Friday, November 25, 2011

Five Question Friday

1. Is there a special dish you prepare that you are famous for?
My pecan pie is pretty good, so maybe that.

2. Are you (did you) go Black Friday shopping ?
Nope. The stress is not worth the deals.

3. What are your strangest holiday traditions?
Hmm. Since I'm a pagan, I go camping for Yule. So much fun with the drumming and bonfires. Can't wait for it, actually.

4. Pecan or pumpkin pie? (She actually asked "Apple or pumpkin?" I just T-giving'ed it!)
Pecan! With ice cream.

5. When will you put up your Christmas tree?
I guess it depends on when we have time to buy one. If I had my way, I'd have it up tomorrow.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Alphabet Thursday

This week's letter: W
W for...Water, Topkapi-style

No simple bowls for my beauty Topkapi. No, like the python Queen she is, she requires a glass. I do this every day because she has come to expect it. I have one very spoiled snake.

Jenny Matlock

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

ABC Wednesday Challenge

This week's letter: J

J for...Jeff the Golden Eagle
My sister works with birds of prey, and one of the birds she has made a bond with is Jeff. He can be moody, as with all animals, but is usually pretty good-natured.

Here he is getting some sun.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Cheers to all of us thieves!

21) Have you ever flown a kite?


22) Do you wish on your fallen lashes?


23) Do you consider yourself successful?

I guess it depends on what aspect of my life I'm speaking about.

24) When was the last time that you made an obscene phone call?

Um, never.

25) Have you ever asked for a pony?

No, but I have asked for a horse.

26) Plans for tomorrow?

The usual.

27) Can you juggle?


28) Missing someone now?


29) When was the last time you told someone "I love you"?


30) And truly meant it?


31) How often do you drink alcohol?

Once a week.

32) How are you feeling today?


33) Have you every tried to write a meme?


34) Have you ever been fired from a job?


35) What are you looking forward to?

Tuesday when the new Tori Amos cd comes out,

36) Have you ever crawled through a window?


37) What's the most recent bad meal that you had to endure?

It's been months.

38) Can you handle the truth?

Yes. All I can think about is Jack Nicholson.

39) Whose to blame for what's going on?

No idea, don't even pretend to know.

40) What will it take to fix it all up?

A lot of juggling, for which I do not have the skills.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Alphabet Thursday

This week's letter: U

U can be for...Ukuleles! Not mine, I don't know how to play it, but they're rather pretty, aren't they?

And...Urn plant

Jenny Matlock

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Cheers to all of us thieves!

1. What's for breakfast?

Cinnamon-raisin bagels

2. Do you read a newspaper daily?


3. What do you do when you can't sleep?


4. Say a word that sums up your mood.


5. Do you remember your dreams?

Most of the time, since I keep a dream journal I've trained my head to remember.

6. Name something from your dream last night.

My mom was in my dream.

7. Name a food that describes you.

Mint ice-cream

8. Today you are wearing:

Well, right now I'm in my pjs.

9. What's in your pockets?

No pockets.

10. Did you sing in the shower today?


11. What's the last song you heard?

Back to Earth by Rachael Sage

12. Looking forward to the holidays?

Yes! Especially Halloween.

13. Where do you want to be this instant?

Right were I am.

14. What's for lunch?

Slow-roasted pork.

15. What's something you would like to do soon?

I'd like to relax and read for a bit.

16. Reading anything now? What is it?

Ha! Of course, I'm reading Landing Place by Marina Snow

17. What's for dinner?

Don't know yet.

18. A favorite part of the day is:

Late afternoon

19. Are you happy?


20. Guess how many people will do Sunday Stealing this weekend?

Um...30 people

Friday, August 26, 2011

Alphabet Thursday

This week's letter: S

S for...Strange Poses

Here is Chaos, sleeping, I'm assuming.

Dublin, also sleeping.

And Topkapi...scanning her belly scales?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Alphabet Thursday

This week's letter: R

R for...Rottweiler, my baby, Chaos

He's a gorgeous 3 year old, who completely owns up to his name.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Cheers to all of us thieves!

16. What's the longest shift that you worked at a job?

Hmm, can't really remember.

17. What was the last concert that you attended?

A Tori Amos one

18. What the last DVD (or Blu Ray, of course) movie that you watched?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

19. How did you like the film?

I did, although Part 2 is better.

20. What comedian do you love?

Not a huge fan of comedians.

21. Do you ever sleep in the nude?


22. Have you ever had a long distance relationship?


23. What do you think of astrology?

Yes, but not the nonsense that's in the newspapers or magazines.

24. What's you're favorite lyric quote from a song?

Guess I'm an underwater thing so I
Guess I can't take it personally
I guess I'm an underwater thing I'm
Liquid running
There's a sea secret in me
It's plain to see it is rising
From Liquid Diamonds by Tori Amos

25. Tell us something random about yourself.

I love all the SAW movies.

26. Have ever attended a theme party? If yes, do tell.

Yes, we all had to dress up as animals. I went as a snake.

27. What is your favorite thing about winter?

The weather, I love the cold.

28. What was the name of your first pet?


29. What have you done so far this weekend?

Lots of reading and writing.

30. Has your humor ever been called “sick”?


31. If you could have one thing, what would it be?

I think it kind of jinxes it if I say it. I'm superstitious like that.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Alphabet Thursday

This week's letter: Q

Q for...Queen of Mardi Gras

This is one of the costumes my sister and I saw in the Mardi Gras museum in New Orleans.

Jenny Matlock

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

ABC Wednesday Challenge

This week's letter: D

D can be for...Dublin, our cowardly Basset Hound. He's afraid of any and every loud noise.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Alphabet Thursday

This week's letter: P

P for...Python and Pirates, at the same time!

This is my beautiful male python, Damascus, hanging out with a crew of very confused pirates.

Jenny Matlock

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ABC Wednesday Challenge

This week's letter: C

C for...Coral

She is my beautiful milksnake, who looks similar to a coral snake, hence the name.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Cheers to all of us thieves!

1. Movie you love with a passion.

Love, Actually

2. Movie you vow to never watch.


3. Movie that literally left you speechless.

Black Swan

4. Movie you always recommend.

Black Swan

5. Actor/actress you always watch, no matter how crappy the movie.

Ralph Fiennes

6. Actor/actress you don’t get the appeal for.

Gweneth Paltrow

7. Actor/actress, living or dead, you’d love to meet.

Ralph Fiennes

8. Sexiest actor/actress you’ve seen. (Picture required!)

Umm, Ralph Fiennes LOL Do you see a theme here?

9. Dream cast.

Harry Potter movies

10. Favorite actor pairing.

Jolie and Pitt

11. Favorite movie setting.

Victorian London

12. Favorite decade for movies.


13. Chick flick or action movie?

Action, for sure.

14. Hero, villain or anti-hero?

Villain, all the way.

15. Black and white or color?


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Alphabet Thursday

This week's letter: O

O can be for...Ophelia, my beautiful kitty

Or the other Ophelia

Jenny Matlock

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Look What I Made-Chocolate Rugelach

Rugelach Recipe
(From Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours)


For the dough
4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces (See Note below)
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces (See Note below)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling
2/3 cup raspberry jam, apricot jam or marmalade ((I used peach jam)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds)
1/4 cup plump, moist dried currants ((I used raisins)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

For the glaze
1 large egg
1 teaspoon cold water
2 tablespoons sugar, preferably coarse sugar


For the dough
1) Let the cream cheese and butter rest on counter for 10 minutes. It should be slightly softened but cool.
2) Put the flour and salt in a food processor, scatter over the chunks of cream cheese and butter and pulse the machine for 6 to 10 times. Then process, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, just until the dough forms large curds. Do not work the dough too long that it forms a ball on the blade.
(Note: I used a stand mixer and I find that it’s easier to process by cutting the cream cheese and butter into cubes of 1-cm)
3) Remove the dough from the food processor, divide into half, shape each half into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to a day. (Wrap airtight, the dough can be frozen for up to 2 months.)

To make the filling
1) Heat the jam in a saucepan over low heat, or microwave until it liquefies. Mix sugar and cinnamon together.
2) Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. (Silicone baking mats are great for rugelach.)

To shape the cookies
1) Pull one packet of dough from the refrigerator. If it is too firm to roll easily, leave it on the counter for about 10 minutes or give it a few bashes with your rolling pin.
2) On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into an 11- to 12-inch circle. Spoon (or brush) a thin gloss of jam over the dough, and sprinkle over half of the cinnamon sugar.
3) Scatter over half of the nuts, half of the chopped chocolate and half of the currants. Cover the filling with a piece of wax paper and gently press the filling into the dough, then remove the paper and save it for the next batch.
4) Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 wedges, or trigangles. (The easiest way to do this is to cut into quarters, then cut each quarters into 4 pieces.)
5) Starting at the base of each triangle, roll the dough up so that each triangle becomes a little crescent.
6) Arrange the roll-ups on one baking sheet, making sure the points are tucked under the cookies, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (The cookies can be refrigerate overnight or frozen for up to 2 months; don’t defrost before baking, just add a couple of minutes to the baking time.)

Getting ready to bake
1) Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degree F.

To glaze
1) Stir the egg and water together. Brush a bit of the glaze over each rugelach. Sprinkle the cookies with sugar.
2) Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until they are puffed and golden.
3) Transfer the cookies to racks to cool to just warm or to room temperature.

ABC Wednesday Challenge

This week's letter: A

A for...Amazing Black Mamba (not my picture, but my favorite snake)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hoo's Got Talent?


Cinnamon-Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Serves 12

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3 cups cake flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 cup whipping cream
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
For Cake
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325ºF. Grease a 12 cup bundt pan and set aside. Place chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30-second intervals, stirring in between each one, until the chocolate is almost melted. Allow the residual heat to melt the rest of the chocolate and set aside. (Alternatively, you can set the bowl over simmer water. Do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water.)
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat eggs in large bowl until foamy. Add sugar and beat until thick and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in oil. Beat in milk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat until just blended.
Transfer 1½ cups batter to bowl with the melted chocolate. Stir to combine. Mix cinnamon into remaining (non-chocolate) batter. Spread half of cinnamon batter in prepared pan. Spoon chocolate batter over. Top with the remaining cinnamon batter. Using small knife, swirl batters together to marbleize slightly.
Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 10 minutes. Using a thin knife, carefully loosen the cake from the pan. Turn cake out onto rack and allow to cool completely.
For Glaze
Combine cream, butter, and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until mixture simmers. Remove from heat; add chocolate. Stir until chocolate melts and glaze is smooth. Let cool until glaze thickens slightly but is still spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Place cake on platter. Slide waxed paper strips under edges of cake (this will catch drips). Spread glaze over cake. Remove paper. Chill until glaze sets. Serve at room temperature. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled. DT: In my experience, you do not need to chill this cake – it keeps well at room temperature, but be sure to cover it. Also, cakes like this freeze beautifully – without the glaze. Just wrap it well in foil and it will keep for about a month. Give it plenty of time to thaw at room temperature and then glaze it.)

ABC Wednesday Challenge

Badge Design By Troy

This week's letter: Z

Zebra at the Zoo

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday 9

1. Have you ever tried to rekindle a past relationship against the odds?


2. Do you like your job, or daily routine?

I do, I'm lucky.

3. Do you find time to 'smell the flowers' so to speak?

Hmm. Not really, I'm a bit neurotic. LOL

4. Do you have any problems thinking of things to write about in my blog?

No, I only write if I have things to say, otherwise I wait until I do.

5. Do others consider you well organized?


6. Do you always have a “Plan B” just in case?

Yes, always. I like to have my bases covered.

7. How do you find yourself adjusting to new situations?

I won't lie, I have a bit of trouble sometimes. I like to have things planned out, and with new situations I can't really have that.

8. Are you happy with where you are in this point of your life?

Um, sometimes. Other times I hit my head against the wall and wail.

9. Do you find the aging process we all go through easy or difficult?

Well, I'm 25, so I'm not really sure yet.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Cheers to all of us thieves!

1. Last movie you saw in a theater?

Black Swan

2. What book are you reading?

Murder in the High Himalaya by Jonathan Green

3. Favorite board game?

Clue. LOve it!

4. Favorite magazine?

Reptiles Magazine

5. Favorite smells?

Gardenia and cinnamon, not at the same time, though

6. Favorite sounds?

Music, bird calls.

7. Worst feeling in the world?


8. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up?

Check on my snakes.

9. Favorite fast food place?

Taco Bell, but I don't really go often.

10. What’s under your bed?

Books and more books.

11. Finish this statement. “If I had lot of money I’d….?

Buy a manor somewhere in the middle of nowhere with acres of land.

12. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?

No. Never have.

13. Storms – cool or scary?

Depends, if it's a thunderstorm, cool. If it's a hurricane, scary.

14. Favorite drink?

Red wine

15. Finish this statement, “If I had the time I would….”?

Read a lot, lot more.

16. If you had to dye your hair another color, what would be your choice?

I would never dye my hair, but if I absolutely HAD to, probably red.

17. Favorite place to relax?

My room.

18. Name all the different cities/towns you’ve lived in?

Montevideo and Miami

19. Favorite sports to watch?

Hate sports, hate to watch them even more.

20. Would you like to be born as yourself again?

Yes, despite the bad moments, I like my life.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Five Question Friday

1. If you had the opportunity to bungee jump, would you?

Yes, I probably would.

2. Would you rather go to the movie theater or to the drive-in?

The movie theater, for sure. Not a fan of drive-ins.

3. Do you have your groceries delivered?

Ha, no. I have to and get them myself.

4. Eyebrows: Do you wax, thread, pluck, or stay au naturel?

Pluck, and I do it myself. I don't like to have people at the beauty salon do it. I just don't like people touching my face.

5. Would the people you went to high school with be surprised by your life today?

I don't think so. I haven't done anything completely unexpected.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Alphabet Thursday

This week's letter: K

K can be for...Katsura Tree


Or even...Kiwi

Jenny Matlock

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ABC Wednesday Challenge

Badge Design By Troy

X is for...Xtra Large Animals. (Why aren't there more words with X?)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Stealing

41. Who was the last person you went shopping with?

My sister.

42. What is something you need to go shopping for?

Nothing I NEED to go shopping for, but I always want to go book shopping.

43. Do you have the same first name as one of your relatives?

Nope. Valentina is unique in my family.

44. What kind of car do (did) your parents drive?

My parents drive a Ford Taurus.

45. Are you rich?

Ha! No, I'm not.

46. If you could spend one intimate night with a celebrity, no questions asked, never to see them again, who would it be?

Well, it would have to be Ralph Fiennes, but when he was much younger.

48. What famous person do you look like? Feel free to use this facial match program by clicking here. Show us at least the celeb photo.

People always tell me I look like Rachel Weisz. Sometimes I get Natalie Portman.

49. What is the most daring thing you've done recently?

Wrestled a mouse from a piece of carboard from a snake's mouth that got stuck while he was trying to eat. I think my snake was as stressed as I was.

50. Say you were given a pregnancy test right now. Would you pass or fail?


51. Which sex scandal of the last decade bothers you the most?

None of them bother me. It's none of my business.

52. Do you know anyone in jail/prison?


53. What are your plans (or what have you done) for this weekend?

This weekend I did nothing but write and read.

54. Have you ever woken up and not known where you were?

No. Thankfully.

55. What were you doing at midnight last night??

Sleeping. I'm not someone who likes to stay awake really late

56. Last restaurant you went to?

Ooh, can't even remember.

57. How many hours did you sleep for last night?

About 8 and a half.

58. Which is more distracting: Sexting while driving or sex while driving?

Um, I would have to say sex while driving.

59. Do you think someone is thinking about you right now?

How should I know? Maybe. Possibly.

60. Have you ever changed your clothes while in a vehicle?

Yes. Not fun.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Five Question Friday

. What is your current favorite tv show?

I love Dexter. I'm dying for it to start again.

2. What's the worst haircut you ever got?

You know, I haven't really gotten a bad haircut. I also haven't gotten a haircut in about 10 years so it's not really a surprise.

3. What was something that you did as a child that you thought you were so cool for doing?

I could do puzzles super fast, all kinds.

4. Do you have any GREAT frugal family fun tips?

Well, boardgames are always great for fun that doesn't cost more than the price of a game. The games can be a little expensive, but they last a long time.

5. Would you drive across country if you had the money to fly?

It depends, if I wanted to get there quickly, obviously no. But otherwise, probably yes, because I love roadtrips.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lemon Cookies

2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz) sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling
2 oz cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, chopped fine
1 teaspoon lime zest
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup vegetable (or canola) oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon lime juice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, coconut, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Combine 1 1/2 cups of sugar, the lime zest, and cream cheese in a large bowl (no need to stir them together yet). Put the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a pie plate and set aside. Pour the warm butter over the cream cheese mixture and whisk to combine – the mixture won’t be completely smooth yet, that’s fine. Whisk in the oil then the egg, milk and lime juice. Mix until smooth. Use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet, until a soft dough comes together.

Portion the dough onto the prepared baking sheets with a cookie scoop, using about 2 tablespoons for each cookie. Working quickly (if you handle the dough too much you’re more likely to wind up with flat cookies), roll the dough into a ball with your hands then roll in the sugar set aside in the pie plate previously. Repeat until you’ve used all of the dough, placing 12 cookies on each baking sheet. Use the bottom of a glass to flatten the dough balls into discs that are about 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the remaining sugar in the pie plate, using about 2 teaspoons per sheet of cookies.

Bake the cookies, 1 tray at a time, for about 11-13 minutes, or until the edges are set and beginning to brown. The tops will be puffy and slightly cracked. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes then transfer them to the rack to cool completely.

Makes 24 cookies

Alphabet Thursday

This Week's Letter: J

J for Jump!

Or Jog

Jenny Matlock