Monday, December 15

Daddy's Favorite Meat Loaf

How many recipes do you have that look like this? Ripped quickly from the pages of old magazines. This is how at least 50% of my recipes appear. They are yellowed and stained from years of use and ingredients. A lot of my recipes have been yanked, clipped or torn from the pages of old periodicals. This is a scan of a meatloaf recipe I tore out of a magazine back in 1994. It is a staple here in our home. Nothing fancy and really easy to make. Just right for a cold Winter's night!

Monday, December 8

Make-Ahead Christmas Morning Cherry & Almond Sweet Rolls

While Christmas morning's main event is usually under the tree, a big holiday family breakfast around the table can add to the magic of the morning as well. And I don't know about the rest of America, but waking up to a yummy breakfast on Christmas morning is a tradition all across the South. However, the last thing most of us want to think about is spending hours in the kitchen on the most anticipated morning of the year! So what's a Texas gal to do? Serve breakfast dishes you can prepare on Christmas Eve and simply pop'em in the oven come Christmas Morning! These sweet rolls can be found on our table along with an ample-sized bowl of fresh fruit, scrambled eggs and some sort of breakfast meat — and I'm a happy girl.

Thursday, December 4

Happy Tummy, Happy Holidays Smoothie!

I have been invited by the good people from Williams-Sonoma to celebrate Smoothie Week with them! All you need for a delicious homemade smoothie are a few great ingredients and a versatile blender. Williams-Sonoma carries a good range of blenders for you to choose from. Everything from Vitamix, which in my opinion is THE BEST blender on the market today, to Cuisinart, Breville and many others. In all price ranges, with a wide assortment of cutting-edge technologies to fit your specific needs, Williams-Sonoma certainly makes your hunt for the perfect blender an easy one. Nowon to my favorite homemade smoothie!

Wednesday, December 3

30 Easy Homemade Christmas Candy Recipes

Everyone loves a homemade gift, especially if that gift is edible and sweet like the following Christmas candy recipes from myself and a few other bloggers. Choose from easy recipes for fudge, chocolate bark, pralines, marshmallows, and more, and give this holiday season a personal touch that can't be beat.

Monday, December 1


The definition of “joy” is widely subjective, but most people would agree that the end of the year holds a special place in their lives. Whether it's because of family and fudge, or snow angels and holiday parties, December is a joyous time. For me, it really is the "most wonderful time of the year". I find joy in the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping - yes it's true - and hot chocolate in front of the fire after that long day at the mall, the sound of Santas on the corner as they ring their bells and call out "Merry Christmas" to those who pass by and mistletoe hung where you can see. Bright Christmas lights, whimsical department store windows, cookie decorating parties and the smell of fresh cut evergreens at the local tree lot. Quaint Christmas carolers, the look of my breath as it hangs in the cold December air and if we're really lucky, the crunch of snow under our boots on Christmas Day. What's NOT to love about December? It means family. It means giving. And most of all it means the Christ child. The Son of God was born of a virgin, sent to us as THE gift of Salvation. Love came down, bringing all of mankind our ultimate JOY! What a truly remarkable time of year to celebrate His coming! This is my definition of December joy, what's yours?

If you'd like the individual links to my favorite things, you can find them here.

Thursday, November 20

ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas 2014 Schedule

It's that time of year again. The 2014 Holiday Season is upon us, can you believe it? The older I get the faster time flies. It seems like I just took down our 2013 Christmas decorations. 

Has anyone watched a Christmas movie or television program yet? Well, I have! The Hallmark Channel started playing Christmas movies 24/7 on October 31. Yes, on Halloween. And yes, I watched one as soon as they started running them that night.

As much as I love watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel—and will continue to do soI have a fondness for the Christmas movies and shows that the ABC Family Channel starts running on December 1. The ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas not only schedules fun family movies but those awesome Christmas cartoons we all grew up on. Rudolph, the Grinch and Frosty, I love them all!

Get your Christmas shopping finished early and celebrate the season with some much needed downtimesitting in front of the fire with your kids, a cup of hot chocolate and a bowl of popcorn watching a family favorite Christmas movie! Enjoy the season my sweet friends!

Tuesday, November 18

Corn And Bacon Chowder, Stove-Top or Crock Pot Style

Happy Tuesday, everyone! What's cooking in your kitchen today? Anything fun and delicious? Something Fall-like? I'm cooking for a crowd tonight and I am plotting a simple but hearty meal! CORN and BACON CHOWDER, served over MeMe's CORNBREAD with crispy PANINI'S on the side. DELICIOUSLY AUTUMNAL! What about you? What's cooking in your kitchen, and what are you looking forward to cooking the rest of this week?

Monday, November 17

ROLO Pretzel Delights

I'm sure that this little recipe is nothing new to some of you. But, if you haven't tried it before, then stop what you're doing and run out and buy a bag of Rolo candy. These are so simple and delicious. They're the perfect treat for your Christmas cookie and candy tray this year. Our family has been making these for years. They are my Daddy's favorites and they're always a hit!! Throw a few of these into your next outgoing cookie tin. Your friends and family will thank you.

Thursday, November 13


This candy reminds me of Almond Joys. With the added Maraschino cherries, it takes this Christmas candy over the top. Beloved by all of my family and friends, it is the most requested candy I make during the holidays. 
I hope your loved ones enjoy as well!

Wednesday, November 12

Tips And Tools For Making The Perfect Pie Crust

Everyone knows that a pie is only as good as its crust. But consistently achieving a tender, flaky texture, buttery flavor, and golden glow can be challenging for even the most seasoned baker. What’s an amateur to do? Start by following these 10 simple rules.

Monday, November 10

Before You Go Out Of Town: Tips on Burglar Proofing Your Home

There are things we never forget. One such memory occurred for me in the winter of 1979, just a few months after our family moved to Dallas. I was in the 8th grade. 

It was a cold, dark night when a ringing telephone woke us up. No - it wasn't our telephone, it was our neighbors. My Dad looked out the bedroom window to find a man crawling through the window next door. Our neighbors were being robbed! The burglar had gotten our neighbor's telephone number and someone was ring the phone as he was robbing them. This was his way of knowing no one was in the house.

Sunday, November 9

Sausage Crescent Cheese Balls

Mr.P and I decided to make a few improvements in our home before the coming holidays. But let me just say, remodeling is never as easy as one thinks it's going to be! At least that's what we have found to be true. Leaving very little precious time for blogging. So what's a blogger to do?

Wednesday, November 5

10 Easy Tricks That Can Help Prevent The Common Cold and Flu

I have four doctor's appointments today. Yes my friends, you read that correctly. I am blessed to have good health, even though I have a very bad back. Today's visits are just preventative care. For all of you young folks out there, you most likely will think these are a waste of time. I used to think the same thing. But then you get older. One of my visits is with my OB/GYN, a wonderful man. The only man, other than my husband, that's seen me naked  I'd like to keep it that way. I was thinking how odd it is that I started seeing him a few months before I married 28 years ago. I continued seeing him through the birth of my children, then I didn't see him again until just a few years ago. Pregnancies and menopause  that poor man has seen me at my hormonal worst! Then there's my primary care physician, dermatologist, and I'm getting my yearly mammogram today as well. Have you ladies had the girls checked out this year?? It's never too early to start this yearly habit.

Tuesday, November 4

Thanksgiving Is Fast Approaching! Here's My Easy Plan Ahead Timeline

I'm a firm believer in planning ahead, hey I have already started buying Christmas gifts! It's never too early. If you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends this year, advanced planning is a must. Don't let a long Thanksgiving to-do list overwhelm you at the last minute; here are some things you can do in the weeks leading up to the big day to keep your to-do list under control.

Monday, November 3

Viewfinder Christmas!

Happy Holidays Set

Looking for a unique way to say Merry Christmas? This year, instead of sending out the normal Christmas card, send a custom reel and viewer! How awesome is this? 

With the ability to create custom, unique, and awe-inspiring reels with your very own photographs, a 3-D View-Master and photo reel makes a rare Christmas card anyone would love. If not for a special Christmas card, you can also use your photos to make a reel for everything from one-of-a-kind gifts, weddings, keepsakes, special announcements, portfolios, school projects, and more.

Saturday, November 1


With the airing of 'It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown' last night I officially ushered in the 2014 Holiday Season and I could not be more excited! The cherished month of November is a feast - visually, emotionally, mentally and gastronomically. From the rich colors and flavors of Thanksgiving to the upcoming sweet and soothing traditions of Christmas, I hope you savor every image, every fragrance, every thought and every delicious morsel. Along with My Favorite Things collage, I send my very best wishes for joyful celebrations to you and all those you love. 
-Ronda, The Domestic Curator

Friday, October 31

Remember when.... Halloween 2008

When your children leave home weird things happen. Some days Mr.P and I act like teenagers; giddy that we have the house all to ourselves. Some days we're so busy I forget that E is off at college. But when it comes to days like Halloween, which my children love, I really miss them. There are no costumes to make, parties to throw, or giggles and screams to listen to. So this is where I found myself today. 

When it came time for Ms.B's weekly 'bath' and grooming session, I was missing the kids. A light bulb went off and I remembered I had made little Halloween hats for my pumpkin boo bags. I just knew they would fit Ms.B perfectly. I quickly hot glued some ribbon to one of the hats, grabbed my camera and tied this little witches hat to Ms.B. Isn't she cute?

Thursday, October 30

How-To Introduce A New Color Into Your Home

How bright and beautiful are all the fall leaves? It seems like overnight the colors have exploded on the trees! Equally beautiful are the furniture and accessories on display all over Dallas. And pretty soon, the Christmas season will be upon us! Can you believe the stores are already selling Christmas decorations?

Right now the color orange is trending! Whether you are looking to add a new color to your living room or wardrobe, any shade of orange will do. So how do you introduce a new color to your home?

Wednesday, October 29

Carving The Perfect Halloween Pumpkin!

If you haven't carved up your Jack-O'-Lantern this year, no worriesthere is still time! Here are 7 simple step-by-step instructions to creating a great Halloween pumpkin that you will  be proud to place on your windowsill or front porch. So, go forth my friends and CARVE!

Tuesday, October 28

The Best Gifts For Globetrotters

You may not be able to give the gift of exotic trips to all of the special people in your lives this holiday season. But helping them savor travel memories and plan for a future trip is definitely in the budget. I've put together a list of globe-trotting goods for this holiday season, none priced at more than $110. It includes innovations everything from hi-tech waterproof Bluetooth speakers to ultralight bags that convert from backpacks to duffels.

4-in-1 Adapter

This handy Lego-like tool snaps together four plugs and one adapter to power up gadgets in 150 countries. The red, blue, yellow, and green components correspond to a color-coded map to help you quickly determine the parts needed based on your destination. This is a real find! Flight 001; $25.00.

Tuesday, October 21

Halloween 'BOO BAGS'!

My children are almost seven years apart in age. Being a stay-at-home Mom meant only one thing — I spent 14 years as THE Home Room Mom. 

I learned over the years what the kids liked, what the parents didn't, what the teachers preferred and most of all — how to throw together a swinging party for 20 - 25 students in a little under two hours, and occasionally all alone. As crazy as it may sound, it was something I learned to love.

Thursday, October 16


I know when it comes to desserts, right now 'salted' caramel is all the rage. And to be sure, it's good, but why not take it up a notch with this chocolate, caramel, salted peanut confection. It is the dessert to beat in this particular category, and one of my favorites.

Wednesday, October 15

Blueberry Ricotta Coffee Cake

How about a big WOW for Wednesday? Sometimes you just need something special for the mid-week blues. I don't have a big sweet tooth but I will make an exception for coffee cake. Maybe it's because most coffee cakes are not overly sweet. And most are down right YUMMY! I do take joy in a great piece of freshly baked coffee cake, warm from the oven, and a cuppa joe. And here in North Texas it's finally cool-ER, not cold but just right! I found this wonderful coffee cake recipe a few years back. I was hunting for something exceptional to take to Bread Day at the State Fair. I am always on the lookout for anything baked with blueberries. My absolute FAVORITE berry. This is an excellent addition to any breakfast or brunch. I also serve this with lemonade in the summertime. It is a special treat!

Tuesday, October 14

Your First Apartment: Kitchen Essentials

Have you or do you know of anyone who has just moved into his or her first real apartment? Right now they’re probably busy outfitting their kitchen, and they most likely need a little help. Although the basics will do, you don’t want to waste hard-earned money on tools that are either flimsy or overpriced. Equipment testing has proven the following to be highly recommend as the best in kitchen gear that won’t break the bank.

Sunday, October 12

Hosting A Dinner Party

If we want to be connected with the people around us, we need to be willing to make room in our world for others. I’m the first to admit that into days busy world, throwing a dinner party is not on the top of my list. So when it comes to entertaining friends and family, it takes some planning. Today I’m sharing a few simple principles for planning and hosting a casual dinner party, whether seasonal, during the holidays or anytime of year.

Wednesday, October 8

Dark Chocolate and Sour Cherry Scones

I am Ka-razy about Cherries! Always have been. Some of my earliest memories are of Cherry Pie. That explains a lot doesn't it?

I love all forms of cherries. Fresh, juicy Summer ones, stewed, baked and most certainly dried cherries. Something happens to fruit when it has been dried. It concentrates and intensifies the flavor into one small bite.

Tuesday, October 7

Tailgating — It's A Lifestyle!

If you've ever attended a tailgating partyespecially in the Souththen you know that it is not just any old function. Right? It's an institution my friends! And sadly if you've never hung out in the parking lot, in the shade of your favorite stadium, next to a grill, with your closest friendswell then, you are really missing out on something pretty special. It's not about a fired up grill and a cooler full of beer or coke, it's a lifestyle! 

Sunday, October 5

Colors, Textures & Design Elements For Easy Fall Decorating

Falling leaves, chilled winds and pouring rain can only mean one thing… It’s autumn again. If you love autumn like I do, you will adore these fall designs I have for you. Today I'm talking about the living room and I will try to inspire you to bring autumn into your home with simple, yet eye catching details. Traditional fall colors are those found in nature — burgundy, brown, gold, orange, yellow. Contemporary choices include gray, apricot, tan, rusty red, green, and bursts of color like eggplant, teal and turquoise.

Friday, October 3

Flawless Fried Eggs: It's In The Details

Is there anything better than a hot breakfast of fried eggs and bacon on a cool and crisp Fall morning? I love fried eggs, but rarely cook them because it's just easier to scramble them. Or so I thought. This quick and easy method is just as easy as scrambling eggs. Seriously. So go forth my friends. Enjoy the fall and a few fried eggs......any time of day!

Thursday, October 2

Are You A Leaf Peeper?

I AM! And here we are again, it's the most colorful time of the year! We're deep in the heart of leaf-peeping season and the leaves, they are a-changin'. I could not be happier! Beautiful shades of orange, red, and yellow as leaf-peeping kicks into

Wednesday, September 24

Cracker Barrel Fall & Halloween Decor

Have you guys been in a Cracker Barrel lately? Or at all? It's been a few years since I set foot inside the Cracker Barrel that is located within 5 miles of our home. My aunt and sister invited me to lunch a few weeks back, and we headed to

Monday, September 22

Turn Simple Pantry Items Into Quick Dinners

As I was going through my pantry, fridge and freezer last week, I came across items I had bought with every good intention of using. However, I have yet to use them and they are still taking up valuable space. Mr.P

Wednesday, September 17


Household chores help your little ones learn responsibility—and helps you finally finish that to-do list. Nobody likes chores, which is exactly why you shouldn’t have to do all of them yourself. Instead, recruit your children to pitch in on a daily

Monday, September 15

Yes! We have no Bananas! Banana Bread

Okay, that's not entirely true. Mr.P asked for a banana yesterday and I told him we had no bananas. He went in search of something else to eat only to come back with four bananas in his hand and wanted to know what I called these things

Sunday, September 14

Weekly Reflections — September 13, 2014

I was under the impression that once all the kids flew away, and our home became an empty nest, Mr.P and I would have so much more time on our hands. It is strangely NOT the case. We are more busy now than ever, maybe not with

Friday, September 12

California Turkey BLT Wrap-n-Go

Here it is again, time for Friday night football! This last week has just flown by in our home as I'm sure it has for many of you.

I was thinking of the things I used to prepare for my kids to eat as they were running out the door to Friday night high school football

Thursday, September 11

The Art of Homemaking: How-To Fold a Fitted Sheet

We have two newlywed couples in our family. Both of them being married less than a year, I have thought a lot about them lately. Praying and hoping all good things for them.

When Mr.P and I first married, there were many things

Wednesday, September 10

Chicken Piccata with Artichoke Hearts, Tomatoes & Capers in A Lemon-Garlic-Butter Sauce

This is going to be short and sweet. I came across this recipe for Chicken Picatta the other day. Decided to try it out tonight on Mr.P —he is a lover of capers and artichokes. Even though the sauce is butter based it turned out surprisingly light. The lemon juice gave it a fresh taste and I can never add enough garlic and tomatoes to anything. So grab your skillet and give it a whirl, it's yummy! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 9

Essential Kitchen Equipment For The Make-Ahead Cook

Everyone knows the benefits of home cooking—tastier, healthier meals and significant savings. But some nights there's just no time to make dinner from scratch. Below are a few essentials of top-performing gear, from freezer bags to casserole

Saturday, September 6

Dreams Of Grandeur: The Routh Street House, Dallas Texas

Can we talk about dreams for a minute? Not the kind that come to you in your sleep; but life-long dreams. I have dreamed of owning a Bed and Breakfast. Thinking about the idea makes me happy indeed. Running a small (1 cottage) B&B would

Thursday, September 4

Slow Cooker Shredded Pork Tacos

It's that time of year againFriday night football is upon us! And here in Texas, high school football is KING on Friday nights, stretching far back into our memories! Being the mother of two children, that are now adults,

Wednesday, September 3

Ready For Fall, Y'all? Here Are A Few Tips To Smooth The Way

Ah, fall…my favorite time of year. While it seems as if everyone around me is hanging on for dear life to summer, I am quietly cheering autumn’s arrival. Still, with cooler temperatures coming our way and pretty soon falling leaves

Monday, September 1

Labor Day Dinner & Summer Reflections

Well it's official, Summer is over. And with it, Mr.P and I are brought back to taking care of the house and ourselves, all alone. E is gone back to school and it will be quite some time before we see her again. And I'll admit it - I'm a little misty

Friday, August 29

Apple Pecan Chicken Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Even though here, in my part of the country, it's still very much Texas-Hot, we are nevertheless planning for Fall. Looking forward to when the weather turns it down a notch and brings us a handful of really crisp days. I am so ready. To start

Wednesday, August 27


Not often do I come across a recipe that is this enticing. However when I do, I know it's a recipe that I will keep forever and continue to prepare for years to come. So don't immediately turn away from the 21 ingredients in this lasagna

Tuesday, August 26

The Many Uses Of Epsom Salt

Did you think that Epsom Salt was only good for sprains? My grandparents were huge fans of Epsom salt — they used it for everything! People of their generation knew the many health benefits that Epsom salt provided and I’ve recently

Sunday, August 24

Weekly Reflections — August 23, 2014

It's been a few weeks since I shared what's been going on in the Porter household. I have been crazy busy getting child number two back to college. Now that the dust has settled, Mr.P and I are back to our regular schedule. So for a quick update, here we go.

Friday, August 22

Brownie Parfait Shooters

What do you do when you have left-over brownies, and a can of Reddi-Wip? Make Brownie Parfaits of course! After indulging in Brownie Sundaes a month ago, I had a half pan of Homemade Brownies left. Instead of eating them then, I wrapped them up and popped them into the freezer. Last week, before E left for college, I decided to make these cute Brownie Parfait Shooters with things I had on hand. Which just happened to be brownies from the freezer, along with Hot Chocolate Pudding, Reddi-Wip and raspberries from the fridge.

Thursday, August 21

There's More To Life Than Chores!

Summer is coming to a close. For many, summers end may mean one last vacation, shopping for new fall clothes, saying good-bye to long-time friends, saying hello to crisp weather, visiting the state fair, football season! and school starting for many. For me, however, the end of summer brings chores. Yes, E has headed back to college and now Mom is on deck. All of the things she helped me do during the summer are now left for me to accomplish. I'm not going to lie, I really hate doing chores! For the first time in months, I had to empty the dishwasher yesterday, one of my least favorite chores. 

Cruising the web last week I came across an article on the subject of 'chores you can get done during a television commercial break'. Well, this had obviously been written for me. As I was reading this well thought out article, I started to think of the ten things I could accomplish in the span of a short commercial break. They are as follows:

1. Unload the Dishwasher, let's get it over with!
I guess if it has to be done, then I'd rather get it done FAST! I tried it yesterday, if I work fast, I can empty the dishwasher during a commercial break. YAY!

2. Loading the Dishwasher.
Make quick work of loading the dishwasher, but be sure you do it properly so that your dishes come out nice and clean. Scrape off the large food particles, rinse them if you like. Largest plates and dishes on the bottom, smaller dishes and glasses on top, add the dishwashing detergent, turn it on and you're done!

3. Dust a Room.
Yes, I can dust a room within the time restraints of a commercial break. Remember, small house, less furniture. And, I'm not talking about the whole house, just one room at a time. I like to use either Pledge wipes or Pledge spray, it really does keep dusting down to a minimum.

4. Swiffer a Floor!
I ask you, what did we do before Swiffers? I love my Swiffer and the quick work it makes of cleaning the hardwood and tile floors in my house. I can clean the floors quickly, and more importantly FULLY, without even breaking a sweat. Now that's my kind of cleaning!

5. Clean the Toilets.
We only have two bathrooms, I can so do this quickly. You can too with the right tools. Here is what I do: flush the toilet to wet the sides of the bowl, apply liquid toilet cleaner/disinfectant under the rim of the bowl - run to the next bathroom and do the same, then go back to the first toilet you applied cleaner to and using a scrubbing brush clean the bowl, flush the toilet to rinse and wipe down the rim and outer edge of the bowl with a Clorox wet wipe. Go back to second bathroom and finish up. Voila, two clean potties!

6. Work on the Laundry.
Well this is a no-brainer. If you work on your laundry a couple of times a week, you can keep dirty clothes to a minimum. During your commercial break you can either sort your laundry into piles, put a load of dirty laundry into the wash or clean ones into the dryer. It you get one of those nice long commercial breaks - like at the half hour - you can even take the time to fold a load of laundry! By the end of the evening you can be finished with your dirty laundry or at the very least put a huge dent into the piles in the laundry room!

7. Vacuum a Room.
You can lightly vacuum a room or two during a break. Or better yet, why not tackle the sofa?? Give the cushions a toss and vacuum your sofa well. If you leave your vacuum plugged in you can vacuum most of your house by the evenings end. How great is that?

8. Sort through your Magazines and Coffee Table Books.
Flip through the magazines and newspapers you’ve already read, pulling out any articles, recipes or photo inspiration you'd like to keep, then recycle them or put them in the donation bin (art teachers love to have them for class projects). Neaten the still-need-to-read pile. Flip through your coffee table books. If one of them has been displayed for awhile, switch it out. I like to rotate mine frequently, or depending on the season, so I can revisit my favorite books. They tend to inspire me all over again.

9. Clean out the Fridge.
I’m not talking super-duper refrigerator clean-out. I’m talking about tossing stuff that’s rotten or expired. Wipe down the shelves, again I like to use my Clorox wipes here, and wash out any recyclable containers, adding to your compost bin if you have one and throw out what you need to. 

10. Take out the Trash.
Gather up the trash, bag it and take it out. Throw all of the bags into a designated trash container, preferably metal - we have raccoons that like to dig! While you’re at it, gather up those recyclables, including the magazines you just realized you’re done with, and take them to the bin as well. Make sure to place a new plastic trash liner in your trash can. 

And you're done. Do as little or as much in any one given evening and enjoy that clean house! Just keep in mind, if I only cleaned my house once a month, I would not be able to dust a room or vacuum during a commercial break. Things would need more attention than I could give them in 5 or so minutes. But if you lightly dust once or twice a week, then it's easy to do. Keeping my list of chores down - and I like that!

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