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I LOVE cooking from recipes, and making up meals, I LOVE spending time with my boys (all three) and entertaining my family and friends, I LOVE bargain shopping (vintage stores included), I LOVE flipping through fashion and design mags, I LOVE the smell of libraries and how often I could get lost there, I LOVE scanning realty websites, I LOVE Trader Joes and LUSH, I LOVE fresh flowers and all four seasons, I LOVE Cincinnati and am always ready to travel, I LOVE stationary and stamps, I LOVE diamonds and pearls, tulle and lace, I LOVE smelling coffee and drinking tea, I love marshmallows and chocolate, I LOVE cozy sheets and morning sunshine, I LOVE me and I love GOD!

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yummy and "Healthy" New Year's Eve Cocktail Recipe

Sip on something a little sweet, with a little kick, and definitely a tummy tamer!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

(recipe and photo taken from foodnetwork.com)

Champagne Ginger Cocktail
Ingredients
Ginger-Infused Simple Syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sliced ginger (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup vodka

Directions
Simmer water, 1/2 cup sugar and sliced ginger in a small saucepan for 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in vodka. Chill for 2 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, strain to remove the ginger pieces.

Cocktail and Garnish:

2 tablespoons sugar
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
3 tablespoons candied ginger, cubed for garnish
1 bottle chilled sparkling wine

Spread the sugar into a thin layer on a plate. Coat the rim of the glass with the juice from the lemon wedge and immediately dredge in the plate of sugar.
Add a few pieces of candied ginger to each glass. Pour 1 tablespoon of the ginger-infused simple syrup over the ginger pieces and top with the sparkling wine until the glass is 2/3 full.

I know this will be my signiture drink to end '09

xoxo
Ronita

Black Women Unmarried?.........



I took this from my best friend's facebook page and thought this was so worth blogging about! I know many of my close girlfriends face this same dilemma every day. I always hear them say "there are no quality men" and from my husband's single male friends "there are no quality single women." I sometimes listen in on my husband's friends conversations and I hear them say things like, "my wife can't have any children already," "can't have had more than 5 sexual partners," "has to know how to take care of home," etc. From my girlfriends I hear things like, "he has to have a decent job," needs to be kind and loyal." These all seem like reasonable requests so what is the problem? Why are both my single female friends and my husband's single male friends unable to find who they are looking for/ or who they are looking for is unable to find them? I feel so blessed to have been able to marry my husband and go through raising our children together. But I always think about my friends that have yet to experience this blessing. It was really eye opening this past year when at most of the weddings (we had like 8 this year) we went to when Single Ladies played for the bouquet toss, the floor was packed and then when it was time for the garter toss there were hardly any men....what is going on?


Where is the disconnect? (I think this clip brings up a ton of valid points) Has anyone read Steve Harvey's book?

xoxo
Ronita

RJD's 2009 Top Beauty Products



(image: google search)

As the year comes to a close I will begin to purge many things out of my life, one being the over abundance of beauty products that somehow accumulate over the year. These are products that people swear by and I just have to try (but fail me) or products that marketing and brand managers demand I purchase. None the less they accumulate into what is known by many women all over the world as the beauty product depository, used once twice, and then never picked up again. Despite all the products that I end up recycling, throwing out if expired, or gifting to a girlfriend...I have compiled a list of products I just can't live without.

5. Kinky Curly Knot Today and Curling Custard (I want to try Hair Rules' Curling System)
6. Corioliss Flat Iron
7. Maybelline Mascara in Black
8. Clinique's Stay Matte Sheer Pressed Powder in 11 Stay Brandy
9. Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush Lip Gloss
10. OPI Nail Laquers
11. LUSH Ocean Salt Scrub and Massage Bars
12. Lancome Hypnose or Vera Wang Princess Eau De Toilette
12. Water and a good night's rest

What are your beauty product must haves?
xoxo
Ronita

pure grace®...



While sitting at my desk, reflecting on all that I have been blessed with this year, remembering my loved ones that have gone to be with The Lord, the gracious births, the MANY weddings (including my own), and looking forward to God's blessings in 2010, I pick up my hand lotion and begin to read...


philosophy®: one of the best tools for longevity and good health is not just taking a walk outdoors but taking your walk while holding the hand of God. when we walk in gratitude for each and every moment, we empower ourselves by empowering our spirits. when we breathe in nature through our eyes, ears and lips, we become certain that not only are our souls eternal, but that God knows how to manage our lives, our troubles, our worries and our days better than we do, so today and everyday “let go and let God.” ™


This will be my motto for 2010..."let go and let God."
I pray that you all have a blessed and prosperous New Year!!


xoxo,
Ronita

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A day late but none the less excited!!!!



Sooo super excited for this summer!!

Sounds like a girl's night out to me!!

xoxo

Ronita

Christmas Dinner Menu

(Mom and Tre' before we headed to swim)
(google search- the Neely's)

(google search0 Maya Angelou's cookbook cover)


I am cooking Christmas dinner and can't wait to pull it all together. I have flipped through all my cookbooks and talked endlessly with my mom. I am invoking all of these wonderful souls into my kitchen as I make my first Christmas dinner. I have finalized the menu and completed all my grocery shopping!!!

I just finished cleaning the greens...I didn't realize what a task that is (smh)

We are having:
  • Cornish Hens (Neely's)
  • Cornbread Shrimp Stuffing (my mom's recipe)
  • Crab Mac and Cheese (Neely's)
  • Collard/Mustard Greens (my Own Recipe)
  • Broccoli Salad (my mom's recipe- my husband's favorite)
  • Buttermilk Biscuits (Maya Angelou)
  • 7-up Pound Cake (my mom's recipe)
  • Red Velvet Cake (Neely's)
  • Egg Nog Punch
I may add shrimp jambalaya to the mix if I feel the urge!!!
So excited for it all!!!
xoxo,
Ronita

Saturday, December 19, 2009

AWAITED...and I can't WAIT...

(image from Crossroads.net )
Today is such an exciting day. I woke up to beautiful white snowand we have a fun filled afternoon. We are headed to our church's Christmas prodcution and then to my mom's for some New Orlean's Gumbo and birthday celebrations!!
Happy Saturday!!
xoxo
Ronita

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What time is it...?

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”- Steve Jobs
I have been eyeing some gorgeous watches and can't figure out what to get. I know that I want it gold and oversized!!! My favorite silver watch is by Betsey Johnson (one of my fav designers) so I am looking mainly in her direction.
Here are some of my favs...maybe a Christmas gift to myself!!!








(images google search)
xoxo
RJD




I have been accepted into the club...



Every year my husband's family have taken a family trip to the Edinburgh Premium Outlets in Indiana. Every year I have tried to squeeze myself into the backseat but have been unsuccessful. Between either being pregnant or having a newborn to care for, I was unable to make the trip. Well this year there is nothing standing in my way!!! I can't wait to spend all day with them tomorrow...bargain shopping (one of my fav past times)!! I have printed off the mall map, signed up for coupons, and highlighted all the stores I have to hit.. J.Crew, Carter's, The Children's Place, Coach, Banana Republic, GAP...just to name a few!!

It's almost Christmas!!
xoxo
Ronita

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Can you guess what we are making tonight......?





Here is a hint.... a lovely gift from my work Secret Santa


Stay Tuned......

My Current Obsession....Nick&Nora

Snow Owls Set
Nick & Nora PJs and house slippers!!
Seeing as my favorite ornaments on my Christmas tree are the two sock monkeys I purchased at Macy's last weekend...I have fallen head over heels for Nick&Nora brand sleepwear. . They have very adorable women's and kids pj sets, sleep shirts, bottoms, slippers....
I just bought a pair for me to wear Christmas Eve (a pair of new pjs will be a new tradition for The Dean clan)...
You can find them at your local Target.

xoxo,
Ronita

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tre and Mommy Time




I miss him being a baby...I think we will spend some mommy BIG Boy time this evening. I am going to take him to church, just him and I, to cuddle and sing some Christmas Songs!!

Enjoy Your Weekend Everyone!
xoxo
Ronita

Exhausted today but for a great reason!!!

Last night I stayed up and watched Julie and Julia and am in love!!! I had such a great time by myself. I think this was a combination of what I enjoy most, great food- cooking and eating, blogging, romance, comedy...it was just so awesome to watch. I think I will take a trip to half price books to see if I can score Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I think it would be absolutely delightful to try some of her recipes. The movie made me miss Paris!! I can remember when I went in 2001 and how much I loved the food!!! I think one of my future goals will be to save for a trip back to France and I would love to tour Italy...with my amour of course!!!




I think I will try this recipe for Sunday dinner.

French Roast Chicken Recipe

Julia Child's recipe from 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking.' This makes a wonderful, moist, juicy bird. I think it's the turning technique while roasting that does it. It may sound like a lot of work, but it really isn't much more than roasting a bird any other way. The sauce reduction is a LOT easier than any gravy, and is out of this world! In the book, she suggests serving this with green beans or peas (buttered, of course! this IS French cooking!) and sauted, roasted, fried, or souffleed potatoes, or potato crepes. I have also posted the recipe for brown chicken stock, which can quite easily be simmering away as you cook the bird (you don't need the stock until the very end). Using the homemade stock makes a huge difference in the flavour, but it can be substituted, I suppose.

1½ hours 1 min prep
SERVES 4 -6 , 1 bird
3 lbs broiler-fryer chickens
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 small carrot, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
Baste
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon minced shallot or green onion
1 cup brown chicken stock or canned chicken broth
salt
pepper
1-2 tablespoon softened butter


Preheat oven to 425.
Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and then smear in 1 tablespoon of the butter.
Truss and dry the chicken, and rub the skin with the other half of the butter.
Baste: Melt butter in a small saucepan with cooking oil.
Leave on stovetop with a basting brush for later use.
Back to the chicken: Place the chicken, breast side up, in a shallow small roasting pan.
Scatter the veggies around it, and set it on the rack in the preheated oven.
Allow the chicken to brown slightly for 15 minutes, turning on the left side after 5 minutes, then onto the right side for the last 5 minutes.
Baste with butter quickly after each turn so that the oven does not lose a lot of heat.
Reduce heat to 350.
Leave chicken on its side, baste every 8 to 10 minutes, using the butter in the bottom of the roasting pan once you have used up all of the baste in your bowl.
Watch and adjust oven heat so that the chicken is noisy, but fat is not burning.
Halfway through estimated roasting time (which is 70-80 minutes; so after about 35 minutes), salt the chicken and turn it onto its other side.
Continue to baste regularly.
15 minutes before end of estimated roasting time, salt again and flip chicken breast side up.
Continue to baste regularly.
Chicken will be done when drumstick moves easily in socket and juices run a clear yellow.
Let sit on a platter 5 to 10 minutes before carving.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the roasting pan.
Stir in shallot or onion and cook slowly for 1 minute.
Add stock and boil rapidly over high heat, scraping up bits that are stuck in the pan with a wooden spoon.
reduce to about 1/2 cup.
Season with salt and pepper.
Off heat just before serving, swirl in the last 1 to 2 tablespoons butter by bits until it is absorbed.
Pour a spoon of the sauce onto the chicken, then pour the rest into a gravy boat and serve with the chicken.

Bon Apetit

Ronita

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy Moments Christmas 2008

Just reminiscing....


Roman with G'Ma Robbin

The Dean Boys with Daddy

Tre' at Nana's...showing off his drums!!


A suitcase for all his travels...he has been more places in his 4 years than I had been in my teenage years!


Roman trying to eat the wrapping paper

Bob The Builder...Jack in the Box

Tre's fun and wacky stocking stuffers

The Dean Boys with Nana and Paw Paw Joe

Roman showing off his new clothes

Tre' and daddy decorating the tree

Opening his new camera

"What I am going to do with this BIG box?"

The dancing Santa Uncle Jerren gave to Nana...the boys are fascinated...Tre took this picture

More decorating..the last year for my "Zeta" tree!!!


SMILE
Looking forward to making many memories this year!!
xoxo
Ronita

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas in Chicago...here we come!!

Let me just start off by saying how much I LOVE CHICAGO!!! I think it's a great mix of BIG City (thinking NYC) and Midwestern (thinking Cincinnati). So I must say that every time we get a chance to travel to Chicago I am like a kid on Christmas Eve. I am kind of bummed though, that I won't get to share this trip with my two little men (we were planning in seeing Santa arrive by boat at Navy Pier) but I know Nana has a fun holiday outing planned for the young lads.

This weekend's getaway will be nice with just the hubs and I!! We are excited to see our friends and to celebrate their new home (yaye Mullens) and recent completion of their Master's program (yaye Barbie)!!!

We plan on checking into our hotel upon arrival...


...grabbing a bite to eat at Chicago's Famous...


...partying with The Mullens in their new pad at their "Ugly Christmas Sweater Party"...


...a little Christmas shopping for the boys...


...a little Holiday shopping for me and Scottie...


...and I can not leave the city without grabbing a couple tins of Garrett's popcorn or my mother (Nana) will kill me!! There is always a long line so I will have to be sure not to rush this...



I'm sure we will have some unplanned activities!!
Needless to say we are excited!!
xoxo
Ronita


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Glitz and Glam Tonight

Tonight, I am looking forward to putting the boys to bed (early), taking a warm bubble bath with my LUSH PUD bath bomb, lighting some candles, pouring some wine, putting on one of my fabulous bridal shower gifts (wink) and watching...
The 2009 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. The show should feature awesome fashions and a great performance by The Black Eyed Peas.
I'll behave (smiles)





xoxo
Ronita