Aunties M & Em

Thoughts on Faith, Family, Food, & Fun!

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A Little Chilly, A Little Sweet, A Little Spicy


Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow…”six more weeks of winter it shall be”! (

Happy Groundhog Day, everyone! Perhaps by now you have heard that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, thus predicting six more weeks of winter. As if spring wasn’t already scheduled to start in about 6 weeks anyway. Now, I am of the opinion that it’s February in the Midwest, and therefore, it should be cold and snowy – though, Mother Nature could keep the ice. I realize this does not make me the most popular person in the region, let alone my own house…and I’m okay with that!

Today is also Superbowl Sunday, featuring the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. I have no real rooting interest, since my beloved Green Bay Packers were eliminated by Steven’s San Francisco 49ers in Week One of the playoffs…the 49ers were later eliminated by Seattle in a close game that came down to the last seconds…bittersweet for me, because it meant Steven was bummed out. Today, we’re both hoping for a good game, and would be okay with the Seahawks winning…so I guess we’re essentially rooting for Seattle! And, what would a Superbowl be without good commercials!

But no Superbowl is complete without some snacks, right? In years past, we’ve had homemade onion dip (Guy Fieri’s recipe is uh-may-zing, and easy, too), dry-rub Italian herbed chicken wings from a local pizza joint, buffalo chicken dip, potato soup, just to name a few. This year, we’re keepin’ it classy with White Castle sliders and fries…they had a special online deal that was too good to pass up, and they just sounded good! I know you know how that is…

I wasn’t planning on making anything for this year’s game…until I saw yesterday’s “currently crushing on” post by Jess at How Sweet It Is, her weekly roundup of interesting things she’s found…and she finds some pretty great things! The first thing that caught my attention today was Sriracha Caramel Corn at I love caramel corn, and grew up making it with Mom most years at Christmas. I haven’t made any for a couple of years, for no other reason than just not getting around to it. I don’t find caramel corn terribly difficult to make, and I enjoy seeing how the molten caramel ends up coating the kernels of popped corn while in the oven…okay, I just made my mouth water…

Sriracha…it’s spicy, it’s flavorful, and a little dab’ll do ya. I wasn’t sure how the sweetness of the caramel would hold up against the intense spiciness of the sriracha, but surprisingly, it turned out really well. The sriracha caramel does obtain a fairly smoky flavor as it finishes up in the oven, and the heat is pretty subtle as I taste a couple of kernels at a time. To me, the heat sneaks up on you, albeit in a rather pleasant way. Steven, however, has been enjoying it handful after handful since it finished earlier this afternoon.  He even told me it’s the best popcorn I’ve ever made…a compliment I’m more than willing to accept.

It's a slow burn...but worth it!

It’s a slow burn…but worth it!

Be sure to check out the recipe at!

So, now it’s nearly game time, and we’ll be picking up our sliders soon…I hope you all enjoy whatever festivities you have planned!



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It’s that time of year again, folks.  No, not tax time…though, as a friendly reminder from me to you, next Monday is April 15th – time to get your taxes filed!

Today is the St. Louis Cardinals home opener!  Since no one has declared Opening Day a “St. Louisans-Don’t-Have-To-Work Day”, I listened to the festivities on 1120AM KMOX.  I know I’m only in my mid-thirties, but listening to games on KMOX really brings me back to being a kid…growing up in central Illinois meant you either watched games on TV or listened to KMOX.  I’ve listened to countless games, and never have I been so moved than today.

Stan “The Man” Musial passed away in January of this year.  He is synonymous with the Cardinals, and with being a St. Louisan.  I work in St. Louis, and drive by Busch Stadium each day.  I remember seeing the Stan statue completely surrounded by gifts and tributes to “The Man”, and how touched I was that his family was willing to open up their grieving process to the millions of Cardinal fans around the world.

The Opening Day ceremony started with the entrance of the Clydesdales, then a tribute to Stan.  The starting lineup was introduced, then another moment of silence in honor of all those we have lost, including the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary last December.  I started tearing up with the initial tribute to Stan…and pert near lost it at the end, especially when the National Anthem was played by the Gateway Harmonica Club…Stan was a lifelong member of the club.  The Cardinals have always been a classy organization, and it really showed today.  They are planning a bigger tribute to Stan at Friday night’s game, and man…I wish I could be there!  Does anyone have a pair of tickets they’d like to give me?  Anybody?

I actually looked forward to my drive home tonight, knowing that I would be able to look into the stadium as I passed it.  Granted, it was a tiny view, and I had to focus on the task at hand – safe driving.  But I could smell the food…I could just barely see the fans decked out in red.  Attending a home opener is definitely on my bucket list!

Even though the Cardinals lost (okay, “got their butts handed to them in the 9th inning” is more appropriate), it’s still been a great Opening Day for me.  Today is the first of many afternoons where I’ll get a peek inside Busch…a peek inside America’s pastime.  And right now, I’m watching The Sandlot, probably my second favorite baseball movie ever (A League of Their Own is my absolute favorite movie of all time), remembering when Dad used to take me and Greg to see the Cardinals play in old Busch and how we’d take our gloves, even though there was no way any ball was getting hit that far up…when we used to go to games in Springfield, IL, first Cardinals, then Sultans (the club in town now is the Springfield Sliders, and is part of the Prospect League).

You know, football may be the most popular sport in the country, but baseball will always be America’s pastime.  To me, no other sport measures up to it…the history of the game, listening to the play-by-play, the sound of a bat knocking a ball out of the park, the smell of hot dogs and beer…  Sitting close is awesome, but I think Alabama had it right when they sang, “There’s nothing like the view from the cheap seats.”


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Doing what she loves to do

Missy_FranklinSometimes we complain, but there is something beautiful about getting up before everyone else to get better at what we love.  – Olympic Gold Medalist Missy Franklin on getting up at 4:45 a.m. for swimming practice.

This evening on ABC News I was watching the piece on Olympic Gold Medalist Missy Franklin competing in her high school swim meet.  She was so full of joy doing what she loves to do – be in the water and swim faster than everyone else!  The journalist asked the coach of the opposing team if she thought it was fair that an Olympic gold medalist was competing in a high school meet.  Without hesitation she said it was wonderful and that the girls on her team had been looking forward to swimming with Missy.  She said it was the closest they would ever be to Olympic glory and they were excited about it!

I just thought that was so cool.  Mind you, Missy lapped all but one of the swimmers in the pool with her and won one of her races by 20 seconds!  No jealousy or feelings of anything about it being unfair though.  Very classy girls! 

This little story, tagged on at the end of a news program, was so inspiring to me.  It’s making me think… am I doing whatever is necessary to get better at what I love?  Hmmm… I think there is always room for improvement!  🙂

If you missed it on TV, the video from ABC News may be viewed here.  I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
Auntie M