A Trick-Or-Treat to Remember

1 Nov 1950s halloween

My favorite holiday is Halloween, and not just because women find it as an excuse to dress like prostitutes” — Jim Gaffigan

 1950s halloween

Ahh, Halloween — the second best holiday around! Trick-or-treating was in full swing here in FC. And because it was a true joy, I need to tell you about my favorite trick-or-treaters…

Here’s the story. There are three princesses, each about 5-6 years of age.

Princess 1: Trick or Treat!
Me: Ohh! Look at all of these pretty princesses! Here…choose a piece of candy!
Princess 1: *Shuffles through the candy* Do these have gluten in it?
Me: *picks up a Laffy Taffy* It’s dark. I can’t see the label…Here…here’s some chocolate!
Princess 1: My mom says I can’t eat that because it has dairy in it.
Princess 2: Yeah, I can’t eat that either because it has gluten AND dairy in it!
Andy in the background: Did she just ask if our candy has gluten in it?
Me: Shhhh….
Princess 3: My mom says I can have gluten and dairy, but I’m allergic to cats.
Me: Alright, well…just don’t eat cats.

I gave princess 3 three pieces of candy. My heart goes out to princesses 1 & 2 who will never experience the true joy of sorting through their candy, getting a huge sugar rush, drive their parents absolutely bonkers and then crash from their sugar high the night of Halloween. …And many nights thereafter!

Happy Halloween!!!

Just call me Clark Kent or Superman…

17 Oct


       Every morning between 7:15am-7:30am I have the “pleasure” of walking the boyfriend’s pup, Tucker. *Side note – it’s not my choice to walk him at this time, believe me. The mister has a schedule and will not leave me the heck alone until I literally get out of bed and walk him.* Also, let’s be real here friends, the dog walks me. If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting this hyper as all hell dog, you would totally get it. My residents get a kick out of this and have been the talk of the afternoon during several coffee socials and gathering at the circle. Anyhoo, back to the story here. So here I am walking Tucker around the property (in my flannel PJ’s, boyfriends’ shoes, and a fleece jacket – holla!) and as he was doing his business (#2, even), I hear a knock coming from one of the building windows. I look up to see one of the new residents knocking. Confused, I’m not sure what the heck she wants so I just “smile and wave” and go on my merry way. I am almost around the corner when I hear the new resident shouting at me, waving her arms. *Side note – The resident was wearing what appeared to be a red robe and only a red robe.* I have no idea what she is blabbering about so Tuck and I start walking towards her. The new lady starts shouting at me telling me “this is private property” and that that people that live here are only allowed to walk their pets here. Puzzled, I told her that I lived here (Yes, it’s true. I live where I work). She then told me I did not live here and demanded to know how old I was. I told her I was 30 (no shame here)…She then said that no one my age lives here. I assured her that I, in fact, lived here. She then demanded to know where I lived. I told her that I lived at Cheek wood…Before going further with this absurd conversation (and I also realized she was NOT joking with me), I said “It’s me, Ali. I work and live here, remember?” As soon as I had said that, her face dropped. She then started to freak out on me, kids. She started apologizing profusely, confessing she did not recognize me because I was not wearing my glasses. She said that her and her friend (who ironically also just moved in) had been seeing this “young girl with a pit bull**” walking around and they were “scared.” She stated she had informed my boss about this and my boss told her to confront the girl as well as call the police. She then looked down at herself, apologized again and then jokingly said “At least I am looking out for the hood, right?”

And this my friends is how I started my Friday morning. I will now remember to wear my glasses because apparently I do not look like myself without them…I don’t get it…But whatever.

** Tucker is NOT a pit bull either. He is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. AND he’s awesome.


“I can’t believe my best friend leaves me alone with this crazy girl human.

She just won’t stop taking pictures of meeeeee.”


“This is the face that greets me every.single.morning.”

XxX -



Middlest Does It Herself: Yogurt!

14 Oct milk

I have been making my own yogurt for a luxurious 6 months. I feel like I have finally perfected the recipe, hence why I am sharing it all with you today.

The end result is creamy & thick. The recipe is almost effortless. Please leave yourself enough time for the yogurt to sit for at least 8 hours.

Ingredient List.
1 gallon of 1 1/2% milk. Make sure it is not ultra-pasteurized
1/4 cup of yogurt containing bacteria
2-3 ice cubes
Cheesecloth or flour sack.
Large pot
Large bath towel
Large bowl or additional large pot

Before we delve into the recipe, I am going to tell you what I have changed from previous recipes that, I feel, have made a big difference in the end result. 

  • I went from skim milk to 1 1/2% milk. I also switched from store bought milk to milk that gets delivered to my door. Royal Crest (my farm-to-door milk) claims that they don’t use pesticides or hormones. Because of these switches, I taste a difference in the end result. Is it the fat or is it the type of milk I now buy? I love getting milk delivered to my door, so I may not know for a very long time. The cost difference is $3.39 a gallon vs $4.49 a gallon. That’s a decent increase, but I’ll spend a dollar to not go to the store whenever I want to make yogurt. And they reuse their milk containers, so my green(ish) heart is happy that one more plastic bottle isn’t in the landfills. :) Buy whatever milk you want…just make sure it isn’t ultra-pasteurized!
  • I decreased the amount of yogurt needed to start a batch. Why? When I moved out to Colorado I had to use a store-bought yogurt starter. It just didn’t feel right to lug around a half cup of my homemade yogurt while moving 1,000 miles west. I went to the store and bought a yogurt that contained bacteria in it. It was so good that I ate all but 1/4 cup of it. Whoops. I tried it out and the milk still turned to yogurt! Yay! Anyway, THIS IS IMPORTANT for your first batch: The milk needs bacteria to feast on in order for the end result to be yogurt. So please, just buy a little container of plain yogurt that contains bacteria in it. Afterwards you will just reserve 1/4 cup of your homemade yogurt for your next batch. Easy-peasy.
  • I drain the yogurt with a flour sack. The flour sack is a smaller weave than many of the cheesecloths I was using in the past, which has made the yogurt a lot smoother than previous batches. It takes longer to strain, but the end result is worth it. When I want a thin yogurt, I don’t strain it at all. It’s totally a preference, so play around as you wish!

1. Take your large pot and place 2-3 ice cubes at the bottom of it. At room temperature, let the ice cubes melt. This prevents scorching to the bottom of your pot, which results in less scrubbing later.
2. Pour the milk to the bottom of the pot. Turn to medium high, uncovered.
3. Allow the milk to heat to approximately 190ºF. Use a cooking thermometer or just use your eyes. The milk will start to foam at sea level. In Colorado (at 4,284 ft above sea level), the milk looks like it is just about to boil. Turn the heat off at this point.
4. Cover and allow the milk to cool to 110ºF.
5. Add previous yogurt/store yogurt to batch milk and stir for about a minute, making sure the yogurt is fully incorporated.
6. Cover with lid and wrap pot with your large bath towel. Leave in a warm place where the milk will rest for 8-12 hours. This step is important. I have peeked at my milk at 6 and then again at 7 hours with no such luck. The milk truly needs to set for at least 8 hours. Plan accordingly.
7. Now lift up your cover. You will see a liquid separated to the top of the pot. This is called whey, which is great for baking & smoothies. It’s so awesome. I love this stuff!
8. Remove 1/4 cup of yogurt and store in an airtight container. Place in fridge. This is your starter for your next batch.
9. Place the cheesecloth over colander that is in or resting on top of a large pot. Now scoop half of your yogurt over the cheese cloth. Allow it to sit for a period of time and let the whey drain from the yogurt. Stir occasionally to let the yogurt on top seep into the bottom of the cheesecloth. The idea is to let the yogurt drain until it’s at the consistency you like. For a thinner yogurt, drain for a shorter period of time than you would if you wanted a thicker yogurt. I let my yogurt drain for up to an hour when I am making Greek yogurt. When you’ve determined the consistency you like, place in a container. Then repeat this process with the remaining yogurt.
10.Refrigerate whey and yogurt. It spoils in about a month.

Depending on how thick you like your yogurt, you will yield anywhere from 2-4 quarts of yogurt and 1-3 additional quarts of whey. Thin yogurt means more yogurt and less of whey. Thicker yogurt means more whey, but less yogurt. It’s a win-win regardless!

Making yogurt is extremely gratifying. The results are fantastic; I use homemade yogurt to marinate meat, use in place of sour cream, and eat it in its true state buddied up with honey, dried fruit, or nuts. The results are comparable to all of the plain yogurts I have tried in the store! You get more bang for your buck AND you reap the benefits of having whey leftover to use in many recipes. Perhaps that’s what my next blog posting will be about.


“Wanna take a break for a paperback novel fantasy??” -handsomejames

30 Sep

There really is not much to say other than I am stunned. Speechless, even. I found  yet another fabulous deal for good ‘ole match.com ($9.99) and thought I’d give round 2 a go…Not even being on this for 12 hours this is literally the FIRST message I receive from this awesome and ridiculous website….

Meet handsomejames -

Wanna take a break for a paperback novel fantasy??

Hey, You’re CUTE!!! Just a regular True Authentic MAN…..ever met ONE?…..WELL THEN…..I want to meet you and act like teenagers making out all night….let me know if you like to make out……maybe you don’t……my lips ARE the finest thing in life……you can take that to the bank….call me NOW, I’m here waiting… 11:55p 9-29 at 847-618-****….we can talk about your favorite perfume to wear….don’t kid yourself….this is NO JOKE….You want a fantasy date….call……YOU are just the Angel I neeeeeeeeed NOW….I’m ONLY HERE UNTIL Oct 12….then back to SB for me!!!!….. I am in a very private suite at ArlHtsRd/Central…all week..DON’T WASTE TIME…..This is a ONCE in a lifetime chance for a real fantasy experience……get out your sexiest nighty……call me Baby…..I know you need this….what little Angel doesn’t deserve a loving authentic Man?……Curious like the kitty?…I’ll use all of your nine lives killing you softly with kisses you will take to the grave..

So after rereading this unique message from my email account, I decided I needed to creep scope out handsomejames match.com profile…and this is what I found out….

In his own words….

NO GUTS, NO GLORY…..Where’s the love ladies? ONE!!!!! Not one of you want ME!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU “WANT” THISCRAP, AND THOSESHOES, that, andvtavel, and blanasabablaplap…who is up ndwants the sweets thing forAngels? “World’s Greatest Kisser” Start here and forget the rest. Taught at a very young age by a woman how to pleasure a woman into extacies…for hours….days…ever had that… Handsome (most of the time), clean, (shower once a month whether I need it or not), friendly, 48, (look younger?), healthy, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes you sick, poor, and stupid,” independent, educated, retired professional, funny (Ya think?), supportive, PROTECTIVE, experienced in life, LOVE,LAUGHTER, honest to a fault, active, with time on my hands for my friends, many interests and dreams (still), ex-every-extreme activity doer, hang glider pilot/crasher confined to wheelchair (24 years) seeks caring, compassionate, stable, cute, petite, patient, friend(s), lover(s), partner(s) in life, who like(s) to be held, hugged, and kissed often, early, for lunch, and all night. Neurotics, nut cases, alcoholics, or spoiled “I want” personalities need not apply BUT CAN BE RELEASED FROM THEIR FEARS with EFT,Meridian “Tapping”. I am as passionate and devoted to living life to the fullest as I was before I pushed envelope and crashed out making most of the active stuff a spectator sport. I’m not looking for and do not need a nursemaid or someone to micromanage my life. I am romantic and attentive to the love of my life and not into games or head trips. “Will work for back massages.” My most recent profession is teaching Energy Medicine.

And I know you are just DYING to know what handsomejames looks like…Here you go:

handsomejames58, Santa Barbara, CA
Seeking Female 20-55


Youngest is already preparing her speech for the big day. Middlest feels I should call him because it “would be hilarious.”Ally B is impressed with him because he has “been trained on how to please a woman.”

What are YOUR thoughts blog readers?


This is going to be one long month…Happy Monday fools.



Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match….

9 Aug


You know. Just a typical conversation between a bitty and me….

“Hey Ali. Heading to Green Bay anytime soon?” – Bitty

“Actually I’ll be there in two weeks for a Packer game.” 

“Well remember I told you I had two nephews that lived out that way?” – Bitty

(Did not remember this, but pretended like I did)

“Yea. Will they be at the game too?” 

“Oh. Well. I am not sure about that. I just found out the nephew I wanted you to meet/set you up with is gay.” – Bitty

“(Insert name), that’s the story of my life.”

“I mean I kind of had a feeling he was gay but did not want to make any assumptions.” – Bitty

“Well since we both like boys, we can become bff’s, tear up the town of Green Bay, and find men.”


Praise Jesus it is Friday. That is all.



“Alright everybody in the conference room! I don’t care if you are gay, or straight, or a lesbian, or overweight! Just get in here, right now!”

Will you knit me a scarf?

18 Jul

My boss just informed me that one of our bitty’s is doing something “romantic” for his wife for her birthday. He (excitedly) told my boss that he plans on knitting her a scarf and/or socks. Kinda of cute, right? Wrong. Why do I say that? Well it is because the bitty is planning on using their CATS  hair as material. He has been SAVING the hair in plastic bags for MONTHS and plans on fung schui-ing the hair into either a scarf or socks. 




Am I wrong for thinking this is odd and a bit gross? Happy Thursday friends. Hope you aren’t sweating balls too much.




Birthday Mouse.

18 Jun

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of celebrating early (for the first time) my 29th birthday at my place of employment. After having a delightful lunch with my bosses, I came back to the office and was showered with birthday cards, gifts, and had 25 bitties sing “Happy Birthday” to me. It was pretty neat. While packing up and getting ready to leave for my weekend adventure in Milwaukee, a lady bitty (one of my favs) came into my office and said she had something behind her back for me. She stated that her upstairs neighbor had received this at a work party and gave it to her “as a gift” and that she wanted me now to have it………


 “Yes, it really is what you think.”

I giggled instantly telling her this was awesome to get. She, too, laughed admitting that she at first thought the sucker was a tiny mouse and had mentioned this to her neighbor upon receiving it. According to the bitty, her neighbor laughed so hard at  her.  The bitty shrugged her shoulders stating “it’s been a long time since I’ve had one of those in my possession.” She chuckled, gave me a hug, and told me she hoped my friends would get a kick out of it.



Middlest Does It Herself: Pantry Staples — Peanut Butter and Granola Bars

12 Jun

It’s time to get cookin’ some simple staples that should be in everyone’s pantry. These two recipes are so simple, it’s comical.

The first recipe is for peanut butter. If you go to the store, you will see shelves of different types of peanut butter. Trying to read the labels on these jars will surely make you want to leave in a Jiffy. Puns aside, I have struggled with a few PB recipes, as many have lost their creamy texture within days of making it; one batch even turned into a fudge-like consistency! The final product of this recipe leaves a tasty peanut butter with a creamy consistency even weeks after making it. Bonus: You know EVERYTHING that goes into this product.

Honey-Roasted Peanut Butter – Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan


  • 2 cups raw peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons honey, divided
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt, divided (I used salted peanuts so omitted this)


  1. Preheat oven to 325º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Put peanuts and 2 tablespoons in a bowl and mix together. Spread peanuts onto baking sheet.
  3. Heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring at least twice to prevent burning.
  4. When finished, allow to cool, approximately 10 minutes. Pour cooled peanuts into a processor. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil and 1 teaspoon (if adding) and run processor.
  5. As motor runs, and the peanuts break down, drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil.
  6. Keep processing, scraping down the sides as needed. When meeting the creaminess you desire, add remaining honey and salt.
  7. Put into a jar and refrigerate for about 1 month.

Now the granola bar recipe. I received this recipe from my boss in college. I kept  the recipe but just tried making it earlier this week. I still don’t understand how I could have a recipe for almost 5 years in my recipe binder without making it. The end result is very, very tasty. The granola bars are sweet and nutritious. Sure, there’s some sugar and butter in it, but so do most varieties of granola bars.  At least you know absolutely everything that is in this. These suckers are delicious and filling. Delightful!

Miss Kathy’s Homemade Granola Bars – Kathy H.



  • 2 cups oats
  • ¾ wheat germ
  • ¾ cups sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup peanuts, crushed (or almonds)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces dried fruit (raisins, craisins, go wild…)


  1. Preheat oven to 400º
  2. Crush peanuts by placing in a baggie and smashing them with a measuring cup or saucepan.
  3. Mix peanuts, oats, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds in baking dish with sides & parchment paper. Toast for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent burning.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare glass baking dish (approx. 11X13”) by lining with parchment or wax paper lightly sprayed with nonstick spray.
  5. Put brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt into saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Stop once foamy.
  6. When toasted grains are finished, combine sauce and grains in a glass bowl and stir until sauce is evenly distributed. Add dried fruit.
  7. Dump into baking dish and spread with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  8. Fold over sides of wax paper or add a sheet on top and press hard all over granola. This is important to maintain shape when you cut the granola later.
  9. Wait until cool, approximately 2-3 hours.
  10. Put granola onto cutting board and press knife to cut your granola do the desired length and width. Wrap each bar individually with plastic wrap or in layers in an airtight container.

Enjoy these recipes. Now get cookin’!



Liquid Dreams

24 Apr

Quite often, I have bitties that stop by my office and discuss their health issues that they have going on. Most of the time, I will admit, it is quite depressing on what they are battling with and going through. There is one bitty in particular that stops by and despite battling breast cancer has been able to inform me on the “perks” (she calls it) of getting treatment. Here are just (some) of the things that have literally come out of her mouth:

“This progesterone or whatever hormone they give men for their prostate makes me wakes up with a smile on my face. I am not quite sure how I feel about this.”

“This hormone is making me feel like what I feel is equivalent to a “wet dream” for a boy.  Shoot, I haven’t heard that term since I was 18…And here I thought only boys had that…”

“I’m worried that I might grow an “outside” organ…If you know what I mean…”

“Since on these hormones, I’ve had less chin hair growing…My face looks better, my skin feels good, and I don’t have to use that Nair product I bought at Walgreen’s….

And by far my favorite one liner by her (thus far)……


“If you were the right sex, I’d be all over you. Damn these hormones.”


For your viewing pleasure. And to think I was singing this song on top of my lungs in the shitter years ago….


XxX -


Middlest Does It Herself: Food in Jars

5 Mar

Dudes. There is something significantly gratifying when opening a jar of food that you made and preserved yourself. I bet it’s equivalent to cracking an egg from your own chicken; eating meat from something you caught/hunted; perhaps even the same feeling a mother has while holding her infant after delivery. Okay, the last statement may be a bit dramatic, but opening a jar of preserved food feels pretty damn good.

For many summers I have watched my mom sweat over a stove, turning bulk fruits & veggies into goods that my family enjoyed throughout the whole year. The first time I ate a store-bought pickle was in college when my home-supply ran dry. I have yet to this day have needed to purchase store jam. I told myself that when I “grow up” I’m going to start canning my own food. I dabbled some steps with my mother, mostly helping her make raspberry jam, but never tried doing it independently. The idea of giving botulism to a loved one was absolutely terrifying, so the hobby of preserving was put on my “tomorrow” list. That was until this summer when I decided to finally try out canning completely on my own. Luckily my mother had been anticipating the day when I would start my own preserving, so she saved most of the supplies I needed to start canning. What luck! I started to preserve in July and have been able to can throughout the long winter months thanks to [Pete’s Fruit Market]- where I get BULK fruits/veggies ridiculously cheap. Such a good store. Anyway, behold my photos of canned goods thus far!


My Canned Goods: Diced Tomatoes, Stewed Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Salsa, Rosy Rhubarb Jam, Pumpkin Spiced Apple Sauce; Bay-leaf Strawberry Jam, Carrot Habanero Hot Sauce.

Let’s get to the good stuff, friends. Now, I am not a canning expert, but I have learned a few things in my experience so far.

  • Follow the recipe exactly, unless if you are tweaking a recipe safely. Recipes are written so that the jars will seal and preserve properly and safely. Having an appropriate acidity for processing is extremely important.
  • Make sure jars and lids are sterile. For extra precautions, I always store my goods without the rings, for my friend CoraL told me that if anything is wrong with the food (like botulism), the lids will pop off.
  • Hot food goes into hot jars. Always have a kennel of boiling water on the stove for a quick water top-off.

  • Sugar — Add more or less. Sugar is added for flavor and for stabilization of shape, set, and color. *Not added as a preservative*
  • Insufficient amts of sugar may result in runny, dribbly spreads which can, but not always, be remedied by increasing cooking times and/or by adding more pectin.
  • Salt — Add more or less except for when making fermented canned goods (eg. sauerkraut). Salt is used as flavor only and doesn’t affect spoilage. Salt affects texture and crunch, as salt pulls moisture from food. Use only salts labeled as Kosher, Canning, or Pickling Salt since regular table salt will make brines cloudy.
  • Salsa — May substitute one type of pepper for another, as long as you don’t increase the total amount of peppers used in recipe.
  • Lemon/Lime Juice — May substitute bottled lemon or bottled lime for vinegar. Unless otherwise noted, always stick to bottled citrus juices, since fresh can vary in acidity.
  • Herbs and spices — Feel free to play with the amounts of herbs/spices in a recipe – it won’t adversely affect the recipe’s pH.
  • Vinegar. — OK to substitute one kind of vinegar for another as long as the vinegar chosen is at least 5% acid.
  • Honey — May be substituted for sugar, but it is not a cup-for-cup ratio since honey is more dense than granulated sugar. 


  • Never increase the amt of vegetables. Could push the pH into dangerously low-acid territory.
  • Never decrease the amt of acid, whether vinegar, lime juice, or lemon juice.
  • Never substitute vinegar for bottled lemon or lime juice in a recipe, since vinegar is slightly less acidic than the citruses.
  • Never add more water than a recipe calls for. Could dilute acidity to unsafe levels.
  • Never tweak the amount of salt in a fermented pickle recipe. Too little salt can cause undesirable organisms to grow; too much can kill the beneficial lactic acid bacteria, which is what preserves the food.

Below are the supplies needed for preserving your own food.

Basic canning supplies can be sold as kits at retail stores for approximately $60. 

Canning and Preserving For Dummies

My friend CoraL let me borrow this book, which is a comprehensive resource about canning & preserving. Very nice.

The process, I’ve learned, is quite simple. Take hot food & put it into hot, sterile jars. Wipe each jar clean with a warm cloth and secure the sterile lid with a ring. Each recipe tells you what the headspace (using the “bubble popper and measurer” shown above) should be and how long to put the jars in to boiling water. Take jars out and let them rest for 24 hours before storing. You’ll hear popping lids (the “button” in the middle of the lid will stay flat) as the lids seal. And that’s it! It’s so easy. Any jars that don’t “pop”/seal just needs to be refrigerated and eaten within a few weeks or you can attempt to reprocess the item. I have yet to have that problem, luckily.

I have a variety of recipes for my new-found hobby. My mother was so excited that I started jarring my own food that she gave me total access to recipes from her great grandmother. The recipes are so old that they tell you to “remove the pot from fire”. Yes. Fire, folks. I am just so happy I started canning; I do happy dances after each popping sound. Soups and stews taste better with my diced tomatoes. Oatmeal rocks with my jams and jellies. This summer I’m making everything one needs for a kickass bloody; Sundays will rock more than they do now. I love scouring the internet for quirky recipes like Carrot Habanero Hot Sauce and Bay Leaf Strawberry Jam. If it’s a little weird, I want to try it.

Canning takes a lot of preparation and work, but in the end it’s worth it. I have a new found appreciation for any canned good given to me.

Now all I need is to learn how to build a fire, coop my own chickens, and change my own oil so I can move to the mountains and become a self-sufficient diva. Hey, a girl always needs to dream.

Happy preservation, folks!



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