Thursday, January 22, 2015

Oh, Hey...Congress

This weekend is bringing about one of those moments that only comes about once in a lifetime. I have talked on here quite a few times about my struggle with mental illness.  It has even played a small part of why I have gone a while without blogging lately.  Over the past few years, there have been a few times that I have been able to speak at events and to small groups, sharing the impact of mental illness on my life and its effect on not only me, but my family and friends. 

On Saturday... the group won't be so small (390) and the audience will include a rather prolific mix. I will be given the amazing opportunity to tell my story before an audience that can change lives. I will be speaking before state and national senators, congressman and other legislators. Whenever I spend too much time thinking of it, my heart races and I feel like I may vomit.  (Don't worry, I am sure my husband will be recording it, so, if it happens, youtube infamy shall be mine.)


I have never been more humbled to share my experiences, not because they are any more important than anyone else, but because, hopefully,my journey puts a real face to this illness for them. That I do a justice for everyone else in my circumstance who has never been given such a platform. 

There is much to be done in the mental health arena. From the part that insurance plays, to the stigma you face from so many sides, including those in the medical the demons that live in your own mind, this illness must be taken head on. (pun almost not intended)

Wish me luck and I can't wait to share how it all panned out. And I hope to be back more frequently. I have missed reading and catching up on all your shenanigans. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Films

This year I have spent quite a bit of time in front of the Hallmark Channel. I am not sorry. Even over the cheesy ones. As some are cheesearific. This weekend though is when the mister and I are spending time with hot cider drinks and our favorite holiday flicks. Some I love are funny and some are heartwarming. and some are all over the map. These are the ones that stick out to me. 

The Holiday. Pretty much my favorite movie. I wanted to live in the cottage, Til I found out it was built and then torn down just for the movie. Devastation. 

Home Alone. I forgot how hilarious this was until it came on late one night last week. So funny. 

It's A Wonderful Life. So...this is where I admit I never really paid this movie much attention until we got married and the one tradition that my husband refuses to give up is watching this on Christmas Eve before Mass. 

Elf. Because I can't get enough of people who sit on a throne of lies. 

Love Actually. Oh. I do love it so. 

The Santa Claus. Just makes me feel like a kid. 

Christmas Vacation. I can anyone not love this movie? 

Charlie Brown's Christmas. Duh. 

Babes In Toyland. I was obsessed and I mean obsessed with this movie. The version with Keanou Reeves and Drew Barrymore. All time favorite. But seriously. Someone send me the DVD. 

Die Hard. We were having a discussion the other day as to whether or not this is a legitimate Christmas movie. Excuse me..what? They are having a Christmas party at the office. Stop it people, of course it is.

Santa Claus the movie. I freakin love Dudley Moore. Not to be confused with The Santa Claus. 

 The Night They Saved Christmas And a tv movie that was my second obsession. And yes, I darn well did watch it on you tube yesterday. Not even sorry. Jacklyn Smith doin work.

Frosty. This is not a favorite, No way, no how. Scary. 

Rudolph. Also not watching it at my house. I kid you not both of these freaked me all the eff out. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Broccoli Cheddar Soup With Crispy Pancetta

Now that the weather is getting colder (or, per usual, in North Carolina...flip flopping daily) soup is making its way into my dinner repertoire with a vengeance. This is one I had been playing around with for a while and finally made it happen one afternoon when I was craving something simple and filling. This recipe fits the bill on both counts. 

This is when I should admit that this may be the first time I actually ate my broccoli. Covered in cheese, cream and the addition of crispy pancetta. And it was worth every caloric bite. 

I also didn't use flour in this recipe so as long as you use gluten free stock, you can make this gluten free. 

This was best served immediately, if you have leftovers and want to re heat, add a little more cream and cheese as it heats.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

3 cups cheddar (shredded)
1/2 cup colby jack (shredded)
2 cups cream
1/4 cup stock
1/4 cup chopped pancetta (crisped)

Heat the cream on medium until it begins to bubble, add in the cheese and stock. Whisk continuously until it begins to thicken.  Add pepper and salt to taste. 

Ladle into bowls and top with pancetta. 

This got my husband's seal of approval and surprisingly...mine 

Friday, December 12, 2014

My New Car Is Saving My Marriage

Ok, slight major exaggeration but due to the fact that it has dual climate control there are literally no telling how many fights it is staving off in the future. I am one of those people who like to have my heat going full throttle in the car. Almost burning I am so hot. 

My not that person and we frequently take long trips. Problem now solved;) 

I realize I am probably late to the whole butt warmer craze and all but my previous car had absolute zero bells and whistles and was solely to get me from point a to b. It wasn't a clunker or anything but had seen its day. I had wanted a new car for a while but mine really had no problems... it was just getting on up there in the miles. As in over 165,000 miles. And I like to travel. 

This is not a new car, it is used but has less than 20,000 miles and has another few years on the warranty, but it is *new to me* and that's all she wrote.

It also got me around 41 miles to a gallon and had been paid over for over three years. Car payments suck. 

But we bit the bullet and got one right before Thanksgiving...and I am in love! 

My favorite things about it are far too numerous, but these are the ones that stand out. 

Sunroof. I have always wanted one. I have had it for two weeks and I keep forgetting about it and then when I remember it I get entirely too excited;)

Bluetooth. Being able to listen to my Texas Country from my phone is fantastic. Maybe one of the best parts. Still getting used to the whole phone ringing and talking, but I am sure I'll get over it quickly;)

Smooth Ride. It really does pretty much hug the road and it drives so smoothly that I almost don't even realize how crappy the roads are around here. Almost. 

Butt Warmer. I mean...self explanatory. My bootie has never been happier. Ok, maybe that time I fit it into a fabulous dress.

Dual Climate. Ok, I rode on a twelve hour car ride with the mister and I never once got cold. In thirteen years this has never happened. I am telling you that VW is to blame for my now perfect marriage. (oh, wait...there is not dual climate control in our house)

Anyways, I promise not to talk about my car all the time or be ridiculous about it but I am pretty excited. We got a great deal on it and there is so much room! My 6'5 husband has insane leg room! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Vermont Mornings

When it comes to the fall, one of my favorite flavors is maple. We have been to Vermont for trips a couple of times and maple always reminds me of our visits. Maple syrup flows up there like sweet tea does down here.  I love working it into recipes.  I love how it parlays into the winter months as well. I was playing around with different ideas for a breakfast get together and after a few trials, this one ended up being my hands down choice. 

The maple and bourbon played off the distinct taste of the coffee really well. It added just the right amount of sweetness to the drink. The homemade whip cream was the perfect addition and while not, should make it if you can! I could have eaten it with a spoon!

If you are looking for a concoction for Christmas morning or maybe while you watch a movie at night instead of hot cocoa!

Vermont Mornings
1 oz cream
1 oz bourbon
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
2 oz brewed coffee
*maple candy (optional)

Stir together the cream, bourbon and maple syrup in a mug then pour in the coffee while still stirring. Top with the maple bourbon whip cream and enjoy!

To make whip cream

1/2 cup cold whipping cream
2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp bourbon

in a mixer, beat the whipping cream until it starts to thicken. Slowly add in the maple syrup and bourbon and keep whipping until very thick.  ( you could also add in more sugar if you want it sweeter)

linking up with the Pin Junkie, made by you, flour me with love, holiday best, ladybug blessings
pint sized baker