Friday, October 29, 2010

On being a Bulldog and bleeding maroon...

Most of my readers know that I'm a Bulldog, through and through. From the time I was a child, I was wearing maroon and white and cheering on Mississippi State. My parents took us to a few games as kids. I distinctly remember going to a home game against Tulane and getting in trouble for booing the other team. And a trip to the Liberty Bowl around 1991-1992. I don't think visiting the campus made as much of an impression on my sister because she doesn't remember going to games! He he!

In August 1998, I officially became a Bulldog. I started out as a young 18 year-old, and graduated with my bachelor's degree in May 2002. The four years I spent at State were some of the best of my life, and I was fortunate to spend it with my best friends in the world, who also attended college here.

One especially fantastic year was 1999. I was a sophomore, and that fall something remarkable happened - we had a really, really good football team! In fact, we went 8-0 before losing a game! We also went to the SEC Championships that year, which we unfortunately lost.

During that season, I had the incredible opportunity to work for ESPN during one of our televised games. I was a broadcasting major, and we got paid $50 to be assistants. My job assignment was to help run cable for a camera on the Bulldog sidelines. I had an all access press pass to the stadium, and was on the sideline for the entire game.

The particular game I worked was Kentucky. It was cold that night, and I distinctly remember wearing my favorite pair of jeans and a navy J Crew pea coat. (Which I still have....) It was an exciting night, and instead of expressing it with words, I will share this video of the end of the game.

As you can see, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was right there as this unfolded. On the sidelines. With our team! Not 10 minutes before that field goal was kicked, Scott Westerfield looked over at me and winked. I was chatting it up with Kelvin Love and Fred Smoot on the sidelines! It is definitely a night I will never forget!

We play Kentucky tomorrow night at home. Last year we beat them in a thrilling game in their territory, and are pretty evenly matched against them this year. This is going to be a big game for us, because after have several terrible seasons in a row, we are finally on our way back up. We are 6-2, bowl eligible, and still have to face Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss in our last four games. (Quick soap box - SEC is THE HARDEST conference in the nation. Had to get that off my chest.) Its a BIG GAME for us, and I'm really excited about spending that time with my family.

I have been a Bulldog all my life. From childhood, to my college years, and now as an adult and employee of this great university, I have always been a Bulldog. And no matter what, win or lose, I will remain a Bulldog because I believe in this university, I believe in its people, and I believe in its purpose to educate our state. Having a good football team is just icing on the cake!

Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

For the love of pumpkin...Part 2

This could turn into a 14 part post if I'm not careful! : )

We had our bi-monthly staff birthday celebration at the beginning of October, and one of our secretaries made the most delicious pumpkin dip! It's cold, creamy, sweet and all around fantastic! This is a great tailgating treat during football season or appetizer for a family gathering! Definitely something you should add to your to-do list! : )

Pumpkin Dip

2 pkgs. Fat free cream cheese, softened
1 can pumpkin
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Whip cream cheese and pumpkin in large bowl until smooth. Stir in sugar and spices, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 at least hour. Serve with sliced apples, graham crackers, vanilla wafers, gingersnaps, etc.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

For the love of pumpkin...

I love this time of year! Its one of my favorites! You know why?

Because we have football
Because I love the colors and smells of fall
Because it is guranteed that I will have lots of family gatherings
Because family gatherings ensure lots of baking needs
Because I get to change out the decorations of my house for various holidays
Because, because, because, because....
Because of the wonderful things [it] does....
(whoa...Wizard of Oz flashback there...)

But back to loving this time of year. One thing about this time of year is the abundance of pumpkin products available to the public. We have pumpkin coffee, pumpkin creamer, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cake, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin candles, pumpkin....everything. And as a lover of all things pumpkin, I especially enjoy this abundance.

So, last night, I ventured into the love of pumpkin with my baking, and ended up making pumpkin bran muffins. While watching the Cowboys lose. And about the time Romo broke his clavical, I put too much honey in my recipe. They turned out okay though! ; )

These are not sweet muffins by any means, but a somewhat healthier way to bake a muffin. If you don't like bran muffins, you will probably not like these. But I think they are quite tasty and a great way to start my day.

Because the recipe made nearly 2 dozen, I also froze two packages of them for later use. I debated on whether or not to freeze the baked
muffins or the batter, and ended up freezing the bread. If anyone can offer advice on freezing batter, please let me know!

The recipe came from, a great source for all of your baking needs! And since I called my mother, sister-in-law and solicited help via Twitter and Facebook...I have decided there needs to be a 24 hour help line for baking advice. Food Network, do you think you could take care of that? Because sometimes I have questions that my family cannot answer! Thanks!

Here's the recipe! Enjoy!

BestLife™ Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups wheat bran cereal
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup pure pumpkin
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Place rack in the center of the oven. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine bran cereal, water and pumpkin and let sit for at least 5 minutes.

In another bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, honey, sugar and oil. Combine egg mixture with bran mixture and stir till smooth.

Mix in flours, baking soda and spices. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Put a scant 1/2 cup of batter into each muffin tin. Sprinkle with walnuts and bake for about 20 minutes till tops are brown and a toothpick tests clean.

Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Happy cooking!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween Arts & Crafts

I got this great idea to make cat pumpkins from Good Housekeeping this year. I mean...who doesn't want cat pumpkins in their front yard? So, I set out to make them. Here was my process:

1. Find two regular pumpkins, 2 small pumpkins, and 4 tiny pumpkins.

2. Get some black spray paint, felt, hot glue, acrylic paint, ribbon, and sharp sticks.

3. Cut the stems off of the pumpkins, or get your neighbor to do it for you. (Don't judge. He offered.)

4. Spray paint pumpkins in black. Might take a couple of coats. Let it dry in between coats! : )

5. Once the black paint is dry, take the small pumpkin and stick it on top of the big pumpkin. (Difficult steps, I know.)

6. Take some kind of sharp stick and poke it through the top pumpkin into the bottom. I used small garden stakes. I took a hammer and just banged them right on down. I also stabbed myself with the sharp end in the process.

7. Take the tiny pumpkins and stake them into the bottom to make feet.

8. Get a light colored acrylic paint and make cat eyes. I used yellow.

9. Cut four ears out of felt. I outlined them in silver glitter puff paint. It made them real pretty.

10. Glue ears on top of small pumpkin in the place where ears go. Be very, very careful though! Hot glue on skin DOES NOT FEEL GOOD!!!! Don't learn this lesson the hard way.

11. Take ribbon and wrap it around the cat's neck. Don't choke it! Make it loose enough to breathe....And hot glue the two ends together in the back. But don't burn your finger. Seriously. Take. My. Word. For. It.

12. Set your cat pumpkins up in the yard, on the porch, or in the house. People will love them.

Meet Fritz. People love him.

Meet Hans. People like him too.

Fritz and Hans live in the front yard, and I think they are mostly happy. They watch over the bones of the last trespasser. God rest his soul. They also make sure no one messes with my witches cauldron. I have spells to conduct after all.

*Disclaimer - No cats were actually hurt in the process of making these. However, some pumpkins were. In fact, I don't think Hans will make it munch longer. His head is already rotting. Dang.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

To blog or not to blog...that is the question

Well, I may or may not start blogging again. What I do know at this point is:

1. I needed a new design. One that is simple and sleek.
2. I didn't need 2 blogs anymore, so I imported the other one and deleted it.
3. If I do start blogging "regularly again," it will not be daily. I'm just too busy for that.

I have been blogging for about seven or eight years now, and am probably on my sixth blog or something by now. When it was more of a hobby and fun, I was not working as someone who wrote professionally. Being a writer takes the fun out of blogging. And reading. Because its hard to get out of work mode and into casual mode. But we will attempt and see how much I can do and when.

I really wanted to start blogging again because I have a hilarious new project that I"m working on for Halloween. And last night, whilst spray painting black pumpkins in my front yard, I had a little assistance from my two engineering neighbors who circled my project and offered advice on how to really make it work. Pictures will come soon enough, but probably not until next week!

Anyway, this is just a quick note to say I'm going to give a go at blogging again. But you will see new things on SMSA's. It will not be solely on food and cooking anymore. Probably because I haven't been cooking as much lately. I know...but life has been busy and out of sorts for the last several months. Just deal! ; )

So...this blog will be about food, cooking, crafts, life, family, God, etc. Same name. New design. Some new topics.

Maybe people will read it. Maybe not. But it will be there...most likely.

peace love and cake