January 31, 2011

Sunshine's Giveaway!

So I follow a bunch of blogs, right? Most of them are friends of mine... others just have super-cute ideas on their blogs, and still more are people I wish I was REAL friends with, but am only really bloggy-friends with :-P  WELL, ONE of these blogs has just announced a SUPER COOL giveaway, that I entered immediately.

That friend/blog IS: Reina at Semper Gumby... the Return of the Sunshine!

She's been off living life for a little while, but has come back to the blogging world with a BANG. She's managed to get hooked up with ZaZa Gallery for a giveaway valued at $110.00!!  AND, it's photography based. We all know how I feel about photography-ness. ZaZa Gallery makes canvas prints of photos, and from their testimonials, their quality is outstanding. I read her giveaway post, I checked out ZaZa's testimonial page, and was truly impressed.

SO, you should go check out Reina's giveaway and enter. To enter you must be a follower of Semper Gumby, comment about what "delights" you (read about why on her blog), and be willing to blog about your prize if you win.  


January 28, 2011

Mmmmm.... Pizza.

I love pizza.

In my mind, there are two different kinds of pizza. "Comfort pizza" which generally comes from a pizzaria, is HUGE and is plain cheese - extra greasy. And then there's good for you pizza - made at home with wholesome ingredients and toppings and generally personal sized. I love them both. In fact, even though I'm from NJ, and just outside Manhattan, home of the "New York Pizza"... I'm not very picky about my pizza. I'm much pickier about my cookies. If it's got dough, red sauce and cheese on it - I'm usually a fan. Heck, I used to eat Ellio's as a kid and thought it the greatest thing EVER. BUT, I have recently discovered that I can make a quick, delicious pizza in about... 20 minutes at home. And when you make it at home, it feels "free" since you bought the groceries already. At least... it does to me. I'm SURE it's cheaper than a pizzaria pie either way.

I got this book for Christmas, which you'll probably see me plug a whole lot from now on, because it's fabulous. It's one of those "Revolutionary" books that you see on the bookshelf at Borders and go "pshhh... yea, whatever" but they aren't lieing. It's a fabulous book. It is, so far, the most used of all my Christmas presents... and I got that new camera (which these pics were taken with by the way - and had ABSOLUTELY NO EDITING done to them).

Anyway - to get to the point - you should all go out and buy
Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.
It is going to make hubby and I fat, and it's marvelous.
It's more than just a recipe, so I'm not going to give quantities/instructions here... but the main bread recipe (of which I've made 12 lbs of bread/pizza with so far) is just flour, water, yeast and salt. That's it. The book has a "recipe" for pizza - use one of the dough types, roll it out super thin, slide it onto a hot stone in the oven and cook at super high heat. It's good - I made it... but I like thick dough best. So today, I made thick crust. No rolling pin, just squishing with my hands and I cooked it at closer to 475-500* instead of 525* for 10 minutes instead of the 6 the first one took. You can see the delicious, topped crust here...

This was a "I just finished 2 classes at the gym and now WANT PIZZA" pizza - so it's got some tomato sauce (home-made and frozen until it made friends with Mr. Microwave), what mozzarella we had left (maybe 1/4 cup?), a few small chunks of cheddar (cause it needed a little more) and 2 HUGE grape tomatoes (these are like, mutunt grape tomatoes, they're seriously twice the size of normal ones). I brushed a little olive oil on the exposed crust... cause I could? and popped it in the oven. It was so yummy. I want more. Which is another reason at-home pizza is good for you... it's only as big as you make it originally, and they don't offer a second pie for $2.99....

Posted by Picasa

January 27, 2011

Getting all Technical

I remember back in 5th grade being a PRO with computers. I was still smarter than them then... not so much anymore, but I can almost keep up ;). 

I figure that with a new business, comes advertising - which anyone who follows this blog, has noticed that it's become the main focus here recently.  It's been a bit more Just a Little Something Betsy DOT COM than actual somethings Betsy, and I'm honestly a little sorry about that. There HAVE been a few "other" things I've done that would warrant posting recently... but when I sit down at the computer - it's dot com time. That said, it drives me nuts when people promo their businesses ALL THE TIME. Once in a while - OK, that's cool. Once a day? Thank you no. It's part of the reason I don't post EVERY blog update on Facebook, and why I've been extra delinquent at posting all the time here. I THINK I'm still getting around one a week...

Knowing all this, I still need to get to people who don't already know me. I mean... can you really call it a successful business if the only people who buy your stuff are somehow related to you? So I've started a Facebook page for SomethingBetsy. I'm hoping that it'll give me a bit more exposure... that you'll all find it and click on it and that your friends will say "hmm... what is that?" and find it, and like it, and click on it too!

 (Hint, the profile picture is currently this one)

This is a pretty big deal for me actually. Not QUITE as big as finishing the site... or getting it on-line and running... or my first sale (whoo hoo! even if she almost counts as "related to me" at this point)... but still a pretty big deal. I invited all my Facebook friends (warning: I'm very particular about who can be my friend on Facebook, so don't be offended if you aren't... it doesn't mean I don't like you) so that anyone who doesn't want to be bombarded with SomethingBetsy related Facebook status' doesn't have to be :). Which is why it's such a big deal. I'm letting myself be that daily advertiser. I'm hoping that the 160 characters or less update urge will be a motivator to DO something every day - this is, after all, my new job. ;)


January 25, 2011

Ta Da! Get ready to get your click on!


SO, I have superb news today!!   


There are a few little changes here and there to come, but the 300ish original photos are up, and I just COULDN'T WAIT ANY LONGER to tell you all!

More photos and artwork are to come soon too :-D

So get your click on, sit and watch the all-encompassing slide show (that's right - all 300ish images will scroll before you without any effort on your part except for you to STARE at it :-P) and pick your favorites. And keep your eye out here for a fun little contest coming soon ;).


January 22, 2011

It's HERE!!

And I'm 1/2 way through the manual. Almost.

So... many... buttons....



January 20, 2011

Silly Fed Ex.

So Hubby got me a new camera for Christmas... only it hasn't arrived yet. First, Amazon sent it to an old address. Two addresses ago to be exact. How they decided that was a good idea, I have no clue. Once we discovered this there was the "aaaaaaah!" attempt to redirect the camera. UPS wouldn't do it, the store that sent it wouldn't do it (even though UPS hadn't picked it up yet) and Amazon had to be called twice before we could convince them that it really was in their best interest to put a delivery stop on it. *whew* So it got 3/4 of the way to the wrong destination before everything got figured out, then went back to Amazon, and we got a refund. THEN we got to order it again (shortly before the prices jumped up! glad we missed that boat). Now, Fed Ex is delivering it (to the right address at least, but I'm not sure why they switched carriers). They stopped by the house yesterday at 11am. I was at the gym - being tortured, but that's another story. When I got home, I called Fed Ex and said "Hi, I wasn't home today at 11, and I won't be home tomorrow either until 2pm and I won't be home at 11am on Friday either. Can you have them come by sometime after 2 tomorrow?" I was told I'd be called as to whether or not that was possible. Well, apparently, it wasn't possible... and I wasn't called. Today, they came by at 9:45 - 30 minutes after I left the house, almost exactly. Super. I left a note, with a signature, saying they could leave it and that I'd be home around 2. This is after they were TOLD I wouldn't be home till 2 by the lady I called. Did it matter? NO. So we called again - "Hi. We missed the delivery again... can we go pick it up somewhere?" Basic answer: no. There are 4 Fed Ex Authorized dealers within 3 miles of our house... but Fed Ex can ONLY let us pick up the package AFTER we place it on a hold, and we have to drive 20 miles south to do so. Seriously? That means at the EARLIEST Monday - for a package that was supposed to come on Wednesday. Fortunately, hubby (who is also very concerned about this delivery) can be home in the morning when I can't, so hopefully the 3rd time's the charm while we "tag team" listening for our VERY quiet doorbell...


January 18, 2011

it iced :-P

it iced last night. And today is going exceedingly well. Hubby scraped all the ice off my car (so I'd have no excuse to go check out -and possibly sign up for- the gym around the corner), so that was awesome. AND, everything is covered in frozen wonderfulness (which I can say, since they salted the roads). Everything is sparkly and shiny and glazed (and slippery) and I'm all giddy, because I got to roam around my backyard taking pictures of icy things :-D. So I figured I'd share my favorites from this morning while my hands got their feeling back around a nice latte :)

 **soon to be available on www.somethingbetsy.com... when it publishes.**


January 15, 2011

Debating a re-org... already.

I'm one who strives for perfection, but has trained herself to accept what she's got and move on with life in many cases. This has been a big goal for me for the past few years, and I've gotten pretty good at it. Hubby calls it the 70% solution. However, looking at some of my newer photos vs. older ones as a collection on Mr. Website (almost ready, I promise, and my musings will NOT delay it's publishing)... while there were SO MANY PHOTOS I thought were wonderful, I almost want to hone it down already. I think what I'll REALLY do is leave it be for a bit, make sure I only put my BEST new photos up on it (as opposed to just the good ones ;-P) and then slowly "discontinue" others. I know... strange to hear when it's not even up yet, but I'm prepping myself. It's going to take some serious willpower to remove some of those photos that I love, even though they aren't my most fabulous. For those of you who might be nervous about this concept... it's entirely too much work to re-number each piece... and I'm DEFINITELY not destroying the images... so if you remember the item number, you'll always be able to get it.


January 10, 2011


I am exhausted today. I don't THINK it was the extraordinarily fun weekend I just had, but I definitely did NOT want to get out of bed this morning. I pulled myself out from under the covers at 9 though, so it wasn't HORRIBLY late... ish ;). In my defense, I pulled MYself out only 30 minutes after hubby pulled HIMself out.

I then walked around the house wandering a bit in a sleepy daze trying to figure out what else should go on the grocery list today and wondering exactly which of the to-do-items for this week would get accomplished today. Needless to say, none of the ones I WANT to do are the ones that NEED to happen today. I also haven't done any of them yet in my 2 conscious hours.

What I DID do in my 2 conscious hours is decide I needed coffee, and forget for an hour that I'd turned the coffee pot on to MAKE said coffee. In the next 45 minutes, I managed to make and drink said cup of coffee... it's helped, but still want to go back to bed.  Instead, I'm sitting on the couch, nearly empty cup of coffee in hand, staring at the Christmas tree that I don't want to take down. Christmas isn't REALLY over yet, is it?

(less than fabulous pic of my Christmas tree, 
because genius me deleted a whole bunch of photos 
last time I  uploaded things -apparently not- to my computer.)


January 7, 2011

Banana Bread!

So I had a baking day today. It was fabulous. Cheesecake, Chocolate Pudding Pie, Refridgerator Bread (as I'm calling it at least) and Banana Bread. A lovely, double batch of banana bread.

This, banana bread.

With it's yummy crisp top and soft and moist center that I just KNOW is inside... waiting for breakfast tomorrow :)

This is super-easy to make banana bread... at least, the way I make it :-P

The Tricks:
1) freeze your banana's when they start to get too brown for you to eat. Not only does this keep you from throwing them away, but it lets you make banana bread when you want it... as opposed to when the bananas are ready. ALSO, the freezing makes them super mushy... so you don't end up having to "mash" them - one less thing to clean... two actually... no fork and no mashing bowl.
2) make sure you're ready to put the bread in the oven RIGHT after you mix it.

The Recipe is (slightly modified) from The Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary Edition. I know what page it's on from the wrinkled, egg-spattered-ness because I use this recipe more than any other in the book 0:-). No bookmark needed.

YOU WILL NEED (my version)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup vegetable shortening (or margerine or butter - softened)
2/3 cup sugar
1 to 2 large eggs
2-3 frozen bananas (defrosted, in their skins)

a measuring cup, a wisk, a Big bowl, scissors, and a 8ishx4ish baking pan.

FIRST, mix the dry ingredients together while your wisk is still dry

SECOND, mash up the vegetable shortening- it says to beat until creamy... I've never seen shortening get creamy, i just break it up a bit with the wisk, and then add sugar, mixing them together till they get crumbly.

THIRD, add the eggs. Whether you use one or two kind of depends on the amount of banana. The more banana... the more eggs. If I use 2 bananas, I use one egg (the egg is a binder). It always comes out yummy no matter what though, so don't sweat it.

FOURTH, cut the top of your defrosted black squidgy bananas off, and squeeze them into the bowl... kinda like toothpaste. It's gross, yes, but oh so easy, so little cleanup and darn yummy. Mix it up with the wisk... you'll still have banana chunks. That's OK. I like it that way - try it once... if you don't like it... you can "fully mash" your bananas next time.

FIFTH, add the dry ingredients in three portions, mixing until smooth after each addition

SIXTH, put all the mushy goodness into a greased baking pan, throw it in a preheated 350* oven for an hour (yes, it takes the whole hour, often a little longer for me) until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool it for a bit, then pop out of your pan and cool fully before slicing. Don't worry, a quick zap in the microwave, or a run in the toaster will warm it right up and make your butter melt all over it in deliciousness. Hubby likes it with cream cheese (hmmm... cream cheese... that ever-popular refrigerator inhabitant - by the way... for those who keep up with me, the sale was still going, so I bought another 8 bars this week. But it's 8 instead of 12, and there's no Christmas break inbetween, so I should be good. And if I'm not... I totally mastered the cheesecake. It really is just as simple as following directions, lol)

Posted by Picasa

January 2, 2011

Excited. Web Update :-P

So a certain SOMEONE is very excited for the debut of the new Mr. Website. It no longer officially being the "beginning" of January (which, apparently, is ONLY January 1), she had deemed that the site post live today. HA. So not happening yet, BUT, I did get my prices hammered out for 2011 and I'm halfway done with the gallery pages. Writing a website is a lot of work! After the galleries are completed, I have a few business pages to hammer through, and I THINK I'll be set... keep pestering - the nudging is working ;)


January 1, 2011


(Photo stolen out of laziness - thanks Google images)

So a while back, the store had Philadelphia Cream Cheese on sale for 99cents a bar. SUPER DEAL, so I bought a case. The best-by date was Jan 4, and I figured hubby eats cream cheese on a bagel every morning for breakfast, so a bar a week for that, a little extra for when I eat some too, and enough for a cheesecake for the new year. Well, I apparently didn't eat my share, and hubby didn't eat bagels for about 2 weeks, so I was suddenly left with 7 bars of cream cheese, with an impending due-date.

Things I've learned about cream cheese:

1) "Best By" is NOT "expires" and the cream cheese is still good to go for at LEAST a week or two.

2) Cream cheese does NOT freeze well - it still tastes kinda the same, but is NOT creamy upon defrosting... it's kinda grainy and definitely not my favorite.

3) Cheesecake apparently doesn't freeze top notch either, unless you "do it right" - and I'm not sure how that is, so we're not trying.

4) You get a lot of good ideas when you say something like "I have an overabundance of Cream Cheese. Other than Cheesecake... what can I do with it?!?!" on Facebook.

Other ways to use cream cheese (other than bagels and cheesecake, but no better for you really) are:

1) Put it in your mashed potatoes (thank you Gramma!) - we did this tonight, and it was DELICIOUS. Like, best mashed potatoes ever. Like, now a standard ingredient in mashed-potato-ness.

2) Make a cheese ball. From what I know, finely grated cheese, cream cheese, little seasoning, mix, roll in nuts - Gourmet! Or you can try an ACTUAL recipe like the one at my fav food blog. OR for a third option: cream cheese, splash of OJ, chopped dried cranberries and chopped pecans rolled into a ball (courtesy Aunt Liz)

3) Mix with milk until the consistency of sour cream, and make dip (like you'd do with sour cream)

4) Layered dip - my friend Anne-Marie suggested cream cheese, chili, cheddar, microwaved until the cheddar melted with fritos - sounded yummy! Or you can go with the 7 layer Mexican standby (and one of my fav's)

5) Mix with milk and use in Scalloped Potatoes (another Gramma suggestion, so I'm sure it's delish)

6) Cheese SPREAD (I think) - Mix cream cheese with spices and then cover with pesto and grated parmesan cheese. Eat it with crackers. Also good with sundried tomatoes in the layers - Courtesy of Mary-Ann :)

7) Breakfast pastry. Essentially, croissants laid out, with cream cheese icing and pie filling on it, and strips of croissant on top. Haven't made it in a LONG time, but it was DELICIOUS with Peach Pie filling when I did.

This week's cream cheese uses:
Stick 1: Added to Mashed Potatoes for dinner tonight (1/3 stick) and dip/cheeseball for visitors tomorrow (2/3 stick)
Sticks 2 and 3: Cheesecake for Sunday's Visitors. (leftovers will be sent home with them. I hope they like cheesecake)
Stick 4: Bagels for hubby to go to work with
Sticks 5 and 6: Cheesecake for visitors next Saturday
Stick 7: Breakfast Pastry for after Church next Sunday

On the shopping list this week... more cream cheese.