Sunday, January 25, 2015

Favorite Food Bloggers

I love to cook - plain and simple.  I really love to cook and for people to love to eat what I cook!  I've always been a collector of cookbooks (until we moved - Salvation Army received a wonderful selection of cook books when I was packing!!).  As we were packing, I realized that most of the recipes I use these days come from three of my favorite food bloggers/writers.

I love the recipes from Stephanie at Plain Chicken; and Ree at Pioneer Woman (I did keep Ree's cookbook . . . no, I don't know any of these but feel like I can call them by their first names and feel like we are friends - even though they have no idea I exist :-); and last, but certainly not least, is Christy at Southern Plate (she did comment on my blog one time!!)

We have been a part of the same supper club for over 10 years now and so I love to try out new recipes on those folks (they will love me anyway!).  I was in charge of the appetizer last weekend and pulled a recipe from Plain Chicken for some roll-ups.  I made one slight change to her recipe.

Here is the recipe as I made it:
1 large can of chicken breast - drained (the ounces varied at the store - anything from 11 to 13 oz -- I used swanson 12.5 ounces)
1 8 ounce block of cream cheese - room temperature (picture shows two blocks - only use ONE)
6 Tablespoons of salsa - I used medium
several good shakes of Frank's hot sauce (added this because it just didn't have enough zing!!)

Put drained chicken, cream cheese and salsa in bowl of mixer and blend (you could probably do this by hand or in a food processor - my handy dandy kitchen aid mixer sits on the counter so that was easiest for me).  I did it in the mixer because I wanted a smooth texture.

At this point, I tasted it and didn't think it was spicy enough so I looked in the cabinet and found a new bottle of Frank's.  I didn't measure the Frank's - I just splashed it in.

Spread this mixture on flour tortillas - this recipe makes enough for about 8 tortillas.  Roll up and wrap in wax paper (twist the ends) and place in fridge.

About 20 minutes before time to leave our house, I whipped out the electric knife and unwrapped one roll up at a time and sliced (on a cutting board).  Each slice was about 3/4 inches.  I had enough slices to cover a medium sized platter.  Every single piece was eaten!!  I love when people eat my food!

Tonight I made lasagna for our Tuesday night Bible study group.  I used Pioneer Woman's recipe.  I've made it several times before and it is indeed THE BEST . . .just fyi - I tripled the recipe which will be enough to feed 25 people.  I do not triple the spices.

I use Southern Plate recipes all the time, too!

So . ..where do you find your favorite recipes?

Friday, January 23, 2015

I'm happiest when I'm creating . . .

Yes, I have a mess on my island.  Yes, I am creating.  Yes, maybe I am playing!  Yes, I am indeed happiest when I am creating!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Family comes in all shapes and sizes

I would bet that you already know this for a fact.  Friends and family come in all shapes and sizes!
I feel like we have made an effort to spend more time with friends and family this year. (of course, as I am re-reading this, I'm thinking to myself - no, we didn't!!  That was the plan!!  It is ridiculously hard to schedule time though.  I thought that when we hit "middle age" we would have lots of leisure time but seems like we are busier than ever!!)

So just who are these friends and family members?

Nathan and the girls (Miriam, Lydia and Charis are all young adult women but I think we are all girls somehow) hosted the Harris family Christmas gathering this year.  We always get together on Christmas Day Night.  Mark and Nathan were busy putting "cake gravy" all over their desserts and we were busy texting pictures of said "cake gravy" to our nephew, Thomas in Delaware trying to make him jealous (Thomas is a freshman in college at University of Alabama but was in Delaware for the holidays).  Cake gravy is not really gravy at all but it is basically the boiled custard used for homemade ice cream . . .not frozen . . .but big hunks of vanilla ice cream (from the store) dropped into the punch bowl with the custard.  I know it sounds weird but believe me - it is good.  I just looked back to last year to see if I had blogged about cake gravy but we were in the midst of some hard times in January and February of last year.  Mark and Thomas decided last Christmas that they were going to make it, bottle it (or can it) and sell it.  I thought they were quite silly about it last year but the Smith girls (Miriam, Lydia and Charis) told us this year that they laughed so hard about cake gravy . . .and that conversation gave them something funny to talk about during the midst of a difficult time.  We miss Nancy.  Plain and simple.  We miss her so much so I know that Nathan and the girls and her momma and her siblings miss her even more.  I was so proud of all of them for hosting this year.

Nathan was pouring cake gravy all over his dessert plate.  I think he is the first one a few years ago to put the custard (cake gravy) on top of his cake (I believe it was coconut cake that year!). . .and Mark quickly followed suit.

Family not only comes in all shapes and sizes but also all ages.  Not many families can brag that they have two such beautiful matriarchs.  Mark's momma - Susie - is on the left (just fyi - I think I've said this on here before - I have never called her Susie in my life.  I call her either Mark's momma or grandmother.)  Aunt Mary is on the right.  Many people think they are sisters but they are sister-in-laws.  Aunt Mary was married to Uncle Billy - Billy and Susie were siblings (along with Uncle John and Aunt Margaret).  Grandmother (Susie) has outlived all her siblings.  I know that was boring to anyone who was reading.  Sorry!!

Bill and George are in the dessert line.  I actually had to scroll back up and look at Mark's shirt to make sure this was George.  Sometimes it is a little freaky being married to an identical twin!!

There were several children at the family gathering this year.  They are/were all so cute. . . .and so very busy!!  Constant motion!  David's little boy had a long talk with Laura about Christmas nakins (yes, I meant to spell it that way - say napkin without the "p" - that is how he pronounced it.)  Laura used his nakin for some reason or another and replaced it with a paper towel.  He promptly informed her that she had not handed him a nakin but a paper towel . . .and it certainly wasn't a Christmas nakin.  He NEEDED a Christmas nakin.

Friends and family also come in all sorts of genders.  Who knows what these men were discussing . . .football, perhaps?

so family does come in all shapes and sizes, ages, stages, gender.  I went back and pulled this picture of Phella and Nancy and me at Nancy's last birthday party.  Phella is not "related" to us at all but I feel like she is my sister.  Family comes by blood (like the picture of my sisters, stepmother and me down below) and family comes by marriage (like Nancy and George and Bill and the girls) and family comes by choice (Phella).

This Christmas, time with family was good.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Green Bean Goodness

Trying out a new green bean recipe - combining a couple that I found online and then making some changes.  I think I'll call my recipe "Green Bean Goodness."

I decided that it would be easiest to make these in my electric skillet.  I love my electric skillet - I use it all the time!!

This is not a healthy recipe but I'm making it for the young adults and it is going to fee about 25 people so we aren't talking about a large serving per person.

one pound bacon - chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
brown onion and bacon in skillet - don't cook until done but cook until not "so raw" looking - you know what I mean?
drain 6 # can (yes, I said a 6 POUND can - actually, it is something like 6 pounds and 7 ounces . . .I really could use two tonight but only have one) and one regular can of cut green beans (I added what I had in the pantry!!)
add to skillet
melt one stick butter in microwave safe dish (I use my four cup glass measuring cup to melt butter)
add 3/4 cup brown sugar (it was really a HEAPING half cup -- why don't they make a 3/4 cup measuring cup?  So many recipes call for 3/4 cup and I don't like using the glass "one cup" for things like brown sugar)
add 6 T soy sauce
add one teaspoon minced garlic (I buy it in the jar)
stir butter, soy sauce, brown sugar and garlic together
pour over green beans
gently stir
Add a little salt and a few good shakes of black pepper
put lid on electric skillet
cook one hour
remove lid
cook until juices begin to caramelize and bacon continues to crisp (the green beans actually started shrinking . . .I cooked that long)
(p.s. - these were a hit - not a single green bean for leftovers!  They received the "thumbs up" from several of the young adults!!)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dirty Santa - December 2014 - Trinity Young Professionals

Great night of fun!  Presents under the tree - $10 or less . . .
At the end of the night, I was the new owner of a jar of homemade hot chocolate mix and two miniatures of Baileys - YUMMY!
At the end of the night, Mark was the proud owner of a chia pet which he re-gifted on Christmas morning to our son, Glenn!!  (shhh!)
At the end of the night, Julie Lynn was the proud new owner of a Guy Fieri skillet with the words, "love, peace and taco grease" written on the inside of the skillet (I bought that and thought it was too cute!)
Mark wrapped up a set of car keys for a brand new car . . . that just happened to be sitting somewhere totally smashed to smithereens . . but it was a brand new car!  He had added a bottle of wine and his motto was that you could indeed "drink and drive" safely because those car keys weren't going to get you anywhere!
I can't remember what Laura had at the end of the night - maybe a bottle of wine??
We had some fun gifts!!

That is Hunter in the tacky Christmas sweatshirt and Santa hat.  I kept seeing him out of the corner of my eye and I kept thinking to myself, "Santa is here!"

Maybe Julie Lynn didn't end up with the cute skillet after all . . .here she is opening another present!!

A good time was had by all (I think!!).  I can't imagine our lives without this group of young adults.  So many of them have become "our kids" - we enjoy our Tuesday nights so much!

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Mark and I started dating back in the summer of 1982 (I think that is right!!).  1982 is the same year that a new sitcom entered our tv watching -- The name of the tv show was Cheers.  Cheers ran from 1982 to 1993 and I swear we have probably watched all of the episodes at some time or another.  I always thought that cozy bar was a rather neat place and I loved how everyone in the bar always yelled, "Norm" when the character played by George Wendt entered the bar.  The theme song was rather "catchy" at the time, too.

Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries sure would help alot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
and they're always glad you came
You wanna be where you can see
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.

We all want that a little bit, I think.  We want to be known.
We now live in a neighborhood with a restaurant/pub by the name of The Boot.  We usually eat there about once a week and we've been doing that for about a year now.  I think that The Boot is probably one of the main reasons we chose this neighborhood.  We would eat dinner at The Boot and then drive around the neighborhood and look at the houses.  We fell in love with the neighborhood.

We ate at The Boot last night and it is such a popular place that there is usually a line out the door.  The last two weekends (I ate there with  my friend, Mary Elizabeth last weekend), one of the employees has come to the line and asked for parties of two so we were seated rather quickly.  The employee took our name and put it on a table (she even drew a smiley face).  I was thinking that I wished they knew our name.  Silly, isn't it?  They know our faces - as a matter of fact, Mark ordered a new menu item and the girl working at the front  (oh my goodness - I just realized that I don't know any of their names either!!  I must take time to learn their names!!) taking orders, said, "next time y'all come in, I want to hear his thoughts on the steak sandwich." (it was delicious, he said!)

I realize that I have rambled all around in this post - where am I going?  In Isaiah 43, we read, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you.  I have called you by name; YOU ARE MINE."  Last night, I immediately realized (after my glass of wine had worn off) that I wanted to write this down.  God knows me by  name.  If I were to enter into God's restaurant (forgive me for taking such liberties!!), he wouldn't have to ask my name, he would open his arms wide and say, "Lisa!  I'm so glad you are here.  Let me show you to your table."

The first line of the song was, "making your way in the world today takes everything you've got."  This whole last year has taken just about everything I've got.  The thing is .  .when I've used up all my "stuff," there is room for God.  You know - you might do this, too.  We try to do it all on our own.  Like a little kid, we push God to the side and say, "I do it!" (haven't you heard a toddler say it just like that??)

Making my way in the world today has taken everything I've got
Taking a break from all my worries (I realize as I'm typing this that I really don't have that many worries) sure would help a lot!
Sometimes I want to go
Where everybody knows
God does.  He knows me by name and I am his.  I can rest easy knowing that!! 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Charles - Charlie - Chuck - Upchuck

Back in September or early October, Laura adopted a rescue kitty.  We thought he was three years old but it turns out, he is more like five years old.  This poor kitty has had the worst time.  Some previous owner decided to have Charles de-clawed . . .but his claws just keep growing back.  I can't tell you how much money Laura has spent at the vet . . .and how many antibiotic shots he has received.  (shout out for Dr. Frederick at Alford Animal Hospital - she is THE BEST!)
Anyway, here he is when we first realized he had a problem (he was bleeding all over our new house and new furniture - see the beach towel - everything in our house is covered in beach towels . . .still . . .and this is January!!!  I didn't know they made "cones of shame" for cats.  It looks like a "hair cut cape" to me!  He had a hard time walking in it at first but mastered it very quickly! (his toes are still not totally healed!!)

Yes, he jumped up onto the bar stool.  He thinks he is a people (yes, I know that "people" is not correct . . .but he is a cat!!)

He is really a sweet cat.  Still slightly afraid of people.  He will sit on Laura's back or beside her on the sofa and he will ALLOW us to pet him.  What Charlie really likes to do is EAT.  Bless his heart, he is considered overweight and HE LOVES TO EAT.  (he also loves to sleep - but sleep requires a snack and a bath before hand)

He is begging - literally begging - for turkey.  He can stand on his hind legs and practically dance for a piece of turkey lunchmeat.  Mark can't stand for him to cry because he is hungry.  He only eats dry (DIET - THEY MAKE DIET CAT FOOD!!!!) diet cat food and he is only supposed to have about a half a cup a day.  At least our house has stairs so he has been getting lots of exercise.

He loves sitting outside on our screened in porch but he wants someone to sit out there with him and will cry if we don't!  He thinks there is something hiding underneath the grill.  I went over there and looked . . .didn't see a thing!!!  He watched it intently for about 30 minutes!

I was sitting on the sofa and he jumped up beside me.  Closer!!  He was trying to help address and stamp cards with me.  He probably thought it was something to eat!  (you can see that the sofa is covered with an old blanket!!)

He has provided much entertainment.  He loves sacks and boxes.

He loves tissue paper.  I'm sure he is thinking, "they put that paper down JUST for me!!"

This is the closest he has come to sitting with me.  I was in the recliner and he hopped up on the arm.  He really is a handsome boy!

Charlie will be moving out (along with Laura) in the middle of February.  I think we will miss him!