July 31, 2010


It's a good week for you all out there!

My friend Reina (who I was on the blog of earlier this week), has reached 100 followers (aka, Bloggy Friends) and she is having a giveaway!  So check out her page at http://sempergumbythelife.blogspot.com/2010/07/super-100-giveaway.html to get chance at a BUNCH of giveaways, one of which is from my Etsy shop!

So check her out, check out my shop, and enter in MY giveaway this month!

July 27, 2010


What's happening? If in 30 days, I have 30 followers, someone will get a $30.00 gift. What is this gift you say? A memory card set the likes of which will soon be featured in my Etsy Shop. It's a big prize for a little blog :) There's a caveat though - I have to have 30 followers by the end of the 30 days... So tell your friends, mention it on YOUR blog, and if you or they like what they see... follow away!! All entries will be done on THIS blog entry and a winner will be chosen at random via a website on August 27th. 30 days, 30 followers, 30 dollars.

These memory cards are pairs of photos are from my "May Flowers" collection on Etsy, and are assorted water lilies. Made entirely by Moi, it's a little bit of love to the lucky winner!!

Entry is super easy and possible THREE different ways! A winner will be chosen at random via a website program.

1) Comment on THIS blog entry! If you like the blog, follow it, but following is not required to win.  Remember though, that the goal is to get 30 followers, so if I don't reach 30... there's no prize :(
2) Go to my Etsy store, and comment HERE what your favorite photo is.
3) Tell me here what KIND of photos you'd LIKE to see in the shop - the kind that might make you buy one. ;)

So tell your friends about this blog and this contest! Remember, unless there are at least 30 followers after 30 days, the cards will get posted on Etsy for 30 dollars instead... so pass the word! Or keep your eyes on my shop and buy them then :-P.

July 26, 2010

Side Note

I was JUST alerted that I am the featured blogger on my friend Reina's blog - Return of the Sunshine as the Mil Girl of the Day! Reina writes a fabulous blog about military life (and other stuff), and interviewed me on some of my experiences... and today it's been posted! So check it out, and remember that we BOTH have giveaway's coming up soon! (her giveaway might even be from me ;-P)

1-2-3-4 Cake!

My great grandma had a cake she used to make for people's birthday's. It was my dad's favorite, and he talks about it ALL the time. For a long time I thought it was a "secret" recipe, but after reading through it... it's the one on the back of the flour box. SO... I don't feel bad at all passing it on :-P It's a light and fluffy VERY sweet vanilla. I can understand why my dad loved it as a kid... and he still does!!

The "special" part about this cake appears to be the flour... the recipe my Great Aunt gave me has measurements for cake flour and regular flour, so you probably don't need it, but the "special" flour is Soft-As-Silk flour by General Mills. It's not ALWAYS on the back of the box, but apparently you can get the flour from their website. Fortunately for me, it's in my regular grocery store here! :-D

So here it is:

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups cake flour (or 2 3/4 cups regular flour)
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix softened butter and sugar well
Add eggs one at a time
Mix flour, baking powder and salt, then sift it.
Mix flour mixture and milk into batter alternately and in thirds.
Add vanilla
Grease the pan with crisco and dust with flour or spray with Pam with Flour (works wonders)
Pour batter in pan and bake for 45-55 minutes at 350* or until a toothpick comes out clean

**warning: I have a heart shaped bundt pan, and it OVERFLOWED out of the pan - enough to make, I dunno, a few cupcakes?

I'd either make a 3 layer cake from this recipe, or some cupcakes too!  Don't overfill your pan like I did!

This would probably easily make a bundt cake and about 6 cupcakes, a 3 layer cake, or close to 18 cupcakes. So be ready for a party!

Great Grandam used the icing recipe from the BOX of confectionery (powdered) sugar, but if you buy the bag...

1/2 stick softened butter
2 tablespoons crisco
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
Milk and Sugar to desired spreading consistency - generally 4 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup milk.

I made a simple chocolate ganache... chocolate chips and some heavy cream heated up in the microwave SLOWLY and mixed together until it was smooth. I put the chips in a pyrex measuring cup, and then poured whipping cream in until it was halfway up the chips. Add more chocolate to make it thicker, more cream to make it thinner... and just drizzle it over the cake. DELISH.


July 23, 2010

It's Promo Day!!

and if you aren't... TELL YOUR FRIENDS WHO ARE!

My buddy Justin wrote a musical. Yup. A MUSICAL. And it's going to be performed at the Fringe Festival in NYC at the Lucille Lortell Theater 5 times!!

And you should go. 

I've seen it with few props, simple costumes, and no "flashy-ness" and it was AH-mazing. I can't WAIT to see it BIG and BOLD and in a theater larger than something like a movie theater (where it originally played)! :-P

Show dates can be found on the Fringe Site or on POPE's website. (There are also links to buying tickets in advance on those sites- which costs EXACTLY the same as buying them at the door - $18.00 a head)

And if you CAN'T go because you're
A) SUPER busy ALL those days
B) lame
C) just don't live in the NYC Metro-ish area

but have a little cash burning a hole in your pocket... be a philanthropist or a benefactor or some other big important sounding name, and give POPE! a chance to be even MORE fabulous than it ALREADY is!!  How, you say? Click HERE and help "kickstart" a musical. You can do it!

Personally, I helped Kickstart, am going to get a CD out of it (other cool gifts for varying donations), AND I'm going to the show. Look at me. :-P

Almost have my contest details worked out - follow along little ones! AND, rumor of a "guest blogger" for the "What's for Dinner" section...

July 22, 2010


Sorry all for not posting as diligently... more visitors in today, they leave on Friday and my Parents come in... but no worries, I'll take pretty pictures of the "secret family recipe" that I'll be making on Friday (it's on the back of the box of flour, so maybe I'll share it anyway) with you next week.

Other than that, I've found some cool blogs of late - http://andersonfamilycrew.blogspot.com/ in particular... as well as http://her-nanigans.blogspot.com/ - you should check them out! All about taking photos as part of regular life... something I need to work on doing (shockingly, as this is a blog attached to a photography store). More on those soon-ish. :-D

Also, I have officially opened www.somethingbetsy.com - which automatically directs you to my Etsy shop, but may someday hold many a photo and be able to take orders - I'm all about the baby steps.

So yes, it's only wednesday, but I'll probably just see you next week... if you're lucky, you'll get another post on Friday... we'll see :-P

And don't forget to follow... contest info coming up REAL soon!!

July 18, 2010

It's still July?

I'm just realizing that we're still only about 1/2 way through July... and SO much has happened in our house! We've had Marine Corps Ceremonies, gone home for a family party (Zimmer Day), visited with friends we haven't seen in TOO long, got an ice-cream maker, had family in to visit for a few days, and gone to a baseball game with my sister.

Still in store for this month is a visit from another friend, and two weekends of parents! (All fabulously wonderful, exciting, happy things, I'm just amazed it's all happening in JUST JULY)

No wonder why I'm so pooped this weekend (and blogging, because it involves lying on the couch with my laptop in the AC)! Also in the coming weeks is me *hopefully* getting "running" again, and getting some more photos uploaded to Etsy, as well as putting up some new items.  I think I'm feeling a summer contest coming up too... so don't forget to follow me so you'll know RIGHT when I unveil it.

Time to start thinking about dinner... I think we'll revisit some favorites tonight - garlic marinated sirloin, some grilled veggies and baked potatoes...

July 16, 2010

Two day week. What's for Dinner 2!

I've been distracted this week... and part of me wants to just post another recipe... so I think I will. :-P

(Leftovers - forgot to snap a shot first!)

This recipe is thanks to my "Cousin" (AKA, best neighbor EVER - MISS YOU!!) and I finally made it the other day for my picky little God Daughter eater - and it was DELICIOUS. Just don't think about how much fatty goodness you're putting in the pan, and you'll be FINE.

Poppy Seed Chicken Bake

Chicken Breasts (I'd recommend at least 6 medium - you're going to chop it up though, so a giant can of chicken or any other shape chicken is fine too)
8 oz Sour Cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
seasoned salt
garlic powder
onion powder
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 rolls ritz crackers
1.5 Sticks of butter, melted (I broke down at the end and only used 1... we were only feeding 4 for goodness sake!)

- Preheat your oven to 350* because this takes no time to prepare - or prepare your pan ahead and just wait till you're ready for dinner to preheat the oven.
- Boil chicken to cook, and chop into chunks
- In pan (I used a large rectangular pyrex) combine sour cream, chicken soup, seasoned salt, garlic powder and onion powder (add to taste - or a generous "sprinkle" across the entire pan of each)
- Break up the ritz crackers - a fairly easy and less messy method is to crunch them IN their sleeves, and pour out when ready. Also helps since you can crush them ahead of time)
- In a large bowl, mix the crackers, poppy seeds and butter. (I melted the butter in a microwave safe bowl, and added the crackers and poppy seeds in and just made sure to stir well - less to clean later!)
- Pour the cracker mix on top of the chicken mix and place in oven for 30 minutes

Serve over rice (and with some kind of veggie - we at the famous Peas, because God Daughter actually LOVES them)

Out comes a crunchy, oh so delicious meal that requires no knives. :-P Just scoop and eat. SO glad I snagged this recipe from you Cousin! It was a HIT with Hubby AND picky God Daughter!

July 13, 2010

What's for Dinner? Cheatin' Alfredo and Peas

So hubby and I don't typically eat peas. I keep them in the fridge for soup, because for some reason, I like sweet petite peas in my soups with corn and carrots and potatoes and all those other veggies. BUT, at the store this week, thinking I grabbed a bag of frozen green beans (a HUGE staple in our diet), I grabbed peas. SO, since it was a huge bag, and not petite peas, I'm going to have to make an effort to use them... which means we may end up with another option for veggies at dinner... cause dinner the other night was DE-lish!

So this is the easiest, most "looks like you spent time" meal I've made in a while.

I grilled our chicken (which was in tenderloin form) but I've made this dish with broccoli (our typical method) just in 1 pan... so you can salt and pepper the chicken, (I always add a little garlic to EVERYTHING) and throw it on the grill before cutting it into cubes, or you can cut it into cubes and cook it up in a pan... either way works.

Basically, find a pasta you like - Bowties would be perfect for this - I didn't have any in my cabinet. and cook it to your desired consistancy. Check.

Open jar of alfredo sauce. I personally love Classico's 4 cheese alfredo, and usually have 1 or two jars on hand all the time - for nights I need a quick "no think" meal like this one.

Pour alfredo sauce into pan (possibly with cooked chicken) and heat

Add peas (or broccoli) until heated through.

Add cooked pasta and toss to coat.


That's it. you've got all 4 food groups (I know... it's a pyramid, whatever) in 1 pan and 1 pot with 1 spoon (and a cutting board). Talk about easy dishes, and in however long it takes to cook the pasta/chicken (which you do at the same time) you've got this fancy schmancy dinner, right out of your cabinet. I love meals like this. And it was super yummy too!! And we really liked it with the peas! Time to go buy me some more Alfredo...

P.S. One little jar of Alfredo can go a long way. If you need to stretch it... add some milk when heating it up - it will be a little thinner and cover more noodles. This pan here used 2 cups dry noodles, 10 little chicken tenders and 1 jar alfredo - peas till it looked green enough :-P. It should have fed at least 4 - I still have at least a serving and a half in the fridge (mmmm... lunch today...). So if you need to serve a few more mouths than 4, just add more noodles (or chicken) whatever your family likes. It's easily made for 1 or two as well if you only use part of the jar :-P I was lazy and dumped the whole darned thing in.

July 9, 2010

Zimmer Day

As promised, mostly to Fidelio, the explanation on my favorite holiday EVER. 


First of all, Zimmer is my Grandma's last name. 2nd, this is the 20th Annual "Zimmer Day". It was described VERY well by a visitor this year: Christmas, but in the summertime, and without the stress of gifts.

Basically, we have 9 birthdays that happen between June and July, and Grandma and Grandpa's Anniversary was the 10th. For years, we'd throw a rip-roaring BBQ every year on the Saturday closest to the 10th, but when lil'ol'me moved away, we changed it to 4th of July weekend so I could still come.

So every year at the beginning of July the ENTIRE Zimmer family (or as many as can make it) and whatever friends have become family, or whoever hears about it and feels like coming get together. The entire neighborhood is generally invited so as to avoid the cops being called :-P

Everyone brings a dish, we have a food tent and the grill going all day long, along with lots of beer (and water), tables, chairs, and of course, my uncle's band playing throughout the afternoon. What? Your family parties don't have live bands with the occasional horn band ensemble or small children singing excellently? Funny... then again, you don't have Zimmer Day, do you?

Grandma's house backs up to a GREAT park...big expanse of grass, a baseball diamond, a basketball court, and two little children areas with swings and slides and bouncy toys... it's been the grand kids favorite FOREVER. Multiple trips to the park are expected, as well as a baseball game. And of course, there's tons of running around in the back yard of small and big children alike, and LOTS of lounging and catching up. After dark, Uncle Joe sets off fireworks (that started when I moved away and could bring some home, shh... don't tell!)

For the Zimmer crew, it's a fabulous day that's all about family and EVERYONE being together. Everyone we care about and love, and everyone's invited. So Happy Zimmer Day everyone! Technically, it's tomorrow :-P

July 7, 2010

it's stinkin hot today!!!

So I went outside to mail a few more etsy orders (yay!!!) and on the way in, I decided to stop and weed some of the garden (hubby keeps talking about how it needs to be done, which translates into "Betsy, please weed the garden some day soon" - not really, but HE'S surely not home to do it during the week!). So I stop and manage to pull out TONS of this creeping grass that I noticed has choked out at least one of the bushes that HAD been growing there.

In the process, I noticed I was sweating - because a bead fell off my forehead onto my cheek!

I came in, and took this pic with my webcam, because I was outside, mostly standing still, for less than 30 minutes. I suppose I should have listened to the weather channel people when they said "heat advisory in effect" huh?

At least I got 2 more orders in the mail, and the garden looks a MILLION times better!

July 5, 2010

4th of July (Observed)

I hope that everyone had a wonderful and SAFE 4th of July.

Thank you to all the men and women out there who allow the events of July 4, 1776 to remain in place all these years later. Remember this holiday isn't just about fireworks, but what they represent... the war that put us on the path to become the country we are today.

I'm writing this a bit early, and HOPEFULLY, I'll have wonderful stories from ZIMMER DAY when I get back. Fidelio will be excited at least ;)

July 2, 2010

What's for Dinner? ICE CREAM!!

We got an ice cream maker :-D  I'm excited. I better start running ALL the time now, but this home-made ice cream thing is pretty fabulous.

We got a Cuisinart ICE-21 (aka, 1.5 Quart version) and tonight I made my first batch. The following is the recipe I actually followed, but it's SUPER rich, so I'll probably tone it down next time. Hubby however, was pretty stoked about it.

3/4 Cup of Dutch Processed Cocoa - sifted
1/2 Cup of granulated sugar
1/3 cup of light brown sugar (recipe called for dark, I didn't have it)
Pinch of salt
** Mix together with a wisk or a hand beater - you'll use it again in a second
1 Cup whole milk
** Add milk to dry ingredients and mix well until all the sugar and cocoa is dissolved
2 Cups Heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp mint extract
** Add Cream and extracts and mix well. Place in fridge for 2+ hours to chill fully (makes the ice cream making go faster)

When your ice cream maker is ready, and your mix is nice and cold, follow your ice cream maker's instructions to deliciously rich chocolate mint ice cream. You can add mix-ins if you want, but really don't need to!

Next time, I'm going to use fresh mint and less chocolate, but I was able to throw this together in about 10 minutes. The fresh mint version will take a bit longer, and when I feel I've PERFECTED the chocolate-mint ice cream (Mint with a light chocolate flavor) I will SURELY post it :)  I also plan on figuring out frozen yogurt at  some point... :)

The ice cream I made came out the "perfect eating consistency" but melts REALLY fast. If you like your ice cream harder, then you can throw it in the freezer for a few hours. We ate some right away, and put the rest (1.5 Quarts is a lot for 2 people to eat in one sitting!) in the freezer for later, and we'll get to see how yummy it is firmer!