Friday, December 16, 2016


Can you believe it? Lured into his trap yet again!

"Bwahaha!" he crows, rubbing his hands together in glee.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


After The Bountiful Sprout -- my primary source for locally grown and gently raised ingredients -- shut down, I found myself drifting away from my scratch-cooking habit.  Not only were we eating out more often, I also found myself taking more short cuts when I did cook -- using more processed, ready-to-go, just-heat-it-up stuff. We seemed to be consuming more and more, but enjoying it less and less.

All these photos are old ones of things cooked from my own recipes, not the Blue Apron stuff.

But, then I got that free box of food from Blue Apron. And then purchased another. And another. A few weeks in, I found myself wondering just why that food had so much more flavor than anything else I had prepared or eaten lately.

A few weeks after that, it finally hit me.

You see, cooking from scratch is all about anticipation, and the little steps you take to build it up --  from heating a bit of fruity-yet-peppery olive oil in a pan until it shimmers, to the sizzle you hear and the aroma that engulfs you when you toss in a bit of minced garlic and some chopped onion. From those bits scraped up from the bottom of the pan to add even more flavor, to the rich color that a dash of wine adds to your sauce, the final swirl of a wee pat of real butter to finish it off, and then tossing in some fragrant chopped herbs grabbed from the pot on your porch. Not only do these steps stimulate our senses in anticipation of that first orgasmic bite, they are what actually triggers the production of saliva in our mouth -- which is why we refer to something truly delicious as "mouth-watering good". And, I hate to tell you but, you simply can't achieve that kind of reaction by warming up pre-cooked foods.

Which is why I'm still cooking from scratch.

Monday, December 12, 2016


being adored by so many! Little Goober got to experience his first Christmas gathering with the Thomas clan up in Dallas this weekend. It's been eighteen years since we had a new baby in this family, and I can't help but wonder, what on earth did we do to entertain ourselves in the interim?

Sister Gus hosted us all at her house up in Plano this year.

Uncle Bud, usually the quiet one sitting in the back, just couldn't resist joining in the fun. Every time Goobs tried to go up on his knees, his legs just slid right out from under him, thanks to their shiny-slick floor. Pretty funny for all of us, but kinda frustrating for him. Once we rolled up his jammy legs he really took off, and actually crawled for us for the first time!

What he really loved was when his daddy took advantage of that slick floor and slid him all around on his swaddle cloth.

Papaw Snuggles
Poodie's Glasses - His New Favorite Toy
Cousin Steph
An Adorable Snowman Hat From Aunt Gus and Uncle Bud
So Much Fun Can Be Exhausting!
We originally exchanged gifts with every single person in the family, but when all our kids got old enough to participate, we finally broke down and started drawing names instead. Now, with the addition of a new generation, we decided to change things up yet again. This year we each brought one small inexpensive, gender-neutral gift, then did one of those crazy exchanges where you can pick a gift from under the tree, or steal one that someone else has already opened. Areej's dad was pretty tickled with his Attack of the 50 Foot Woman socks...

for about ten seconds -- which is how long it took for my hubby to steal them from him!

Another hit was the Fandango gift card that came in a musical Christmas card brought by this crazy guy ...

a musical card which, once opened, never ever stops playing its obnoxious ditty. Unless, of course, you finally get so frustrated that you actually rip the battery out -- in which case it explodes glitter all over you! Poor Uncle Willy.

Now if only these two brother-in-laws had something in common and got along just a little bit better...