Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Once again, blogging from the cabin just didn't happen.

I'm really going to have to consider paying for cable internet I guess...

At any rate, Mr. Paisley and I are back in icky hot Florida (it was in the upper 20s when we left Tennessee and 80 degrees and raining when we hit the Florida state line...shoot me now).

We are currently trying to get the holiday decorating done and thus, I haven't uploaded my photos yet.  So to tide you is a somewhat odd, but yummy dessert that won't do a number on your diet over the holidays. Heck, you might even get your kids or spouse to eat a veggie without knowing it.

Carrot Pumpkin Bars, only 70 calories!


2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup light butter/margarine, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 large egg whites
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin pie filling
1 cup carrot, finely shredded

Cream cheese topping:
4 oz light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon skim milk


Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease 15 x 10 jellyroll pan.

Prepare Filling:
In small bowl: combine flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder & baking soda.

In larger bowl: Beat sugar, butter and brown sugar until crumbly. Add eggs, egg whites, pumpkin pie mix and carrots. Beat until well blended. Add flour mixture and mix until well blended. Spread onto greased pan.

Prepare Cream Cheese topping:
Mix together cream cheese, sugar and milk until thoroughly blended.

Drop teaspoon-fulls of topping over pumpkin batter and swirl mixture with a butter knife.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tester (inserted in center) comes out clean. Cool in pan completely on wire rack before cutting into squares.

Makes 48 squares.

Nutritional Info

·         Servings Per Recipe: 48

·         Amount Per Serving

·         Calories: 67.2

·         Total Fat: 0.9 g

·         Cholesterol: 9.1 mg

·         Sodium: 86.7 mg

·         Total Carbs: 13.6 g

·         Dietary Fiber: 0.7 g

·         Protein: 1.4 g

I got this from someone at work and questioned the pumpkin pie filling (as a "diet" recipe, I would have expected canned pumpkin, not the pie filling) so I googled it and it appears as though it came from SparkPeople. Either way, it's yummy and pretty quick and easy to make.

TONS of ways to make a variation. Sub applesauce for the carrots, pumpkin for the pie filling, skip the cream cheese and add a dollop of fat free Cool Whip when they're done. Use a sugar replacement (Splenda, Truvia, whatever), whole wheat (or other) flour...and of course adjusting the spices to your liking.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Potluck Success...

Yesterday we had our "fall holiday" (seriously? Must we be so politically correct ALL the time?) potluck at work for lunch.

First off - thank you to all my participating was FAB!

Second, i'm sharing the two recipes that I used...because once people realized that my crockpot was NOT full of lil' was a constant chorus of "hey - who made the carrots?" - carrots...who knew?

Marmalade-glazed Carrots 
- shared by Barb Rudyk on All Recipes 


  • 2 pounds baby carrots
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 3 tablespoons cold water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  • In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine the carrots, marmalade, 1 tablespoon water, brown sugar, butter and seasonings. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until carrots are tender.
  • Combine cornstarch and remaining water until smooth; stir into carrot mixture. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until thickened. Serve with a slotted spoon.
and because I really can't go anywhere without making dessert...
Cranberry Ice Cream Pie 
- shared with Taste of Home's Simple & Delicious Magazine by Geordyth Sullivan


  • Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
  • 3/4 cup cold 2% milk
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1 can (14 ounces) jellied cranberry sauce, cut into slices
  • 2 cups whipped topping
  • Red food coloring, optional


  • Line a 9-in. pie plate with pastry; trim and flute edges. Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 450° for 8 minutes. Remove foil; bake 5-7 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
  • In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in ice cream. Arrange half of the cranberry slices in the crust. Spread with half of the ice cream mixture; repeat layers.
  • Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours or until firm. In a small bowl, tint whipped topping with red food coloring if desired. Just before serving, spread over pie. Yield: 8 servings.
This one I altered just a bit - I don't like pie crust. I just put it in a store bought graham cracker crust. I used skim milk because that's what we buy here at the Paisley Cottage and I wasn't going to run out and buy milk just to make this. I also used Sugar Free pudding and Breyer's Vanilla Bean ice cream (because it's my favorite vanilla). I didn't put whipped topping on it, however I did bring a can of Redi Whip.
 This one is a keeper. Not too sweet and you can prep it about 10 minutes (aside from letting the ice cream soften up a little).  I will also increase the milk just a touch next time as my pudding stayed lumpy - needed a bit more liquid added to it, but I don't normally change recipes the first time I make them so I stuck with the list amount figuring if anything it would be a little runny since skim milk is more watery. tasted fine, I just didn't like the yellowish pudding lumps in the ice cream - for appearance sake. Like I said - it was GONE in a flash...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Project finished!

ALEXIS is done...

I started on this altered letter set probably 2 months ago...and then it got put away and ummm pretty much forgotten about. Then Ilene had her baby...Alexis. Crap. Then I forgot about it again with everything else going on around here. So last week she turned up at work...with the baby. CRAP! So I told myself all week that I was going to get it done before we went back up to the cabin so that if she came back to work again, it would be there for her - of course then I forgot about it. That is...until this afternoon when I was cleaning up the living room. There was a reusable shopping bag on the chair by the door and it was full of stuff...guess what I found in the bottom of that bag? Yep...ALEXIS. So I got my act together and knocked it out. 

I hope she likes it!

The nursery is done in pink, blue and spring green - I actually had a hard time with that color combination...I love it, just didn't feel like I was doing it justice. The photo isn't really doing it any favors either. On the A there are several crystals in pink, aqua and clear and the dark spots on the X are all clear crystals. I worked in a couple of my beloved PAISLEY bits. The large pink flower on the S actually has white polka dots on it and the ribbon tied thru it is solid hot pink satin on the edges and sheer down the middle. There's a little pink and silver enamel purse charm on the I, as well as some pale green crystals and a SISTERS label.. There are charms on a couple others as well. A pink and turquoise beaded one on the A, a blue crystal flower on the X, a silver heart on the S and a textured tear drop (that says BEAUTY on the other side) on the E. The bottom of the X says CHERISH in silver metal.  It looks more fun in person.

A couple of years ago I did a set for her adorable toddler Marissa. Here it is put up in her old nursery.

When she first told me she was pregnant with Alexis she told me she hated pink. I thought it was funny since she did Marissa's nursery in pink and brown.  I guess she did it because "it's a girl" and that's what you're supposed to do...from what I hear, Marissa's bedroom at their new house is NOT pink.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Do you shop at wholesale clubs?

Even though there are just two of us at the Paisley Cottage, we keep a BJ's Wholesale Club membership. I know lots of people are loyal to Sam's or Costco - and we have had membership at each of them over the years (and sometimes all of them at once!)

As long as we are in town, we go to BJ's every Sunday after breakfast. Why BJ's? Well - first and foremost, BJ's is NEVER as crowded as Costco or Sam's. They also have self check out lanes. As if those were not good enough reasons...they also publish coupons as well as accept manufacturer coupons. In fact, they take both...on the same item. 

The BJ's we normally go to also has a gas station. It runs at least $.10 a gallon less than the regular stations. This is great for me, because my fancy schmancy Mustang runs on the expensive stuff. It requires 91, but most places don't have that - rather they have 93. There is a 7-11 across from Mr. P's work that has 91, but since he doesn't drive my car to work, that's not really helpful.  BJ's doesn't have 91 either, but today I filled up for $2.99 a gallon - the Quickie Mart down the street is $3.11. $3.07 is the cheapest i've seen lately. Gearing up for the long holiday weekend I see...

At any rate, here's a link to an article about the different clubs if you're interested.

They each have their own redeeming qualities of course...for me that means coupons and no lines! BJ's is my club of choice.

Deals are to be had around every corner. They also have an awesome selection of plants.  Today's haul...
$ extra savings today was $15.85.

Here's what I picked up:
2 loaves of bread - $2.49
1 box of 20 Christmas cards - $9.99
1 box of Pillsbury Savorings - $9.99
1 box of Granola Thins - $7.99
3lbs of bananas - $1.29
1 case of Green Giant Immunity Blend frozen veggies (5 boxes) - $6.99
2 bags of Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers (8 individual bags total) - $6.69 each

$1 instant rebate on each bag of Steamers (making them $5.69 each)
$.50 off 2 Steamers
$.50 off 2 Steamers
$.50 off 2 Steamers
$.75 off Granola Thins
$.60 off 3 Green Giant boxed veggies
$1 off Savorings
$10 off any 5 of XYZ (in this case, the Steamers, Veggies, Granola Thins and Savorings)

Oh and if you're doing the math - sales tax is 6.5% - and on this trip it was $.65 

At BJ's you can use as many coupons as there are bar codes (so long as it follows coupon restrictions). Hences all the Steamers coupons. There are 4 individual bags in each large bag...each of those bags has a barcode. So I could use 2 coupons per bag (except somehow I had an odd number...I could have saved another $.50), same with the boxed veggies. There are 5 boxes in the case so I could use the "off 3" coupon.  Even better that there was already an instant rebate on the Steamers!

BJ's is also awesome with returns. I've returned milk that spoiled prior to the sell by date on the carton. I've returned cheese that has gotten moldy within days of opening. This morning I returned the printer I bought 2 weeks ago. It was an HP C74700 series all-in-one wireless. The printing was awesome...when it would actually print. Constant "out of paper" messages. It keeps an error log and for every 1 page I got to print, there would be 6-10 "out of paper" errors. Sorry - that is not going to work for's brand new. Fought with it long enough to print 15 recipes last night and packed it up this morning to return it. They didn't bat an eye.  Oh and there wasn't a line at the customer service desk either. 

We also get tires there - they know me in the tire shop. My car is a magnet for metal (nails, screws, random odd not really sure what that is chunk, etc) in the tires. I always get road hazard. I know better... aside from not being a busy tire shop, they always have my tires in stock and they frequently have coupons for $60 or $70 off a set of 4 - bargain city my friends.

My only complaint about BJ's is that about 6 months ago they started cleaning the floors mid-mornings on Sundays. It's a warehouse...and that guy on that Zamboni-like machine is up my behind from the minute I walk into that store on Sunday morning. I can't get away from him...the place is HUGE and he's always RIGHT THERE where I need something and he has no qualms about getting right up on you with that thing. *ugh* Seriously...WHY are we doing the floors while customers are in the store? I can't take him more than 30 minutes to do the whole place since he's everywhere I am even if I zig-zag thru the why isn't that being done when the opening / closing processes are being done? One of these days i'm going to lose it and be all "GET AWAY FROM ME!" on him...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thought for the day

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them. Disagree with them. Glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do." (Anon.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Minty Fresh give away!

One of my very first blog posts was about a Bzz Campaign.  A what? you say...

Bzz Campaign. you can check it out if you want.  Basically, it's a word of mouth advertising campaign group. Companies give them stuff, they choose members to give it too, those members (like me) get to try out and keep some cool stuff AND in return, we yap about it. There's a little more to when we yap about it, we're supposed to log on to the website and describe the yapping and the audience being  yapped at. You're supposed to yap at least 3 times, but the more the better!

The stuff you get to try out runs from one end of the spectrum to the other. I've had make-up, burgers from Chili's, Windex products, Pledge products, and a really cool steamer garment hanging thingy that I don't recall the actual name of right now. My sister-in-law got in on a suh-weet promo for Sonicare Toothbrush with the UV sanitizer light. I was totally jealous of that one.

At any rate, my current product to BZZ about is Tom's of Maine WICKED FRESH toothpaste! Who doesn't need toothpaste right?

So in my little box I got a BzzGuide that tells me what I need to know about this toothpaste.

Just the Facts...
  • Provides long-lasting fresh breath, naturally
  • Comes in two minty fresh flavors, Cool Peppermint and Spearmint Ice
  • Contains fluoride to help fight cavities
  • Does NOT not contain alcohol or any artificial ingredient
  • Suggested to retail around $4.19 for a 5.2oz tube
  • Widely available at grocer and natural food stores, pharmacies and big box stores (like Target and WalMart) nationally
  • Online at - visit the site to learn more
In addition...
  • Tom's of Maine has NO animal testing or animal ingredients
  • They share every ingredient, it's purpose and it's source on their website (see above link)
  • Sustainable practices are a priority in every aspect of their business
  • No artificial colors, flavors, fragrance, or preservatives
  • They strive to maximize recycled content and recyclability of their packaging
  • 5% (12 days) of employee time to volunteering
  • 10% of profits to human and environmental goodness
What's not to like about a company like that?!

Ok, so what else was in my box you ask?

A full size tube of WICKED FRESH peppermint toothpaste for me AND 3 travel size for me to share.  Now I could be practical and throw one in my desk drawer at work. Then i'd just have 2 I could give one to my brother and one to my mom - but where's the fun in that?

So - if you want to jump in and try out this minty freshness for yourself, leave me a comment! I'll send 3 of you a travel size tube so you can be WICKED FRESH too.

If you don't have your blogger profile made public, I can't access your profile to contact you - so drop me an email at and include your mailing address so I can hook you up! :-)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Comments please

Give me your honest opinions on these bed sets...
(the only one that is a quilt)

(this actually has a floral design in the coppery red section - it's a tone on tone print)
 Yes, these two are very similar LOL


 See a color theme here? LOL - tell me what you like and/or dislike about them (any or all).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm in shape...

round is a shape right?

Since the weather was great in East TN, I got the brilliant idea to go for a walk around the block...fresh air, a little exercise...good times!

Mr. Paisley was working on the hot tub surround so I laced up my shoes and hit the road...with my Captivate in know...just in case.

So I headed down the road, walked up the hill to Pam's cabin, then down to her neighbor's, up another small hill and past the 2nd to last house on our which point there's a pretty steep downhill run. I noticed that it was a little rough walking down the hill and that my toes were jammed into the ends of my Ryka's with every step....but I was side tracked by the bunnies and the birds and OMG tiny little pine cones! Hello crazy crafter personality. So I wandered around at the bottom of the hill a little while gathering a pile of little pine cones on the side of the road. Honestly, I had no idea they were SHARP. What the... yeah, well, I wasn't going to try to carry back a bunch based on the prickle factor alone. So after I was done hunting and gathering, I glanced back and the hill that I had come down looked more like Mt. Everest from where I was standing. So I decided that it might not be a good idea to actually walk around the entire block on my first neighborhood walk outing. So about halfway up this hill I wanted to sit down in the middle of the road and wait for crazy Jerry the grounds keeper to come hauling ass down the road and just run me over and put me out of my misery. 

I don't run marathons. I don't even walk 5Ks these days, but I really don't have any difficulty walking. In Florida. Florida is F.L.A.T. Note to self - the hills you drive down and throw your arms up and scream "wheeeeee" like you're on a roller coaster...yeah, they might as well be mountains Florida Girl, you have a LONG way to go before you take a leisurely stroll "around the block" in the mountains. 

Seriously...what WAS I thinking?

Eventually I managed to get back up the hill...only to see the other 3 standing between my current location and my plaid sofa and remote. 

Lucky for me there are benches along the road (gee...I wonder WHY) and I plopped down on the first one I came to in order to catch my breath and update my Facebook status (good thing I had the smarts to take my phone). So once I was breathing normally and sure that anyone I encountered along the way would not think I was going into cardiac arrest I trucked down and back up the next hill...huffing and puffing. Lord have mercy...please let me crawl my way onto Pam's deck and sit a spell in one of her rockers and enjoy the views of Mt. LeConte while I gasped and wheezed and pondered what the hell I was thinking.

So after a few minutes I took a nice little stroll the rest of the way back to the cabin...where Mr. Paisley asked where I had been (not that he bothered to call me) and when I told him, he nearly died laughing. 

The lesson here is that when you grow up in Florida, you don't KNOW these things...

You don't THINK about the fact that when you go're going to have to go back UPhill.
You don't THINK about ICE being on the ground in the winter.
You don't THINK that you better drain the water heater and turn off the water to the house because the pipes might freeze.
You don't THINK to plug in the block heater on the diesel truck because it's going to be below 60 degrees tonight. 
You don't THINK that your lightweight cotton jeans are no match for 13 below standing outside at Newfound Gap (you also don't OWN long underwear of any type).
You can't even fathom the idea of a "winter vehicle"...what? Why would I park the convertible just because it's November? I just don't put the top down for the next couple of months. I don't understand...
Don't even get me started on the fact that no one ever told you that a leather coat, is NOT a winter coat. It may keep a cow warm, but it will not keep you warm. At all. Period.

Growing up in Florida is kinda like living under a rock. A warm, hot, sunny rock. 

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my Yankee parents (who will read this within a few days) for not educating their Southern born children when it comes to things that 9/10ths of the country grow up knowing as facts of life. Oh and my Upstate New York born HUSBAND who also SHOULD know some of this, but evidently lost that knowledge after living in Florida for so many years.

Maybe i'll find an ice scraper in my stocking this year...or better yet, a treadmill that only has an uphill mode sitting beside the tree.

I obviously need some uphill training.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Choo Choo Part 2

There was no sneak peek photo for part 2...

Part 2 of the Choo Choo was the actual train trip. It was nice. Nice enough that we upgraded our tickets to the annual pass before we left. It will get us one, maybe two more trips to check out the scenery before it expires. Well worth the little bit extra to upgrade!

So we booked the First Class Nantahala Gorge trip.

According to the website 

Super Value! These beautifully restored First Class Coaches depart from the historic mountain town of Bryson City. This 4 1/2 hour, 44 mile round-trip will take passengers along the Tuckasegee River, over the impressive Fontana Lake Trestle and into the Nantahala River Gorge with a 1 hour layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. First Class passegners receive an All Inclusive, delicious lunch served by your car's private attendant, a souviner tumbler with all you can drink soda or coffee, and an exclusive gift from GSMR!

And we booked the MacNeill car. Mainly because it was mid-October and who knew what the weather would be like. Mr. Paisley knows well enough that if the weather makes me miserable, i'm dragging him down with me.


The MacNeill was built as the Pohatan Arrow for the Norfolk & Western Railway (present day Norfolk-Southern) to run on their Premier Passenger Line.

 The train
 The fall color....and a scratched up plexi window (hence the crummy photos to follow)
 Draining the lakes for the coming snow melt
 Ticket please!
 Bees! Mr. Paisley is dying to be a bee keeper...
 Love this kind of shot....
 Cute church in the valley
 Be still my heart...
 LOTS of color to be seen in Western NC
 Thinking of blowing this one up and framing it.
 Gorgeous...the house boats have been there for years - they're generally kept in families and passed down. They cannot be moved. They cannot be lived in full time. They can be replaced, but  no new ones can be built or anchored in the lake. They sit in their permitted spots waiting for their weekend visits...would LOVE to have one of these!
 Old timey self portrait while on old timey train LOL
 Beautiful colors...
 This is the engines being moved to the other end of the train for the return trip
 This was like 4pm - thought I would starve...when we signed up for "lunch" we were expecting it more at a reasonable LUNCH time...not dang near dinner! This happens to be the BBQ pulled pork sandwich, a little cup of slaw and a scoop of potato salad. The slaw was gross and I don't like potato salad, so needless to say, I was still starving and ended up grabbing a candy bar and a small bag of Cheetos at the mini-mart in Dillsboro when we stopped. Not exactly healthy, but well, there wasn't much to choose from...
Ahhh the train....that is actually the MacNeill car that we were in.

 I'm joining Outdoor Wednesday over at A Southern Daydreamer!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Choo choo...part 1

Remember this sneak peek? Probably wondering just what in the world this is all about...well, this shot was taken at the model railroad museum in Bryson City, NC.

This was our splurge this trip. Well, not the museum. It was included with the tickets for the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad that we purchased.

We decided to go on a 4 hour train ride to check out the fall color on the NC side of the mountains. Bryson City is about 2 hours away from our place in TN, so we chose the afternoon trip. 

We booked ourselves on a dining car just in case it was cold or rainy. It ended up a little rainy. Not cold at all. At any rate, we got there, paid to $5 to park and hoofed it over to the train station through what I guess would be considered downtown Bryson City. 

We had to be there an hour before the train departure. Evidently, everyone else was there more than an hour before because the place was PACKED. Since they gave us free passes for the railroad museum, we walked thru it since we had an hour to wait.

 All of these little things were animated - even the little workers.
 Train coming around the bend...there were probably 10 trains running different routes on this giant model rail setup.

 The log train...
They also had cases and cases lining the walls of all different scales and types of trains. For some reason this Tootsie Roll car made me laugh.
Oddly, it's not an expensive one...some of them were several thousand dollars.

So that's it for part 1 of the Choo Choo experience ;-)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Get out there and VOTE - be an American Hero