Feb 8, 2016

I made Peppered Glazed Pecans like Plain Chicken's!

Pecans are my favorite nut.

(This is why you come here, right? For ledes like that.)

I used to love cashews the most, but I'm back to pecans. I LOVE it when restaurants add candied pecans or walnuts to their salads, and when I make salads at home for company, I always pick up some of those candied pecans you can buy at the grocery store to add to them.


They're pricey. And not only that, but I recently got a hankering for some pecans, and not rinky-dink pecan BITS, but pecan HALVES. Preferably salted and with other good stuff stuck to them.

So of course I went to my go-to recipe source, my friend Stephanie's website, Plain Chicken.

She had more than one option waiting for me there, but the Peppered Glazed Pecans were everything I was looking for, especially since I already had everything the recipe called for in my pantry. (I was as surprised as you are that I already had corn syrup in there. Apparently it's good for like 10 years.)

I'm not even lying when I tell you that from the time I gathered the ingredients to the time I spread them out on the wax paper to cool off, it may have been 10 minutes. This was BLISSFULLY QUICK!

Luckily I guessed correctly and doubled the recipe right out of the gate, which I would suggest you do if you make these. As a matter of fact, next time I might quadruple it, because guess how long these lasted at our house.

Sixteen hours. AS IN LESS THAN 24.

Peppered Glazed Pecans (original list of ingredients, not doubled)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp light corn syrup
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pecan halves

Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, pepper and salt in small sauté pan. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted.
Add pecans and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly.

Spread pecans in a single layer on parchment paper. [I have no idea what that is. I used wax paper.] Cool completely.

If these look like they might be too sweet for you (I'll never understand you), you might want to try Steph's Sweet & Spicy Pecans.

By the way, I think it goes without saying, but this post wasn't sponsored in any way, and Stephanie certainly didn't give me any of these pecans ALTHOUGH I'D CERTAINLY TAKE THEM IF SHE MADE THEM FOR ME. She is my real-life friend and my go-to source for any recipe I lack, and I just like to share with you when I find something I like as much as I looooooove these pecans.

Feb 4, 2016

The last songs I downloaded

Please don't come looking for indie, highbrow or otherwise obscure music finds. I THINK WE ALL KNOW ME BETTER THAN THAT.

For better or worse, here's the last batch of songs I went to download and any songs I downloaded off the same albums while I was there:

1. The Script, Superheroes

2. Adele, When We Were Young and All I Ask

3. Carrie Underwood, Heartbeat

4. Meghan Trainor & John Legend, Like I'm Gonna Lose You

5. Chris Young, I'm Comin' Over 

6. David Dunn, Ready to be Myself

7. Justin Bieber, Sorry and Love Yourself

8. Ed Sheeran, Photograph

9. Thomas Rhett, Crash and Burn and Die a Happy Man

10. One Direction, Perfect and History

11. Zac Brown Band, Beautiful Drug

12. The Oh Hellos, I Have Made Mistakes (recommended by Knox & Jamie)

13. Sara Bareilles, Basket Case (recommended by Knox & Jamie)

14. Andrew Peterson, Be Kind to Yourself

For the record, I'm not disappointed in a single one of them. RECOMMEND.

Feb 3, 2016

Uncomfortable truths

1. I've never visited Reddit. Nope, not once. Not even during Serial. I'm not even sure I understand what it is.

2. I think the speakers in my minivan are blown out. From listening primarily to One Direction and Taylor Swift songs too loudly. Alone. Without my children in the van.

3. I think the reason Carrie Underwood's single "Smoke Break" didn't do as well as her other hits is that she rhymed "drink" with "drink." I will never buy a song in which you don't try harder than that.

4. Grayson and I watched The Intern last weekend. AND LIKED IT. (Everyone will tell you this is because I am destined to only ever like mediocre movies, because of my Foolproof Movie Recommendation Formula.) (I just applied my formula, and The Intern received a whopping 135. AND I DON'T EVEN LIKE ANNE HATHAWAY.) (I would give it a B on a report card. It was cute.)

5. I was playing 7 Little Words last night and was down to the final two clues. I tried SOPRA, AMPHO, AMPRA and -- worst of all -- SOPAE, before finally whispering "Ohhh, Aesop" to myself.

If you'd like to read more Uncomfortable Truths, click here to read them all. But be forewarned: There are 80 previous posts.

Feb 2, 2016

But I'm all for doing away with pennies

I signed the boys out of Extended Day recently at the exact same time that another mom did. I happened to glance over as I signed my name and wrote "5:32" and noticed that she'd written "5:30."


When is that even an option? When I sign in at a doctor's office, I note the exact minute of my arrival. Is 1:33 the same as 1:35? IT IS NOT.

Whose brain works that way? Does YOUR brain operate that way? "Oh I just glanced at the clock and it said 12:11 so Ima put 12:15 on this form BECAUSE TIME HAS NO MEANING."

Does her entire life operate in that kind of chaos? Is she early to everything? Or late to everything?

Does she obey traffic signals? Or do they not apply to her, either?

My world has been sincerely rocked. Am I the rule or the exception here?

I honestly do not know.

Jan 20, 2016

I can't even. No, I really can't

Grayson: "Hey, do we have any of those ear covers for the thermometer?"

Me: "Yes, they're under my sink."

Grayson: "I just looked in there and I didn't see them anywhere. Where would they be in there, exactly?"

Me: "Check in the basket, probably near the thermometer."

Grayson:  [frustrated]  "I'm looking ... I don't see them. Can you come look?"

Me: "Yes, just a minute."

Me:  [opening the cabinet]  [blink blink]

Me: "Grayson. Come here."

Me:  [wildly gesticulating at the covers]


Jan 19, 2016

Messing with a perfectly good, brand-new piece of furniture

When it's finished, I think our guest bedroom is going to be one of my favorite rooms in our entire house. (It's far from finished at the moment, though.)

Since it's used the LEAST, however, it's kind of last on the priority list in terms of funds being tossed its way.

When I ended up with some moo-lah after Christmas, I was THRILLED to be able to order a couple of Oxford Writing Desks from HDC that I'd had on my Guest Room Pinterest Board for what seemed like forever. I wanted to flank the bed with them, and although they took A SWEET FOREVER to assemble, once I got them together, I loved the look.

Kate's master bedroom was the inspiration for this part, which might make some of you squirm. See the detail on the drawer? She painted hers white. And I wanted to do that, too -- both to mimic the trim in the rest of the room and to give the piece a little more personality.

Not long after I started painting, I began to question my sanity.

But I've learned -- after probably 100 projects -- you can't panic after the first coat. THAT OUGHT TO BE A BUMPER STICKER.

Even though the first coat was, um, QUESTIONABLE.

But. After I did three coats on each drawer and cleaned up the lines, I was thrilled with the result!

You'll be able to see more clearly how it ties into the whole room once it's all put together -- because believe me, it's ANYTHING but put together at the moment -- but I love how it elongates the look of the drawers and makes the piece look more tailored.

I know it may make some of you cringe (my mother included), but I'm in love. More on this room to come!

Jan 15, 2016

Fevers, vomiting and a head injury

Well, it's been quite a week at the Grass household. Hence, my absence here.

Jake and Nathaniel have both struggled with fevers and coughs all week, and Nathaniel added vomiting to his repertoire night before last. He missed school yesterday and today and is currently at the doctor -- but none of that would have even been worth mentioning here because Life.

But Tuesday night. A simple trip to the shoe store turned into a little more than that.

Amelia took a hard fall while playing with Jake, and when she came up from the floor she looked like this:

Uh. Biggest hematoma I HAD EVER SEEN.

I have to give props to the teenage salesman at Show Carnival ... he was great. He ran and asked the store manager to call the paramedics and then came back and tried to talk to Amelia to keep her calm. He even brought her a sucker.

It didn't take the paramedics long to arrive, but Amelia wouldn't let them NEAR her. Even with me holding her, they couldn't get her vitals, so after about 15 minutes they insisted on an ambulance ride to the hospital. So Grayson came and picked the boys up and Amelia and I loaded up in the ambulance to head to Children's.

My little Klingon after being triaged.

After seeing a couple of nurses, the resident and the attending, all were in agreement that she was lucid and pleasant enough that she didn't seem to need a CT, but we needed to stay about four more hours for observation.

I observed that Amelia was still able to earn three stars on Angry Birds Pop even with a head injury.

She finally fell asleep around 10:30, and the attending came in about every 20 minutes or so to check on her for the next couple of hours.

 I didn't hate this part of it.

We got home around 1:30 Wednesday morning, and later that night she was already showing signs of improvement.

 Yesterday morning it was even better in terms of swelling.

And this morning, it's even better but the bruising has started to move down toward her eye so she's starting to look a little funky in that area. The doc said it will move down through her eye to her cheek to her jaw over the next couple of weeks, so we have a full rainbow face to look forward to.

Still, we're so grateful for the outcome. It could have been so much worse. So. Much. Worse.

Thank God for hard heads!

Jan 6, 2016

'The Bachelor' begins again

I am quite sure that a full nine-tenths of you thumb your noses at The Bachelor.

But I am here to tell you that watching it with a bunch of girlfriends is one of THE most entertaining things on the planet. Over the past few seasons we've developed a little tradition of getting together for hors d'oeuvres, wine (OF COURSE, IT'S THE BACHELOR) and snark to watch the season premiere and finale.

Jamie has hosted at her house, our friend Julie hosted once, and I've hosted a couple of times. I think we decided we'd all reconvene at our house for the finale in a couple of months.

I don't mind hosting when CAKE POPS ARE PART OF THE DEAL. Jamie made a whole themed collection, complete with candy-melt engagement rings and a pop representing the villain who always begins the season by declaring, "I'M NOT HERE TO MAKE FRIENDS."

I'll tell you what I REALLY appreciated about the evening ... when Jamie posted this picture on Facebook, making it seem as though Amelia was allowed to watch The Bachelor with us.

Nuh-no. She merely entered the room every 15 minutes throughout the evening to ask for more Wheat Thins. I'M NOT A MONSTER, INTERNET. She's not allowed to watch until she's at least 7.

Truth time: Do you watch any of The Bachelor shows? We even printed out brackets this season. This IS fantasy football for us. #noshame

Dec 28, 2015

Have you ever eaten a raw cranberry?

On Christmas Eve while I was mixing up two Cranberry-Apple Bakes, Jake came in the kitchen and popped a stray cranberry into his mouth.

He yelped, spit it out and said accusingly, "THAT GWAPE WAS DISGUSTING!"

We explained that it wasn't a grape; it was a cranberry -- and that started a discussion in which we found that none of us in the kitchen had ever tried a raw cranberry.

So. My sister, Nathaniel and I all tried one, and Jake tried another one -- because we decided to photograph our reactions.

For the record, when my sister went to transfer all these pictures to a flash drive for me, she was like, "You don't need these ones of the cranberry tasting, right? You're not gonna do anything with them." And I was like, "Oh, I don't know, just put them on there."


Dec 25, 2015

Merry Christmas, from our home to yours

By the way, this is a REAL sneak peek. These won't go out in the mail to our IRL friends and family for at least two weeks. MERRY CHRISTMAS, DEVOTED BLOG READERS!

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