your cheese thinner than this or you’ll have to practically burn the buns before it’s melted.  Learn from my mistakes.
Broil open-faced on high, the top buns ranch-side up, until cheese is melted, 1-2 minutes. If your cheese is thicker *ahem*, it may take up to five minutes and you will want to remove the top buns before the bottom so that they don’t burn.
Even after five minutes, the cheese was barely melted.  I have to show off the one I made when Dennis requested seconds.  I got the cheese much thinner, so it only took about a minute for it to melt and I didn’t have to remove the top bun before the bottom was done.  Look at this beautiful deliciousness!
Much better!  OK, once it’s melted, top it with a slice of tomato, another sprinkle of basil, and any other toppings you’d like.
Cover with the top bun and enjoy warm.