September 2012 Archives

Daily Distraction

A Little Personal

By Bob on September 25, 2012 5:59 AM | Read More

We knew little Brady was on to something when he decided to take his online dating profile to the next level...

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Don't Try This At Home

4 Things I Know About Italy

By Bob on September 22, 2012 1:25 PM | Read More

Coliseum-600.jpgCharlotte and I like to travel and it doesn't take much to get us out the door and down the jetway. We've been talking about going to Italy (not Italy, Texas, but the Justin-Boot-shaped COUNTRY, y'all) for a long time.


Turns out our friends Gene and Shelley Tyler and Jerry and Debbie Williams had the same idea. In a moment of sheer brilliance (you know we're not talking about me now, right?), somebody said, "Hey, why don't we plan a trip to Italy?" You know what Internets? That's what we went and did.


None of us have ever been, so we'll be seeing things we've never seen. Eating foods we've never eaten. And spending money our children would rather we saved for them. BOO-YAH. It'll be a cultural exchange of the highest magnitude. I just know it.



We will see lots and lots of statues with nekkid people. 

Since we've never traveled to the birthplace of 2 of my favorite movies (Godfather I and II), I'm going in with some preconceived ideas. I want to see how my beliefs match up with reality, so I'm going to share them with you now. I'll circle back after the trip to tell you how they compare.


Right now, here are the 4 things I know about Italy:

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You Could Win a Helpful, New Kitchen Companion in Our Great Cookbook Giveaway

By Charlotte on September 21, 2012 6:17 AM | Read More

After 34 years sharing meals, Bob and I have a raft of favorite dishes. Grilled Chicken, Eleanor's Chicken and Rice Casserole, and Blackberry Cobbler are just the start.


But I'm still crazy about collecting cookbooks. They spill from our kitchen island to the pantry to the laundry room to the family room bookcases. Bob says we have so many I could use one each night and not repeat myself for years. (You know how he can exaggerate!)


That's why I'm psyched about this colossal cookbook contest! We've teamed up with publishers of some of the year's best new kitchen inspirations to give away 20 FREEBIES combined (almost a $465 value total). 


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We're giving away:

·        Grace's Sweet Life (5 copies) - Your go-to, special-occasion guide for baking delicious, homemade Italian desserts

·        My Recipes America's Favorite Food (3 copies) - A tech-savvy collection of MyRecipes.com's top-rated recipes including Scan-It/Cook-It technology that gives you instant access to free how-to videos and other recipe enhancers on your cell or tablet.

·        Tortillas to the Rescue (5 copies) - How to make homemade tortillas or use store-bought to stuff, wrap, bake, roll and fry up a world of delectable dishes.

·        Cornelia Guest's Simple Pleasures (2 copies) - A primer to delicious, vegan cooking and effortless entertaining.

·        Beyond Diet - A set of 3 cookbooks including scrumptious soup, salad and dessert options geared to help you lose weight.

·        Welcome to Claire's (2 copies) - Favorite recipes from Claire's Corner Copia, the beloved vegetarian restaurant located in New Haven, CT across from Yale University.

·        Southern Living Classic Southern Desserts - A treasury of the top dessert recipes fine-tuned in the Southern Living test kitchens, foolproof baking advice and step-by-step instructions.

·        Taste of Home Best-Loved Recipes - A tribute to home cooks showcasing 1,485 of the best recipes shared by Taste of Home magazine readers over the past 20 years.

·        Taste of Home Cooking School - A comprehensive cookbook featuring more than 400 favorites from the expert instructors at Taste of Home magazine's cooking school, easy-to-follow how-to's and entertaining tips.




Click "Read More" for a taste of the delectable recipes* in store for our winners and details on how to enter. Contest ends Oct. 11!



* All recipes reprinted with permission; all rights reserved.

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Out of the Closet

4 Fun Finds for $80 and Under

By Charlotte on September 19, 2012 4:25 PM | Read More

Make every day casual Friday. That's my mantra now that Bob and I work from home and I'm the master of my own dress code.

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By Bob on September 19, 2012 5:24 AM | Read More

Wanderlust is a wacky fish-out-of-water comedy where cultures don't just clash - they collide. It shoots snarky one-liners at every target in the Big City rat race and, more often than not, hits the mark with laugh-your-ass-off results.

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Daily Distraction

Can You Spare a Square?

By Bob on September 18, 2012 5:53 AM | Read More

Not Sunday through Tuesday, I can't!

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Don't Try This At Home

Summer's End

By Bob on September 18, 2012 4:40 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I love coming down to the beach after Labor Day. The place looks a little empty after the last family rolls up their beach umbrella.

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Fort Morgan Peninsula, Gulf Shores, AL


Of course, as they head out of town in the packed-to-the-gills Chevy Suburban, someone will utter these words, "Did I forget anything?" Well, as a matter of fact...  

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Here's the Dish

Terrific Taco Lasagna

By Charlotte on September 16, 2012 1:03 PM | Read More

True Texans, Bob and I can't go long without a Mexican-food fix. Make that nachos, burritos, enchilada casserole or just about anything with a little kick.  

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Catching Up With..

Catching Up With...Susan Cooper

By Bob on September 14, 2012 5:03 AM | Read More

Susan Cooper is a California Boomer who knows her way around the Blogosphere. By her description, she's a displaced sales executive who actually found her place when she was displaced out of her last job.

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Remotely Possible

This App Could Save Your Life

By Bob on September 13, 2012 5:17 AM | Read More

Wouldn't it be great if apps did more than just help you manage the boredom of waiting in line at your local (rhymes with Wells Fargo) bank? How about an app that could save your life? What would you say to that?

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Guest Room

Losing Weight After 50

By Charlotte on September 12, 2012 6:24 AM | Read More

Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD

Author of Eating Free: The Carb-Friendly Way to Lose Inches, Embrace Your Hunger and Keep the Weight Off for Good


Every calorie counts once we reach our 50s. But most of us tend to keep eating like we're 25.

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Daily Distraction

But I AM Watching the Kids

By Bob on September 11, 2012 5:45 AM | Read More

This explains why Tiffany and Zachary are a little hyper...

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Don't Try This At Home

Landscaping with the Big Lebowski

By Bob on September 10, 2012 6:35 AM | Read More

If you're our reader among our millions of readers, you've probably detected a few recurring themes in this column.


You know that "Chuck" our neighborhood Chupacabra chases me on my morning walk. That I'm absolutely terrible at handyman projects. And every year Charlotte and I take on some project that involves a lot of skilled workmen and sometimes includes a Reality TV crew.


"Why would this year be any different?" you might ask.


"Because it isn't," I might answer. Yeah, I know. I've got some 'splainin to do.


The Fountain in its former happy home

Fountain-550.jpgAbout a month ago, Charlotte mentioned she'd like to have some landscape work done. I mumbled something affirmative and went back to watching Inuit Pawn Stars on The History Channel. Easy enough, right?


Three weeks later the doorbell rings and Mr. Landscape shows up with his estimate. He's got some good ideas - moving this here...moving that there...getting rid of this...adding that. It all looks pretty straightforward to me. Then he pulls out the OTHER sheet of paper.


"What's that?" I ask. "The backyard," Mr. Landscape answers.



You mean the fountain that's so BIG it has its own SOLAR SYSTEM?  


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You Could Score Some Nice Dough

By Charlotte on September 7, 2012 6:53 AM | Read More

Some people have a weakness for chocolate. (Yes, I mean Bob.) Me, I'd always rather have a warm, chewy roll; pumpkin bread; strawberry bread ... make that just about any kind of doughy goodness.


And sign me up for cutting time in the kitchen. I never compete with Pillsbury in the piecrust department or spend hours stirring up pasta sauce when our son Cole is already sold on Ragu.


So when the folks at Auntie Anne's pretzels asked us to try one of their easy At-Home Baking Kits, I thought "What a nice way to make some dough!"  


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You could score some nice dough thanks to Auntie Anne's pretzels. We're giving away 3, Boomer-licious prize packages, including:


·        A $10 gift card good at any of the almost 1,200 Auntie Anne's locations known for serving delightful, fresh-from-the-oven Baking Kit 102.jpgfavorites


·        The popular, pretzel maker's At-Home Baking Kit. What an easy way to create heavenly, homemade goodies!


Click "Read More" for details on how to enter.

Contest* ends Sept. 20!



Earlier this year, pretzel lovers from across the country submitted tasty recipes for Auntie Anne's first-ever At-Home Baking Kit Recipe Challenge.


Why not try the pretzel-based recipe that took home the $1,000 grand prize? Putting her unique twist on a common dessert, Chaelyn [Shay-lin] Consaul of New York won the judges' top vote with her Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert Pizza.


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Tanner Hall

By Bob on September 6, 2012 4:10 AM | Read More

Coming-of-age movies are the sturdy four-door sedan of American cinema - you know just what you're going to get when you slide behind the wheel. That's why it's refreshing to see a new coming-of-age film like Tanner Hall deliver the goods while providing just enough off-road excitement to keep it interesting.

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In the Mirror

5 Ways to Find Bath-Time Bliss

By Charlotte on September 5, 2012 6:22 AM | Read More

Like most mothers, I spend much of my day thinking about others. Well, one in particular.

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Don't Try This At Home

Here Today...Gone...

By Bob on September 4, 2012 5:21 AM | Read More

Labor Day signals the end of Summer even along the Gulf Coast. Bellingrath Gardens looks like this now...

Bellingrath Boardwalk Summer - 650.jpgBut, in about six weeks, it'll look like this...

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Daily Distraction

Hey Mom! I Found A Tutor!

By Bob on September 4, 2012 5:18 AM | Read More

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Just Desserts

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

By Charlotte on September 2, 2012 6:44 AM | Read More

Offer fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, and Bob will agree to just about anything. Pick up groceries? Move furniture? Spend hours shopping at the outlet mall (IF we are in Alabama)? No problem!

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Red Thong Strong: Girlfriends Little Secrets to Smoothing Lifes Panty Lines
Guest Room

Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

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By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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Playing Favorites

Windy City

It's been almost 18 years since Alison Krauss gave us a solo album, but the wait is over with Windy City. The release (her fifth solo studio album) features ten covers of classic songs (and some bonus tracks) she picked with producer Buddy Cannon.

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