Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Chicken Fried Steak is my CRACK!

So, let's take a walk back in time, shall we?  Let's go back to say....1991.  I was in college and working two jobs, one of which was waitressing.  Those of you who know me IRL are dying laughing right now.  Let's just say that I am a bit of a klutz.  It's part of my charm.  There were some broken dishes that year.  Nuff said.  Anyway, I was a waitress.  A very good friend of mine, Steve, was a chef cook in the restaurant where I worked.  After months of begging and pleading for him to cook the same chicken fried steak dinner for me several times a week month, he taught me to make it myself.  Yes, he was sick of cooking for me, but boy am I glad he was willing to teach me.  To this day, it was one of my favorite things to eat.  It's addictive people!  I've got the backside to prove it. 

I USED to go to Cracker Barrell or Dixie Cafe to get my CFS fix, but every single restaurant around here that used to serve homemade CFS, has switched to frozen CFS, like the kind the school cafeteria served in 4th grade.  Let me tell you, it's just NOT the same as homemade!

So, you ready to learn how to make AWESOME Chicken Fried Steak????  Get out your aprons people.  We're gonna get messy.



Cube Steak
Seasoned Salt (I use McCormick)
All Purpose Flour
3 - 4 eggs
Oil (I use canola)

Start with your cube steak.  It's been tenderized.  Sometimes if you talk real sweet to your butcher, they will run it through the tenderizer a few extra times. 

Obviously, I did NOT talk to sweet to my butcher.  I just bought it out of the meat cooler thingee at Wal-Mart. 

Sprinkle your meat with Seasoned Salt and Pepper - the more of each, the more spicy it will be.  Set aside. 

Pour oil into a large frying pan and turn on Medium High Heat.  The oil should be about 1/2" to 3/4" deep.

In a shallow dish or bowl (I use a pie plate), put about 3 cups of flour in a shallow dish.  Add about 1 tsp of Seasoned Salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and mix well (go ahead and use your hands - CFS is not fancy food).  In another shallow dish or bowl, beat your eggs and milk.  You ready to get your hands dirty? 

You will know your oil is ready when you drop a drop of water into the oil and it sizzles.  Do it carefully though because it will pop you.  Also, I recommend wearing an apron or an old shirt.  I have RUINED shirts by getting oil popped on them and washing without noticing the stain. 

Okay.  Now that your oil is ready, dredge your already seasoned meat into the flour to "set" the seasoning (so it doesn't wash off in the egg mixture). 

Now dip in the egg mixture. 

And back into the flour mixture again.

Then back into the egg and into the flour again.  Yes, I am a double dipper. 

Now, drop it into your oil.

Told you we were gonna get messy. 

Cook your steak until golden brown (5-7 minutes) and then carefully flip with a fork.

When both sides are golden brown remove to a wire rack to cool.

OH MY GRACIOUS!  I am sorry but that is just pretty!  Now, make some mashed potatoes and a veggie and you are good to go.  BUT, you really need gravy too, right?  I CANNOT eat chicken fried steak without gravy, can you?  Fortunately, I also have the secret for the best gravy I've ever tasted.  Wanna know my secret? 

That's right people.  I love me some Pioneer Gravy.  MMMM!  Now, don't get me wrong.  I can make gravy for roast or sausage gravy, but my cream gravy never turns out as good as Pioneer.  It rocks!

It just doesn't get any prettier than that, does it?  YUM!   My mouth is watering just looking at that picture.  Gracious!  Sure do wish I had some leftovers. 

Now, for those who did not follow my apron advice and you got grease on your shirt, be sure to scrub with some Dawn and water before you wash it.  It works for me. 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First Day of School

Monday was our first day of school.  We were all very excited about our new year.  What an adventure it will be, we thought as we drifted off into dreamland.  L must have been VERY excited.  I am quite sure he wanted to make sure everyone was ready on time so he decided to wake us all up at 3:30 Monday morning.  Wasn't that nice and considerate of him?  I thought so.  I especially loved it when he went back to sleep at 5:00 and I had to get in the shower and get ready while he got another hour of sleep.  GRRRRRRR! 

Anyway, we got ready and had a healthy breakfast of honeybuns and boxed muffins - did I mention that I'm a working woman now and the cooking a big breakfast the first day of school is OVAH!  I hate to sound like a bad mother, but I would hate to go to school smelling like bacon all day, not to mention that my butt is big enough without bacon. 

So, one of our longtime traditions in the FFB household, is the First Day of School Pics.  The kids are always so excited to get their pictures taken.  They can't wait to get dressed, get their hair done and hold the scrapbook paper chalkboard look-a-like signs I make.  Really!  It's the highlight of their first day.  Want proof?

Look at that sweet smiling face.  Sweet Little E.  She couldn't wait to wear her new dress.  The shoes don't exatly (ahem) match.  I am aware and I apologize profusely.  She refused to change. 

Even my little sleep deprived L said "cheese" for me.

Can you see the excitement in C's eyes?  Okay, so maybe that isn't excitement, but more of a smile in front of my gritted teeth while thinking, "Hurry up and snap the durn picture, Mom!"

Well, what can I say about J?  He didn't even bother to fake his excitement.  Oh well!

I, of course, had to make something cute for my teachers.  Nothing like a little bribery gift with no strings attached on the first day, right?  I mean, these teachers are taking these little stinkers off my hands for 8 hours a day shaping their sweet little minds, right?  They deserve a little treat.  They deserve more than a little treat, but I'm a poor girl so I worked with what I could.

Cute, right?  Sorry about the awful picture.  It's caramel sauce on the bottom and an apple and my little tag.  Our theme at school this year is "All American Readers" so I went with the red, white and blue theme.  No, I didn't think of it all by myself.  Y'all know I totally copied.  It actually came from Kelli at Random Thoughts of a Supermom.  Thanks Kelli!!!!  My teacher's loved it!!!

So, all in all the kids had a great first day of school.  The ride home.....not so much.  L had a total autistic meltdown.  SO. NOT. GOOD!!!  I think it had something to do with waking up at 3:30 a.m. but that's just me.  Today, however, was wonderful at school and on the way home.  WOO HOO!

Later bloggy peeps.  Gotta go bathe the stinky P.E. kids and get them to bed.  Hope to catch up with y'all soon.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Last Weekend of Summer!

What's up bloggy peeps?  It's been awhile, huh?  I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted.  Time flies when you're having fun.  Actually, time flies when you're crazy busy.  That's what the quote SHOULD say.  So, what have I been up to? 

This is the girls canoeing at the lake.  We were there last weekend to celebrate my mom's birthday.

Don't kill me mom.  My sister made her cake.  It was Butter Pecan and it was fantastic!

The cousins sure did have a good time together. 

The other reason I've been so busy is because I got a job.  After ten years of being a stay at home mom, I have returned to the work force.  I substituted at our elementary school last year and now I've been hired to work part-time in the office.  It's been a little crazy.  Last time I worked, I only had two kids.  There has been a lot of sandwich eating at my house the last few weeks.  And clean clothes have been the exception rather than the rule.  But, I think I'm finally in the swing of things and regular meals and clean clothes are the norm again.  The first day of school is next week and I'm ready to get this party started!  Woo hoo!  It's gonna be an adventure.

So, since I got a job for the first time in forever, I had to get new clothes.  You see, I couldn't wear gym shorts and a tank top to work.  My sweet mom took me shopping and got me some cute stuff.  Thanks mom!!!  The bad thing is that I had to buy a bigger size than I used to.  My gym wardrobe (not that I've actually BEEN to the gym) that I've worn all summer had elastic or drawstring waist.  I didn't even realize that I'd gained a few pounds, on top of the 20 I already need to lose.  UGH!  So, I decided I would break down and buy this:

Body by Vi shake mix.  There are TONS of shake recipes on Pinterest.  I'll start it for real on Monday.  Maybe between the shakes and Livestrong, I can lose some of this fat by fall wardrobe time.  I'll let ya know how it's going. 

I'm looking forward to catching up on all of your blogs.  Have a fabulous wonderful weekend!!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bibs, Burpies and Buntings

As I mentioned a few days ago, I had a really busy week last week.  I haven't been sewing much lately, but when a good friend of mine, who just happens to be one of my very favorite clients, needed a few things for her new bundle of joy, I was more than happy to oblige.  We discussed fabric options, she picked her favorites and I got to work.  This is what we came up with.

Most of the bib and burpies and onesie sets I do have initials of some sort on them.  This particular client puts initials on everything, which I love, but with two sets with initials, we were looking for something different for the third set.  We thought about doing a flower or some other cute applique, but then I remembered the bunting.  I have been meaning to make E a bunting shirt since April and I just haven't gotten around to it (I would win the gold medal for procrastination).  I need to get on that very, very soon.  Just three weeks until school starts, ya know?

This is the final product.  Wanna closer look?

Isn't that sweet?  It reminds me of a summer party and drinking strawberry lemonade and watching kids run around the maypole. 

I know, I know, the maypole has nothing to do with a birthday party, but that's what I think of anyway. 

Today I am partying here:

Wow Me Wednesday @ Gingersnap Crafts
Whatever Goes Wednesday @ Someday Crafts


Monday, July 30, 2012

Busy, Busy Summer

Hello friends.  How have y'all been?  Busy?  Me too.  Wanna see what I've been up to?

Isn't this Paris Cafe amazing?  It's so romantic.  I've been really busy around here so I've been actively dreaming about escaping there with my Hubby.  Of course, at this very moment in time, I can't even afford to drive to Dallas and do some school shopping much less hop a jet to Paris, so actively dreaming will have to do for now.  I'm living vicariously through all of those episodes of House Hunters International on HGTV.  That's probably as close to international travel as I'll ever get. 

In my non-dreaming real life I've been busy too.  Hubby's grandmother, Nannie, and Aunt were here for a week so we were busy visiting with them.  We played dominos and ate some wonderful meals, including brunch at Mimi's Cafe, which sparked the whole Paris cafe daydream.  Their cinammon brioche french toast was amazing!!! 

Nannie brought fresh purple hull peas from Texas.  I was so excited!!  We haven't had enough rain around here so nobody has had fresh peas.  You see, I have very fond memories of shelling peas when I was growing up.  I would shell peas with my mom.  We also shelled peas at my Aunt Nell's house growing up.  I remember sitting in her living room in the middle of the day shelling peas while she and my great grandmother watched General Hospital.  So, I thought it was time E learned to shell peas too.

She is such a good helper.  She did her fair share and loved helping.  She wasn't quite as excited as I was about the purple fingers that come from shelling peas.  I, on the other hand, loved it.

In other household news, E lost her first tooth.

Then two days later, she lost another one.  I mean, couldn't she have waited until payday?  Durn!  She was so excited that the tooth fairy visited.  She emptied her sad little piggy bank out on her bed to count all of her money.  She asked me how much a video game would cost.  I noticed that when I told her $30, she started counting her teeth in her mouth.  I quickly informed her that all the teeth in her head wouldn't buy a video game and she'd be stuck eating mashed potatoes for the next three years until all her teeth came back in.  Crazy kid! 

I've also been REALLY busy sewing.  I had several orders to fill last week and I finally got some stuff done for the girls room.  I need to order some more fabric, but it's still No Buy July.  Not even to mention that I have school supplies, new shoes and clothes to buy.  Thank God my mom is helping out or I might have to sell a kidney.  Durn!  Kids are expensive! 

Speaking of school, it starts in three weeks.  Wow!  That is just right around the corner.  I've got so much to do around here before then.  I better get started. 

Have a great day!


Friday, July 13, 2012

I Blame Michael Kors!

Okay, so here's the deal.  Growing up, I always carried a plain, boring black or brown purse in the winter and maybe a white one in the summer.  Did you feel yourself cringe a little when I said white purse?  I just gave myself the heebie jeebies.  Yeah, it looked something like this

This is vintage, via etsy

So. not. good.  Anyway, the last few years, I've been obsessed with color.  For my 38th birthday, my sweet Hubby bought me the most wonderful purse I've ever had in my life.  It wasn't expensive, but it was so pretty.  It was bright turquoise patent leather (fake, I'm sure) and had silver hardware.  I LOVED that purse.  It was so fantastic that I had people stopping me at Wal-Mart to ask where I got it.  My neighbor from across the street told me whe would be hunting me down to steal it.  Needless to say, it was fabulous.  Sadly, after a few months, the ring that held the strap ripped the fabric.  Why?  Hubby says it's because I keep too much useless crap in my purse, or as he calls it, my "mailbag".  Yes, I have been known to always occasionally put the mail in my purse when I have my hands full unloading all of the kids and their junk from the car.  I might even admit to finding mail from six months a few weeks ago inside my purse.  There also might be a few trains, a few hundred wadded up Kleenex, fruit snacks, a dried out donut from two months ago when I drove through Shipley's on the way to work and a few thousand pens that I totally stole picked up at the bank drive through.  So, yes, my purse is full of crap and gets a little abused.  So maybe it was my fault that it broke.  HATE that! 

Anyway, for the last year and a half, I've been carrying a really cute purple fake crocodile purse my mom got me from Target.  It was really cute when I got it.  Now, not so much.  The straps are faded and it's really looking worn, but it's lasted really well considering the abuse.  The thing is, I'm really picky about purses.  I want color and some hardware, but not so much that I look like a biker chick. 


Um.......no.  I don't do fringe.  Besides, it looks like it's made out of a lemon.  So. not. me.  As I've bcome more and more obsessed  familiar with Pinterest, I've started noticing more and more designer handbags.  The first one that REALLY caught my attention was this one.

So, here's the deal.  I know that it's just brown, but it is the perfect shade of brown.  It has that worn out boots cause you love them so much that you wear them everyday kind of look.  I love that color.  It's got the perfect amount of hardware.  Sigh.  So, this is the bag that started the obsession.  Then I saw this

Michael Kors - have I mentioned that I love orange? 

Michael Kors - love that color

Okay, so this one is actually Kate Spade, but look at that color!  Gorgeous!  Love it!  So, there you go.  Not that it matters.  You see, I'm joining my friend Debbie in the No Buy July Adventure.  Why?  Substitute teachers don't get paid in the summer.  Therefore, it's strictly the basics around here.  Unfortunately, a gorgeous handbag is NOT a necessity.  Oh, well.  Guess I'll have to settle for just dreaming about me carrying a gorgeous handbag.  Also, in this dream, I'm skinny and wearing something like this

Sigh!  Have a good weekend folks.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Arkansas Pride

So, y'all know I'm from Arkansas, right?  I've spent most of my life living in Arkansas and I have to tell you that we have a little Arkansas pride thing going on here.  I love my Razorback football.  I am proud of things that are made in my state or are made to represent my state.  Here are a few examples of what I mean:

Get it here

Get it here.

Cute, right?  So, when I saw that my friend Amanda @ My Heart's Desire was having a giveaway for an adorable Arkansas pillow, I just had to enter.  You see, Amanda is an Arkansas girl too.  Even though we've never met IRL, she and my SIL have a mutual friend in another state so we might as well be family. 

Amanda, just happens to be the Featured Blogger, Miss July 2012, on the Arkansas Women's Blogger blog.  Check out Miss July here.  So, anyway, Amanda's giveaway was sponsered by a new boutique in Russellville, AR called Lavish.  You can also find them on Facebook

From Lavish's Facebook page
Love the turquoise school desk/chair thingee.  And the turquoise cuff bracelet!  And the coasters!  Such cute stuff!!!  Anyway, wanna see my pillow? 

Isn't it adorable???  Love it!  Thanks so much, Amanda!!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Crazy Summer Days

So, it's been a whirlwind of crazy in the FFB household.  CRAZY!  Y'all know that I'm a homebody, right?  I mean, I could hang out in my jammies at the house for two to three days without getting going out and I'm okay with that.  No, actually, I'm GREAT with that.  Okay, so maybe some of that is due to the fact that I have four kids that I do NOT want to take anywhere, and they're at home right now, but either way, I'm a homebody. 

Anyway, because my dog is "in season" (that's breeder lingo) right now, we had to take a flying trip to Houston to leave her with her new boyfriend. 

Aren't they pretty?  Gonna have some pretty puppies!  Anyway, Houston is about 8 hours from my house.  Friday before last, we took her to Houston, spent the night and dropped her off with her boyfriend.  We left her for a week and went back to get her.  We left about 4:30 a.m., went to Houston, spent about 10 minutes picking Emme up and drove the 8 hours back home.  Now, sixteen hours straight in the car when you are going to Disneyworld or the beach is not a bad thing.  BUT, sixteen hours straight, in the car to pick up a dog......really?  These BETTER be some gorgeous puppies!  I am so glad to have my dog back though.  I was in danger of forgetting how to go the bathroom without her following behind me.  Thank goodness the kids were still home so I didn't get have to go all by myself.  Also, I am soooo glad my awesome SIL kept my kids for both trips.  Otherwise, Hubby would've had to drop me off at the crazy house on the way back home. 

Anyway, like I said, crazy week.  We also took two trips to the lake in between the Houston trips. 

My daredevil niece and nephew (K&M) and J on the tube. 

Sweet face

Baby H, the newest of the "favorite cousins".  Love her bikini!

So, needless to say, I needed a few days of recovery time at home.  Now, I'm semi-rested and back to normal.  I've got several projects I've got to get finished and a big consignment sale to get ready for.  Busy.  Busy. 

Have a great day!