I started working on a post a few weeks ago. Note I use the word post lightly. Thirty-seven pages, handwritten, and counting, I’m headed more in the direction of a short story, a novel or carpal tunnel syndrome. I shudder at the thought of typing it out!!!

Totally been craving salads lately, lotsa, lotsa salad. This by far…is a favorite! Yeah, ignore the name because just between me and you, it’s berry special! I can almost assure you that if you were to order a “Nuttin’ Berry Special Salad” at your local eatery people may start whispering…about you. I haven’t a clue what the politically correct name is, this is just easier than addressing it as a salad with nuts and berries in it.
I think.

I know, those aren’t even blueberries in the picture, I had to improvise with cranberries. No, that’s not blush wine vinaigrette dressing either, I had to improvise with red wine vinaigrette. Improvising is good sometimes, and in this case it was just as tasty! (Berry tasty ;) )
A. Must. Try.

Another Christmas has come and gone and no coal in the stocking for me. Santa is sure getting easier to fool in his older years. However, the reindeer poo on my doorstep maybe a warning and cause to err on the side of caution this upcoming year.
Christmas was good, I do miss secretly peaking outside throughout the night for signs of a shiny red sleigh dashing through the air. I miss the ritual of leaving cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer on Christmas Eve. I miss the 4:00 a.m. pleads to get out of bed and squeals of delight as each present is opened. But…that was so last year. Obviously, I’ve done some growing up!
After receiving a phone call that put the “icing on the cake” so to speak, (more on that as time permits…) we were off to spend the day at my mom’s surrounded by family, minus my sister and her family. My sister did however fly in from Seattle for a surprise visit the week before. Surprises are always nice. Seeing my sister is always nice!
Along with the deviled eggs I am assigned to bring each year, I decided I want to bake a homemade pie. Originally I had found a recipe I wanted to try out, but both my boys wanted apple, so apple pie it was. It was going to be my first homemade and I was so excited to use that ‘apparatus’ that my mom had handed down to me awhile back. I remember watching my grandma peeling apples with an old ‘apparatus.’ As I caught and ate each peeling she would say, “Annie, (my nickname growing up) you’re going to get a bellyache if you eat too many…” now it was my turn to use it…minus the grand kids!! How proud grandma would be of me! As I took the ’apparatus’ out of my china cabinet earlier in the day to wash and inspect it, it became clear it was missing a part, or something. I called my mom who assured me everything was there. Hmmm. I had to make a quick stop by my aunt’s house, I would just bring it with me and she could look at it, because clearly something wasn’t right! I visited with my aunt for awhile and had forgotten all about the ‘apparatus’ until she asked what kind of pie I was going to make. I told her apple. Homemade apple. My first one. Ever. I then explained my ‘apparatus’ dilemma. You know what she said? “That’s strange because I have grandma’s apple peeler.” Ummm no you don’t! Obviously I have it, obviously it’s missing a part or something. My aunt still seems a bit confused over the whole ordeal, so I ran out to my car to retrieve my ‘apparatus.’
To be quite honest, I was a little hesitant to bring it in. What if she tried to take it from me? What if me and my aunt were found on her living room floor on Christmas Eve wrestling over an “apparatus?” I will share it with her but she can’t have grandma’s apple peeler! I calmly walk in setting the bag on the table. So far, so good. As I slowly pull it out of the bag, coffee spews out of her mouth and she breaks in to hysteria. What? What’s wrong? What’s so funny? Why in the hell are you laughing at Annie? I looked at her in horror as she said, “That’s not an apple peeler, it’s a meat grinder.” Huh? How am I supposed to peel apples with a meat grinder? I picked up the phone and called my mom, “You gave me a meat grinder!” “What?” “No wonder this ‘apparatus’ doesn’t work, it’s a meat grinder!” Now they are both cackling, in unison. Was it that funny? Apparently so. I remind my mom, “You told me it was an apple peeler.” “No, I never said what it was, I assumed you knew!” “Oh”
Once the hysteria ended, I gathered what was left of my dignity, my grandma’s peeler that my aunt so graciously let me borrow and my ‘apparatus,’ the meat grinder. I made my way home to make my apple pie. Homemade apple pie. My first one. Ever.

applescrust 1crust 2donemmmm..…………………………………………..
doodle blue

Despite some confusion, it was a success. My boys loved it and at the of the day that’s all that matters! (Not to toot my own horn, but… some one person even said it was the best they’d ever had!) As far as my mom and aunt? The laughs on them….I now have both, the meat grinder and apple peeler! Maybe I’ll move on to Tiramisu next or a good ole meat pie, after all I have the ‘apparatus.’

doodle blue

Enjoy the recipe! Apple copy


I was going to pop on here and just share a few creative Halloween recipes I found, but you know that’s not going to happen. I got a little sad looking at all the festive goodies and now I need to vent. Vent first, then the fun stuff.
I totally miss Trick or Treating.
I’m not going to lie.
If I thought I could get away with it this year, I’d be sporting a $19.95 K-Mart Special costume with pillowcase in hand (king size) and hitting up every damn house within a square mile of me. Actually, I’m not sure what part of Halloween appeals to me more, a) the candy b) showing up to school or a party in the best flipping costume (obviously we all know if I’m getting a K-Mart Blue Light Special this year, the priority is candy) there.
I’m not going to lie.
Sometimes these were hand-me-down costumes my sister had worn the year prior, nevertheless they were probably my idea to begin with. Who would not want to dress as a “Fig” handing out Fig Newtons whilst singing, “It’s rich and chewy gooey on the inside, golden flakey cakey on the outside….it’s the big Fig Newton, here comes the tricky part, it’s the big Fig Newton, ok one more time, it’s the…” Ingenious. Right? Another year I rocked “Big Bird”
I’m not going to lie.
I was actually a chicken, but a few everybody thought I was Big Bird so we’ll  just go with that. Personally, I have never known Big Bird to wear big puffy yellow bloomers, yellow tights, yellow shower cap, short beak and strategically placed feathers, walking around bocking. But that’s just me…just saying. Elly May Clampett (this is the real Elly) was another big hit for me. Don’t act like you are to young to know who she was! She was the animal loving, chimp toting daughter on “The Beverly Hillbillies”  Well, I love animals AND we do have a lot of the same characteristics, I was a dead ringer! Nice, I also came across this picture of what she looks like now. This brings us to (RELAX! I’m almost done. Remember. I’m. Venting.) the year of “Pixie Lake” a.k.a. the hooker.
I’m not going to lie.
It scared me that I had so much fun putting that get-up together. It scared me that I had the clothes to put that get-up together. Pixie was a short lived character, her “Trick or Treat” ideals were not acceptable.. Last but not least was Mary. Much to my surprise, I pretty much owned Halloween that year. “you are so creative…” “oh my gosh, I would have never thought…” “honey, come here, you’ve gotta see this…” “brilliant idea…” I know…even I was shocked.
I’m not going to lie.
As much as I’d like to take credit for being the master of all disguises, carefully planning  each and every detail, I literally had an hour to figure out a costume. That’s not even enough time to go get a K-Mart Blue Light Special. I think Mary might have even been my favorite….there was just something about her.
I’m done venting, but I’m not going to lie
I totally miss Trick or Treating.

Look all all these creative goodies!!!!

candy corn

Candy Corn Pudding Butterscotch pudding on the bottom, vanilla (dyed with yellow food coloring) in the middle, whipped topping on top. (you can make this kid friendly by using clear plastic tumblers.) Paper Jewels

apple bites


Apple Bites Just quarter and core an apple, cut a wedge from the skin side of each quarter, then press slivered almonds in place for teeth.
Family Fun

melon brain


Melon Brain Remove the green rind from a small seedless watermelon exposing the inner white rind. Carve narrow channels with a sharp paring knife to expose the pink fruit beneath the rind.
Family Fun

mummy a7d3871


Breadstick Mummy Dogs Made with Pillsbury Breadstick dough and hot dogs. Using mustard or ketchup for the eye. Visit Picky Palate for detailed directions!



Adam’s Scary Apples Make red and black candy apples, finish them off with spooky twigs instead of sticks. Matt from will walk you through this process step by step



Wormy Ice Cubes All you need are gummy worms or other creepy crawler candy, ice cube trays and fruit punch. Stick ‘em in a drink! (*note- I am making these with or without kids…maybe even year round)
Food Network


Creepy Crawly Brownie Bite Spiders Cut fresh baked brownies, roll into balls. Cover in chocolate candy coating and decorate with licorice, raspberry candy and sprinkles. Visit  Paula Deen’s Recipes to learn how! (NOT recommended for those who are Arachnophobic)

spaghetti eye


Spaghetti and Eyeballs Perfect meal for the little monsters ones any time of year. Make your own or visit to get their recipe for Spaghetti and Meatballs. Use green olives stuffed with pimentos for the eyes.


* updated Vampire Bloody Lollipops I know it’s after the fact, but I just came across these and had to add them. There’s next year, right? Head over to Tissuepapers and get step by step directions to make these delightful looking treats!


I have been on a Vodka kick for the last few years lately so I’m always looking for new experiments. I came across these, and although I haven’t tried them yet, they sound absolut-ly delish!!


Just reading this makes my tummy roar!
One of my all time favs….and if I can make it, you can too!! Always a hit, I’ve even hooked a guy or two with this recipe! Not too sure about something…have a question…need an opinion? Just email me, I will be more than happy to do a tasting for you. (just doing what I can to make the world a happier place!) A great reheat and eat meal too!
(put your bi-focals away, you can click on image for a larger view)



One of my all time favorites….a must for the Holidays!

This is soooo good! A must have snack for the Holidays!muddy-buddies-copy.jpg


I am feeling a little under the weather today. I was going through a few
magazines and came across some tasty sounding recipes….thought I would share!


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