I Can Cook – Peanut Butter and Jelly

Don’t ask me to cook a gourmet meal in 20 minutes. I would fail miserably.

There’s a show on Food Network, some kind of cooking challenge, where the chefs have about 20 minutes to cook a gourmet meal that looks good and is edible.

I can make eggs and bacon in 20 minutes. That’s about it.

They use things like octopus (blech…..) and squid ink noodles (I thought ink was poison). Where are the beans and taters?? I seriously couldn’t be a food show judge — half the stuff they make isn’t anything I would touch!

I have graduated from hamburgers, though. Some years ago, my menu consisted mainly of hamburgers and fries. Now I’ll eat things like cauliflower, snap peas and even squash. I prefer my squash fried, though.

It’s interesting to see what the chefs come up with as they scurry around making up their dish as they go and grabbing ingredients to fix it all. I’d spend all my time in the potato aisle. You can make potatoes for any occassion and not fix the same thing twice.

Something else I’m good at making — a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I have to have just the right peanut butter. None of that stuff they used to put in the giveaway boxes my papaw got once a month. It was a big ol tin can of peanut butter — and, let me tell you, it would stick to  your ribs. That was some of the thickest peanut butter I’ve ever encountered.

Now that I’ve given my age away….

I don’t think they do those boxes any more. Nothing wrong with being the recipient of a giveaway box! That was some of the best cheese. It was a big long block of cheese, and made the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever.

Now where was I? Oh yeah — I’m good at making (and eating) all the stuff you probably won’t see on a tv cooking show.

I can make pretty good hamburger helper, grilled cheese (as mentioned above), meatloaf and mac and cheese (a necessary food group).There ya go, Food Network people. That’s real food!

Now you know, there’s nothing to worry about if you can’t cook or eat like the people on tv. I seriously used to worry about that — like I was a castoff because I didn’t eat fancy food. Now that was just crazy.  Southern grandma food is in — just ask the Cracker Barrel gang.

That’s where I could do a competition and win — or at least make it to the finals. Cracker Barrel food war is right up my alley. My between-college-semesters job at The Biscuit Company would come handy! I can make homemade biscuits with the best of ’em – and eat my share of them.

Since most of my topics include food, maybe I need to consider changing the name of this blog to The Doublewide Kitchen, or something like that. Most of the fun times in my life include food –either making and eating it or going somewhere to eat.

I tried something different the other day that I had in mind I wanted to make – it was kind of a banana pudding cobbler. The end result: it was good while fresh, but don’t try to save any for the next day. Sometimes my concoctions turn out ok and sometimes… well…

Anyway – in case you want to try it — I don’t mind sharing the recipe. If you try it with your own spin, let me know how it turns out:

Doublewide Banana Pudding Cobbler

2 large boxes, vanilla pudding mix (I used the cook and serve, but you don’t have to)

2 medium to large bananas (cut up in a bowl – squirt some lemon juice on to keep them from turning brown)

1 box, yellow cake mix

1 stick butter — melted

9X10 glass baking dish — or metal cake pan will do

How to make: prepare pudding according to the package directions and spread in baking dish. Then put the sliced banana pieces in the pudding — try to spread them evenly throughout. Next sprinkle the yellow cake mix over the pudding and bananas. Finish by drizzling the melted butter evenly over the cake mix. Bake in 350 degree oven for about an hour — or when the conglomeration browns. Mine only took 30 minutes, but all ovens vary.

Top with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Like I said, mine turned out pretty good. It was not so good the next day after sitting over night in the refrigerator. You be the judge.

Happy eating! Look for more of my “homemade concoctions” from time to time as I get weird food ideas and decide to see of they’re actually edible.

(Post and recipe first shared on Wisdom from the Doublewide 6/2/2019)

 

 

 

 

Do the Oatmeal Mash

One of my favorite things to do is to create unique food combinations. I’m not talking gourmet here, just average things. Take oatmeal, for instance. You can combine dozens of things with it to add some “umph”.

This week I created an oatmeal “mashup”.  I went to the kitchen at work to make my breakfast, complete with the usual dash of cinnamon and turmeric. What do my wondering eyes spy sitting on the community table?

Apple pie.

There were cupcakes on the table, too. I can resist a cupcake, but I cannot pass up the yummy, flaky, apple-y goodness of apple pie.

I had to be strong. Visions of healthy new year resolutions danced in my head. Stick to the oatmeal – it’s the best choice. I looked at the pie, knowing that’s what I really wanted. Forget the oatmeal – I’ll clean out my arteries another day!

Wait a minute. Why not combine the oatmeal and the apple pie?  Hmmmm…..

So, guess what I did?! I fixed my bowl of oatmeal and put a piece of pie in it. I stirred it  up to incorporate (fancy tv chef word) the apples into the oatmeal. Viola! I think I hit on the next new breakfast craze!

My unique concoction was pretty good.

I like that word — unique. Not weirdo “unique”, just unique. That seems to be missing in our society these days. When the latest fashion, movie or game catches on – look out. Everybody will be wearing it, watching it and playing it. Then you’ll see copycat versions of it popping up everywhere.

It took me awhile, but I finally realized that it’s ok to not follow the crowd – I’m an original one-of-a-kind. (I know some of you are saying “thank the Lord”)

It’s alright if I’ve not seen the latest movie or played the latest and greatest video game.  The earth is not going to tilt and fall off its axis if I’m not involved in the latest “big thing”.

It’s ok for you to be you.  You are an original, too. Say you’re a little quirky? Well, okay!

If another person is razing you because you don’t fit their mold, that’s not okay.  Is someone harassing you for not going along with the crowd? Politely tell ’em to take a hike.  Better yet, challenge them to cultivate their own uniqueness. Don’t be afraid to stand up and say you’re just fine the way you are – with your own favorite things, your hairdo or the clothes you wear,  whatever.

You and I have diverse talents and ideas meant to be used in the world for good. So, go be who God created you to be and I’ll do the same.

I  believe we can do great things together – kind of like oatmeal and apple pie.

 

I’m not always so nice when I drive. I admit it.

There’s something about being behind the wheel, trying to get where I’m going. I tend to see other drivers as the cars they’re in or I identify them by the county on their tag. I either yell at the Lexus or the F-150, or at Sullivan County, Greene County, what in the world are doing on my highway, North Carolina? … you get the picture.

It usually goes a little like this:

“Come on! Let’s get a move on!

“Hello — I’m right here! Road hog!

“Alright, Ford, the light’s green… you can go anytime.”

It’s easy to yell at somebody if you see them as a hunk of metal or an entire region of the country going down the road.

Turn that perspective around.

What would it be like if we drove invisible cars…? We would be able to see everybody around us much better – they wouldn’t be behind tinted windows and doors. Yikes! That means I would have to keep my car clean. Oops. It currently looks like a rolling Salvation Army resale store. Need a shirt, pants or pair of shoes? Just be careful opening the doors!

I think I would definitely see people with a different attitude if I could see them that clearly. I don’t think I would yell and rant … quite so much.

The nicer me would surely be there behind the wheel, smiling and waving them on. I know I would be a lot more thoughtful.

We’re all in the same boat.. er.. car.

Aren’t you glad that Jesus, even after seeing us with all our junk in the trunk, loves us unconditionally? I sure am. I’m glad He gently reminds me that I need to be nice and treat people more like He does.

He knows everything about us. He knows our beginning and our end and accepts us. He sure won’t leave you the same — you can’t stay the same old you after encountering Him.   You’ll see the world around you differently.

You might even be a better driver.  I know I’m going to be more thoughtful when I go down the road.

Now, outta my way! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Just Drive

Get Your Cheesecake Here!

 

The cheesecake in the coffee shop was two dollars.

Only two dollars.

It’s normally four, making it easier to “just say no”. I can get a whole pie at the grocery store for four dollars! This sudden cheesecake sale made temptation harder to resist. It was only. two. dollars. They had cinnamon and pumpkin (my favs), and every piece behind the glass that separated us was calling my name.

Yes, little ones. I hear you, but I really shouldn’t.

Right when I was turning a corner to officially cut down on the sugar in my life. Cheesecake.

On sale. Cheap.

This was not just ordinary cheesecake, either – it was CHEESECAKE FACTORY cheesecake. Need I say more? (See what I was up against?!)

I did get plain ol coffee, no added sugar, to go with my slice of pumpkin with whipped cream on top. That counts for something, doesn’t it?

Then again … you have to wonder… why is the cheesecake on sale in the first place? Is it old? Did it come from the Island of Misfit Desserts?

I think it was probably left over holiday cheesecake that they needed to sell off. It had  been in the freezer awhile and they finally were like, “We can’t keep this till next year — might as well sell it half price today and move it outta here.”

Yes, ma’am, I was in the right place at the right time.

There have been many other times I was in the right place just when I needed to be there. Those moments don’t just happen, ya know.

God orchestrates those “right place, right times” in our lives. If we will give Him our fears and dreads –  and let go of needing to know everything all the time.

Release the strangle hold. You don’t have to control everything.

Guilty as charged. I have tendency to want to make things happen in my life myself – you know, be His little helper. My plans aren’t nearly as good as God’s plans for me.

His ways are above mine and I know He has nothing but the best in store for me.

You too!

He wants to see us succeed, big time. It’s true.

So relax and have a piece of cheesecake. Have faith. Trust. Let The Lord work His plan in your life today.

You’ll be amazed at what He will do.

 

 

 

Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Glamorous

The life of a star isn’t all botox and cocktail parties. It takes lot of hard work to make it look easy.

I should know, after all, I got to be a star for a day. Well, sort of a star. For a little bit — actually I was the helper, but I’m immortalized in film. So there’s that.

I didn’t realize how much planning, filming, retakes and outtakes are involved in making a five minute (or less) video. Then there’s the editing to be done.

I was helping my friend, Liz Bushong, who is a designer and tablescape expert, shoot a fun video on how to make Valentine treats.

We got our dialogue down, supplies ready, lighting just right — and  “action”! The camera was set just right, picture checked ….  then we flubbed up the lines. I was the top flubber, but I finally relaxed a little and got used to being in front of the camera.

We were making a Valentine “box of chocolates” with brownies, icing and candy. We had to taste test everything, of course. Decorating brownies requires making sure they’re “fit to eat” and the icing has to be just right.

I can testify that it was all good- and I may or may not have gone home on a sugar high that day…

We had fun, that’s for sure. Laughing is good for what ails ya and we laughed – a lot! I have a couple of “bloopers” that I’ll share on my fb site – connie clyburn.

So, my debut acting stint didn’t last long. If this one gets good reviews, I might try it again sometime. I wonder what Wisdom from the Doublewide would look like on film….

Ohhh — now I’m really dreaming. I could get my own half-hour show, kinda like Reba. The characters on the show would visit the doublewide for biscuits and gravy, with a side of advice.

Maybe the TBN network would be interested.

Ok – see ya later! I’ve got to get started writing the pilot!

 

 

 

Mules in the Mountains

I had a lot of neat adventures back in the late 80’s working as a reporter for the Whitley Republican in Williamsburg, Kentucky. There was always something going on in that little mountain town.

Sometimes a little weirdness going on, but interesting nonetheless.

One experience in particular was dear to my heart – the day we went up into the mountains to do a feature on mules hauling pipeline. My friend and newspaper comrade, Teresa, recently found a copy of that article and sent it to me. Reading it again brought back a lot of memories.

When nothing else works – bring in the mules.

A company was working to lay pipeline in the Kentucky mountains, but the big trucks couldn’t get into the area where they needed to go.

So the foreman had a bright idea to take mules up there to help do the job. It still kinda fascinates me.

The newspaper photographer, Bill, got wind of the story and off we went to find them and get the story. When we got there, we found it just as we’d heard – mules were doing the work where trucks couldn’t. It still stands as my favorite experience from my time at the paper. (Well, that and getting free supper every Tuesday night at the Bonanza steakhouse. But that’s another story.)

I interviewed the foreman (and the mules 😄), and Bill took lots of photos – it turned out to be a very nice feature spread and we also won photo feature of the year and feature article of the year from the Kentucky Weekly Newspaper Association. Cool beans.

I moved on from newspaper work, but never forgot my love of writing about everyday life – neat stories about people, places and things.

In the back of my mind, I missed newspaper life and thought that I would like to do that again.  I wanted my own publication, though. Then I heard about the One Christian Voice network of online news sites.

I messaged the editor of Nashville Christian Voice and found out that they were looking for someone to start another site in Tennessee.

Pick me! Pick me!

Long story short – I’m now the editor of my own news site, ETN Christian Voice! I’ve been slow out of the gate, but it’s coming along. I get to choose the stories to feature, I’m writing about the things I love to write about and my dream is happening.

Don’t ever let go of your dreams. They’re there for a reason.

Keep moving forward and do what you know to do. Pray, give your plans and dreams to God and He will take it from there.

Have faith.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,  the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

 

 

 

Doublewide is Back in the Building

I didn’t go anywhere. I just had a little (unplanned) writing respite.

Maybe I needed to let my noodle have a Christmas break along with the rest of me. I’ll admit that I was disappointed when I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to over the Christmas break. I was ready to slay the writing project giant, the cluttered house giant and any other Neanderthals that got in my way.

But all I managed to do was eat too much dessert and take a lot of naps. If there were such a thing as a ‘professional napper’ I could pay off all y’all’s mortgages.

Many of my writer friends made great strides during the holidays and I celebrated them.  I truly am happy for them, as they sign contracts and publish books. It’s quite an accomplishment to take a book from ‘bright idea’ to written form to published product. Then there are the book proposals and pitch letters to go along with it. Anyway – it’s huge.

I’ve not been that encouraging to myself, though. I’ve slumped around and shuffled through, feeling a little low and having pity-parties. (Note to self : always bring chocolate to a pity party)

Then I had a 2019 epiphany of sorts… eureka!

The end is not near. Not yet, anyway.

It’s time to party for real  – I’m back on the writing train heading  on toward my destinations. I feel like the magician in “Frosty the Snowman” (not the evil part and melting snowmen and all, the part where he realizes he needs to get at it). I’ve got to get busy, busy, busy!

Sitting around in the dumps doesn’t accomplish a thing and it’s right where the enemy wants us to be- he thinks we’ll give up.

If you find yourself feeling less than enthusiastic because you think you’ve missed the mark, think again. God says in His Word that His plan will be accomplished. Have faith!

It’s not the end of your dream or goal. The path is still there laid out before you. Just get up and keep on moving forward.

I heard recently that the Christian artist, Lauren Daigle, lost out two or even three times on American Idol. But she didn’t give up and go home, and forget about singing. Now look at her.

When I listen to her, I can’t believe that she lost a singing competition to anyone. Lauren’s phenomenal. I’m really glad she didn’t give up.

So,  happy 2019! Here’s to all of our accomplishments yet to come! This is a new day – grab it and run.