GABBIN’ GIRLS

About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

TO MAKE RESOLUTIONS…OR NOT

          Now that we’re eighteen days into 2021, we wonder how many of you have made resolutions and how many of you have broken them already. Most everyone has a list of things they want to accomplish. Some get done, and some don’t.

          Susan: I always start the new year with great intentions of eating healthier and exercising regularly. I get rid of all the sweets in the house to avoid temptation (and yes, I eat most of them. I don’t want to be wasteful after all.) This year we had to cancel our family Christmas, so I didn’t do any baking. So far, I’m exercising every day. We’ll see how long that lasts. I do have one question. What do I call it when I’m struggling to get to my feet after sit ups? ABS or CARDIO? Anyone?

I usually go into cleanout mode in January. I figure it’s easier to get rid of stuff than clean around it. Things I never seem to get around to are sorting through my photographs (I have some that go back to the early 1900s), sewing (some projects I started years ago), and crafts (I’m getting ready to throw in the towel on that one.)

          Ann: I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions a long time ago. Instead, I find myself making Thanksgiving Resolutions! Like this year, after Turkey Day I stepped on the scales, and…Holy Moly!! So, I decided instead of gaining more weight during the holidays, I vowed to do no holiday goody cooking. I usually do a lot for gifts, but this year…nope, nada, not a single cookie did I give!

I gave up bread, sugar, pasta, potatoes, and just about anything white. Also, diet sodas which was a big sacrifice because Lord knows I do love a Coke Zero.

I did that religiously for 4 weeks and then started adding just a bit of all those carbs back into my diet.

I’m still sticking with it and surprisingly it hasn’t been that hard. I think it’s because I don’t call it a resolution.

SO…

What’s on your list?

Find out more about Ann Everett/Emma Ames: https://www.anneverett.com

TEXAS TRIVIA

About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

TEXAS TRIVIA

January 4th is National Trivia Day so Susan and I thought we might play a Texas Trivia Game. We have to admit, we were surprised by our research. We learned some things about our state! We hope you do to!!

TRUE OR FALSE

  1. The Academy Award statuette, Oscar, was named for a Texan.
  2. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is the alternate landing site for the space shuttle.
  3. The city of Slaughter, Texas, has never had a homicide.
  4. Texas is the home to the most tornadoes in the U.S.
  5. Approximately 90% of the world’s recoverable helium is located in Texas.

MULTIPLE CHOICE

Texas has more than:

A-50,000

B-60,000

C-70,000

D.-100,000 miles of highways

The highest temperature ever recorded in Texas was:

A. 114°

B. 117°

C. 120°

D. 124°

Home of the World’s Largest Calf Fry (bull testicles) Cook-Off is:

  1. Fort Worth
  2. Amarillo
  3. Fort Stockton
  4. El Paso

Home of the deadliest natural disaster in the U.S. happened in:

  1. Galveston
  2. Lubbock
  3.  Houston
  4.  Texas City

The most popular snack food in Texas is:

  1. Frito Pie
  2. Corn Dog
  3. Beef jerky
  4. Peanuts

TRUE OR FALSE ANSWERS

#1/True. The Academy Award statuette was named for Texan Oscar Pierce, whose niece worked in Hollywood for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. When she saw the statuette, she reportedly said, “Why, that looks just like my Uncle Oscar.”

#2–False. DFW has the world’s largest parking lot, but the alternate landing site for the space shuttle is The Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport because it has the third largest runway in the world.

#3–True

#4–True. The Lone Star State has an average of 139 tornados per year.

#5–True. 90% of the world’s recoverable helium is located in the ground under Amarillo, Texas.

MULTIPLE CHOICE ANSWERS

#1— (C) We have more than 70.000 miles of highways, of which 40,985 are paved farm and ranch roads. We also have more than a million signs and markers, and it takes 1.6 million gallons of white and yellow paint each year to paint stripes along the highways.

#2— (C) The highest temperature on record is 120° and it occurred in Seymour, Texas on August 12, 1936. The lowest temp recorded is minus 23 at Tulia, Texas in 1899 and at Seminole, Texas on February 8, 1933.

#3— (B) Amarillo

#4— (A) The Galveston hurricane of 1900 killed between 8,000-12,000 people.

#5— (A, B, C, D) All of these snacks are equally popular in Texas…at least I couldn’t find a clear-cut winner!

How many did you get right?

1-3…Are you sure you’re a Texan?

4-6…Not bad, but you still have a lot to learn.

7-9…You know your state pretty dang good.

10…We bet you even know the words to Texas Our Texas!!

Find out more about Ann Everett/Emma Ames: https://www.anneverett.com

From Us To You!

About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

MERRY CHRISTMAS

AND

A SAFE, HEALTHY

AND HAPPY NEW YEAR

ANN EVERETT

AND SUSAN A. ROYAL

WE ALL NEED A LAUGH

About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

Ann and Susan: During this time of a global pandemic, WE know there isn’t much to joke about. But sometimes we need to laugh to keep from crying! Here are some memes that made us laugh.

Find out more about Ann Everett/Emma Ames: https://www.anneverett.com

The Importance of Being Able To Find Your Way Back To Your Writing #AmWriting

After reading as much as I can about the literary journeys of different authors, I have come to the conclusion that writing success comes to those who have…mastered the art of finding their way back to their projects.

We leave our stories behind for a variety of reasons:

We need to distance ourselves from them at the end of drafting.
Beta reader criticism has started to sting.
Rejections have broken our heart.
We don’t think it is working as a story.
We have lost faith in our abilities.
For whatever reason we bid farewell to a writing project, finding our way back to it can be one of the hardest things we will ever have to do.

Returning to a first or second or tenth draft which you finished writing a few months ago can be tough, especially when all those fuzzy, warm feelings have vanished.

Trying to find your…

View original post 275 more words

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

In this blog post, Ann and I are reflecting on things that make us grateful.

Susan: Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is almost upon us. I don’t know about you, but COVID or not, the year has flown for me. Maybe it’s because I’ve been working hard to finish projects I kept putting off. Staying close to home has paid off in that respect.

Another thing I’ve noticed. I find myself paying a lot more attention to the small things that happen when the seasons change. The first hint of green that signals spring is coming, the blooms on the crabapple tree in my yard, the crisp fall air when the leaves begin to fall. I always notice it. But this year, I appreciate it like never before.

The same thing can be said for the kindness of people. We’re all having to deal with inconveniences. Shortages. Delays. And the list goes on. We can complain, or we can make the best of things. We can feel sorry for ourselves, or we can be grateful.

I’m grateful for my family. And those special friends I know I can count on. My health and my home. My life isn’t perfect, but hey, I’m not either. The good thing is, I wake up to a fresh new day every day. And I can make it any kind of day I want.

A great cold weather meal that will make the kitchen smell heavenly.

Hearty Navy-Bean Soup

3 cups (1 ½ lb. dried navy beans)

1 can diced tomatoes

1 large onion, chopped

1 cup diced ham or bacon

2 cups chicken brother

2 ½ cups water

Salt-pepper-parsley to taste

Soak beans in the remainder of the ingredients overnight. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer until tender. 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Serve with Broccoli Bread

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. Pkg. frozen broccoli chopped & thawed
  • 2 sticks melted butter (1 cup)
  • 16oz. cottage cheese
  • 2 t salt
  • 4 large beaten eggs
  • 2 boxes Jiffy Corn Mix
  • 1/3 cup diced onion

Instructions

  1. Mix well with a wooden spoon and pour into greased pan (9X13”).
  2. Bake at 400°, 30-45 minutes or until lightly brown.
  3. Cool slightly before cutting.

*can be put in freezer

Ann: One of my favorite quotes is below. The first time I read it, it made me stop and reflect on all the things I’m grateful for.

I agree with Susan. During this difficult time, we all need to pause…take a breath…and concentrate on what’s good in our lives. Even if it’s just having a good night’s sleep, or that first cup of coffee, or maybe it’s looking back through photo albums of our children and grandchildren.

Nothing remains the same…and someday soon, these challenging times will be behind us…because in the words of Mrs. Waylon Jennings… storms never last…. bad times all pass with the wind.

Susan’s cornbread recipe sounds delicious. I recently ‘doctored’ a cornbread mix and it turned out pretty dang good.

Use the cornbread mix of your choice and make according to package directions.

Add ½ to ¾ Cup of whole kernel corn (drained)

Also add a small can of chopped green chilis OR 1-2 chopped

fresh jalapeños. (remove the seeds unless you want the bread to have a kick) 

Bake according to directions.

 So yummy!

AUTUMN LEAVES AND PUMPKINS, PLEASE!

About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

SUSAN: October is my favorite time of the year. From crisp mornings to sunny afternoons. From unexpected rain showers to chilly evenings. I love to pull out my extra blankets, sweaters, and warm pajamas. Indulge in some pretty mums and put out the fall decorations. Get out my Autumn candles. And start looking for new recipes to try out.

This time of year, I love to watch some of my favorite Halloween movies. Hocus Pocus, Practical Magic, Silver Bullet, to name a few, along with some oldies like The Uninvited, Murder, He Says, and The Ghost Breakers. The ominous music and the dark, gloomy scenes never fail to put me in the mood for Halloween. What are some of your favorites?

This month is National Book Month, a time for us to celebrate and expand our love of reading. When that first norther blows in, it’s the perfect time to pull on some cozy slippers, have a hot cup of something and curl up on the couch with a good book, especially if it’s raining! I’ve read some outstanding books lately. What The Wind Knows by Amy Harmon, Paula Brackston’s witch series, Deborah Harkness All Souls Series, to name a few. With fewer new shows coming out because of COVID, now’s the time to start that book you’ve been wanting to read!

Like most of you, I spend my summers looking for the easiest, quickest dishes to prepare, preferably without using the oven if at all possible. I find myself eating a lot of salads and sandwiches. Don’t get me wrong. I love to cook, but I don’t like to sweat. So, when the temps cool off, I reach for my cookbook and dig out some of my favorites, like these two recipes.

Mush Muffins

2 c. water

½ c. instant grits

1 c. milk

2 t butter

1 t salt

2 T warm water

1 1/8 t active dry yeast

5 ½ to 6 c flour

Bring water to boil in medium saucepan. Add grits. Reduce heat. Cook on low 5-7 minutes until water is absorbed. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in milk, butter and salt. Set aside. Cool to lukewarm. Combine 2 T water with yeast in small bowl. Let stand until dissolved. Stir into grits mixture. Mix with as much flour as possible using a wooden spoon. Turn out and knead in remaining flour for about 10 minutes. Let rise until doubled (1½ hours) Punch down. Let rest 15 minutes. Roll out dough. Cut with biscuit cutter and place in shallow baking dish. Brush the top with melted butter

Tomato Soup

2 T butter

1 c chopped onion

8 oz fresh mushroom, cleaned

2 T flour

1 14 ½ oz can whole tomatoes drained and chopped

1 cup hot water

1 16 oz can tomato sauce

Two beef bouillon cubes dissolved in ¼ c water

½ t white pepper

1 t sugar

1 pint heavy cream

Sauté onion and mushrooms in butter.  Add flour and stir till bubbly.  Add hot water, tomato sauce, bouillon, tomatoes, and pepper.  Simmer about ten minutes. Remove from heat, add sugar and cream.  Mix well until heated.

These go great together and make the house smell heavenly.

ANN: Those sound like great recipes…even though I don’t like tomato soup!! However, I LUV (I sang that in opera for effect) any kind of bread. I’ll definitely be making some of those muffins. Besides, nothing makes the house smell better than fresh bread baking.

I have a couple of recipes I’ll share in the next post on November 9, 2020.

By then, maybe some of you readers will have tried these two shared by Susan. If you do, then leave a comment on her blog site or mine. We’d love to hear if you liked them or not.

Find out more about Ann Everett/Emma Ames: https://www.anneverett.com

WHAT ARE WE SEARCHING FOR?

About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

Today, the Gabbin’ Gals, Susan, and Ann ask the question:

Ann: Have you ever wondered what people might think if they knew what you were googling? As writers, we google all sorts of weird stuff. For my mystery series, I google things like—what kind of poison could I used to kill someone without it showing up in a standard autopsy…or what could I use so the victim will die within fifteen minutes!

So, if someone looked at my search history, they just might call the cops!!

Susan: I’m with you! The latest thing I googled was about the Viking’s lifestyle. What they wore, what they ate, and how they lived. I had a mental picture (from some movie, I’m sure) about people eating large quantities of Pork cooked over an open fire and chasing it down with alcohol. While they did drink beer or mead, they ate a lot of mutton, whole grains, and vegetables.

I’ve googled whether or not you can kill a man wearing chainmail with an ax, time travel, ley lines, and standing stones.

Ann: I thought it might be interesting to share some Google statistics.

According to https://searchengineland.com
Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day. That’s the average figure of how many people use Google a day, which translates into at least 2 trillion searches per year, 3.8 million searches per minute, 228 million searches per hour, and 5.6 billion searches per day. Holy Moly!!

To find out more about Google search statistics, see this article: https://seotribunal.com/blog/google-stats-and-facts

Now that we know how many searches are going on let’s take a look at what people are searching for.

From March through April, the 9 most googled recipes according to https://www.chowhound.com are:

9. Cheesecake

8. Lasagna

7. French toast

6. Meat loaf

5. Brownies

4. Pizza Dough

3. Chicken

2. Pancakes

And the NUMBER ONE googled recipe is, BANANA BREAD!!

The following statistics were taken from https://www.mentalfloss.com visit their site for much more info.

Since we’ve been staying home more, many of us have taken up new hobbies. Some have been learning a new language, while others have been binge-watching Netflix…me included. Just so you know, the top three programs watched so far on Netflix are Tiger King, Ozark, and Outer Banks. I’ve watched one of those.

The most googled searches for hobbies are: Texas/TV and Films…so there, I’m not the only couch potato in the state!

Folks on the East Coast are googling home workouts. Most of the Mid-west is looking up video games.

DIY dominated Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Some of the most interesting searches are: While Texans are having trouble sleeping, Floridians want to know how to sleep at work.

Colorado wants to know how to stop drinking, and New Mexico searched to find out about day drinking. Ohio searched for how to dye my hair blonde at home, and folks in Pennsylvania need to know why their plants are dying. And then there’s Maine—they want to know how to build a chicken coop!

Now for the top “How to” searches:

10. How to lose belly fat

9. How to make French toast

8. How to write a cover letter

7. How to make pancakes

6. How to make money

5. How to draw

4. How to lose weight

3. How to get pregnant

2. How to Kiss

1. How to tie a tie

Kids with face-paint and Halloween costumes isolated in white

Since Halloween is right around the corner, I thought you might enjoy knowing the most searched costumes from last year. The source for this information came from https://www.vogue.com.

From 1-10, they are: It, Witch, Spiderman, Dinosaur, Descendants, Clown, Fortnite, Chucky, 1980s, and Unicorn.

Ann: My husband says he’s waiting for the day he can google ‘where are my glasses and get an answer!

Susan: Amen to that!

For more about Ann/Emma and her books: https://www.anneverett.com