April 5th, 2012

I like a little banana pudding with my Cool Whip, LOL!

As promised, here’s a picture of the new recipe I tried for dessert.

It was good, but very different from my regular banana pudding and GW and I both agreed that we liked the regular recipe better. The carmelized bananas were delish, but a little too overwhelming.

Maybe over vanilla ice cream like Bananas Foster?

This weekend is a long weekend and looking forward to chillin’ out and just doing whatever we decide we are in the mood for. We entertained the thought of going to the Renaissance Festival, but it’s opening weekend and may be just a little too crowded for our taste. Have plenty of time and weekends to go yet.

Today turned out beautiful! Such a difference from Tuesdays severe weather North Texas endured. We were blessed not to have any in our little town, but the surrounding towns had enough that it was too close for comfort here.

I was busy working on the computer not even watching the weather going on behind me outside until I started seeing Tweets about DFW being under a severe attack of tornadic attivity. A few minutes after I turned around to face the window and saw the huge wall cloud in the sky, the phone rang and it was a recorded message from our city stating we were under a severe tornado warning and to take cover NOW! GW soon texted me to see if I was okay, but none of my texts back to him could go through. Until I thought of hard booting the iPhone which worked.

But besides the driving rain coming down in silver sheets accompanied by hail, we didn’t get anything else.

My thoughts and prayers to those whose homes were destroyed or damaged. Thanks to the good Lord above there were no fatalities in a situation where there was so many tornadoes in the area even the meteorologists couldn’t keep up.

Back to work…

Have a great Easter weekend!


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April 3rd, 2012

Have you ever bought brown sugar and once you get home, it’s not the soft, sweet, box of sugary goodness, but a solid, can’t even get it out of the box hard brick?

Well, sure you have. And so did I this week.

I found a super new recipe for carmelized banana pudding and thought I’d surprise GW with dessert. We normally avoid desserts for many reasons, some obvious, some not. Mostly to keep our youthful shapes from becoming not so youthful. Or not so shapely. But occasionally we (meaning me) decide that we’ve been good and deserve dessert.

But back to the story. While pulling the box of brown sugar out of the grocery sack, I dropped it and just barely missed my foot as it crashed to the kitchen tiles. I picked it up (after making sure kitchen floor not damaged, whew!) and wondered how I was going to use something that was so rock hard.

So I did what I always do when I have a question: I ‘googled’ it.

Here’s what was recommended:

Place one slice of bread in plastic bag with brown sugar...

…for a day or so. Um, no.

Try marshmallows in plastic bag with brown sugar...

…for day or so. Like, No!

Place a few drops of water in plastic bag with brown sugar...

…again, NO! Visions of mold flash through my mind.

…no damp towel either!



Frustrated, I did what any exasperated, in a hurry, need it now cook would do.

The Behr Way

Of course, the pounding could be heard all the way from the back of the house where GW hollered, “Babe, what are you building in there?” If he only knew the trouble women go through for our desserts and our men, LOL!

And it worked! And after a trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, I now have a new friend that keeps my brown sugar soft and crumbly and ready for use when I need it.

I call him Sugar Behr!

Will let you know how the Carmelized Banana Pudding comes out tonight!


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July 9th, 2011

To celebrate the July 4th weekend, GW and I took a long weekend to head south and visit some old friends I haven’t seen in quite awhile.

Saturday night started out by going to a honest to goodness real cowboy saloon. I wasn’t aware of exactly where we were going so had on my white jeans, black top and sandals. Kinda looked a little out of place on the dance floor among all the blue jeans and cowboy boots. Surprised to see the new (or new to me) trend of the girls now wearing short-shorts with their cowboy boots. Some looked pretty good and, of course, some couldn’t pull it off. But I believe that if it makes you happy and feel good about yourself, wear what you want.

We shared appetizers (the brisket nachos were my favorite. Thinking of trying those at home) with a few drinks and I stuck with my White Zin. I wish I could drink beer, but just don’t like the taste. A longneck brew just seems the appropriate drink for a place like that. You know, when in Rome and all that.

The dance floor started out being a little lonely, but it wasn’t long before the regulars were out there in full swing. Literally, almost. GW and I danced to one of my favorite slow songs and, let me tell you the man can dance. Of course, he proved he could hold his own on the dance floor at his daughter’s wedding. The photographer even included a short video of it in the video collage he put together.

Who knew?

Anyhoo, we discovered the darts area and all of us separated into teams and played a few games. This was the first time I’d played a real live game (although we’d put up a ‘real’ dart board in the garage over a year ago) and we all had a blast. I ‘doubled-in’ (don’t ask) once on a 17 and was feeling pretty happy about that although my team still lost.

After another white zin, it wasn’t long before the girls and I were on the dance floor line dancing and laughing ourselves silly. The guys just watched and laughed themselves silly at us. I promised GW I’d teach him how to line dance, but need to brush up on the old ones and learn some of the new ones.

Sunday night was spent at a barbeque eating ribs and chicken and grilled corn on the cob and an awesome salad. It was awesome just visiting and catching up.

Monday night was spent at another barbecue (different kind of ribs, different seasoned chickens, different type of grilled corn on the cob so everything was wonderful and, well, different). They had a pretty impressive firewords display at the end of the night.

It appears everyone had a great time getting to know GW. But I expected that.

Next day came the long ride home. Poor GW. He puts up with me either talking my head off or not saying a word, my head deep in a book or doing some tweeting or some such. But he never complains, he just smiles a lot and says he finds a lot of ‘humor’ in what I do.

Thank the good Lord he likes to laugh because I seem to do a lot for him to laugh about.

All in all, we had a great time and looking forward to our next trip. In the meantime, will be working on my dart game and my line dancing.


June 15th, 2011

“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.”

~John Burroughs

Last summer, my stepdaughter became engaged. She is such a fabulous person and I love her dearly. When we got the invitation back in March for her shower, there was no way we were going to miss it so we booked our tickets and off to Chicago we went. The weather was cold and rainy, but it didn’t keep us from having a fantastic time. The shower was held at a wonderful restaurant with an upper floor that was made just for this kind of celebration.

I met GW’s mom and my stepdaughter’s mom and her side of the family. Everyone was super friendly and we had a great time visiting and eating and getting to know everyone. GW actually saw people he hadn’t seen in 20 years.

Soon, May rolled around and it was time for the wedding. My husband surprised me and flew us first class and from the moment we took off the to the second we landed, it was a blast. We arrived Thursday evening and spent the night with the kids and then Friday we drove the couple of hours to the Lodge where the wedding was to take place.

The Lodge and the Canyon was absolutely beautiful and a perfect setting for the nature loving bride and groom. We stayed in log cabins that were delightful and, since the place was quite a drive from the nearest town, we ate our meals at the Lodge restaurant where the employees were super friendly and the food was to die for!

Friday night after the rehearsal, we had a cookout and I got to visit with GW’s mom again and meet his two brothers. They were all funny to watch because they share the same sense of humor. Very funny men!

Saturday was wedding day! They were married in the canyon not far from a beautiful waterfall, and even with it being a little cold (okay a LOT cold to this Texas), you couldn’t ask for a more perfect setting for them. The bride was truly beautiful and radiant and I say that not because I am prejudiced or biased. She truly was. Elegant, relaxed, and I honestly believe she had as much fun as all the guests were having.

We partied with her mom’s family, my husband’s family, and the groom’s family with dozens of friends thrown in for good measure until the wee hours of the morning and all too soon it was Sunday morning and time to go. But first we had to have one more meal at the Lodge dining room.

Can you say best breakfast buffet ever? Yum! Everything from pastries to meats to all kinds of eggs to fruits to pancakes, waffles, and french toast to desserts. Yes, I said dessert. And that IS a whole different group from the pastries.

Trust me.

So, after stuffing ourselves silly, we headed back to the kids home. They soon caught up with us and we took them to the airport to head out for the honeymoon and then we went back to their house to rest and catch up on much needed sleep.

Monday, GW played tour guide (he lived there for over 20 yrs) and showed me his old stomping grounds. Places he worked, places he lived, played softball, played darts, and everything in between. I loved being able to see the places and things he has talked and told me stories about. My favorite was going to Woodstock, ILL where the movie Groundhog Day was filmed. I’ve always thought it cool and fascinating that while Bill Murray and Andie McDowell were filming a scene in front of the bowling alley, GW and his friends were actually inside the bowling alley playing darts and having a few beers. So, I guess you could say they were ‘extras’ in the movie. Silent, unseen extras, LOL! Once we got back to Texas, I made him sit through the movie again so I could compare the pictures I took with the places in the movie.

I am so easily entertained.

One of my mission while in the Chicago area was to try some of the foods that friends from the Chicago area say are much better up there and sucks in Texas. Mission accomplished. I ate an Italian Beef sandwich, a Gyro (pronounced ‘Euro’ up there), and an original Chicago Hot Dog. All were excellent! I totally forgot about the Chicago pizza! Oh, well, next trip!

Back at ya later…


February 14th, 2011

So how did everyone spend their Valentine’s Day today?

The blogs and the tweets ran rampant on the pros and cons of celebrating this particular holiday. My only opinion is that it depends on how you and your special loved one views it. Sometimes compromise has to come into play, but isn’t that what life is all about? Me? I’ve found my Prince Charming and not gonna share, LOL!

In fact, the Prince (GW) surprised me again (don’tcha just love surprises? I do) and fixed a special dinner of pork ribs and sauerkrakut and stuffed mushrooms. Yum! I’ve never had them before and they were fabulous, Dahling, just fabulous! I tried to eat like a Princess (which equals not much), but everything was so good! And we still have enough for leftovers!

Here’s a picture of the stuffed mushrooms!

Stuffed Mushrooms with crab stuffing

My card was beautiful and meaningful and made my day wonderful! Hmmm…maybe I need to promote him from Prince to King, LOL!

On the writing front, I finished the chapter I was working on and hope to start the next tonight. Kicked around a few ways to start it with Brenda this morning, so going to see what works. Brenda is so very funny and can come up with great ideas. Brenda is hilarious and makes me laugh alot. Brenda also needs to get busy on her writing!


February 13th, 2011

So, last night GW surprised me by taking me to the new Japanese Hibatchi House in town. It was the first time I’d ever experienced having a Japanese chef cook right in front of you and it rocked!

We sat at the U-shaped table between a family of four and a younger couple. A waitress took the food orders and brought out a soup that was clear with a few bean sprouts floating around and a salad of lettuce and cucumbers that had a special dressing on top. Both were very different and very tasty. I had a glass of White Zinfindel and GW tried some kind of Japanese beer. The wine was very cold which is just the way I like it and the soup hot, the salad cold and crisp.

The chef comes out and introduces himself and then starts the show. He was pretty funny and entertaining, but our table was kinda of dead and not interacting so we just watched and talked to each other.

Food was fabulous! Great flavor without leaving you so full you’re miserable. We had a $10.00 coupon off, but they don’t take it off the bill, they give it to you in a gift card. Very clever. Now we have to go back to spend the gift card.

But I don’t mind. At all. One of my favorite things is to eat with chopsticks. And drink good wine.

Not necessarily in that order.

Thanks, Babe! Had a great time last night!


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February 6th, 2011

Not that I’m into that sort of thing, but love any kind of special day. Love the way so many are preparing for it. And with it being hosted here in Dallas, bad weather or no, the hoopla has been phenomenal! No way I’d be anywhere near the stadium today. I do hope for the sake of the tailgaters and fans, the weather stays warm enough for them to have a great time since it is so important to them.

The snow has melted some, yet it is still cold outside. Yesterday, GW worked hard at clearing off the driveway and sidewalk and now just patches that the sun doesn’t reach remain. The weather predictions still show some rain, sleet, and snow flakes, but the sun is shining right now.

Since being stuck in the house was starting to get to me, we went ahead and did the grocery shopping yesterday. Stopped at a local Mexican restaurant for late lunch/early dinner and then came home and didn’t venture out again. Did some writing, some reading and watched a couple of movies. I had seen The Saint with Val Kilmer years ago – so many I’d forgotten most of the plot – and GW hadn’t seen it all so we piled up on our chair and watched it and Jurassic Park.

Today, we are cooking a roast with veggies and I hope to get some more writing done. I’ve been able this last week, get over 6,000 words written on my Angels, Demons, and a Teenage Drama Queen and have written EVERY day!

I win, Denise!

Have a wonderful Super Bowl Sunday and I will be pulling for the Packers for some obvious reasons at our household.


February 1st, 2011

“A sense of humor is just common sense dancing .”

~William James

This morning, the sound of sleet hitting the house woke me. Well, once I got out of bed and walked to the front of the house where it was beating against the door and windows, did I actually hear it. Then I really did wake up.

And run back and jump in bed yelling ‘the iceman cometh’. GW laughed until my cold feet hit his.

So today, we have stuck around the house just doing what we want to do. Which is writing for me. (Yay me!) and ‘working’ on the computer (playing solitaire) for him. I have a big pot of chicken/sausage/okra gumbo on the stove and it smells so good. Except I burned my tongue taste testing it and now it is peeling. Can’t wait for dinner tonight. Yum! GW loves my gumbo!

I braved a trip to the mailbox and it is solid ice about 2-3 inches thick on the sidewalks, streets, and driveway.

Stay warm everyone and careful out there!


January 5th, 2011

“Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.”


Before leaving, we were able to tour the BR Cohn Winery whose owner, Bruce Cohn, used to be the manager of the Doobie Brothers. Needless to say, in the winery were lots of memorabilia regarding that time in his life.

We shot over to Domaine Chandon where we tasted several kinds of Sparkling Wine (not allowed to call it Champagne unless it comes from Champagne, Franceso be forewarned). They gave us the two champagne glasses (can I say that or are they sparkling wine glasses?) to take home with us.

Also, we covered the Provenance vineyards where we laughed until we cried at the taste testing. The woman behind the bar kept pouring GW more than the allotted amount for the tasting and shorting the other guys. She kept saying he reminded her of E.F. Hutton because when he spoke, everyone stopped to listen. P thought she was just flirting with him, but GW was not as impressed because he thought E.F. Hutton was no longer alive and wondered EXACTLY what she meant by that. We thought it was hilarious and are still laughing about that. Personally, I wouldn’t blame her as I think he is cute also, LOL! And it’s not just because he is my husband.

We also visited the Arrowood Vineyards in the Sonoma Valley and Nicholson Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Each place was beautiful and interesting and produced great wine. At the Nicholson Winery, they were setting up for a wedding so we didn’t travel far outside the testing room, but we got a great picture of the little church on the mountainside (see below).

Just so you know, we didn’t just travel from winery to winery.

We visited a wonderful little Irish pub in downtain Santa Rosa (name escapes me).

Ate at the famous and unique Willi’s Bar which was so different from anything I had ever had before. They served unique food on these ‘small international’ plates. Each one of us picked out about 3 or 4 ‘international plates’ and shared them – family style – with the whole group. I tried some dishes I have never had before and they were awesome!!!

The last night there, we had made reservations at the Culinary Institute of American (CIA) where the renowned school had their students cook for us. The menus are printed on paper as they change on a daily basis depending upon the availability and what the students are cooking that day.

Again, the food was top-notch and to die for! By all the special restaurants we visited, I was pretty spoiled by the time we got back home.

B R Cohen Entrance

Doobie Brothers Picture in the Winery

Domaine Chandon entrance

Small church in the Santa Cruz Mountains at the Nicholson Winery

Culinary Institute of America first course

Culinary Institute of America

Culinary Institute of America pastry chef

to be continued for wrap up….


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October 24th, 2010

“Always carry a corkscrew and the wine shall provide itself.”

~Basil Bunting

Chateau Montelena Winery

Front of the Chateau entrance

Two miles north of Calistoga, Chateau Montelena Winery sits on 254 acres of rugged terrain at the base of Mount Saint Helena. Built in 1882 it became the seventh largest winery in the Napa Valley. Winemaking halted during the Prohibition and the winery was sold to Yort and Jeanie Frank, who was looking for a place to retire. The Franks, inspired by the Chateau, found a perfect area to excavate a lake and landscaped it to reflect the Chinese gardens of his homeland. It was called Jade Lake and consists of two islands, not open to the general public but available to their wine club members. You can, however, stand next to the entrances to the footbridges that connects to the islands and feed the fish and waterfowl. Marveling at the way the footbridges were built crooked, I found out that, according to Chinese legend, evil spirits can only travel over water in straight lines.

I found it very interesting that the Chateau was like a mini-castle and the gardens and lake was of Chinese architecture complete with weeping willows and native fauna. But somehow it works. According to their brochures, it is considered to be one of the most peaceful and beautiful sanctuaries in Napa Valley. It was indeed very enchanting.

A little more interesting history here…

Back in 1976, the Chateau Montelena Winery entered their 1973 Chardonnay in a ‘blind taste testing’ International Wine Tasting competition in Paris, France and their 1973 Chardonnay won, beating out the French and Italian wines. This, supposedly, is what put California on the map for winemaking. Here at the Chateau, the movie, Bottleshock, was filmed about the historic event and you can even take a special ‘Bottleshock’ tour. We didn’t take the tour, but when we got home, we rented the movie and really enjoyed it. It was fun watching the movie and saying, “Hey, we were there…and there…”

Jade Lake

Small waterfall in front of the Chateau

Different sizes of wine bottles

To be continued…


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