Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Re-Dip

Way back in August I posted my recipe for a tasty dip I call Lu's Gig'em Dip. You know, back in August when my Aggies were predicted to put some Gig'em on most, if not all of their opponents.

You know, back then.

But now it's now (please stay with me) and things did not, quite obviously, go as planned in the football-ish sense, but in the dip-ish sense, I assure you we're still good.

Please do not bother to try and analyze that last sentence...

Anyhoo, the thing is, I've had some requests to re-post the recipe and I am all about granting those requests (especially if it manages to save me some effort in trying to come up with something interesting to post).

Again, nothing I've said so far makes any sense at all...

I continue to get nice notes about how much people just love the dip and I thought since the New Years weekend was approaching and some  dip-ish type offering is usually on everyone's menu for the big football watching extravaganza (you know, for those teams that were actually able to pull off some, well, wins...),

I thought I would post the recipe again.

Or re-post, if you will.

Kind of a re-dip.

I am so sorry.

So here you go...

If you want the step by step photos, you can click here: Lu's Gig'em Dip

Lu’s Gig’em Dip

1 (14.5 oz) can Pinto Beans
3 T. finely diced onion
2 cloves garlic (finely diced)
1 finely diced Jalapeno pepper
1 whole roasted Hatch chile (finely diced)
½ t. Pinto Beano seasoning
1 small jar chopped pimentos (undrained
2 ½ cups grated cheese (Monterey Jack or Cheddar, or a combination)
½ t. Chipotle Chili Powder (or just regular chili powder)
1 T. butter
1 T. vegetable oil

Heat the butter and oil over medium  heat.  Add the garlic and onion and stir until soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes.  Do not let the garlic brown or it will be bitter. Add the Pinto Beano seasoning.  Drain most of the liquid from the beans (reserving the liquid) and add about 1/2 of the beans to the garlic and onion.  With a wooden spoon, mash up most of the beans.  Stir well.  Add the Jalapeno, the Hatch Chile, the pimentos (with the liquid) , the remainder of the beans and a generous pinch of salt.  Mix well and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes.  Add the cheese and  chile powder and stir well.  Reduce heat to simmer (or very low) and stir until all the cheese is melted.
Add some of the reserved liquid from the beans  if mixture is too thick.

Hope you enjoy!!!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

We Like To Burn Things At Christmas. Doesn't Everyone?

First, I'm wearing just the lightest touch of lime green eyeshadow.

I needed to tell someone.

I could tell The Chief, but he would respond by asking if I had paid the taxes yet and "that's great Lu, but why is exactly one member of each pair of my socks missing".

So I thought it would be more fun to tell y'all.

OK then.


We had a really great Christmas. The weather was yucky wet, but it's hard to complain about wet yuckiness when it hasn't rained at the farm in about 27 years. So wet and yucky YEAH!

Every Christmas it seems like The Chief and the boys just cannot wait to burn some things.  I'm not sure what it is but come hell (I am so sorry) or high water they are going to light some fires. After a typical long, dry summer there are piles of trees and debris all over the farm just waiting to be burned. The burn ban has just recently been lifted, and because of the record-setting drought dead trees were everywhere. The Chief has been making burn piles for months just waiting for the perfect opportunity for incineration.

My camera battery died during the initial fire prep and I had to schlep back up the hill for a while to charge the battery. But it didn't take long for them to get started.

It's been a long, long time since there was standing water at the farm...

Even Weegie gets involved. See him over to the left? (Uh, no your other left.) He was directing the tractor.

I don't even complain anymore (at least not out loud) about the rampant and excessive use of flammable liquids. It is for naught...

It's so sad how many huge tree have died. Of course, in this particular area several of the trees succumbed not to the drought, but to a salt water leak from a nearby gas well.  It hurt my heart.

The tractor is used to gather up the scattered dead wood, and also to knock down some of the smaller dead trees.
I spend a lot of my time gathering up coats and hats and gloves that have been haphazardly left in the line of fire.

Sometimes I'm called upon to fetch a gas can.

Seriously, who knew there was a definite difference between gas and diesel?


It's everywhere....

The boys tell me you look more professional (in a wood-burning, lumberjack-type way) if you let your hair and beard grow to unprecedented lengths specifically for the Christmas burning.

I do not believe their lies.

Some of the larger trees will smolder for weeks. Some will refuse to burn. My Daddy sometimes burned the same dead trees for years and years.

I finally excused myself and wandered back up to the house. In the picture above Weegie is eating something that would later come back to haunt him.

He didn't feel well that night.

The Christmas Burn.

It's just generally hazardous and exciting.

How was yours?


Monday, December 26, 2011

Stop The Presses.

It's my birthday.
I thought you'd want to know.
I'm six.

I accept gifts.
Chicken, blueberries and cheese are my favorites.

Happy Birthday to me.

The Weege.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Hi y'all.

I was about to post a long, complex story about the Christmas Bonfires here at the farm complete with loads of fascinating, dare I say spell-binding photos, but the internet connection here in the woods is sketchy at best and sometimes just downright nonexistent. The photos won't even begin to load.


I'll have to save all that for later.

Right now I think I'll just wish you all a very Merry Christmas and tell you how much I appreciate your willingness to stop by here ever so often to share a little piece of my world.

You all make me smile a lot.

Really, you do, and that's a year-round present for me.

So thank you. I hope you and your loved ones are blessed with the most joyous and wondrous time as we stop to celebrate the birth of Our Savior.

God Bless you All.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Bring You Sad Tidings of Kiss Shrinkage


I've been making cookies today. Mainly because I still have about three gifts left to buy and I've developed a serious brain-blockage in my attempts to come up with ideas for those gifts, so I figured that I'd pretend to look busy for most of the day in an effort to avoid shopping.

And who doesn't like to pretend to be busy AND end up with cookies afterward? Stick with me people, I'll show you the ropes. I can also school you on how to look busy and end up with a pedicure.
Just sayin'.

The Chief likes the Peanut Butter Cookies With The Hershey Kiss On Top. I know they have a name - Peanut Butter Blossoms, Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies, but I stick with Peanut Butter Cookies With The Hershey Kiss On Top because I'm a realist.

I like to keep it real.

You know, these...

I've got to tell you though, that I've made a disturbing discovery. The Kisses. They are smaller. Now I don't typically buy these little candies throughout the year because quite frankly the probability of me putting in them in a little decorative glass bowl and just enjoying one ever so often is what you might politely call a "fat chance". No it's just best that I reserve the purchase of these little jewels for special occasions. But I'm telling you right now that I think they've shrunk. They just don't feel the same. And I'd appreciate it if someone could throw a little Kiss-related research my way to substantiate my claims.

The more spreadsheets the better.
At least if there is any kind of remote hope of convincing The Chief that I'm right. And no, it's not that important, but I like to convince him I'm right every chance I can get.

I like to keep our relationship healthy.

In other important seasonal news, I've buckled under and put some feed out for the birds knowing full well and with SOLID ASSURANCE that in doing so it's only hours until Weegie will be sprayed by a skunk.

The skunks have some kind of sophisticated monitoring system complete with GPS and integrated target analysis that alerts them any time I make the mistake of thinking I'm putting the seed out for the birds.

They'll be moving in soon.  Weegie can sense it.

But in the meantime the birds have been enjoying the bird seed

This is one of the "lead birds" making an announcement to the others:

"Friends, when you get on the feeder make sure to stay on the backside of it so Lu cannot get any sort of good pictures".

"This irritates her to no end."

Junior there is apparently a slow learner.

I see some major discipline in his future.

Hope you're having a great day!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

We Have Now Tied It All Up With A Bow

I think it's safe to say that your favorites have been a hit!

Someone commented that "the readers of your blog, they are a diverse group!" And that, my friends, is what makes you all so great!

Here are a few more.

Diana says she's all about

I think it might be her "TAB".

I know that I would be delighted to find a six pack (or 7) of TAB under my tree, and I think Diana would feel the same way about her Dew.

She also likes Shea Butter for her dry skin.

I'm not sure if she just slathers the straight butter on or uses a product containing it... Either way, she has great skin!

Cathy, a wonderful writer friend, highly recommends the following:

These beeswax candles from Candle Bee Farm are wonderful! They burn long and clean with lead-free wicks and also get rid of cooking odors! They come in a variety of colors and you can even get sparkly ones for this time of year! Love them!

 Oh, and about the price on this... their prices vary depending on the size, type of candle. But I know they have candles for $10.

Cathy also shared this

Ahava's Deadsea Mineral products are the best!  But they're expensive, so I find them CHEAP at TJ Max and sometimes at Tuesday Morning. I love the Ahava Rich Cleansing Cream. Makes a huge difference in the way my face looks and feels! This is $22 but I can find it for $10 sometimes.

Thanks Cathy!

Just a thought: Tuesday Morning is also a great place to find a quick Hostess Gift!

Jillian sent in some great ideas!  She's the sweet daughter of one of my dearest friends in the world, Shirley. I just had the privilege of meeting her this past year and she's a doll. 

She writes:

Love this idea!!
A few of my favorite things...

"Rusk Wired Styling Cream."  About $10 at grocery store.  Finally found something for my thick, wavy hair that helps it maintain wave/curl throughout the day without it being wet/crunchy looking. :)  I might never straighten my hair again now that I found this product!

Along those lines, "Tresemme Waterless Foam Shampoo" is great to use the second day on my wavy hair.  $3-4 at grocery store.  My hair goes crazy overnight, so without this I'd have to wash my hair all over the second day, which is a pain with my thick, tangly hair.  Add a little hairspray after scrunching in hair and it looks freshly done!

"The Original XL Dish Drying Mat."  $8 at Bed Bath & Beyond.  Love this.

"Mr. Clean Dawn Fillable Superfabric Dish Wand". About $6 I think.  Food doesn't stick to it at all, soap only comes out when you press the button, doesn't leak.  I feel like it's a lot less germy than the average sponge because of the material on the top.  I stick mine in the dishwasher every time I run it too.

Ok, I think that's all for now!  Can't wait to see everyone elses! :)
Thanks Jill!!!

Jill's Mom, Shirley shares some things too!

Lu, hère they no particular order!
#1...this is my very favorite candle of all smells soooo good.  (And I think I like it so much because it
smells like my favorite store :)) 

Side note, the Volcano scent is the one I like...hope this link takes you to that scent!

#2...I discovered this thanks to a dear friend, Tammy, when I was dying with ulcers.  I use it at the hint of an ulcer starting, and it stops them in their tracks.  I truly believe I may never have a killer one again...Hallelujah!!  I think it was a bit more than $10, but I would pay any price for it.

#3...Don't know where I have been these past 6 years, but I just discovered this 2005 Christmas album...and it's my favorite for this year!

Thanks so much, Shir - I'm so glad you sent a music fav!!!

Marilyn sends in some fun stuff all the way from New Mexico!

She loves her Diet DP!

 Wait! It appears that it's the Cherry flavor.  My bad. Diet Cherry DP!

Marilyn, have you had Dublin DP?

She sent a picture of her very favorite companions too!

Such cuties! I love the fuzziness!

And Marilyn makes beautiful, beautiful quilts so I was thrilled to see that she sent something for you seamstresses out there

Leather thimbles!  I had no idea there were such things!  Marilyn, you'll have to tell us more about them.

Could I just cut off the fingers of some of The Chief's farm gloves?  Do you think he'd notice?

Thank you Marilyn!

Now from Kay!

"My favorite things, for $10 bucks (or less), that I love to share with anyone who has a sensitive nose and everyone with indoor/outdoor pets, would be these two items! My nose can smell out the slightest of odors and I MUST have on hand at all times a gallon of OdoBan Odor Eliminator, I use it in my mop water, in my laundry, for washing out the trash can or any other smelly place! I buy it at Home Depot, they offer other products for cleaning up after pets also.   

For my inside/outside dogs, I bathe them first with a flea shampoo to rid them of those pest then to rid them of their doggy odor I use OUT! Deodorizing Shampoo, it's a bit harder to find and the last time I just ordered a case from 

(This is a terrible pic, but you absolutely must go to the website - I've never seen so much cool dog (and all pets) stuff!!

Weegie saw a few things he just has to have!

Wait. I think he has my credit card.....

"Squeegums, you bring that card right back here!"

Thanks so much for the ideas Kay!

And wonderful Joanne offers up this great tip for pesky eye makeup removal-

"This is my favorite eye makeup remover. Haven't used anything else for years - and I mean a lot of years!"

(From Lu: Joanne, I don't know what you're talking about with "a lot of years", why you're practically a child!!!)

This might be a great idea for all of you who were bothered by my own usage of Vaseline to remove eye makeup!

Well this has been great,great fun.  And please feel free to send me your favorites whenever - I'd love to feature your great ideas on a regular basis.

Maybe we'll start a monthly "Stuff We Love" post!

Now get out there and finish all that shopping!!!!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Never Promised You Promptness. Or a Rose Garden, For That Matter

I've never said I was prompt. Never once. And if I did, I hope you didn't believe me.

Please be cautious if I ever mention anything about being prompt, thrifty, svelte, or tan.

Chances are I'm not being totally honest.

Anyway, it's time for more favorites.

Let's start with Miriam.  She's a wonder, really.  She has an amazing talent for vintage and thrifty discoveries. I've never seen anyone, anywhere with a better eye for antiques or anything that can be re-purposed.  Someday I'm going to ask her permission (Hey Miriam! Are you listening??) to photograph her awesome screened porch and share it with you. It's amazing.

I'll let her do the talking here...

1)  I love live Poinsettias and usually buy at least 1 from Wal-Mart or Houston Garden Center for $3-$10.  I was so pleased to find this miniature version at the 99 cent store last week and in my chipped McCoy pot which I got for a buck or 2 on one of my thrifting forays the ensemble comes in under the prescribed $10.
(Note from Lu: I assure you I do know how to rotate a photo, but for some crazy reason this one only wants to lay on it's side... sorry)

2) On the practical side, I love and use all of my Isatoner gloves.  I have a pair in beige, blue, and black and also have the insulated pair in black.  I know these usually retail for more than the $10, however if you are a thrifter, as I am, you can pick them up at tag sales, or resale shops for $1-$2.  Also I recently bought a pair at Marshalls to give as a gift for $9.99.  The thin ones are great for the mildly cool mornings.  They hug your hand without smothering it and grip the steering wheel just right. 

3)  On the totally impractical side, but very fun and fashionable I love, love, love bangle bracelets.  All of these have been snagged at tag sales, thrift shops, clearance bins or Ebay for $5 or under.  Love the colors, the textures, the materials--lucite, bakelite, brass, copper. . . I don't know how the Asian shops on Ebay can sell and ship bracelets for 99 cents but I have bought several of theirs.  This is just one bowl full--I have several more--bowls are for more than just serving food!  Besides wearing them I enjoy the visual effect of them all piled in bowls in my bathroom.

Love it Miriam. I should mention that as you would expect, Miriam always has the perfect accessory for every outfit she puts on!!!

Now from my dear friend (since 4th grade!) Kendra.

Kendra lives in Austin and her favorites are just as eclectic as her town!

Here goes...

Her favorite candy! Sorry about the picture quality - It's Russell Stover Dark Chocolate!

My favorite salsa.  No longer available at Randall’s.  Must order from San Antonio.  Shipping is free. 

Favorite magazine.  It makes me feel smart.  (Lu note:She already is really smart!!!)

Pilates pose – OK.  This costs $13.50 a class.  (She says she's also made lots of good friends from her Pilates class!)

Favorite flavor – peppermint only available in December

Thanks, K!!! I love me some Peppermint Blue Bell too!

Now from beautiful and sweet Patty!  I roomed with Patty for a while at A&M and she always looks impeccable!  So you can trust her recommendation for this beauty product!

She says:

My favorite new product is Infusium23 Moisture Replenisher Collection- Shampoo, Conditioner, and Leave-In Treatment. Each bottle sells for around $7. Use all three and your hair feels so silky!

I'm buying some this week!

Two more beauty ideas come from Lori!  Thank you Lori for always encouraging me with your nice comments about the blog.  You know how some days you just need a good word from someone? Lori has been that person for me many times!!!

She writes:

I am so excited by this party! What a great idea...

I love Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme. My nails look presentable because of this creme. I use a little each night and my nails stay moisturized.

(From Lu: You're all missing out if you haven't tried Burt's Bees!

 I use Hill Country Essentials Daily Moisture lotion every day. It is a light moisturizer with SPF 15 for my fair skin. I really like that it doesn’t leave a greasy feeling like some moisturizers do. I started using it when Lubriderm downsized but kept the price the same. I truly think it is exactly the same, for less money! Thank you HEB!

Love these Lori!!!! Thanks.

Let's wrap up today's favs with one more product for your hair and a healthy snack favorite!

Karen says:

I love to use Got2bglued on my hair.  It works best right after my hair has been cut.   Kendall my three yr. old grand-daughter says I have crunchy hair when I use it.

And finally,

I love Chobani Greek Yogurt.  It is so thick and yummy.  I buy mine at Sam's.  The box comes with blueberry, strawberry and peach.  The serving is 4 points on Weight Watchers.

I've mentioned before how I love Greek Yogurt!  Thanks Karen!

Tomorrow we'll see favs from Marilyn, Joanne, Kay, Jillian, Cathy, Diana, and Shir!!!

They've got some good ones - don't miss it!


Monday, December 12, 2011

In My Mind It's Still Last Thursday. Please Join Me There.

Without making excuses or anything about my tardiness in posting this, I welcome you all to

Your Favorite Things: Thursday Edition

On the off chance that it seems odd to you that today I'm posting the Thursday Edition (which was temporarily postponed to Friday) and then secretly bumped to Monday,  don't let it bother you.

Just let it go.

Now. I was just squeaky excited about all the great Favorite Things y'all sent in.  I even had these really grandiose ideas about how I was going to organize them all into categories and then I was going to formulate some kind of neat outline-ish type form that would be easy to follow and you know, in the end IT WOULD ALL MAKE SO MUCH SENSE...

But I didn't.

So I'm just going to start posting some of them and hope that some kind of "sense" settles itself upon the whole thing and perhaps sees fit to wrap it all together and oh yes, tie it up with a great BIG BOW.

But don't get your hopes up.

Here goes.

Sara sent in several great ideas for the cooks in your life.  She's a darn good cook herself, and has the kitchen "chops" to know what she's talking about

She says:

1. my citrus zester...I love the taste that fresh lemon, lime or orange adds to a dish!

2. Fig Balsamic Vinegar ...this stuff is so yummy, that I just dip fresh baked bread into it.  I've made salad dressing with it too...really "delish"!

3.  Oxo peelers- they never dull and the handles are easy to hang onto...

4. She also loves her little nutmeg grater!  She says "The regular graters are wonderful, but I have dropped the whole nutmeg pod into too many things and had to "fish it out" too many times not to warrant the "self-contained" grinder!  $9.99!

Gayla particularly likes this "sweet little cutting board" she scored at HEB.

It comes in all sorts of bright fun colors and also has matching measuring spoons and cups.  Who said you have to go to the mall to find a great gift for a cook???

Gayla has cooked a few meals herself - even for entire groups of working cowboys!  And anyone who has cooked in large quantities knows that 3 or maybe 4 cutting boards may be necessary during the preparation of a big meal.

Some of these nifty little "mini" cutting boards would be great stocking stuffers!

Gayla also swears by this cleaner...

She says "it's gotten out every stain she's ever tried it on".

I say who doesn't need something like this after a holiday party????

Carolyn loves this nifty little microwave omelet gadget....

Here's what she shares about it...

"Okay, so I am not a culinary I do love the nordic ware microwaveable omelet dish. 
I put in 3 egg whites, sliced peppers and mushrooms, and spices...maybe a little shredded cheese. And while it's microwaving I take care of other morning tasks like locating my socks and shoes...which sometimes, sadly, takes more than 3 minutes. 

I think it would be under $10...but mine is from my grandma when she free!"

Carolyn sends this idea all the way from Seattle!  Thanks Carolyn!!

Kristy sends this awesome idea for using business card holders to hold Scripture verses.

Wouldn't it be great to have those on your dressing table or on the counter in the bathroom so you could start your day right.  You could print out the verses yourself or buy pre-printed scripture cards and include those with a pretty stand as a great gift!

She also (she's a creative one, that Kristy!) uses place card holders to display action photos of friends and family around her home!

Most especially photos of her precious Granddaughter Livy Anne!

Who among us doesn't have a great photo we'd love to display?  And the great thing is you can just change them out to suit your mood!

Don't you love all these ideas?? And believe me this is just the tip of the iceberg... We may well have Your Favorites all week!  Everyone was so great about sending in their favs!!!

More tomorrow!!