Wednesday, February 29, 2012

*I Cook Barefooted!* ~ Sopapilla Cheesecake

Barefoot Love!

Sopapilla, literally means, 'bread soaked in oil'.
Gluttony Meet Heart.
Heart Meet Gluttony.
Enjoy it while it lasts!

I know it's not good for you.
But, that's just not the point here!

*looks over shoulder for any cardiologists in the room* 

Sometimes... and I do mean, SOME times, a little gluttony is good for the soul.
Everything in moderation, I always say...
 except Brussels sprouts and Lima beans, 
but that's just me.

My son introduced us to this sweet and creamy confection a while back.
I love it when my kids LOVE to cook!
When we showed up with this Heavenly dish at a gathering of friends,
grown men wept in anticipation (not really).
Well, they did set the beer aside, 
if only long enough to grab a big spoon with which to shovel it in!

Look, I don't have all the answers!
Sometimes we eat bad things, because we're just built that way.
But what's a ball game without a hot dog and nachos?
Where's the fun if you can't drink a beer at a BBQ?
And, why the hell CAN'T we indulge in a little sugary treat once in a while?

My advice: 
Eat it! Because it tastes SO good.
Walk a little further...
to your mailbox, parking spot or to the second floor
 ...every chance you get.
And for cripes sake people, 
Take your vitamins like your mother told you.
Life is short.
Eat cheesecake!
It's all good.

Sopapilla Cheesecake
16 oz. cream cheese
2 cans crescent rolls
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup cinnamon sugar

Line bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with one can of crescent rolls.
Mix together cream cheese, white sugar and vanilla extract.
Spread over top of the crescent rolls.
Unroll the other can of crescents and place on top of cream cheese mixture.
Pour melted butter over top and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mix.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

*Cut into pieces and drizzle with honey, if you like.*


 You want reviews?
    How 'bout, 
~ Oh, My God! ~
(In the voice of Chandler Bing on 'Friends')

How 'bout You?
Have a recipe you want to share on 
*I Cook Barefooted!*?
Show some Barefoot Love and...

Send it here: 
Want to include a photo? Fun!

What's on your table?

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.
All life is an experiment.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 *Barefoot Love*Airbrush By, Colleen 

Monday, February 27, 2012

*Life is in the journey!* ~ These Boots

  Life's Inspirational Valiant Endeavors

~ These Boots ~

Around these parts people know our place as, Barefoot Acres. It’s a little bit o’ land, barely five acres if you count the parts that serve as playground to the deer, squirrels, birds, and a mess of kids let loose to scout for trails, tramp through the creek, and swing like the von Trapps from the trees. You won’t find a nicely manicured lawn or meticulously landscaped trees and shrubs here on our place. Wildflowers, cedar saplings and the occasional ant hill pop up where the tractor doesn’t reach, and like I holler back to my husband when he’s called out of the garage to see what the ruckus is all about, “I swear, that damn rock wasn’t there yesterday!” It’ll never make the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, but it is (almost) perfect in our eyes.

When I was little we moved *a lot*, but Kentucky, the place where I was born, and more specifically, my grandparent’s small farm just outside of Bardstown was always home base. I’ve spent the better part of my grown up years trying to recreate my memories there, like missing puzzle pieces; solid, steady puzzle pieces that gave me something to hold onto and a better sense of who I am. I see now I may have grown a little too enthusiastic in my search, just a little bit.

Our place here is where family and friends gather around the campfire to play music and roast hot dogs and marshmallows on cool autumn nights. It’s where the kids gather in the summertime to catch lightning bugs in the tall grass across the road, ride ponies and chase chickens. It’s where Matilda and Flopsy bunnies were paraded around in a stroller and doll pajamas when our daughter was a little girl, a rat, named Daisy was taken outside for tree-walks on her leash and our dogs play search and rescue with the kids (not cops and robbers!) in the woods. We don’t keep a milk cow, pigs or goats, though it has been suggested we should more than once. We do keep a small garden, which may or may not produce anything of substance from year to year, depending on whether Little League season takes over. And we do, occasionally, gather in the pool on a starry night and lay on our backs searching for constellations and satellites. 
The cousins call it, Barefoot Acres Camp. We call it, Home.

But what I really want to talk to you about are these boots of mine.

I. Don’t. Wear. Shoes. (Much) I bought a pair of men's work boots in a thrift store, roughly ten years ago when we picked up our brood and moved them further out into the country. Two bucks. They were everything I hated in a shoe; laces practically to my shins, heavy as bricks (when they’re caked with mud and god knows what), and ugly as sin. How’s a girl supposed to breathe in shoes like these? I’m a slip-on, flip flop, sandal kinda girl, when I must wear something. My brother asked me many years ago when he noticed my footwear, “But what would you do if you *had* to run from an assailant?” I’d never thought of that before. I wondered, what possesses a person to dwell on questions that only raise one’s blood pressure thinking about it. I think now though, if I found myself in such a predicament, I would probably calmly unlace my boots, hand them over and tell them, “Hey, I hope they bring you the happiness you’re searching for.” I might also kick them in the shins first, for good measure. They are the proverbial shit kickers, after all.

These boots of mine do serve a purpose, I realized just last week, though I finally see them now as more of an old friend than as that albatross around my neck. Despite the fact that I’ve experienced heart palpitations and slight nausea, on more than one occasion, upon discovering that warm, furry, and somewhat squishy mice are drawn to that place where the toes go. These boots, in fact, have protected my beloved digits from frostbite, snake bite, playful Shetland temperaments, old horse Alzheimer’s, mower blades, hot campfire coals, sticks sharpened into spears… a la “Lord of the Flies”, errant holes dug in unsuspected places by unsupervised children, dogs chasing fly balls and Frisbees and cats, shovels and rakes left blade up in the garden, blood-thirsty tiller’s tines, and poo. Let us not forget the poo; chicken poo, horse and pony poo, and bunny poo (that's Bunny POO, not Foo Foo). These boots have seen some poo in their day. They’ve trudged through it, slipped in it, been practically bathed and baptized in it. When I was little, I wanted to talk to the animals. What I didn’t know then was how often I would find myself in lively conversation with their poo.

In this place, and in the small petting zoo that’s grown up around us here, our family has fought bravely… in our boots… through some of the more mundane lessons LIFE has to teach us. Loving a home is hard work. Loving the life it supports is harder. It’s in our daily feeding chores, the back-breaking work of barn building, ditch digging, fence erecting... and even in the graves we’ve had to dig for those we’ve loved that have passed... that these boots, and theirs, have helped us through the real work ~ of Living.

Last week we buried another beloved family pet. I thought, as I pulled my boots on and then slowly laced them up, in the early morning before the frost had disappeared, just how much I was not looking forward to this part. The hardest part. The real work. As many times as I have cussed and cried in these boots, I reminded myself then that I have also laughed and loved, lived and learned in them. Our journey is a difficult one. If it came too easy, what would be the point?

These two dollar boots have taken me farther than I ever thought possible, even when I sometimes find it slightly hard to breathe in them. Who would have thought I might actually have been running from myself? I *have* learned many things along my journey, but one of the simplest lessons I have finally come to accept is, sometimes it’s easier just to lace ‘em up and get to work. Before you know what hit you, it’s time again for starry nights and search and rescue. At least, that’s how it works around these parts... in these boots.


 Be Brave My Friends!

"The best way out is always through."
~ Robert Frost

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

*I Cook Barefooted!* ~ Spicy Sausage Croissant

Barefoot Love!

What's LOVE got to do with it?
Well, since you asked...
Champagne and Orange juice, my sistas!

A chilled Mimosa 
hits the spot!
*Especially before noon on a Wednesday*

Spicy Sausage Croissant

1 lb. hot sausage
(The 'hot' makes all the difference!)
1 8oz. package cream cheese
1 small can or 1 cup of fresh mushrooms
2 cans of crescent rolls

Brown sausage in skillet and drain.
Mix sausage, while still warm, with cream cheese until mixture is creamy.
Blend in mushrooms.
Lay out one can of crescent rolls in the bottom of a 9x12 baking dish.
Pinch together all the seams.
Spread entire mix across the bottom, leaving room on all sides to pinch closed.
Lay second can of crescent rolls on top; pinch to seal.
Brush with egg whites, if you like.
Bake at 375 degrees for 5-10 minutes, depending on your oven.
Done when top is golden brown.

Cut into squares and
Serve warm!

You want reviews?
    How 'bout,
"Well butter my butt, and call me a biscuit!" 
~ My Katie ~

How 'bout You?
Have a recipe you want to share on 
*I Cook Barefooted!*?
Show some Barefoot Love and...
Send it here: 
Want to include a photo? Fun!

What's on your table?

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.
All life is an experiment.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 *Barefoot Love*Airbrush By, Colleen 

Monday, February 20, 2012

*Life is in the journey!* ~ Question

Life's Inspirational Valiant Endeavors
~ Question ~

(I think I may just squeeze-this-under-the-wire to count for my Monday post!)

"Because, I said so!" 

Who didn't, occasionally, have this line handed to them by a parent when they were a kid? I know mine have heard it a time or two. Though, in my own defense, sometimes I really don't have any other reason than, "Because, I said so." It's that go-to answer that we give our kids when we're tired... of standing in line, sitting in traffic, sometimes of Life itself... and yes, even of answering more than our fair share of nonsensical questions (when all we really want to do is take off our bra and pour ourselves a glass of wine), but that's just me.

When my brother and I were kids, my mother almost always took the time to answer even our most inane questions. Questions that always began with, "Why?" She would pause mid-stride, determine the validity of our need for the more complicated answer, then offer a much longer explanation than we ever anticipated, essentially backing up her first answer. I suppose then, I learned from my mom, that it was okay to question her authority, respectfully, in search of a reasonable answer. My feelings did count, even if my answer was still a resounding, "No." 

It's in the process itself that we learn to ask the hard questions , of ourselves and others. Those questions that few are brave enough to even ask. And sometimes, just sometimes, it's the hardest questions that have the simplest answers.

Jessica Salyer, over at Just Following a Dream tagged me with a few questions. 
All in good fun, I see! 
If I understand *The Rules* correctly, I am to promptly run off in search of a worthy opponent... or two or eleven, and ask them a few of my own. 
Why not, I say! 
I'll play!

~ Question ~
1.      What is the nicest thing someone has ever done for you?
He loves me, in spite of my (occasional) troll-like habits. 
Does it get any nicer than that?
Every night, just as he's climbing into bed, I ask the million dollar question.
"Are you thirsty?"
To which he replies:
"I'm not thirsty (slight pause at the bed sheet). Why, are you thirsty?"
To which I reply:
To which he replies again:
"Would you like for me to get you something from the kitchen?" 
(A myriad of glances are exchanged)
To which I reply again:
"Only if you're getting something for yourself. If not, then nothing."
His response:
"Do you want it or not?"
My response:
"If you don't mind."
"It's what I live for... 
to get you a drink,
 every night,
 just as I'm climbing into bed, 
after I've already dropped my pants to the floor.
Of course I don't mind."
"Thanks, babe."

2.      Who is your favorite author?
Diana Gabaldon, hands down.

3.      If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would it be?

Maria von Trapp’s mountain, 
in Maria von Trapp's dress, 
with Maria von Trapp's child-like abandon!

4.      What’s one addiction you have?
Sugar, of course.
5.      What is your favorite time of day?
Just as the sun dips behind the earth and the moon rises to say, "Good night!"

6.      Favorite food?
Sweet, succulent crab legs! Heaven.

7.      What inspires your writing the most?
I am fascinated, motivated and inspired by the inner workings of the human heart
 and our eternal, internal struggle between good and evil.

8.      What is one pet peeve you have?
Dishonesty, with ourselves and others.

9.      If you could have a super power what would it be?
If I were the Hero… 
To save people from themselves. 
If I were the Side-kick… 
To at least make them laugh.

10.   Do you have a pet?
Pull up a chair. 
One horse,
 two ponies,
 two dogs,
 four cats,
 a bunny,
 a rooster,
 so many hens, I sometimes lose count.
 hermit crabs
 and a gecko in a log tree… 
We knew and loved them well!

11.   If you had to change your name, and pick it, what would you change it to?
The question is moot. 
I'm kind of attached to the one I've got.

But, Just For Fun!
Mick, if you're the fool who just challenged me to a fight.
Little Gracie Mae, if you asked me to join you in a game of Hopscotch.
 None of your business, if I'm in a bar and you're a jackass.

Now you?

Connie @ A Merry Heart
Cassie @ Cassie Mae
Sia @ Sia McKye Over Coffee
Mark @ Aloha, and hi! from HI!
Intricate Knot @ My Blog and Role Fantasy
Lynda @ WIP It
Melissa @ Have You Heard
 Gloria @ Gloria Richard
Tara @ Tara Tyler Talks
Jennifer @ The Serial Killer Files
Emily @ Emily R. King

~ My Questions For You ~

1. If your life were a book, what would it be titled?
2. Tell us a favorite childhood memory.
3. Is there a time limit on fortune cookie predictions?
4. Name three lessons LIFE has taught you.
5. Oceans or Mountains, and why?
6. What makes you smile?
7. What would you dare to do if you knew you could not fail?
8. Do you believe in ghosts? What about Muppets?
9. What is your favorite thing about yourself?
10. Given three wishes, what would you wish?
11. What is the one thing you could not live without?

Shapes YOUR Life!

“The best way out is always through.”
~ Robert Frost

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

*I Cook Barefooted!* ~ Cheeseburgers In Paradise

Barefoot Love!

You know the honeymoon is over when
 supper turns into a sporting event...
you’ve stuffed a quarter pound of meat into your gullet,
mouthed your fingers like they were the dessert,
belched loud enough that the neighbors ran for cover,
then turned unwittingly to your partner in life
and had them say,
“For god sakes woman, clean yourself up!”


Cheeseburgers In Paradise
1 cup sweet onion
½ cup saltines, crushed
1 egg
1 jalapeno, minced
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. pepper
2 lbs beef
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar
1 small pkg. mushrooms
3 Tbsp. cream cheese
6 Kaiser rolls

Combine first 8 ingredients.
Crumble beef over top and mix well.
Shape into patties (Half for tops ~ Half for bottoms).
Combine cheddar, mushrooms and sour cream. 
Spoon over centers of patties.
Top with remaining patties.
Press edges to seal.
Grill over medium heat 5-7 minutes.
(We seared ours on a griddle till slightly blackened on one side, flipped the burgers and did the same on the other side. Best when cooked med-rare.)

You want reviews?
    How 'bout, 
"I like mine with lettuce and tomato,
Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes,
big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer,
well good god almighty which way do I steer for my... 
Cheeseburger In Paradise!" 
~ Beach Bum Extraordinaire Jimmy Buffet ~

How 'bout You?
Have a recipe you want to share on 
*I Cook Barefooted!*?
Show some Barefoot Love and...

Send it here: 
Want to include a photo? Fun!

What's on your table?

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.
All life is an experiment.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 *Barefoot Love*Airbrush By, Colleen 

Monday, February 13, 2012

*Life is in the journey!* ~ Origins

Life's Inspirational Valiant Endeavors
~ Origins ~

Hi and Howdy! 
 *Tell us all where your writing dreams began. 
It all started somewhere and we want you to tell us your own, unique, beginnings.*

Life is in the journey!
To LIVE with eyes wide open, 
inspiring ourselves and others, 
finding the courage to do so, 
as we strive toward a greater purpose...
This is my journey!

The first time I heard the question, “So I hear you’re writing a novel,” I wanted to crawl into a hole where I would, first, be free to contemplate the imminent tongue-lashing (followed by much kissing, of course) of he who must be named – my cheer-leading husband – for ever having mentioned IT to anyone *not on the list*... and second, a place of solitude where I could count the multitude of foolish, foolish dreams which had led me, oh so willingly, into this predicament.

For the record, those few brave souls *on the list* were to be read the following disclaimer upon their induction into this writer's (yes, that just happened) circle of trust: “I, (that's me) being of questionable mind and weakened spirit, do hereby admit to writing something, resembling but not limited to anything, of which will be referred to from here out simply as, a book, and of which, I do not expect (lie) to actually be considered (lie, lie) by any reputable agent (liar, liar pants on fire), because I know in my heart that, even though I am a wonderfully nice person (three weeks out of every lunar cycle), everyone knows (I want names) that publishing is likened to winning the lottery (I want names and I want my happy place back)!”

My love for writing began the moment I broke in the binding of my first paperback romance, at the tender age of thirteen. A whole new world opened up to me, teeming with Love, Loss and Lust. I remember the look on my mother’s face as she passed by my bedroom where I sat, huddled, with my head buried between the pages. It was that same look I gave my daughter when she first discovered Stephanie Meyer’s, “Twilight”. I was instantly hooked on the language of storytelling. Words were my new love, and to quote Edward Cullen, “… like my own personal brand of heroin.”

Raging hormones aside, publication or even the light of day eluded my characters once real life happened.  Stacks of writing journals, ripe with cliche characters and weak plot outlines, sat idle and stuffed into bottom drawers throughout my roaring twenties (which were rather dull actually, unless wandering from state to state in search of myself is considered roar-worthy). My characters, my make-believe, turned out young women, lost like me, but who had found the courage to fight for their truth and their voice. Women stronger than me. Women defined more by the fight within than their insecurities. 

By the time I hit my thirties, I had fallen willingly into the life of a devoted, though painfully lost, mother to three little monsters and, as such, had neither the time nor the energy to pursue what was still my dream ~ to write stories. 

My writing journey, my origins, are what’s given me my education. For that, I am grateful. And though I dreamt (yep, still do) of being whisked away to the land of publishing by a fairy godmother (a reputable agent) ~ because I'm just that good ~ it is simply telling a good story that drives me to spending hours, days... nay, a LIFETIME of pulling at my hair and holding my breath, as I hover over my keyboard in light and in darkness. Stepping outside of myself to captivate an audience, attempting to master the English language (Ha!) in the details... There is the true magic. And if it just so happens to irrevocably change the course of another human being's existence, then win-win.

As much as I have struggled over the years with the fear that I am not good enough to call myself ~ A Writer ~ I think I have finally accepted the truth of my calling. It matters little, really, that I keep up with the big boys and girls. Winning the trophy is oh, so nice, I won't lie, but the path, in which I continue to discover more about myself in search of that road less traveled, is truly the reward in itself. It's in the journey that we discover who we are and who we want to be. Not the destination.

Happiness, contentment, and fulfillment 
are found in the enthusiasm we carry for Life.
Here and Now. 

To write, is to dream.
To dream, is to let in hope...
opening up your world and the world of others 
to infinite possibility.
It is in our lifelong search to achieve,
Life’s Inspirational Valiant Endeavors, 
that we are most alive.

And there is nothing greater in this world 
than finding You Are Not Alone, 
within the pages of a good story.

*Life is in the journey!* is a weekly series here on Scarlett’s Tattoo.
Please DO join in the conversation!
Every voice matters.

“The best way out is always through.”
~ Robert Frost

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

*I Cook Barefooted!* ~ Pasta Con Broccoli

Barefoot Love!

 I love pasta!
 Noodles and sauce are my go-to comfort food,
all warm and garlicky and generously sprinkled with cheesy goodness!
I particularly love it served up in a wide, flat-rimmed bowl
with a nice crispy-on-the-outside, warm-and-soft-on-the-inside
  hunk of french bread and real butter on the side.

A glass of Merlot,
good company
and I'm feelin' right as rain!

Ahh, Pasta!
Spinach Lasagna,
Spaghetti and meatballs,
and my kids' favorite, Macaroni n' Cheese
have always been staples on our supper table.
Filling, affordable and healthy in moderation,
they are a mother's dream!

I'm not gonna lie.
Pleasing my family at the supper table
is among some of my more sought after goals in life. 
It is also, ironically, a look into my ever-growing madness. 

I fantasize often,
while hovering over a rainbow of color in the produce section, 
of strolling through a comfortably busy, preferably European outdoor market 
(Italy would be nice)
with my ECO-friendly shopping tote on one arm
and the hand of a small child clinging to the other, 
smiling and sharing giggles and kisses,
(picture slow motion action here ~ a gentle breeze in my hair)
as we lovingly fondle
the perfect ingredients for our family's evening meal!

Reality, sadly, often rears its ugly head here, 
leaping frantically
to some poor woman and her screaming toddler four aisles over! 
(PS: Been there. You have my pity.)
(PPS: "Never give in ~ never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, 
never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. 
Never yield to force; never yield to the  apparently overwhelming might of the enemy 
*ahem... precious child*.")
   ~Winston Churchill

 My lovely daydream has now morphed into, something along the lines of, 
Me ~ *Lost* in Italy,
just like Elizabeth Gilbert in, "Eat, Pray, Love" ~
only... happily married,
and *not* so miserable 
that I resort to sleeping on my bathroom floor, 
and living my day to days, unhappy and unsatisfied with my life.
Really ~  just the Eat, Pray and Love parts.
Ciao! Amico!
*Hey, Friend!*
*Good Morning!*
Come stai?
 *How are you?*
Bene, grazie!
*I'm fine, thanks!*

 Potresti aiutarmi?
 *Can you help me?*
Sono Affamato!
*I'm hungry.*

Sei molto gentile!
 *You're very kind!*
Io amo la Pasta!
 *I love Pasta!*

 What can I say ~ It's my dream.
Pasta, just has a way of making you feel like all is right with the world. 
Isn't it lovely!

 Happy Anniversary, Babe!
Here's a toast to Nineteen years of Bliss and Broccoli!

Pasta con Broccoli
 1 lb. Frozen Broccoli
1lb. Medium-sized "Seashell" Pasta Shells
1 qt. Half n' Half
1 pt. Meatless Ragu Pasta Sauce
3/4 Stick Butter
1/4 lb. Parmesan Cheese, shredded
1 small package Mushrooms, sliced
Garlic Salt, to taste (OR  2 Tbsp. Minced Garlic)
Crushed Red Pepper, to taste

Add pasta to rapidly boiling water and cook till done.
Combine rest of ingredients on list, (except Parmesan) into a large pot.
Cook slowly on medium heat until broccoli thaws. 
Drain pasta, and add to large pot.
Remove from heat; add Parmesan cheese and stir. 
Buon gusto!

You want reviews?
    How 'bout, 

 How 'bout You?
Have a recipe you want to share on 
*I Cook Barefooted!*?
Show some Barefoot Love and...

Send it here: 
Want to include a photo? Fun!

What's on your table?

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.
All life is an experiment.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 *Barefoot Love*Airbrush By, Colleen