November 25, 2009

thankful.

Tomorrow is the big day - the day to be thankful for all you have in your life. I'm thankful for all these things everyday, even if I don't say it. These above all are what matter most. Because the most important things in life, aren't things at all.

My Father
My Mother (God rest her soul)
My Family
My Boyfriend
My Best Friends
My Pets
 & 
My Life, Love and Health

I'm also thankful for many silly things in life as well.

wine
fresh coffee
sweet kisses
long and loving kisses
slobber covered dog kisses
rough cat kisses
d.v.r.
electricity & running water
sweet smelling candles
Rachel Ray + Tina Fey = Lady Heroes
HGTV
a warm bed
food on my table
my job
MUSIC
my jeep
Burt Freaking Reynolds!
children's laughter
chocolate
ginger ale
pizza & chicken wings
Captain Morgan
FOOTBALL!
email
30 Rock + Parks & Rec + The Office = The Funny
text messages
phone calls from old friends
flowers
cheesecake
nature 
ATOS + Robot Chicken + Family Guy = The Funny Part II
& BEING ALIVE!

What are you most thankful for?
Happy Thanksgiving! ox 
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stuffing vs. dressing.

The North and the South are different in many ways - I could go on and on about traditions, the people and the way things work in the different areas of our nation, two of which I've lived in for extended periods of my life, but I won't.

This time of year it boils down to one battle, Stuffing vs. Dressing. In the South most people have dressing - usually of the cornbread persuasion - SO tasty! Up North we usually have Stuffing (my personal fave). Which is your favorite - what do you serve at your family's feast?

While stuffing is my first choice, I do love my boyfriend's mother's cornbread dressing - it's heavenly. While delicious it won't ever take the place of my mother's stuffing. I can remember watching my mom rip up all the white bread the day before and placing in inside a paper bag overnight to crust up and making it smell so good with different spices. The thing that skeeves out about stuffing is the fact that you stuff it up inside the bird. After reading so many different food blogs and watching so many Thanksgiving specials on the Food Network - most cooks frown on this practice, mostly due to uneven cooking and turkey drippings. Who wants e coli or poultry funk for Thanksgiving - raise your hand!

I attempted to make a version of my mother's recipe without the bird last year and it turned out great. It was much more crispy than her stuffing was (since it wasn't in the bird) but it had all the flavor, which was awesome. All my Southern pals here raved about it - so I guess that was a good thing since they were all dressing fans.

Bottom line is no matter what you like, nothing will top YOUR families recipe, Mom always made the best, or dad, or grandma etc. So cheers to all the cooks this holiday. Be sure to thank them graciously for preparing the big meal and while your at it I bet a bottle of wine or bundle of flowers would make their days too. (Or some specialty beer of dad's doing the cooking!)

I will be enjoying my Thanksgiving with M's family. Playing with his new nephew, and the families new puppy and becoming a total glutton eating my weight in smoked turkey and all the trimmings! You best do the same!

Again, Happy Thanksgiving to all! ox

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November 24, 2009

thanksgiving trimmings.

With all the anticipation of Thanksgiving this year I started to think about all the images I've seen in passing of lovely centerpieces adorning holiday tables. I love the look they give to the table. Be it formal, or casual I do love the look it gives a table on any day of the week - but especially during the holidays. That being said, I also think they tend to be a bit of a issue this time of year. I love these samples I found while looking through Pottery Barn's bounty.

so simple and lovely!

I could see this one working out well as a pair - at both ends of the table.

All that being said - here is my issue with centerpieces on the table during the big feast - if they are taking up all the room where on earth do you fit the ULTIMATE HOLIDAY CENTERPIECE? The BIRD!!!! (Nom, nom, nom!)
This is all I want to see in the center of my table
during the holidays (at least when it's time to grub).

I can't wait to decorate my dining room table for Christmas - and I'm thankful that I won't be making the holiday meals this year, or anytime soon! That way I don't have to choose between beautiful arrangements or delicious bird! I'm sure most people cut down the bird first and then bring it out on a platter, but honestly even after that has happened there are still about 20 different sides that have to be brought to the table (stuffing/dressing, casseroles, cranberry sauce, potatoes, sweet potatoes - yada, yada yada). Buffet seems to be the only logical way to enjoy beautiful table decor and tasty treats!!!

How ever you dress your table this season I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday filled with goodwill and cheer. HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! ox

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November 22, 2009

turning into one of THOSE people.

This isn't good - for years I've always been annoyed by people that would grumble and be angry or in a horrible mood for an entire day (or week) after their team had a losing game. It really got under my skin, the way they would behave. But in the past two weeks, I think I'm becoming one of those people and it worries me! I'm a good sport when it comes to many things. I try my best not to talk smack about other people's teams unless provoked. I genuinely don't hate a single team in the NFL. OK that's a lie, I don't like the Cowboys or the Patriots (especially Tom Brady), at all - I never have (And I really dislike the Yankees as well). Otherwise I can take or leave other teams. I do however have issues with a few fan bases around the NFL but that's a horse of a different color all together (and usually revolves around the smack talk I hear about my favorite teams).

I love football, the trill of the game and everything that goes with it. But in the past two weeks I will admit the Steelers have not been playing their best. Maybe it's due to key players being out, maybe it's due to not enough preparation, maybe it's due to thinking it may be an easy game. Whatever it is it needs to stop, and so does this mood of anger after the game I've been experiencing.

I love my boys! Part of this issue could be due to me not being able to watch the past 2 games on TV. Last week I kept up with the play by play of the game on nfl.com - which was nothing but a complete tease. I'm a visual person I need to see the plays to get the full effect. I need to be able to see the highs and cheer, to deal with the lows that come with a loss or things that go wrong. Then I can at least say well we did well here, but not so much here. This week I had to live with highlights of the Steelers vs. the Chiefs, and then finally got to watch the last bit of completely horrible OT footage. I'm sure I will shake this off but its pretty sad when your boyfriend is hugging you telling you "I'm sorry your team lost." - Isn't that what I'm supposed to do for him? (He's adopted the Steelers as his NFL team from watching the games with me, and I in turn have adopted the University of Alabama for college games).

I pride myself on being a good sport and I'm sure this feeling will go away soon. I just love the game and love my team and hate to see them lose. I guess that's anyone that's a sports fan, right? So I guess I can be more understanding to the Incredible Hulk fans that get angry, and try to do better about losing my mess when my team doesn't win.

Bottom line I think I need to be able to watch the games first hand - not highlight clips. Win or lose at least that way I know what happened and what went wrong. I'm just truly disappointed that we lost to Kansas City. I don't ever like to think we've got it in the bag ever, but we, I say that like I'm playing on the team, the Steelers should have done more on this game.

I'm off to go grumble and try to snag a bite of the awesome smelling chili that M is making in the kitchen.

HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE! I'm going to go cheer myself up, SOME HOW!

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November 21, 2009

crab dip


I've been slacking on my tailgate recipes but here goes. This is one of my favorites of all time. I thought about sharing my Buffalo Chicken Dip but seriously how much Buffalo flavored stuff can one consume? If you're me ... a lot! But I figured I should switch it up.

This is a quick and easy meal and if you love crab meat like I love crab meat, you'll be sold. (This would actually be a great appetizer dip to bring to Thanksgiving as well!)

Crab Dip

Ingredients
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 (6 ounce) can crab meat, drained
  • 1/8 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning TM, or to taste
  • 1 (1 pound) loaf French bread
  • 1 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Combine the cream cheese, milk, crab meat and Old Bay Seasoning ™. Mix until creamy. Spread mixture into an 8x12 inch baking dish, and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 to 40 minutes.
3. Cut a circle out of the top of the bread and scoop out the inside. Tear the inside into pieces for dipping.
4. Remove mixture from oven and spoon into hollowed bread. Cover the top with the shredded cheese and more seasoning. Place the bread bowl on a medium baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven 45 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Serve hot with bread pieces on the side. (Note: Instead of using the bread you can use a casserole dish for this and sprinkle the cheese on top - this makes for easier warming up if needed later).

NOTE: You can use a bread bowl, tortilla chips or even just sliced (crusty) bread to dip into this. (Or your finger - teasing of course). It's so good!

Enjoy!
ROLL TIDE & GO STEELERS!

I'm a bit annoyed with the tv stations here this weekend I won't be able to watch the Steelers play. Instead I will be flipping between 2 games at the same time - rooting for my 2nd favorite team and my 3rd favorite team - The Redskins and the Colts.

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November 17, 2009

awards make me smile.

The lovely lady in charge of A Journey Through the Waiting Game presented me with an award today. Thank you so much girl! I'm always so excited to get getting these blog awards. I never thought in a million years I'd have 1 follower, let alone 52. So thank you all for your support, kind comments and for hanging with me!



To accept this Over the Top award I must answer these questions and then pass the award on to 7 other bloggers. So here goes...


1. Where is your cell phone: In my purse, and probably dead.

2. Your hair: Is up in a sloppy bun - I'm embarrassed to say this is a norm right now - I need a hair cut in the WORST way.

3. Your mother: was one of the most talented women I've ever met. I miss her so much.

4. Your father: is my rock. I would be lost without him.

5. Your favorite food:Chicken wings and pizza - as well as most Italian and Chinese food.

6. Your dream from last night: I don't recall a single dream last night.

7. Your favorite drink: Water and the crack that is Coca Cola Classic (I'm trying to stay away from it, and the battle is a losing one). And honestly... after a rough day nothing beats an Ice Cold Beer or a cocktail mixed with Captain Morgan.

8. Your dream/goal: To be the best I can at what I do, and to lose all the weight I've gained since moving here to the South.

9. What room are you in: my office/woman cave.

10. What is your hobby: As of most recently cooking and baking. Now that the woman cave is set up, I hope to get back into all the other hobbies I love so much.

11. What is your fear: Aliens. Yes, I know it's irrational, but they freak me out. Have you ever seen Fire in the Sky? You'd understand if you did.

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years: Hopefully married, owning a home and a continued career in graphic design, and children, maybe? (Checks biological clock).

13. Where were you last night: At home, hanging with M and the pets.

14. Something you are not: Prissy. Not in the least. I burp like a man but I dress like a woman - I'm a riot at parties trust me. I do know how to behave like a lady when needed but it's much more fun running with the boys from time to time.

15. Muffins:Blueberry!

16. Wish List items.: New camera! New Mattress! New Running Shoes! (For the NEW BODY!)

17. Where did you grow up: Mt. Airy, Maryland.

18. Last thing you did: Designed a business card.

19. What are you wearing: jeans, a brown sweater and brown boots.

20. Your TV: Is flat and pretty and bright!

21. Your pets: June Carter Cash the Wonder Mutt and Angus Young O'Malley (Add tons of other Irish names) the Rock Kitty!

22. Your friends: Are the family I've chosen for myself and I love them. They rock!

23. Your life: is chaotic and trying at times but with M by my side, my friends and family it's always a welcomed journey and worth living and loving every minute!

24. Your mood: happy.

25. Missing someone:  My mom... and My dad and friends back East.

26. Vehicle: Jeep Cherokee "Snowman" - Yes after the trucker in Smoky and the Bandit.

27. Something your not wearing: glasses - I have in my contacts.

28. Your favorite store: Target & Kirkland's have been battling it out for my affection as of lately.

29. Your favorite color: Crimson Red and Carolina Tarheel Blue (as well as green lately).

30. When's the last time you laughed: earlier today.

31. When's the last time you cried: It's been a day or so. One of my friends lost her mother, and another lost her father - I keep replaying my past year in my head and I hate having friends go through this pain that I felt, and I am still feeling.

32. Your best friend: THEY are each unique and I love them with all my heart.

33. One place you go over and over: Walmart and I hate that - We grocery shop there. They have the best prices but the highest annoyance factor, EVER.

34. One person who emails me regularly: M.

35. Favorite place to eat?: Besides eating at home, Ricatoni's here locally and the Flamming Pitt back home in Maryland. Best. Prime. Rib. EVERRR!

Here are my 8 Picks!
M @ Stories of Mikistory (my new favorite blog - because it's by M!)
Lauren @ Salt Says
Blair @ Reasonably Swanky
Living the Simple Life
Leslie @ A Blonde Ambition (GET WELL SOON SWEETIE!)
Brittany @ An Enchanted Life While Becoming A Wife
PK @ Room Remix (LOVE THIS BLOG!)
Beth @ Southern Beth

If you haven't read any of these blogs - check them out. They are all great!


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November 12, 2009

5 Years - November 14, 2009

Six years ago I met the man I call the love of my life, M. We met as I've mentioned before, on myspace.com. The main reason, besides his good looks, that I decided to email him was that his screen name was AC/DC (my favorite band, ever). We quickly hit it off via email, and soon after started chatting on the phone. Both of us were in relationships at the time and not looking for love. I'm happy that we found more than love, we found a true connection. For the past 6 years M has been my best friend, and my partner in crime. We talked for an entire year before actually becoming a couple - which I will admit was really hard on me mentally and emotionally. He needed time to himself after the break-up with his girlfriend. Some M time as he put it. I soon realized I needed the same, I had just ended a long relationship too, so we had the Single Summers we both needed. Oddly enough it took me leaving for an entire week with friends on a trip to Costa Rica with NO communication with him for him to realize he was falling for me (this was 10 months into us talking as friends). He knew he liked me, he knew he wanted to get to know me better but I think the distance between Maryland and Alabama worried him. We got to see each other the following week after I arrived home from Costa Rica. It was that weekend (Nov. 14th, 2004) we sealed the deal and became boyfriend and girlfriend. I moved to Alabama the following September. It's been a great ride, and I am so happy I made the first move. Little tid bit - the night we finally met in person (first picture in series), he had no clue I was coming to meet him. My best friend, T, myself and 2 of his best friends planned a whole trip for me to come surprise him at a local bar. I was so nervous I thought I would barf the whole day - it was crazy. Literally this is what movies are made of. The moment was in slow motion and all and the butterflies were amazing. He came out to the bar area where his friends were standing (he had a friend in town from Florida he hadn't seen in a while - his FL friend introduced his friends from FL, including my bestie T (as a fake out) and then they said "Oh yeah, and here's my other friend Kelly" they all moved out of the way and the look on his face was priceless! I remember him smiling and hugging me really tight. As we walked into the karokee room (another huge bond between us)... he held my hand. Finally I got up the courage to ask him if he was mad that I did this - and he said no, he was thankful and excited. A few moments later we posed for a picture with me and his good friend that helped me plan this event -he leaned in and kissed me on the cheek and I knew right then we were cool. That night we shared our first of many kisses, ones that I hope will never end. So here's to 5 years baby - I love you more and more everyday!!! (Images of our 1st year together).

Celebrating Us...
  • What are your middle names? Michelle & Jay
  • How long have you been together? 5 years.
  • How long did you know each other before you started dating? 1 year.
  • Who asked who out? He asked me out.
  • Who made the first move? A road trip from MD to AL as a surprise - I say I made the first move.
  • How old are each of you? I'm going to be 33, he's going to be 31.
  • Did you go to the same school? No not even in the same state.
  • Are you from the same home town? No very far apart.
  • Who is the smartest? We are both pretty smart cookies.
  • Who majored in what? We are both art majors. And graphic designers.
  • Where do you eat out most as a couple? At home and probably at On the Rocks or Ricatoni's.
  • Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? North Carolina and Maryland.
  • Who has the worst temper? Neither of us really - unless you count horrible drivers.
  • How many children do you want? Start with one, go from there - I need a ring first. *wink*
  • Who does the cooking? In the beginning he did - I could only cook hamburger helper and spaghetti. Now it's half and half... although I love cooking now so he lets me.
  • Who is more social? Are you kidding - we both are.
  • Who is the neat-freak? I think I'm more obsessive but he helps clean so it's a win/win.
  • Who is the most stubborn? Definitely me.
  • Who wakes up earlier? M, hands down.
  • Where was your first date? The Station (bar that we met at), other than that I'd say the night he took me to Ricatoni's for the first time a few weeks after my first visit.
  • Who has the bigger family? M, definitely - he has 2 sisters and 3 brothers!
  • Do you get flowers often? Not "official" flowers but M's always sweet about picking flowers in the yard to bring to me. I miss having the huge magnolia tree in our front yard they'd make the house smell amazing.
  • How do you spend the holidays? As evenly as possible. Thanksgiving is usually with his family and we try to spend Christmas with his parents and then rush to Maryland to be with my dad.
  • Who is more jealous? We both get a bit antsy when it comes to people hitting one me or him but we keep our cool. I know he's coming home with me. I just don't like when girls disrespect me or our relationship.
  • How long did it take to get serious? One year. Although I had serious feelings for him before that.
  • Who eats more? Luck of the draw...
  • What do you do for a living? We are both graphic designers.
  • Who does the laundry? We share this responsibility.
  • Who’s better with the computer? We are both computer savvy but he's way better than I am about maintaining a computer, fixing it etc.
  • Who drives when you are together? Half and half but we usually drive my Jeep. His is for camping, canoeing and mud riding... mine is the "city jeep".
  • What is "your" song? I don't think we officially have one, but if I had to pick one, I'd say "Patience" by GNR - it's very fitting. It took a lot of patience for me to get to where I am. I wanted to be with him so bad but I had to be patient and wait until he knew what he wanted so we both could be 100% sure about this, and us.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY BABY! Here's to five years and MANY more! Love you! ox

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Interactive Thursday.

I thought this was a great post from Sonja at For the Love of Stilettos. She is doing an Interactive Thursday and I thought I'd play along. Check out her post and join!

When you think about the South what's the first thing that comes to mind!?!
  • You need a passport to come down here. (Yes this is a joke but it's my favorite, thank you Reese Witherspoon and your lovely movie Sweet Home Alabama).
  • Sweet Tea. Sure you can get sweet tea up north now, but Southern sweet tea is where it's at. I've never had sweeter tea than my boyfriend's mother's brew.
  • SEC Football. I have never seen a set of more passionate fans in my life. Sure Northern fans are passionate but here in the South football seriously is a religion. ROLL TIDE ROLL!
  • Jacked up Trucks and Jeeps covered in mud. The higher the better. I'm not as brave as some people when it comes to trail riding but I do enjoy a good roll out into the country on a sunny Saturday afternoon, through puddles and the woods.
  • Jacked up Grandpa Cars. You know how the Dirty South Rolls! These ghetto fabulous hoopties tickle me every time I see one rolling down the street. They are usually painted in amazingly bright crayon inspired colors with rims, huge tires and lots of bling. I'm going to assume the ride in one of these is SO rough. 
  • CAMPING, CANOEING AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS! These have become some of my favorite pastimes since moving to the South.
  • BAR-B-QUE! ZOMG! NOM! So freaking good. I don't care if you like it Carolina Style, Texas Style or Southern Style. If you like your sauce sweet, tangy or just a straight up bit of smoked meat that's sauce free, the south is where you come to get your grub on!
  • The Accents, Ya'll! I'm from Maryland, so I don't really have a northern accent per say, but I've been told I sound different by local Southerners. Sad part is I've been living here in Alabama for 5 years now, and I'm starting to talk like I'm a native. EEP!
  • Religion. I've never been to a more spiritual place in all my life.Ever.
  • The Gulf Coast. When I live in Maryland I never once thought of Alabama as being a coastal place - boy was I wrong! Gulf Shores is beautiful. It will never replace North Carolina's coast in my heart or the Eastern Shore but it does a damn good job of keeping me happy! 
P.S. GRITS - I don't know how I forgot those. YUM!

Thanks for posting this Sonja, it was too fun! Keep up the great work.


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November 11, 2009

Veterans Day.


Always remember, honor and never forget the veterans of our US Armed Forces. Thank you to all our service men and women, past, present and future. Thank you for all you do and all you've given us as a nation. My cousin has been to Iraq a few times and I'm always so happy when he returns home safely. I hope that all of you waiting on a soldier are able to enjoy the same joy when your loved one comes home safe and sound.

Happy Veterans Day!

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November 09, 2009

weekend wardrobe.

With football season in full swing I started to think about my weekend wardrobe. It seems that every Saturday and Sunday I spend my day dressed in athletic gear supporting my favorite teams (Alabama University and the Pittsburgh Steelers - sometimes even the University of North Carolina GO HEELS!). This isn't such a big deal I guess - it makes getting dressed those mornings easy, and I'm certainly not alone. It does get a bit embarrassing when M and I are wearing the same shirt. (We already dress the same by accident on a regular basis - it's rather creepy). Truth be told if I see a shirt I like, I know he'll probably want one too, so I buy one for both of us in our designated sizes - we have at least 3 of the same shirts (not all athletic mind you). I've turned him into a Steelers fan and he has turned me into a Crimson Tide fan. My issue is this, if we're going out to a bar, or we're hanging at a friends house in all honestly it's not a big deal to be dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, but I have to admit I really love the flair Southern Belles have to dressing classy and supporting their teams. If you've ever watched an SEC football game you'll know what I mean. The girls dress to the 9's in school colors to support their boys on the field. It's amazing. And honestly the guys do too. You often seen Southern boys dressed in button up shirts sporting team colors or even ties to the games. I can't say it's strictly a Southern thing but I know most of my friends back home sport two things when watching football either it's a jersey or a t-shirt and since it's so cold up North this time of year already, we usually cover up with big coats if we're at the actual game. (FUNCTION BEFORE FASHION WHEN IT COMES TO THAT - and I'm sure many Southern girls are thinking I'm crazy for saying that). Momma always said, you can't be beautiful and comfortable at the same time!

One of my favorite blogs that I keep up with is Leslie's over at A Blonde Ambition. She often does a TREND WATCH segment and recently did one all about this topic of getting some fancy, classy digs for game day. A Blonde Ambition: Trend Watch Show Your Team Pride I fell in love with the website she featured True Colors Apparel. The clothing is so cute and comes in many designated college football colors, which can be hard to find or match at random clothing stores. It's never the right shade of crimson, or blue etc. I can't thank Leslie enough for posting the info about this on her blog!

My favorite had to be this dress hands down (Also one of the ones Leslie picked as one of her faves). It's so adorable. A bit short, but I figure with some leggings and some boots it would be completely adorable. I guess in my mind I want to be a bit more girlie without losing the respect of KNOWING a thing of two about football in the process - and let's be honest, I wear the same 4 different shirts, and 1 jersey each weekend - maybe it's time to switch it up a bit. This also would be a great outfit to wear out a night to the bar/party to support your team and still look hot at the same time! I don't like to go "OUT" in sneakers and jeans w/ an athletic shirt unless it's to watch the game. Otherwise I like to be girlie and get dressed up.

What do you football loving ladies wear each week for game day? Do you have any special rituals?


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November 07, 2009

wonderful weekend.

This has the makings of a wonderful weekend. I love when M asks if I'm hungry on a Saturday or Sunday morning... it usually means he's making something. This morning he made me french toast with thick crusty french loaf bread. Man I love him.

Happy Weekend Everyone! ox

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Show Us Your Life: Baked Corn


This week's "Show Us Your Life" from Kelly's Korner is all about Thanksgiving recipes and traditions. Thanksgiving has become a rough time of year for me after losing my mother last year. I hoped that when I was able to get a hold of her cookbooks I could find all the secrets to her amazing holiday meals inside. Sadly, I don't think my mother ever wrote any of her recipes down, (including many of my favorite Christmas cookies) and since she had done the meal for so many years was able to do so without thinking twice about directions or ingredients. About 4 years ago I had my first Thanksgiving dinner with M and his family. I was so excited to be welcomed to the meal. I didn't want to come empty handed and offered to bring a side dish. I quickly called my mom and asked her for her great Baked Corn recipe. Over the years it was always my favorite - warm the day of or cold left over the next morning. My ex-boyfriend in high school always raved about it and a few friends that we welcomed to the dinner table years after that loved it as well. I was so pleased when M's family loved the dish - even though they all were used to his mother's excellent creamed corn. Last year I was able to recreate my mother's stuffing recipe (I'm from the North, it's stuffing there, not dressing). I was so happy to have pulled it off. Although I will be honest I've fallen in love with M's mom's Corn Bread Dressing. The lovely Leslie at A Blonde Ambition shared her own Southern Corn Bread Dressing recipe, it sounds SO good and similar to M's mom's great side dish.  Mainly for me Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, love and tradition and the art of being thankful for all that surrounds you. While you're stuffing your face this holiday, soak it all in and realize how luck you truly are. I know I will be doing the same.

Thanksgiving Baked Corn
  • 2 cans  Corn Nibblets (no water)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 4 tablespoons 1/2 and 1/2
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Beat eggs in a large bowl
  3. Beat in all ingredients (if too dry add a bit more 1/2 and 1/2)
  4. Grease or spray your casserole dish
  5. Pour evenly into dish
  6. Place dish inside a larger baking pan with warm water (fill about half way up the sides of casserole dish)
  7. Bake for 1 hour or until you can stick a knife into the middle and it comes out clean.
This is simple and so delicious. I've thought about making this on an ordinary day and it would work but it's just so special to me that I try to reserve it for holidays only.

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buffalo chicken pizza


It's that time again, time for an easy tailgating recipe for your weekend of football viewing pleasure. This recipe is more of a stay at home type thing. I'm sure if you had the skills and the know how (which I do not) to prepare this meal on the grill, I say have at it (and email me the process!!!) This one is simple and tasty!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
  • 1 Store bought pizza crust (thick or thin whatever you desire - these can often be found with the prepared spaghetti sauces, or near the deli section at most grocery stores. You can also use fresh dough or the dough that comes in a can. Follow baking directions. (For a crispier crust, bake the fresh dough first then add toppings and cheese and allow the toppings and cheese to melt together in the over).
  • 1 package of raw chicken tenders (or two chicken breasts)
  • 2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for coating the skillet)
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 stalks of celery (optional - I don't personally like this on my pizza)
  • 1 Bottle of Buffalo Wing Sauce (of your choosing, I prefer Moore's Wing Sauce or Franks Wings Sauce, note: you won't use the whole bottle)
  • 1 package of shredded mozzarella cheese (use as much as you like)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic (optional - I love garlic)
  • salt, pepper, and additional spices to make the chicken taste the way you like it (I usually add in some of the Kickin' Chicken Grill Seasoning that I mentioned in my Grilled BuffaloWings post).
  • Shakes of Hot Sauce to your liking (you may not even need it depending on the wing sauce you choose).
  • Ranch Dressing (you don't need this, but it's great for dipping or adding a small splash to the sauce mixture for tang).
Directions:
  1. Preheat your oven as directed on the package of the pizza crust (or fresh dough can etc).
  2. Chop up your onion and celery (optional), and dice up the garlic into small bits (optional). I usually reserve these to the side of my cutting board or in a bowl.
  3. Chop up the chicken tenders or breasts into bite sized pieces (always do this last and be careful not to contaminate other things with the chicken funk - wash your hands well after.
  4. If you're a quick chopper - you can heat your skillet with about 2 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil. I usually use medium/high heat.
  5. Add your chicken to the pan as well as the spices you desire to cook the chicken in. Let meat brown up almost completely and add in the onions, garlic and celery to saute.
  6. Once onions are slightly tender and chicken is cooked through add to the mixture your Buffalo sauce. Be careful to only use enough to coat the chicken and toppings. Then add just a little bit more to give a slightly wet sauce. You don't want this mixture too runny or it will make your crust soggy.
  7. (Some crusts will ask you to rub them down a bit with some olive oil, before putting on toppings - now is the best time to do that). I usually use my baking stone that's been preheated in the oven. Once I've rubbed down the crust with oil I add the mixture of the sauce and chicken and toppings and fan it out so that all the mixture is evenly distributed on the crust.
  8. Cover toppings (or I guess now they are bottomings) with as much cheese as you like - there is no wrong way to do this.  (I will add some dried oregano to the top of the cheese, just a shake or two but this is completely up to you).
  9. Bake according to the crusts directions (Usually it's about 7-10 minutes). Your chicken is already cooked through so there is no fear of it not being done enough. You're literally just baking the crust off and melting the cheese at this point.
I hope you enjoy this - it's my favorite go to meal. I feel a little better about eating this version of buffalo chicken - it's a bit more figure friendly. I usually use part skim mozzarella, and have sworn off using ranch dressing for this pizza (I'm trying to break that horrible dipping pizza in ranch habit!). All that is left is veggies and buffalo sauce. Serve this up with a side salad and you're good to go. It's fairly healthy so you feel good about it - and your boyfriend/husbands/friends will love it because it's all the goodness of chicken wings with less of the guilt!

ENJOY! ROLL TIDE & LET'S GO STEELERS!
I really hate that I have to wait until Monday to watch the Steelers play but that means I get to have a more productive Sunday.

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November 06, 2009

try new things.

This year has been the year of trying new things - mostly food. Sadly I haven't gone as extreme as Ross did on Friends when he tried a new adventure each day, like his leather pants on a movie date. I already made that mistake once, and on Spring Break in Ft. Lauderdale no less! (Note: They weren't actual leather but still way too hot to be wearing such a torture device!)

I guess I tend to make resolutions mid-year, not during the New Years celebrations like most normal human beings. So far this year I have re-tried Olives. Still hate them...(I'll never been grown up enough to enjoy olives),  pickled okra, I really liked it (but it's possibly because I was a bit tipsy at the time), and avacado. I loved the avacado and enjoyed the pickled okra more than I dare admit (I hate almost the whole jar).  I also took time to FINALLY try sushi. Yes, at age 32, I have only now braved sushi. I must say I love it. I didn't think that I would get the cravings that I hear friends say they get every once in a while - but I do! I'm not sure if it's for the actual fish, or the soy sauce that causes these cravings, but they are strong!

Sadly I've sworn off sushi until I get back over to the East Coast to visit. I had a bad bout with some sushi recently and I don't really want to relive that. I may have to break this vow to try a new place that just opened in town that everyone is raving about - then again the place I got ill from eating was a spot that everyone was raving about as well.

It is amazing to me how much your taste buds change as you age. I can remember vividly swallowing an entire mouthful of asparagus with milk like I was taking a horrible bitter pill at the dinner table in my youth. Now, I will eat it by the fist full. Same goes for mushrooms and even onions. I can recall picking onions out of meat loaf and taking almost an hour to eat one slice as a child - and I hated when my mom would add mushrooms to the peas. She did this because I loved peas, and my father hated them alone, he had to have something added to them to want to eat them. In the end we both grumbled but at least I got peas. Truth be told there are still a few vegetables that I will not eat, brussle sprouts, beets, and I'm still not a big fan of cooked cabbage (although I will eat red cabbage, raw in salads). And I still don't enjoy blue cheese. I can handle it on it's own mixed in a salad, but do not give me blue cheese dressing it makes my stomach turn to look at it. Come to think of it cottage cheese is something I've never tried... maybe that will be next.

I'm trying to figure out a few new things to try now that my taste is starting to change. Any suggestions? What is something new that you tried recently that you loved, or hated? Or maybe a suggestion on how to prepare something I've mentioned above that I swear I'll never like - that would be extremely helpful!
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November 05, 2009

the big easy.

What a great weekend! M, and our two friends D and A headed to New Orleans last Friday, after a quick detour to Jackson, Mississippi. It seems that Miss D was able to win 2 free passes to the Voodoo Music Fest that was happening Halloween Weekend down in New Orleans. I was extremely excited when she told M and I that we would be able to use the passes one night while we were there. YES, FREE! We planned to head to City Park Saturday evening to catch KISS. I was so excited.

While driving we hit quite a bit of rain, as well as some rush hour traffic on the way into the city. Strange usually traffic flows away from the city during this time but we used this to our advantage and looked on either side of the bridges to try to spot crocs in the waters (no luck).

Hotel Lobby Chandeler

We finally arrived at the hotel, a bit tired but ready for what the city had to offer. Our room was AMAZING! I've only stayed in one other Marriott, in Baltimore, Maryland, and this one in New Orleans did not disappoint in the least. Yes for weeks I'd been dreaming of the goose down comforter that would lay on top of our bed - thankfully they still used those. I was so pleased.

Our bed for the weekend. So comfy!

We had a room on the 19th floor, the view was amazing even if it was through rain on the first night.


Our first night in town we decided to brave the elements and hit up some where to eat and get a drink. Everyone had visions of Po' Boys dancing in their heads, I myself just wanted a Hurricane and something in my belly, but I wasn't sure what. We finally stumbled upon a place that sounded really good. Upon reading the menu and turning to walk to the front door we heard a voice calling to us from behind. The man said "The door is over here."  We quickly walked toward him and as we entered the door we realized we had been fooled into coming into a different restaurant. At first I was a bit worried but our server was amazing, friendly and attentive - and the food, well lets just say it was very, very tasty! I devoured my Ahi Tuna, steamed veggies and garlic potatoes - NOM!
 
Miss A, M and Me @ dinner our first night.

After we ate our fill we headed out to Bourbon Street. The evening was rather tame with the rain. Lots of people but not a huge crowd. The energy was amazing out there, and I was instantly in love with the town.

M, Me and Miss D on Bourbon Street 190 Octane & Hurricanes in hand. 

We walked all over the French Quarter - Miss D showed us so many different nooks and hide outs and bars it was awesome. I was happy to have someone that knew so much about her surroundings with us. It gave us a truer sense of the French Quarter, instead of just saying on Bourbon Street with all the other tourists we were able to dip in some dive bars and see different sights off the beaten path. We turned in a bit early the first night (around 1 AM) - I think we were all eager to be bright eyed and bushy tailed the next morning for all the activities we all wanted to do during our weekend in town.  As always the first order of business when waking is a) getting coffee and b) getting food. We didn't actually make it out of the room before 11:30 am, so instead of the breakfast I was anticipating, we ended up eating at a great little place in the French Quarter called Pierre Maspero's. If you are ever in the French Quarter, find this place (see the sign on the corner of St. Louis and Charles Street) you will not be disappointed.
Best place we ate, hands down and M's head

We all were so starving we probably would have eaten anything at that point but the night before Miss A mentioned eating a Hot Roast Beef Sandwich somewhere back home and the thought of that was fresh in my mind. I was so excited when I started to read the menu and behold, they had a hot roast beef and gravy po' boy sandwich. I knew right then and there it would be mine... complete with fries and extra gravy for dipping. This was hands down the best meal I had while in New Orleans, the gravy was perfect and the sandwich was crispy and gooey all at the same time! I left fat and happy that afternoon!

THE Roast Beef Po'Boy (this one is actually Miss A's Sandwich, not mine)


Waiting for the Trolley to City Park 
(note these are his regular sunglasses he didn't just buy them for his costume)

We spent some time walking around the French Quarter and then decided we needed to head to City Park so that Miss D could pick up her free passes to VoodooFest. We waited patiently and took a trolley ride to the park. Once at the park you could feel the vibe of good times in the air. There was music coming from the area where VooDooFest was happening and people were all dressed up in Halloween gear for the day. I wanted to reserve my costume for later that evening. Once Dana got her passes we decided to take a walk around the park to enjoy the old trees and the different areas of the park. I was amazed at how huge these trees covered in moss were. They were so pretty. I wish I could grow a tree like this. The branches that stretched down to the ground begged you to come and relax on them, and M did.

 
My favorite image of M from the weekend.

I took a million pictures of the trees but this was by far my favorite shot of the afternoon at City Park. After walking around we all figured we should head back to the room to relax for a bit, but halfway back on the trolley we decided instead we should try to hit up the small Mall in town to find the Fat Tuesday's there. After a quick pit stop at the room, and M taking time to put on his costume we headed over to the mall.

 
Close up of his Eye Make-Up and awesome hair.

Walking through the mall was more entertaining than I had imagined. Everyone who saw M, didn't quite know what to make of him. Was he serious? Was he for real? Who dresses like that? Why is his eye so black? Literally I yelped laughing a few times after seeing people's reactions to him and his best Hangover impersonation. Seriously, he does a great Zack Galifianakis impersonation. The guy at the Fat Tuesday's booth fixing our mixed drinks even thought M had a black eye and had gotten into a fight the night before. That speaks volumes for Miss D's make-up skills!

Getting our 190 Octane Fix at Fat Tuesdays and
Enjoying the view of the Mississippi River

Finally it was Halloween Eve. After scarfing down some dinner from the Food Court (not so great Chinese food that only cost $7.00 so it was a score of sorts). We all started to get ready for our night out on the town. (Funny Side Note: M has such fabulous hair, really fabulous hair, that when we tried to mess it up to get him in character - it wouldn't lay flat, no matter how much we got it wet or messed with it, it returned into a perfect faux hawk... so we gave up, hence why his hair is not flat like it should have been for his character).

 
Halloween 2009 - New Orleans, LA

Once ready we had a Senior Girl from Dazed and Confused, a guy from the Hangover, a Victorian Vampire (Miss D) and "The Girl that Didn't Get Cast as Jan Brady" (Miss A - or so she said her costume was).  We armed ourselves with our cameras and our wallets and headed out for a night on the town. I was disappointed that I only heard one person recognize my costume, but when they did I let out a very loud "AIR RAIIIIIDDDDDDDD!" Walking down to the French Quarter we had people stopping Miss D left and right for pictures because her costume was awesome - and quite a few people stopped M to ask if he was from the Hangover. The more we walked, the more people recognized him which made him beam from ear to ear. We only saw two other guys dressed like M - they of course had babies strapped to their chest, but what they didn't have was M's great REAL beard, they all had fakes). The highlight of M's night I think was when a girl stopped him so she could take his picture - I was so happy for him. I have to say that Miss D's costume was awesome - she put a lot of work and effort into her outfit. She had dressed as a pirate the night before and braved the rain so she gets mad props for being that together to have not only one great costume, but two!


 Miss D Bites - ACK!

I'm sure you're wondering by now what happened to M and I heading to the concert for FREE to see KISS. Well, after a long day enjoying the city, I started realizing that I had never been to New Orleans and that if I went to the concert I'd be spending the majority of my Halloween Night at the show and NOT partying downtown. Granted I LOVE KISS, but I didn't want to miss out on the real reason I came down to New Orleans in the first place and that was to experience Bourbon Street and all the fun to be had in the French Quarter. KISS will  hopefully come back around again with this tour to promote their new album. Halloween in New Orleans wasn't going to wait for me if I missed it.  And I'm so glad I didn't miss it. I saw so many amazing costumes (including a bare naked Santa wearing only his boots, hat and an apron - CREEPY!!!). I was so impressed that so many people poured over their costumes. I am disappointed I missed out on taking a picture of three drag queens dressed up as stewardesses in neon gear. They. were. fierce!  I got to catch beads (without showing the girls), I drank my hurricanes and all the while didn't get a single hangover. (WOOO HOO!) The weekend was a blast. We ended our late night with some absolutely awesome pizza. Can you tell I ate my way through New Orleans? I'm paying for it right now, trust me. But this pizza is one of the biggest things I'll miss about New Orleans... that and our bed!

Sunday morning was a slow one. We all woke up rather late and M and I made our way downtown for some time alone while Miss A and D got ready. We shopped a bit and had coffee and once we were all together we went to check out a place Miss D wanted to eat at. A local high school band was marching and playing around the French Market and they sounded so great! It was a nice slow Sunday. Later that day Miss D and Miss A took advantage of the free tickets to VooDooFest and M and I decided to have a date night.

M and I walked down to the French Market place and decided to have dinner at a place we couldn't help but drool over every time we walked by and smelled the fresh seafood. Oddly enough the place was called the French Market. We had some tasty food (crawfish tails, grilled oysters, grilled shrimp and crab au gratin) - the bill was pretty high but we never treat ourselves like that so it was a nice way to end the weekend. We topped off our night with some frozen beverages for dessert and walked back to the hotel hand in hand. Soon after Miss D and Miss A arrived back to the hotel and were hungry so we decided to head over to that same pizza place (yes again - trust me its' THAT good) and even though I was stuffed - I couldn't resist one last slice!

By now the weekend had clearly taken a toll on us. We were all ready for bed and in a way secretly wishing we were home already. None of us wanted to wake up for that 7 hour drive ahead of us.

Our final morning, after making coffee and checking out of our room - we made one last stop before heading out of town. We headed over to the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. This is one of the older cemeteries in New Orleans and it's become rather run down. I don't know how much damage was from Katrina, and how much was simply the act of neglect or vandalism but some of the tombs were not in the best shape. It was interesting to me to see how they have to make the tombs above ground and it felt strange to be that close (even if separated by concrete) to the bodies of the dead. I enjoyed getting a bit of background from Miss D and getting a chance to see Marie Laveau's tomb (a notorious voodoo queen). Her grave was adorn by many visitors with gifts of offering to her. I wasn't sure if I needed to leave her something, but just in case, I did. I don't need any bad mojo on me. I left her a bit of change, Miss A and Miss D lit her candles and left her a few blossoms from a near by tree. Various other voodoo queens had been buried here over the years as well. The XXX marks graves of voodoo queens and followers. There were a ton of beautiful statues still intact and they made for great pictures. I enjoyed the peace we got from being there at the cemetery. It was a nice calm way to end the weekend and to decompress before our long ride.

Marie Laveau's Tomb

 
My favorite statue in the cemetary

Many hours later we finally arrived back home. I was happy to see Angus and excited about picking up June from the kennel the next afternoon. It was a long, strange and fun trip the whole way and I'm so glad M and I got to share it together with the company of great friends. I'm ready to do it all over again next year, only this time I want to make it to the Garden District to see all the great plantation homes.

Note to self: Next time you stay at a Marriott find a way to snag the bed and bring it home. Our current bed is now KILLING my back. Thanks for spoiling me New Orleans!


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November 04, 2009

is it odd...

That I...
  • still have to sleep with the closet door closed, even after all these years?
  • make a wish at 8:08 of each day, instead of 11:11 like most people?
  • look forward to football season more than most girls?
  • that I learned to cook when I lost my job, not when I moved in with my boyfriend?
  • usually page through a magazine backwards?
  • don't want to know the whole plot of a movie before going to see it (I like to be surprised). I won't even watch trailers over and over or read spoilers.
  • tend to watch tv shows after the trend is over, or the show is no longer on television (ex. Freaks and Geeks and Sex and the City).
  • secretly want to eat oreos and not brush my teeth before going to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned just for giggles?
  • bananas make my mouth itch?
  • can't remember my current cell phone number to save my life but I could tell you my first phone number ever at my childhood home?
  • refuse to eat baby animals (lamb/veal etc). But I will eat the adult counter parts.
  • have an irrational fear of aliens?
  • that I never show off my belly ring, and most people don't know I have one, but I won't take it out?
  • that I can quote the entire movie of Smoky and the Bandit word for word, or the movie Billy Madison, but I'd have difficulty telling you the capitals of all the states?
  • that I can't stand the taste of diet soda but force myself to drink it hoping one day I'll change my mind? (it worked for lots of foods I hated as a child, why not diet soda?)
  • It took me 25 years to officially fall in love with my freckles and the love affair is still going strong after 8 years.
  • that I met my boyfriend on myspace.com almost 5 years ago? And we moved in together before our first anniversary of dating?
What is odd about you? I got this idea from Kelly @ Just a Girl in a City and figured I'd post my own. Please feel free to share some of your own and let me know you posted them.

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I survived....

I survived New Orleans. And entire weekend in the Big Easy and not a single hangover, true story. Either I truly handled myself well, or I need an intervention. The jury is still out on this decision. I promise there will be pictures to come (flickr is being fickle right now), and stories when I have time. Between grocery shopping, laundry, making dinner and catching up on phone calls it was all I could do to tear myself away to type this to you lovelies!

Extra points if you can guess M's costume from this picture alone.

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