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Ms. Elaine Kneeous

Jennifer is a one in a million stay-at-home mom. (More like one OF a million stay at home moms!) She graduated from a liberal arts college but there is nothing liberal OR artsy about her. She is married to Kevin Fischer of This Just In, and together they have a beautiful young daughter Kyla Audrey. In no particular order she loves dogs, wine, a good bargain, her family, pizza, and entertaining. Follow her blog of all things miscellaneous including but not limited to cooking and baking, entertaining and party planning, being a mommy, and homekeeping.

Cream Cheese? Yes, PLEASE!

I usually don’t keep two bricks of cream cheese on hand. However there they were, in my fridge, calling my name… “Use me… use me… and not on bagels!” Needless to say a Google search for cheesecake bars yields about a thousand recipes. I didn’t have a “go to” recipe for cheesecake bars that I could pull out. I DO NOW!

If you are an authentic baked cheesecake purist you’ll probably wince at the thought of making cheesecake BARS, not in a springform pan and water bath. If you are pressed for time and just love a good cheesecake “anything” you’ll jump for joy when you make this recipe.

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Confessions of a Party Planning Addict

If someone creates a 12-step recovery program for party planning addicts, I really should be the first to sign up. I’ll admit, I’m a junkie and I’ve gotten at least one friend hooked: she too, now needs a daily dose of fete fantastic and this past summer, gleefully sent me updates about her quadruple birthday summer soiree planning.

I thought, if I can get one friend hooked, why not get more friends hooked? So, my dear friends & readers, I have compiled a “brief” list of amazing sites for you to visit, swoon over, and be inspired by. You will either love me, or curse my head. Or maybe a bit of both. When you visit these sites, you can also “like” them on Facebook. So, the problem is, when you “like” one, several other FB friends can post on that status, and you discover even MORE great sites.

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It's All In How You Look At It

“I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man who had no feet.”  (Indian Proverb)

Yesterday I planned to make rolls from scratch. I thought I had a winning recipe, despite the fact that I have never made rolls before. There was a tutorial about working with yeast, step-by-step photos, and even a short video on how to shape the rolls. “How can I fail?” I thought as I set out to make the most decadent, earth-shattering, “I will never BUY rolls again” pieces of heaven you could imagine. I envisioned these as the perfect canvas for my pulled pork that was simmering in my Crock Pot. A wonderful fall meal to be rounded out with oven-baked potato wedges seasoned with Kosher salt & rosemary, and a glass of Shiraz.

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Two Little Words, Too Much To Say

Grazi.

Mahlao.

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Kyla's Korner - Musings of a Mother (10/7/11)

I have said many times that once I became a mother, it was like I became a member of a wonderful, exclusive club. There is something so special about being a mom that ties every woman together in countless ways. I love talking to “veteran” moms who have been there with toddler antics; I can get advice and know that I am not alone on the days that she runs me ragged. It is not because she is naughty but because she has more energy than an athlete loaded on carbs and Red Bull!

I find it touching when nearly every mom would go back to “those days” in a heartbeat. Whether moms to teenage kids or fully grown ones, they reflect longingly on the toddler years, since each age & stage brings new challenges. (My sister-in-law often says “Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.”)

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"Hear No Evil, See No Evil."

I have referenced the blog Brocante Home before. I find her writing and ideas charming, though some are utterly unattainable only because I don’t “live in a teeny weeny Victorian terrace cottage in Lancashire, England.”

There is nothing I want more than to provide a warm, loving sanctuary for my family. I am so happy that Kevin loves to come home every day, and can leave the stress from the daily grind at the door. When Kyla is older, I want our house to be the one where the kids congregate, and eat us out of house and home. There is so much that is beyond our control – MY control – but what I can always do is make my family feel safe & loved.

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You'll Give Thanks For These Recipes

In my “You’ll FALL for these treats” blog I listed some of my favorite fall recipes that can be used any time you’d like a tasty morsel that welcomes autumn. No doubt that left you in the mood for even MORE delicious treats. Well, this post comes to the rescue!

Thanksgiving is about six weeks away. I know by the other blogs I read that’s just enough time for us OCD – uh, I mean plan-ahead types – to get all our recipes, lists, and centerpiece ideas in order. Since we’ve hosted Turkey Day for the last few years I’ve been able to start a great collection of seasonal delights.

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A Loaf of Bread, A Jug of Wine

I love wine. So much so I have a Christine Alexander top that states, “Wines Constantly.”

And I love bread. However I do not, and do not plan to, own a top that states, “Full of Sugar and Doubles in Size.”

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What do I have in common with a TV news anchor?

Besides our first name:

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Four Words and Eight Years Ago

Our October 2003 trip to Walt Disney World started out like any other. We planned the dates (the 11th through the 18th,) the hotel (Disney’s Beach Club,) and the dining plans (to include our traditional “First Night At Disney” location, the California Grill.) We enthusiastically strategized our day at the Food & Wine Festival. I carefully wrote out my packing list.

Kevin splurged on a concierge room for this trip. It included such amenities as a private check-in and complimentary daily treats starting with breakfast and ending with a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception. There were goodies in our room as well; a huge bowl of fresh fruit, and a chocolate creation that looked like a painting of the resort. Later when we returned from a brief trip to EPCOT, there were white long-stemmed roses on the desk.

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Corporate Caffeine Crisis

I do not own one of these mugs. I don’t need to. Kevin knows that a bit of this heavenly elixir will transform me from sleepy-eyed, “Huh? What did you say?” to “Can I whip up a ham & cheese omelet for you, my Love?” in a flash. The only time I went without coffee was when I was pregnant with Kyla. I nixed 98% of my caffeine consumption and quite frankly the taste didn’t appeal to me during that time. I didn’t turn in to a raging lunatic going through withdrawals. However, I am truly indebted to the history of the simple bean. 

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Two Franklin Eateries Worth Their Weight In Red Sauce

Our dining habits changed drastically once our daughter Kyla was born. Gone were the relaxing evenings of a leisurely appetizer, taking the time to really peruse a menu for an entrée, and then lingering over dessert and coffee. We didn’t even mind a 30-minute wait for a table. It meant a pre-dinner cocktail at a bar that more than likely also boasted a big-screen TV with some sports offering.

These days we make sure we have a reservation and hope that we are able to be seated immediately. (Kyla is always fed her dinner before we go out, but we know that she will want more to eat as soon as she smells food!) I can’t remember the last time we had more than a main course. Dessert, if a consideration, must be in a “to go” container. And I breathe a sigh of relief if I can get more than one forkful of anything before our little angel wants to take a walking tour of the entire restaurant.

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Kyla's Korner - Musings of a Mother (10/21/11)

Despite my degree from liberal arts Alverno College, I never had any desire to “climb the corporate ladder.” I wouldn’t trade my education for the world. College was a fantastic experience and helped shape me in to the person I am today. But I just never wanted to be a “suit.”

My last job before having Kyla was for a well-respected and extremely large health care organization. My boss was the most incredible person I had ever worked and will ever work for. My position was a dream and I did exactly what I loved to do. I worked with a phenomenal group of people who were more than coworkers, they were friends. I made an excellent salary and had wonderful benefits. My boss knew that I wanted to drop down to part time after our baby was born. She even facilitated a transfer so that my office would literally be five minutes from our home. I got to pick the days and hours that I wanted to work. What more could I ask for?

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Shedding LIGHT On A New CLEAN

Every other Tuesday you will find our blue recycle bin filled to the top, waiting at the end of our driveway for pickup by the fine folks at Johns Disposal Service. I don’t mind recycling, really. It takes very little effort to toss a 2-ltr Diet Pepsi bottle in the bin instead of in the regular trash. I will even go so far as to cut up any plastic bottle rings that hold multi-packs of soda together. I know that we don’t have a population of bottle nosed dolphins in Lake Michigan but Catholic guilt tells me that MY ring would be the death of one of those beautiful creatures, some how, some way. So yes, I have a small but present environmental conscience.

I am NOT, however, a tree-hugging enviro and the last thing on my mind when my weary head hits my pillow after Kyla is tucked in is, “Did I reduce my carbon footprint today?” You’d never see me win – never mind, ENTER – a contest like this. I don’t need a new TV that bad; I’ll continue to use paper tissues to quell my allergies, thanks.

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So Sweet She Doesn't NEED More Sugar

Kyla is at an interesting, if not perfect, age when it comes to candy, desserts, etc. She is old enough to have a sweet tooth, but young enough that I can tell her there is no more and she totally accepts that. Certainly she isn’t tall enough to reach the high shelves in the pantry. So after Trick or Treat this Sunday, I don’t have to confiscate her candy like some other moms do.  I wouldn’t anyhow.

When I was growing up, candy was not some evil thing that had to be avoided at all costs. I always had an opportunity for a sweet treat. Easter, Halloween and St. Nick’s were certainly fun holidays for me and I did get excited at the thought of special confections. From little on, I have always gone right for the chocolate (bonus if there was caramel involved!) and completely passed up everything else.  Please, don’t bother me with Skittles, Starbursts or Laffy Taffy. Of course the Easter Bunny and St. Nick knew this about me but how could I politely convince our neighbors during Trick or Treat?

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Thanks for nuthin', Vera.

THERE ARE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF
FOOD BLOGS, BUT ONLY ONE CULINARY NO-
NO!

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