Friday, July 8, 2011

Cow Appreciation Day!!

 We celebrated Cow Appreciation Day with breakfast this morning! Our sweet friends Stephanie and Nola asked us to join them at Chick-fil-a, our favorite, to get free "chikin"!
 It was absolutely precious to see the kiddos in their little cow costumes! We each got a free combo meal (and G got a kids meal), which made the embarrassment of being the only ones in the restaurant dressed up completely worth it!  We are totally making this an annual event! So thankful for you both, Stephanie and Nola!!

 New boots picked up at the Sheffield Antique Mall for $8!
 I believe this is Uncle Nay and his cow costume in high school?? Can I get a confirmation, Sal?
He takes the sign on his back to heart, that kid eats a TON of chicken for his size.  Josh said, "Boy, you'd be like a 59 cent burger you so tiny!"  I laughed...

The 4th of July

 Sleepy boy...

 Lots of fun in the baby pool with cousins Madilynn and Rob. 
  So patriotic.

The fam before the fireworks on the river.  G was hamming it up.
Every year we go up to my Aunt Cathy's house in Caruthersville, MO (middle of nowhere) and swim and stuff ourselves with barbecue and delicious sides and desserts.  This year we had a new event which I was excited about.  After the kiddos had gone to bed, Sal, Nay, Josh, Dad, Dwayne and I went to the Lady Luck, the site makes it look so's not.  I would describe it as a Truck Stop/Casino, very entertaining.  I won $50 on my first pull at a slot machine! Then I quit.  It was great.  Everyone came out ahead or even so it was a successful venture.  Dwayne was the top winner with $70 at Black Jack (Dad won $55!), which was really fun to watch,  I think I might even try it at our friend's birthday party casino run in a few weeks!  Sal had never been to a casino, so it was funny that this one was her first.  She was sitting at a slot machine and there was a man who looked like life had not smiled on him (which is a whole other issue with Casinos, they're pretty depressing and make me sad for the people who are in there daily.  I just want to hug them.).  As Sally made comments like, "What does this button do?" and "I don't get it!" and "I don't understand why you would bet the max?!", the man was looking at her. When she pushed the button for bet the max she won $18.  The man next to her took a long drag on his cigar and blew the smoke in her was terrible and funny at the same time! Oh well, the $18 made she and Nathan even for the night.  Newly wedded love sweet. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Some Deee-lish Recipes from Mom's the Word

I have really been enjoying the Mom's the Word series at IPC, our church.  Last week we had a cooking class which was taught by our fabulous cook Elizabeth Boyd (a gem!).  She taught us about heavenly chicken salad, some killer dressings and how to make a lattice work pie!  Needless to say, I was so inspired when I came home that I made everything she had told us about, pie and all.  Here are her wonderful recipes:
Basic Vinaigrette Dressings

Ratio: 1 part acid: 2 parts oil

Sweet Red Wine Vinaigrette
½ cup red wine vinegar
1-cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 Tbsp. (+) sugar (may use Splenda, Agave, etc.)
Kosher Salt/Coarse ground pepper
Granulated garlic

Sesame Vinaigrette (Great on salads, chicken, shrimp, veggies, salmon, etc)
½ seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 cup EVOO
2 tsp. sesame oil (she loves Kadoya brand)
Kosher Salt
Coarse Ground Pepper
Black Sesame Seeds (just for color, she said it just looks better. you can use regular sesame seeds)

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 ½ lemons when I made it)
1 cup EVOO
1 Tbsp. (+) sugar- may need more (I did 2 and it was great- we said maybe 2 for a salad dressing and one for a marinade)
1 clove garlic
Handful of fresh Basil (or dill or mint or basil/mint mixture for a Thai flavor)
Kosher Salt/Coarse black pepper
Blend thoroughly in food processor or blender until emulsified

Southern Chicken Salad

4 roasted chicken breasts (seasoned with salt and pepper and baked in the oven)
2 celery stalks, chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
celery seed (I put maybe about a teaspoon, I guess do it to taste, she wasn’t specific)
Kosher Salt/ Coarse Ground Pepper
Mayonnaise (add by the spoonful until it no longer falls apart)

Finely chop chicken by hand or in food processor (I like it with the food processor).  Combine with celery, parsley, celery seed and salt and pepper.  After mixing, add enough mayo to bind and stir. 

Blueberry/Fruit Pie with Lattice Crust Top


2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
2/3-cup shortening/butter
6-7 Tbsp. ice water

Combine dry ingredients. Cut in shortening or butter with pastry cutter or using the pulse button on the food processor until it is a coarse meal.  Sprinkle in ice water one Tablespoon at a time and mix, Repeat until dough is moistened. (I think it took me more like 10 Tbsp of ice water) DO NOT OVER-MIX!  Divide dough and roll into 2 disks. Place on 2 pieces of generously floured wax paper.  Roll into a round circle.  Place one in bottom of pie pan (use a deep pie pan so the blueberries will fit!) with edges hanging over. (it looks messy, but you will clean it up later- she told us a trick to getting it in the pie pan.  Fold it in half and then fold that half-circle in half and then place it like a ¼ into the pan, then unfold it.  It works really well)

Now prepare the filling:
4-5 cups of fresh blueberries, washed
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Salt- just a sprinkle
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. butter

Combine berries, sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon and mix well.  Pour into prepared piecrust. 

Lattice Top:
Cut the remaining piecrust into thin strips (3/4 in).  Place 2 long strips in a “plus sign” on the center of the pie.  Continue adding strips in alternating directions, working outward until lattice is formed.  Trim edges of strips and fold edges of bottom crust over the edges of the strips.  Dot top of pie with butter.  ( I also did an egg wash to make it pretty and shiny-just egg whites brushed over the top) 

Bake on lower rack of the oven at 425 degrees approx. 45-50 minutes until crust is golden. (it took about 40 minutes in my convection oven, just watch it)  (Elizabeth said to place on cookie sheet to catch drips, but mine didn’t drip)  Serve with vanilla ice cream!

Every once in a while I become inspired to culunary greatness, now whether I can repeat this deliciousness is the question....

May and June with G

 Bath time! Always a favorite...and a good time filler!
 Trying some hand-cut fries at The Varsity in ATL!!
 At my cousin Ashley's beautiful, fun wedding.  G was a trooper, though he did take a few snoozes...

 Little sleeper!

 He is a very, very good helper around the house! I can't wait to give him real chores. So far he can pick up his diapers and throw them in the trash and pick up all his toys in the bath, so we are on our way!

 Our first tomato!! B-E-A-U-tiful!
 Arden's birthday party!! He is 2 and has a little brother on the way in October!
 At the Levitt Shell with Unc-Al!
 Father's Day- obviously post-lunch and pre-nap!

 My side of the road table refinished!  I love having a table to work at in our dining room, we haven't used it to eat in in a long time, but I have been using it frequently for an office!
 Watching the workmen busting up the foundation from the little house behind Ezra's house!
 I love having fresh flowers from my mom's yard.  Hopefully one day I will have hydrangeas, it is a dream of mine. :)