"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain


Momma Mia--Calzones!

(Overlook the cookie sheets. I like to call them "seasoned"!!)
 I made calzones over the weekend for friends. I have made meat pies lots of times, but I had never made calzones.  And yes, there is a difference....In the filling and the dough.

The dough for calzones is made with yeast. I think it had a total of four ingredients. It was the easiest thing to make. Ever. The dough for my meat pies does not have any yeast, and they have lots more flour. Funny story: When I make my meat pies I always make lots and lots. I usually do an assembly line type production--cut out my dough circles, stack them up, then fill the pies, crimp them, fry, etc. So, I was doing the same thing on the calzones. I cut out 18 circles and just continued to pile the dough circles on top of each other, then I FINALLY really LOOKED at my pile of dough circles. It was no longer dough circles, but a giant (and growing!!) pile of dough!! Ha! I had 'forgotten' that this dough had yeast and the whole time I was cutting out circles, they were over there growing like crazy. I had to smash them down and start over. It is funny now, but I was so frustrated when I did it!

 Besides that little error, the calzones were very easy to make. I made about sixty of them. Between my friends we cooked for, and my own family, there were only a few left at the end of the night. As you can see, they are a good size too. You know it is a good recipe, when people ask for recipes right then and email and text you for the recipe later!

 I bought the calzone mold at Williams-Sonoma. It is a little bigger than my meat pie molds, and the well for the meat is a little deeper as well.

 Not to mention, I really liked the rim on the calzone mold!

 I used the recipe straight off the box. The only differences were that when I rolled out the dough, I added some corn meal to the flour to roll them out, then I dusted them with a combination of parmesan cheese and cornmeal. To the filling I added a combo of Italian sausage, hamburger and pepperoni and lots of spices and cheeses.

 I only made the 'meat lovers' type this time. Next time I am going to try chicken and spinach, and maybe a few more types.

 Each batch of dough made six calzones. (Again, forgive the well-seasoned cookie sheet.) I will say if you have a pizza stone, then it would be better to use. I (gasp) do not have one, but plan on getting one before I make these again.

The next time you want to have party food that will wow your guests, try the calzones.  They were the best!

I'm linking to Wow Us Wednesdays and Foodie Fridays and Funky Junk Interiors and Be Different/Act Normal


Feed Sack Table Runner

Tell me who could possibly pass up an old grain sack with these colors?  Not only the colors, but is that heart with the big V not just the best?  Yes, I had it on my table for Valentines, but I can't put it away yet! It has to stay at least through "planting season"!!

It is somewhat amusing to think that we have come full circle. Many of us have grandparents and great-grandparents that used old feed sacks for various reasons.....because they had to and they were so resourceful with every thing they had.

I often wonder what they would think of our society today. I have no doubt they would be ashamed at all the waste, but what would they think of those of us that embrace the things from yesteryear and use them once again? As you can see this feedsack was not thrown away despite the hole in the front. It was simple to mend, and even accentuate the wear and tear it once saw. Can you see the small patch I put under it?

I put a simple backing on it, and used a checked piping on the edges. It has a simple beauty of its own without me trying to beautify it further.

One layer of batting later with simple machine quilting and it is ready to display. It can now be washed easily and will stay together for years to come.

In case you had never noticed, I love anything with a check fabric! This binding was just enough to add a little color around the edges. Perfect feed sack. Wonderful table runner. 

I am joining Susan's Metamorphosis Monday and The Tablescapers Seasonal Sundays and Kim at Wow Us Wednesdays and The Blessed Nest. Take a look at all of the great ideas.


My Irish Hero

I have written several times about my Grammie and Pop, my paternal grandparents. I was equally as lucky to have a maternal set of grandparents that were off the scales if one were measuring grandparents!

 My thoughts today turn to my Granddad Flanagan. Today would have been his 100th birthday. He was the youngest of nine children in a big Irish-Catholic family. He was doted on and spoiled by his older sisters. In turn, he learned how to love on and spoil all those he loved. I was lucky enough to be one of those he loved to spoil.

As I get older I see clearly the influence all my grandparents had on my life. My love of words comes from both my grandfathers. My deep love of books and great literature is a direct result of my Granddad Flanagan. His love for family was immeasureable, and I like to think I have a small sliver of that as well.

While he is remembered for many things, his love of the earth and his ability to draw from the earth will always be associated with him.  Long before the weather was decent enough to go outside, he would have already been out getting everything ready so that when a beautiful day like today came along he was ready to plant. He was a wonderful gardener. I couldn't even begin to count the number of people that were on the receiving end of his garden's bounty. Perhaps it was because he was a full-blood Irishman, but my Granddad Flanagan was 'green' long,long before it was 'cool' to be green. My Granddad was the original 'recycle, reuse, reduce' man. We laughed at him about it. He found a use for everything.  He took one mans junk and recycled it into something most of us never would have thought about. He made all kind of projects for his various gardens. He loved equally to garden fruit trees, vegetable gardens, herb gardens and flowers. If it could be grown he grew it.

There was nothing that went to waste with my Granddad Flanagan. My Granddad gave practical gifts as presents. At the time, I never minded getting them, but I did not understand the importance of them until I got older. For instance, he gave Tim and me gifts such as a new wheelbarrow, a big gas can, trashcans complete with a handmade trashcan holder so dogs wouldn't get into the trash, and an assortment of tools and motors. Believe me, all the gifts were handy and used all the time. It is only as I have gotten older that I realize the importance of what he was teaching me. One of his favorite gifts was to give us was a $100 grocery gift certificate. Wasn't that the best and most thoughtful?

One gift he surprised me with, and totally out of character for his practical side, was a huge portrait of my three oldest children from a professional photographer (taken when they were 4,3,and 1). Every time I look at it still I not only "ooohahhh" over my three babies, but I think of Granddad and the fact that he knew I would love it, but never be able to afford it on my own. My Granddad was like that.

 He was also the most handsome man I have ever seen to this day. Period. No questions asked. When he was 80 he was still good looking (and not looking a day over 50!). He had the bluest eyes that were filled with mischief and kindness. His eyes looked like the ocean in the blue Caribbean. He was often compared, in looks, to Ronald Reagan, who is ironically another Irishman who would have been 100 this month. Without a doubt my Granddad had movie-star good looks.

 My Granddad never wasted time. He was always up and around doing something. He didn't believe in sitting around with nothing to do. He found things to do or new projects to work on. He was early to bed and early to rise without wasting many minutes in between!

 My Granddad adored my Grandmother. She loved to wait on him and pamper him. Perhaps he was lucky, or maybe because he was such an outstanding gardener, but for whatever reason my Grandmother was a cook that cannot be matched. She could have made dirt taste good. She not only could cook anything and make it exceptional, but everything she cooked and presented to her family and friends to eat was like a picture. Her tables were beautiful and laden with fresh flowers and fresh food. When I see redbirds I know my grandparent Fergusons are around, but when I see gardens full of food and flowers I think of the Flanagans. As a couple it was unbelievable what they brought from the earth. I would love to hear them now if they could see this whole 'organic and green' movement.

He was a storyteller extraordinaire. He was the wordsmith of words and a man that liked to use many words----- and he knew how to use them well --- both written and verbally. I can still remember rhymes he would say in his sing-song voice.  A true Irishman, he talked often in Irish riddles and verses. One verse he repeated so often I can still hear him saying it, "If you're lucky enough to be Irish----You're Lucky enough." Just like the gifts, that I learned in time were far more important than their surface value, I finally understand the depth of that verse.

 I was SO lucky to have him in my life........


One Potato, Two Potato...Are you sure???????

I have this little attitude problem. I think that once the clock strikes midnight on Valentine's Day, that the 15th of February should dawn SPRING.  I am through with winter. I don't want any more snow or cold or winter decoration or winter clothes. The problem is, Mother Nature has a worse attitude than me!!!!!  Soooooooo, to combat both my attitude problem and Mother Nature's surly (at times) attitude, I have to create my own SPRING.  In this case, it is with Irish Potato Candy. .....made to look like potatoes.

After all, St. Patty's Day is our next holiday. Plus, by then we are all calling it springtime. So try out these nifty little candy 'potatoes'.  They are super fast. Very cute. Deliciously yummy. Fast, cute, yummy...what a trilogy!
Irish Potato Candy

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 4 cups confectioners' sugar
 2 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


In a medium bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners' sugar; beat until smooth. Using your hands if necessary, mix in the coconut. Roll into balls or potato shapes, and roll in the cinnamon. Place onto a cookie sheet and chill to set. If desired, roll potatoes in cinnamon again for darker color.

That is totally it.  Now there are actually recipes for the candy that do include one potato. Scour the internet and you will find those as well.
These will do just fine for me.
I am joining in with Foody Friday , The Tablescaper, Sweet Tooth Friday so the rest of you can enjoy SPRINGTIME (at least in my little world)!!
In the meantime, enjoy my pictures from St. Patty's Day 2010.
I've got to get busy thinking!


A Groovy Kind of Love

"Wouldn't you agree, baby you and me got a groovy kind of love"

When I'm feeling blue, all I have to do
Is take a look at you, then I'm not so blue
When I'm in your arms, nothing seems to matter
My whole world could shatter, I don't care
Wouldn't you agree, baby you and me got a groovy kind of love

We got a groovy kind of love
We got a groovy kind of love, oh
We got a groovy kind of love

To all romantics out there, 
I hope you had a groovy kind of Valentine's 
with the ones you love.

Wouldn't you agree, baby you and me got a groovy kind of love ........


Tickled Pink......

There is a heck of a lot of red in these Valentine's Eve pictures. The pictures were taken by my youngest son. He also made the pancakes and put them on the red plate and the red placemat. Since there is so much red, it is hard to tell, but the pancakes are actually pink...with chocolate chips.
That's right. Luke put food coloring in the pancake mix and made pink and chocolate pancakes for Hubby and me...as his Valentine's present.

He topped them off with a squirt of chocolate syrup, regular syrup and some whipped cream. Mmmmmm.Mmmmmm.

By the way...My youngest son is 21. Goes to college full time. Holds down a full time job. Makes good grades. Is tall (6'4) dark (brown hair and brown eyes) and handsome (of course a mama that has just eaten pink pancakes is gonna say that!)........And he is single...And a darn good cook!


Flannel....A Girls Best Friend....Sometimes!

The past two weeks in Oklahoma have been....cold. Downright frigid. Teeth-chattering-eyelash-freezing cold.  My school has had three snow days in the last two weeks. In the three years I have been at the school we have not had three snow days total.

Not only that, but my school has gone to school when others have not. Tulsa...and the schools in the Tulsa area...have been out almost two full weeks. 

Yesterday morning in the university town in which I live, it was -20 degrees.  Yes, you read that right. There was a big 'ole minus (-) sign in front of that 20.  That breaks the (decades old) record by 15 degrees.  And that was real temps. That does not count wind chill.  Let me just say, it was darn hard to get out of bed.

Especially when my bed has the cutest little snowmen flannel sheets on it. Not to mention a warm and comfy red and white quilt. I just wanted to snuggle further down in the covers. I certainly didn't want to get up and face the cold.

This is like the weather I thought I left behind in northeasternmost Kansas!  What is going on?  Our 12+ inches of snow have begun to melt today. The temps were back in the 40's. Last night Oklahoma even made the national news with our temperature swings......There was a town in Oklahoma that was even colder than ours. They registered yesterday morning at -30. Real temps. The forecast calls for temps in the 70's by Tuesday. And as the national news pointed out, that is a temperature swing of 100 degrees in just a few days. I'll go with the 70's any day!

Like Oklahoma's favorite son, Will Rogers said, "If you don't like the weather, just wait a minute." 
Thank goodness it is warming up. Now maybe I can crawl out from under those flannel sheets! 

(Sheets--Target--$19.99. Really. King-sized!!!)
(Notice the red bird on them???!!!) 


Milk and Cookies...in One

 Three of my children were home last weekend and late one night I decided to make these. Keep in mind that my children are all in their 20's! But, I had seen a similar idea and I wanted to try my own version.
 It really didn't matter that the children are in their 20's. They still enjoyed the late night treat, as if they were small!
That makes a mama's heart happy...
 The creation is actually a little more tricky than it appears.
You have to get your cookies hard enough to be able to sit on top of a glass...
 But, because they are so big, you don't want them hard enough that no one will eat them.
 And of course, you have to get the straw through the cookies without cracking the cookies!
But when they are all done,
aren't they cute?
Milk and cookies. In one. Kinda.
 I'll be honest..in that same
I also took a quick trip to the convenience store
to 'score' some red straws.
I had neon straws, but I wanted red.

 Nope, neon wasn't going to make the cut!
I simply glue-gunned those cute little hearts onto the straw.
I did this before I put them through the cookies. Obviously.
I've always been of the belief that you should celebrate
all year long.
Don't just save it for one day per year.
Happy not-Valentine's Day.
Now go and try these for your sweeties!
Linking these with Foodie Friday and Laurie's cute blog.Also Funky Junk Interiors! And  I couldn't leave out Be Different Act Normal.....


When A Man Loves A Woman....

 Edited to add: This is last year's Valentine Tablescape. After I read Pat's very special valentine, I decided to pull this one out and use it again. I am a sucker for great love!

This week's tablescape is brought to you by my husband. Really.  My husband and youngest son put this together. Occasionally my son has helped me on tablescapes....as in hauling things in or out, up or down, or moving something here or there for better tablescapes.  He usually does it without any grumbling, and will give an idea or opinion once in a while.  My hubby on the other hand has feigned interest in the tablescaping. It never annoys him, but it doesn't interest him either. And yes, he always says he likes them when I ask!  :)

This week I had not planned on doing a Valentine's tablescape because I figured everyone else would as well.
I like to be different (if you had not noticed).
Then my hubby said he was going to do a
Valentine's tablescape for me.
I laughed.
He meant it.
He said on the way to work he heard the song,
"When A Man Loves A Woman"
and it gave him the idea.
Who could refuse that?

So this week's tablescape comes courtesty of Hubby
and a little help from youngest son (???).
All with me in mind.
Who could refuse that?

He gathered up red dishes and red and white dishes and Valentine dishware.
He went to the storage holiday closet garage
and raided it. I mean really raided it!
And except for a couple of pictures I got of him
hauling the stuff into the dining room,
he took the pictures too.
What you do NOT see in the pictures
is the laptop sitting there,
open to a tablescape from my blog. :)

Please note cupid and a dove.
There are a lot of love symbols
in this tablescape.

I have a lot of crap great things to pick from
and they did well.
I do believe my hubby used the "crap" word tho.
Even though he still picked through it well.

He clipped the love dove's onto the velvet napkin.
Pretty good idea, really.

Then there was this.
I am an English teacher.
I am a "word-kinda" girl.
He knows this.
Very well.
So every single layer of dishes,
when exposed,
had a set of
love notes.
(a/k/a/ flashcards)
Soulmate the first layer.

Wife/Husband the second layer.

You/me the third layer.

And just when I thought it couldn't get sweeter....

was on the silver charger.

A peak at how he set the table
and put us together
at one end.

He put tissue in the glass to get
a better picture.
He said the "L" in this tablescape
was not for our last name..
or my first name...
but for

The placecards for us
were also flashcards.
I have always loved the fact,
and used it often,
that our first initials are
T and L.
Just like TRUE LOVE.
Yes, I am mushy like that.

Another view...in progress I believe.

Extra flashcards from my stash
that he put on a crystal platter.

If you look closely,
you can see the flashcard peeking
out from the plates.

He used lots of pictures of us
through the years,
as well as lots
of candles.

A basket of glittered red hearts and filled with

This was the other end of the table,
where he kept his "extras'.

Yes, I will keep this set up
until we can really use it for a
special Valentine's dinner.

And while he had this little arrangement
set up on the edge of the table
as a sentiment for me,
I have to say,
HE stole my heart.
I hope you enjoyed a tablescape
from a Hubby's point of view!
I am linking up this romantic gesture with Susan


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