Friday, May 29, 2009

Favorite Ingredient Friday - Greastest Hits Edition

This week, Overwhelmed's Favorite Ingredient Friday is a trip down memory lane, as we are re-visiting some of our favorite ingredients that we have already posted.

Since summer is upon us and it's going to be hotter than hades - there is nothing that I would rather do that sit pool side (or lake side) with a nice big frozen concoction in my hand. That being said, I am re-visiting my Frozen Mudslide recipe. I think it's time to open the liquor cabinet and get summer started! Anyone with me?

Frozen Mudslide
  • 3 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 2 jiggers vodka
  • 2 jiggers coffee flavored liqueur
  • 2 jiggers Irish cream liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • ½ cup whipped cream


  1. In a blender, combine ice cream, vodka, coffee liqueur and Irish cream liqueur.
  2. Drizzle in Chocolate syrup.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour into glasses and garnish with whipped cream and some more chocolate syrup.


To see my original post, click here:

Phones in Church

I got this e-mail joke this morning and (being a proud Texan) I love it! Here it is: PHONES IN CHURCH A man in Topeka, Kansas decided to write a book about churches around the country. He started by flying to San Francisco and started working east from there. Going to a very large church, he began taking photographs and making notes. He spotted a golden telephone on the vestibule wall and was intrigued with a sign, which read "Calls: $10,000 a minute." Seeking out the pastor he asked about the phone and the sign. The pastor answered that this golden phone is, in fact, a direct line to heaven and if he pays the price he can talk directly to GOD. The man thanked the pastor and continued on his way. As he continued to visit churches in Seattle, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, Oklahoma City, and around the United States, he found more phones, with the same sign, and the same answer from each pastor. Finally, he arrived in Texas, upon entering a church in Dallas, Texas, behold - he saw the usual golden telephone. But THIS time, the sign read "Calls: 35 cents." Fascinated, he asked to talk to the pastor, "Reverend, I have been in cities all across the country and in each church I have found this golden telephone and have been told it is a direct line to Heaven and that I could talk to GOD, but in the other churches the cost was $10,000 a minute. Your sign reads only 35 cents a call. Why?" The pastor, smiling benignly, replied, "Son, you're in Texas now ... You're in God's Country, It's a local call." American by Birth - A Texan by the Grace of God!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Freaky Friday

On Friday morning, on their way out of town, my sister Melanie, her husband Roy and my nephew Matthew dropped off their bassett hound Daisy - to stay with us while they spent the weekend at the beach. Now, let me first start by saying that Coco has had play dates with other dogs her size, but she has never had any "friends" over and she has never met Daisy. So, this was a whole new ballgame for her.

Of course, she started by letting Daisy know how "fierce" she is and that she was on her terf. She barked and squeeled and growled for over an hour. She followed Daisy and chased her and when she finally realized that she wasn't going to get a reaction out of Daisy - she quit. Then, just like any other child (or dog) - she had to do everything Daisy did. She played when Daisy played, pottied when Daisy pottied, napped when Daisy napped and ate when Daisy ate. Oh, how she ate. I kept trying to get her to go lay down, but she was not having any of it. She went to that bowl everytime that Daisy did.

Have I mentioned that Coco weighs a mere 11 pounds, to Daisy's hefty 45? Daisy eats anytime she sees something that looks/smells like food and even somethings that aren't, and therefore has a scheduled feeding everyday. Coco has free reign of food, because she doesn't eat much. She might finish a bowl every 2-3 days. I assure you it took no time at all before Daisy realized that bowl wasn't going anywhere and there was no one making sure she didn't eat it. So, before I could get all of Daisy's belongings put up - she ate a full bowl of Coco's food. And when I say "food" I really mean - $15 for a 4 pound bag of all natural holistic, I almost have to take out a loan to feed this dog, dog food. And Daisy just ate about 2 pounds! Naive me, I think Daisy is probably full and will go lay down and I don't want Coco to be hungry, so I re-fill her bowl and fill Daisy's bowl with her food (just in case) and fill her up with some water. I no sooner do that, and turn around that I see this:

Daisy at Coco's bowl, eating another heaping bowl of Coco's food and Coco eating a whole bowl of Daisy's food (which is also good dog food, just a lot less expensive).

By the way - they both finished the bowls, before they walked away!

Needless to say, the different dog food and the amount that she ate - did not sit well with Coco and she got up and threw up in the living room about 2 o'clock Saturday morning. Lovely! She knew what she had done too - she didn't eat anything else the rest of the weekend. Monday she finally felt up to eating some of her food.

And to answer some of your questions - Coco eats that expensive dog food because I put her dietary needs before my monetary ones. No, seriously - because that is what the breeder we bought her from feeds his dogs and she was used to it, when we got her. We often discuss whether we should change or not because although it is pricey, she likes that food and is very happy and healthy. So far, we are sticking with it.

No that laminate on the cabinets clearly does not match, yes we too have realized it, and we too often wonder what the builder was thinking when they tried to pull it off and yes, that is (one reason) why we are re-finishing the cabinets.

Yes, that is paint that I dripped on the baseboard from when I painted the kitchen, and yes I am lazy enough that I have not touched it up/fixed it yet. Yes, I am too lazy to tape before I paint hence the "drippings".

Yes, that is a weird looking bell made for a bird cage and no, we don't have any birds, but we do have a genius dog that will ring that bell, when she wants/needs to go outside :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Of course, over the years - people accumulate a lot of stuff. In the last couple of years - we have gone through a couple of moves and haven't downsized a whole lot along the way. This is the result:

That is our garage (looking out the laundry room). Lovely huh? See our little trail, to get to the end of the garage, to put the trash out? Darren would love some room to actually get to use some of the tools that he has out there.

Our mission, for the long weekend, was to get all of this cleaned up and to cover the floor with Rust-Oleum. My brother-in-law did his garage a year or so ago, and it looks great, so we figured we would try it out.

This is a couple of hours into our "project".

These are all of the "decorations" we have. Seriously. Fall, boy baby shower, wedding shower, girl baby shower, wedding, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Fall, Summer, 4 of July. You name it - we had something to decorate for it!

This is what the garage looked like when we got ready to do the floors. We are not done - those shelves will be more organized and the things closest to the hot water heater have been moved. We are putting up pegboard on the right side, so that I can hang up all of my yard art, and all of my cute wooden signs and such, and so we can have an organized way to store water hoses, extension cords, etc. The left side will become Darren's "workshop". He is going to put his work benches back in there, and build a table along that wall, to set up his tools and get all of his stuff organized.

The "old" garage floor.

The "new" garage floor!

Isn't it pretty?

...and close up. Doesn't it look great? It really looks awesome in there, and I really feel like we have gone through some sort of "detox". It's amazing how much better you feel when you get rid of some things you have been hanging on to for too long!
We also started re-finishing our kitchen cabinets (finally), but that is a project in the works. Already, its very exhausting and time consuming and will be a long time coming, before I am able to update with pictures of that. :) Wish us luck though - I'm sure we will need it! :)
We worked our butts off and although we accomplished a lot - we missed two housewarming parties and only took time enough out to grill some fajitas last night, for the first home-cooked meal in 4 days. We are proud of our progress though. I hope you all had a safe and Happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Engraved Uniques

Kelly over at Kelly's Corner has this beautiful engraved stone in her kitchen:

I love it so much! I would love to have one made, to put in my kitchen on a little easel. That's how Kelly has her's displayed and it looks great. The stone was made (with love) by Kaye at Engraved Uniques. You have to check out her website - she offers engraved stones and leather, easels to display them on and all different sizes and designs. I'm sure you will find something you can't live without! Here are a couple of pictures of some of my favorite ones:

And with wedding season coming up, what a great wedding present this would make:

Go on over and check her out - you will love her! I promise! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Favorite Ingredient Friday - Spreads & Dips

Yes, I realize that it is not Friday, but since I was on the road to the Texas Steak Cookoff with my dear husband on Friday, I figured that I would try to catch up this morning because I love FIF, and I hate to miss it. So, here is my spread/dip recipe:
Bread Bowl Artichoke Dip


  • 2 sourdough bread rounds (about 6-in. diameter)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts in water, drained
  • 2 envelopes vegetable soup mix
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 container (8 oz) sour cream
  • Grated fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Using Color Coated Bread Knife, slice off top of one bread round to create a lid; set lid aside.
  3. Carefully remove center of bread round to form a 4½-inch-wide and 2-inch-deep well for dip.
  4. Slice center of first bread round (that you cut out of the bread “bowl”) and entire second
  5. bread round into 1-in. cubes.
  6. Place bread bowl on center of Large Round Stone with Handles.
  7. Arrange bread cubes around bowl; spray with vegetable oil using Kitchen Spritzer.
  8. In Classic Batter Bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth using Stainless Whisk.
  9. Add milk to cream cheese; whisk until smooth.
  10. Chop artichokes using the Food Chopper.
  11. Press the clove of garlic with Garlic Press.
  12. Add artichokes, vegetable soup mix and garlic to batter bowl; mix well using Small Mix ’N Scraper®.
  13. Microwave on HIGH 5-7 minutes or until hot (do not boil).
  14. Juice lemon using Juicer to measure 2 tbsp juice.
  15. Stir juice and sour cream into hot artichoke mixture; pour into bread bowl.
  16. If desired, grate Parmesan cheese over bread bowl and bread cubes using Rotary Grater.
  17. Lean lid against bread bowl and bake 13-15 minutes or until bread cubes and top of dip are golden brown.
  18. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Yield: 12 servings
This is a great recipe for parties, showers or just having a few friends over. It's very easy to make, delicious and even easier to clean up! You'll have to try it at your next gathering. As always, if you are interested in any of the products used to create this recipe or if you would like a catalog of your own, please let me know. Thanks and Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Guess Who's Not So Little Anymore?

About two weeks ago (just a few days before my baby turned 7 months old), we got a little surprise. I think that it freaked her out, way more than it did us. You could tell that she was confused about what was going on and then she was less than thrilled with the way that we decided to handle it.

The shop where Darren works was closed the day that this "started", so Darren was home. He called me and said "I don't think our baby is so little anymore". He came by the office and picked me up for lunch and we ran around to Petsmart to get her some puppy diapers! And you thought buying baby diapers were expensive?? 12 puppy diapers for $15.99. No thank you!

So, we came up with Plan B, and that included a trip to Wal-Mart to purchase off-brand (Parent's Choice) newborn diapers. 56 diapers for $5.46! Now, that works for me. Unfortunately, Coco was less than impressed with our solution:

How cute is that little face??

As you can tell, she is less than thrilled with the whole "diaper thing"!
We were expecting this to last 4-6 weeks, from everything we have been told and everything that we have read but today we start week 3, and I think she is done. We are going err on the side of caution and make her wear the diapers for one or two more days, but then - FREEDOM!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Just in time for Wedding Season...

From the Bryan/College Station, TX "Eagle" newspaper: Blue Bell Creameries of Brenham has introduced a new ice cream flavor just in time for summer weddings: Groom's Cake. Groom's Cake is a chocolate ice cream with chocolate cake pieces and chocolate coated strawberry hearts, surrounded by swirls of strawberry sauce and chocolate icing. "The inspiration for this flavor came from an actual groom's cake I tasted at a family friend's wedding," said Brenda Valera, director of research and development at Blue Bell. "It was so delicious, a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, a strawberry filling and chocolate coated strawberries on top. The flavors were perfect for an ice cream. "

Let me just tell you that Brenda, knows a good thing when she tastes it! I stopped by the grocery store on the way home from work today, to pick up garlic bread and milk. I thought "oh, I will get some bacon and cook Darren some bacon this weekend, with his biscuits" and the bacon just happens to be right across from the ice cream. (Lucky me). So, I stroll over there because they have these sale signs everywhere and I heard angels singing. Seriously. They led me straight to this new ice cream. And of course, because we love ice cream but hardly ever eat it, I picked up THREE half gallons. I'm not kidding. They were on sale! How could I not? I mean they are normally $6 something a piece and they had them on sale for 3 for $10. Then I get home and realize that we still have a half gallon on homemade vanilla, that I bought for my sister's birthday (in March), that I forgot to get out of the freezer, so it is still sitting there - unopened! So, to prove that this ice cream wouldn't go to waste - I stood there, in front of the freezer, spoon in hand, door hanging open and sampled my new treasure and again with the angels! I do have to admit that it is heaven. It might be my new favorite - give it a try - you'll love it (but I can't promise that your butt will)! :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Favorite Ingredient Friday (Pink Ribbon Cookies)

I know that I am late, but I didn't get a chance to post this on Friday, but I loved the recipe so much, I had to share. So, here it is now:

Before I get to the recipe, let me tell you this... Every day 500 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer. This month, Pampered Chef is playing an important role in our fight against this disease. From May 1-31, Pampered Chef will donate $1 to the American Cancer Society® for every pink product sold, and if you host a party - 25% of that parties total sales will be donated. Through Pampered Chef's customer's efforts, we raised $670,000 last May and we're looking forward to your help in making it another great campaign this year! So, to help introduce Pampered Chef's May Campaign - Help Whip Cancer®, I wanted to share with you one of Pampered Chef's "Pink" recipes.

Pink Ribbon Cookies
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) butter or margarine, divided (do not use vegetable oil spread)
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) devil's food cake mix
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Decorator's Icing
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder (see Cook's Tip)
  • 5-6 tablespoons warm water
  • Red food coloring


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In your Small Batter Bowl, microwave two sticks of the butter on HIGH 1 minute or until melted. Slice remaining butter into 1/2-inch pieces; add to melted butter, tossing to coat. Allow butter to stand 3-5 minutes or until softened.
  2. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine cake mix and flour; blend well using Stainless Whisk, breaking up any large lumps.
  3. Whisk butter until smooth and free of lumps. If necessary, microwave butter an additional 10-20 seconds or until creamy and pourable. Do not melt completely. Pour butter all at once into dry ingredients, scraping butter from batter bowl. Mix until dry ingredients are incorporated and dough is smooth.
  4. Turn dough out onto well-floured Cutting Board. With floured hands, gently knead dough, adding up to ½ cup flour as needed to form a firm dough. Divide dough into three equal portions. Shape each portion into an 8-inch disk. Generously flour Cutting Board again. Roll one disk of dough out evenly to 1/8-inch thickness using Baker's Roller®. Cut cookie shapes using large scalloped cookie cutter; transfer to Large Round Stone with Handles, 1 inch apart.
  5. Bake cookies 15-17 minutes or until edges are set. Cool 3 minutes on baking stone; remove to Stackable Cooling Rack. Cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, combine powdered sugar and meringue powder in Classic Batter Bowl. Add 5 tablespoons water; mix well. Mix in additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to form a thick icing that will flow into a smooth pool with a rounded edge.
  7. Place 1/3 cup of the icing into Prep Bowl; tint, one drop at a time, with red food coloring until desired shade of pink is reached.
  8. To decorate cookies, pipe a white icing border around edge of one cookie; fill in with white icing until smooth. Immediately pipe a pink ribbon onto center of cookie. To sharpen corners of ribbon design, drag corners out slightly using wooden pick. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let stand about 1-2 hours or until icing dries completely. Serve on Simple Additions® Rectangular Platter. Cook’s Tips: Meringue powder (which contains pasteurized egg whites) is packaged in cans and can be found in stores that carry cake decorating supplies. Icing that has meringue powder in it will become smooth and hard once it has dried. To pipe icing onto cookies, place a small, resealable plastic food storage bag inside Measure-All® Cup. Pour white icing into corner of bag. Twist top of bag; secure with a Twixit! Clip. Cut a small tip off corner of bag to allow icing to flow through. Repeat with pink icing.


As always, if you are interested in any of the products used to create this recipe or any other Pampered Chef products, please let me know. And remember - order Pink Products, or host a party in May and Help Whip Cancer®!