Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I've hung up my dress-for-success clothes, and pulled my domestic "genes" out of storage.

Friday, March 27, 2015

BEST OF THE WEEKEND 97...AND GOING OUT LIKE A LION?


Hi there, and welcome to Best of the Weekend!

 March is flying by...not that I mind. 
As the saying goes, it came in like a lion, 
but even with my powerful binoculars, there's no lamb in sight.
Snow showers tonight; snow showers tomorrow...
ENOUGH, with you, winter, ENOUGH!
I'm consoling myself with the fact that it is halfway to summer...
now there is a pleasant thought. 

Okey dokey...it's time to party!

LET'S GIVE A LION'S ROAR FOR OUR CO-HOSTS:


When you link up to Best of the Weekend, 
your posts will be seen on ALL SIX of our blogs!
Each of us will select our own favorite posts, 
giving you a better chance of being featured each week,
so be sure to check out Ginny, Cindy, Sheryl, Deb and Lisa,  
and of course, me, Amy, to see if you were featured.
And...we'll also be pinning our features to a 
Pinterest "Best of the Weekend" Features board!

Follow Cindy Eikenberg (Little Miss Celebration)'s board Best of the Weekend Features! on Pinterest.

  To my non-blogging friends, link parties give you a chance to peruse 
hundreds of creative blog posts all in one place!
Simply click on any picture in the link up, and it will take you directly to that post. 

Last week's most clicked link was:

 Orange Juice Cake by With A Blast 
I'm assuming I can substitute a glass of orange juice with this cake 
for breakfast, correct? 

Here are a few posts that knocked my socks off this week.

Strawberry Spinach Salad by Play. Party. Pin.
I think I'd have a fighting chance to take off a few pounds 
if I have this for lunch everyday. 
The strawberries are what drew me to the salad, 
but it's the dressing that really won me over.

 Snickers Brownies posted Simply Stacie; guest post by Kitchen Sanctuary
Maybe I'll start that diet right after I make a batch of these.

The Easiest Way To Frost a Cake by Sweet C's Designs
Just say something is easy, and I'm in.
This cake is a beauty, and I am going to have to give this method a try. 

 Creating a Pretty Blue and White Tablescape by Dancing Dog Cabin
This attractive tablescape makes me want to go out 
and buy a set of blue and white dishes. Gorgeous!

How To Plan Your Vacation Using Pinterest by Living Better Together.
This is a great idea - using Pinterest maps to plot out sights to see 
when planning a vacation. 
Hmmm....where should I go next?

Let's start linking!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bran-ana Carrot Muffins...and My Muffin Top

Bran-ana Carrot Muffins -  healthy ingredients... lots of fiber, carrots, banana and yogurt. | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Has anyone other than me packed on a few extra pounds this winter?
Too much time indoors, and too much noshing do not a svelte figure make.
Usually around this time of year, I like to buy a new bathing suit 
to celebrate the fact that summer is coming.
Not this year...nuh-uh...I can't even go near the swimsuit department 
 until I take off about five pounds.
Actually, a better strategy might be to go and try on a few...
which will probably make me cry...or vomit...
but that might be just the kick in the muffin top I need
to jump-start my diet.
Yup, I'm gonna do just that.
I'll bring tissues, a barf-bag, and wear waterproof mascara.
And then I'll go home and eat carrot sticks,
so that by the time summer comes, 
my muffin top will be gone. 

Source

Nobody needs a muffin top.
Well, unless it actually is a muffin top. 

 I've been on a bit of a muffin craze. 
The Carrot-Apple-Coconut Bran muffins I made recently 
and these Bran-ana Carrot muffins 
look more alike than my sister and me, 
but like many siblings, they have their own personalities;
in this case, one is apple-y; the other, banana-y. 


Bran-ana Carrot Muffins -  healthy ingredients... lots of fiber, carrots, banana and yogurt. | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

You may be thinking that my muffin-mania could account for my,
 er, expanding midsection, but the truth is,
I only allow myself to eat them on the weekends,
and as muffins go, they're pretty healthy. 

Admittedly, it didn't help that I super-sized them. 

Bran-ana Carrot Muffins -  healthy ingredients... lots of fiber, carrots, banana and yogurt. | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes



The recipe is from the bag of Bob's Red Mill Oat Bran Cereal.
I modified it a bit, substituting raisins for dates...

and I left the walnuts out for Mr. Goo Shoes' benefit, 
but frankly, I'd prefer them with the nuts. 

 I made mine in an extra-large muffin tin,
it only made four;
so if you are watching your waistline, 
I suggest you make them in a standard size muffin pan.

Bran-ana Carrot Muffins -  healthy ingredients... lots of fiber, carrots, banana and yogurt. | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Bran-ana-Carrot Muffins
(Recipe adapted from Bob's Red Mill) 

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup oat bran cereal (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 egg whites or 1 whole egg
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°
Mix dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, mix liquid ingredients.
Add dry mixture to wet mixture and stir until just moistened. 
Fold in carrots, raisins, and walnuts, if using. 
Lightly grease, or line muffin tins with paper cups.
Fill 2/3 full.
Bake for 18-20 minutes (regular-size muffins) or 21-23 minutes for extra-large muffins.

Yield: 12 regular-size muffins or 4 extra large muffins. 

Bran-ana Carrot Muffins -  healthy ingredients... lots of fiber, carrots, banana and yogurt. | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


  If you exercise portion control, as well as your abs, 
the only muffin top you'll be sporting is the one on your plate. 
Now, who wants to go bathing-suit shopping with me?



Friday, March 20, 2015

BEST OF THE WEEKEND 96...and IT'S SPRING?




Happy Friday, friends...and (Not) Happy first day of spring!
The first calendar day of spring brought us several inches of snow,
which really cheesed me off.  

I'm SO over the white stuff.
I was ecstatic this past week because most of the snow was finally gone, 
and for the first time in months, I didn't have to wear my boots to walk the dog.
You have no idea how that little thing lifted my spirits!
 And then, this. Ugh.
(Or I should say Uggs? No, they're not waterproof)...
so it's back to snow boots again.
 The only good news is that is supposed to be in the 40's and 50's 
for the next week so it should be outta here pretty quickly.

Good thing the weather didn't hinder my plans to get to tonight's 
Best of the Weekend party!

MEET THE CO-HOSTS:


When you link up to Best of the Weekend, 
your posts will be seen on ALL SIX of our blogs!
Each of us will select our own favorite posts, 
giving you a better chance of being featured each week,
so be sure to check out Ginny, Cindy, Sheryl, Deb and Lisa,  
and of course, me, Amy, to see if you were featured.
And...we'll also be pinning our features to a 
Pinterest "Best of the Weekend" Features board!

Follow Cindy Eikenberg (Little Miss Celebration)'s board Best of the Weekend Features! on Pinterest.

  To my non-blogging friends, link parties give you a chance to peruse 
hundreds of creative blog posts all in one place!
Simply click on any picture in the link up, and it will take you directly to that post. 

Last week's most clicked link was:

  Pistachio Macarons from Sweet and Savory From Shinee
Tres magnifique! These are way beyond my skill-set, 
but maybe if I'm really nice to Shinee, she'll invite me over for some.

My features for this week:

There were almost 500 link-ups last week,
and I really struggled to narrow down my features, so I've got five tonight.

Ultimate Chocolate Skillet Cookie by It Bakes Me Happy
A cookie I can eat out of the pan with a fork? 
Yes, that is the ultimate! I'm drooling over that gooey goodness!

 Cupcake Shaped Decorated Cookies by The Mandatory Mooch
The cuteness factor of these cupcake cookies are off the charts!
  
Chocolate Banana Cream Pie Cake by The Simple Sweet Life 
 I can't take my eyes off of that ganache! 
And those caramel spirals--this cake is a work of art!


 Homemade Potato Chips With Sriracha Ketchup by Cincy Shopper
I need something salty after all that sweet stuff.
Did you know that potato chips are one of my weaknesses?


Tiny Home Office by My Nearest and Dearest
I'm in love with this little office space, where truly, size doesn't matter!


Let's link!
 




Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Unexpected Gift of Blogging: My Two Year Anniversary

Unexpected Gift Of Blogging | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
If you are a blogger,
what did you expect to get out of it when you started?

Fame?
I never thought I'd get even a handful of readers.

Fortune?
One could hope, but so far, 

I've made enough for a cup of coffee at Starbucks Dunkin' Donuts.

Feedback?
Who would care enough about what I had to say, let alone comment on it?
 

Free Stuff?
I didn't even know this was a perk back when I started blogging.

 Fulfillment?
That's about the only thing I did expect...I could harness all of my creative energy,
and combine all of my passions under one cyber roof,
which would be quite satisfying, even if no one read my stuff.

Friendship?
HUH?
I thought I'd be sitting here at home, anonymously writing away 
in my own itsy-bitsy piece of the blogosphere.
Getting to know other bloggers never entered my mind. 

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Wanna be friends?
   
Two years into this, and I've come to realize a Totally. Unexpected. Gift.

Friendship. 

Yup, I've made friends. Real ones. True ones.
My in-the-flesh friends can't get over it 
when I tell them that in the two years I've been blogging, 
I've made friends all over the world. 
 And, yes, I think of them...YOU..as friends in the truest sense of the word.

I rejoice when you're happy...
I worry when you're going through tough times...
I try to help you if you have a problem...
I feel motivated when you inspire me...
I celebrate when you're successful...
I LMAO when you are funny.

I've never met a single blogging friend (YET!), 
but I know that if I wrote and said "I'm going to be in your neck of the woods,"
we'd do our best to arrange a rendezvous.

So what sparked this burst of mushy sentiment?

It was a card that came in the mail a few weeks ago,
 from a blogging friend in Tennessee,
Dewena, from Dewena's Window.
She saw it in Trader Joe's and thought of me. 
And bought it.
And mailed it.
And made my day.

Unexpected Gift Of Blogging | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


Unexpected Gift Of Blogging | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 That gesture got me to thinking about this most unexpected gift of blogging.

I can be in a market, and see a bottle of vinegar, 
and think about a blogger from that region of Spain.

I can hear tragic news about France, or Israel, 
but it seems much more personal because I know bloggers who live there.

 I can get a dozen emails asking if we're ok, 
because they heard of the horrible snow storms in NJ.

I can be in my synagogue, when the son of a blogger-friend in Canada 
comes to mind during the community prayer for healing.

I'd like to mention all of you by name, but that's the point...
I've made so many bloggy friendships,
I couldn't possibly list everyone!

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
It's good to hang around with your friends.

Just know that whether you are from...

 Down south, down under, or upstate NY;
 the midwest or southeast;
Germany or Greece; 
somewhere in Russia or somewhere I've never heard of;
 Israel or Italy;
the Heartland or Poland;
Canada or California;
Oklahoma or Oakland;
a rural town or a major city; 
England or New England;
Amsterdam, or the damn place I can never remember;
Vegas or Vienna; 
New Zealand...or right here in New Jersey...
you mean the WORLD to me. 

By my third blogging anniversary,
I'd love to have a friend from each of the 50 states,
and as many countries from around the world as possible.
I'm gonna work on that!

Thanks, Dewena, not only for the thoughtful card,
but for making me think about my bloggy blessings.

Unexpected Gift Of Blogging | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I may not have gotten famous from blogging (yet),
and I surely haven't gotten rich (yet).
And, come to think of it, I haven't gotten any free stuff, either (yet)...
But, I do have the gift of your friendships...
making it a very Happy Two-Year Blogiversary!



Monday, March 16, 2015

Nacho Bites -- A Hit With The Brooklyn Gang!

Nacho Bites - These take only minutes to assemble, and there is nacho-goodness in every bite! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Are you in an hors d'oeuvres rut?

It's so easy for me to fall back on the same old-same old, 
whenever company comes. 
Usually, I'm super-focused on baking desserts, 
so I tend to take the easy way out when it comes to appetizers, 
and rely on the usual.
However, when the Brooklyn Gang came this past weekend,
I wanted to shake things up a bit, 
and try out a few new "hor-doovers."
(That's how people from Brooklyn talk, seriously).

What caused this sudden desire for hors d'oeuvre diversity?

These friends always bring amazing desserts, 
so I'm off the hook for that part of the meal.
And -- the hosting family almost always orders take-out for the main course,
so I don't have to worry about that, either.
Works for me!

That gave me some time to concentrate on whipping up 
a few hors d'oeuvres that were different from my usual fare.
I did serve a few standards, like cheese, crudite, 
and pigs in the blanket (which are a MUST with this group!), 
but I made three new recipes. 
And you know me...they have to be easy as pie...
or maybe I should say, Pi, since their visit was on 3.14.15.

I wanted to serve nachos, but one thing that drives me crazy, 
is that all the cheesy good stuff is on the top,
while all the chips underneath are bare-naked. 
I'd seen some mini nachos on Pinterest awhile back,
where each chip gets equal nacho-ness distribution,
and I decided to try my own version.

I started with gluten-free Veggie Dippin' Chips. 
(No, I'm not getting paid for this, I just like the chips).
 Tostito Scoops would also work well.


Nacho Bites - These take only minutes to assemble, and there is nacho-goodness in every bite! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes 




I filled them with about a teaspoon of fat-free refried beans...


Sprinkled some shredded cheese over each one...


and baked them at 350°for about two minutes until the cheese was nice and melty. 


Next, I added a dollop of guacamole. I used store-bought to save time...


...and finished with a touch of pico de gallo - also store-bought - on top.
(Detailed recipe below)


The nacho bites were a HIT! 
OK, full disclosure here...one of the guys didn't like the cheese 
(I used a Mexican blend), 
so when I made the second batch, 
I used a light white cheddar, and medium cheddar.
Mikey liked it!
It was unanimous!

We always have a great time when the Brooklyn Gang gets together.
It should be noted that no one actually lives in Brooklyn anymore,
but you know what they say...
You can take the boys out of Brooklyn, 
but you can't take Brooklyn out of the boys.
I swear, they have their own language in Brooklyn 
that only vaguely resembles English. 

Nacho Bites - These take only minutes to assemble, and there is nacho-goodness in every bite! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Nacho Bites
Bag of dip/scoop chips (such as Party-tizer's Dippin' Chips or Tostito's Scoops)
12 oz. shredded Mexican blend cheese
16 oz. can fat-free refried beans
16 oz. guacamole
12 oz. pico de gallo

Preheat oven to 350°
Spread chips on a baking sheet. 
Fill with about 1 teaspoon of refried beans.
Sprinkle with approximately 1/2 tablespoon of shredded cheese.
Bake for 1-2 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Put a dollop (about 1/2 tablespoon) of guacamole on top of melted cheese.
Top with a teaspoon of pico de gallo.
Serve immediately.

Yield: Varies, but you should get at least 48 nachos.  

Nacho Bites - These take only minutes to assemble, and there is nacho-goodness in every bite! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

As always, we had lots of laughs...talked about kids, weddings, grandkids, 
college, food, health, vacations, and, of course...
the good old days in Brooklyn...
when a subway token cost 20 cents, and $2 would fill the gas tank.
I, of course, am too young to remember any of that :)
 Ah, them were the days...
when real men ate knishes, and nachos were macho.

Or something like that.