Friday, June 24, 2016

Foodie Friday

I love to eat - if you know me, you already know that about me.  So . . .let's talk about food, ok?

Remember I told y'all about eating at Hattie B's Hot Chicken? and that we loved the black eye pea salad?

We are going to a friend's lake house tomorrow for lunch and I decided to try to make black eye pea salad . . . so of course, I googled recipe for black eye pea salad and looked at a bunch before I found one I might like.  I found one over at Kalyn's Kitchen and I'm tweaking her recipe (though I'm sure it is great just as is!!).

I'm using two 12 ounce bags of black eye peas.  I must agree with Kalyn - I'm surprised that you have to cook them first!  (but you do - I tasted one!!)

So cook up some black eye peas (that sounds southern -- cook up some black eye peas!!) with some garlic (I didn't have cloves but I had minced garlic in a jar!)  I also salted the water.

While the peas are cooking, I chopped a green pepper and a red pepper.  I want to add a little jalapeno but I'm not sure I have any - I'm going to dig in my refrigerator and see what I can find!!  I'm also going to add chopped green onions just like Kalyn did.

For the dressing, I squeezed a whole lime and zested about 1/4 tsp.  I added 4 tablespoons of olive oil and I added a teaspoon of cumin and a 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder and about 10 red pepper flakes.  I also added a healthy shake of Lawry's season salt.

The peas are taking longer to cook than I anticipated.  I'll let y'all know how it turns out!!

UPDATE -- after resting overnight, the pea salad was too dry.  I mixed up a cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup sugar; 1/4 cup white vinegar; big splash of balsamic vinegar; another good shake of red pepper, coarse ground salt and black pepper.  Poured this over the peas and allowed to marinate until lunch time -- delish!

We have invited neighbors (two couples) over for dinner tonight - this is a first for us.  We have a tendency to hang with our framily and family.  We have invited neighbors to our gumbo party (but we didn't have it this year!!).  Guess what I'm serving?  beef tenderloin - oh my goodness - I love it!  The Pig (piggly wiggly) had beef tenderloin on sale last week for $9.99 a pound and I stopped in while they were on sale.  I'm using an old tried and true recipe that an older lady in our church congregation shared with my sister-in-law 30+ years ago.

6-7# beef tenderloin serves 12
Remove almost all fat and remove silver skin.  I bought one that was pre-trimmed and Mark still had to do some trimming last night.  You need a very sharp knife.  Leave a little fat.
Marinate overnight - I used about 1/4 cup Ken's lite Caesar dressing and 1/4 cup Ken's olive oil and vinegar dressing and a healthy sprinkling of Cavender's seasoning and a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce.  (all of those are guestimates -- I don't measure)

Remove from fridge and allow to come to room temp (about 45 minutes)

heavily pepper and garlic salt outside of meat

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

cook 30 minutes for rare
40 minutes for medium
50 minutes well done (this would be a crime!!!!)
rest at LEAST 15 minutes before cutting

I'm also going to serve oriental slaw (I thought I had shared that recipe before but I can't find it on my blog) with teeny tiny roasted new potatoes (olive oil and kosher salt) and bread.  I just happen to have "homemade by Susie" German Chocolate Cake in the freezer for dessert.

Last but not least, we did go to Hot and Hot for my birthday dinner.  The food did not disappoint.

The heirloom tomato salad is so good.  Those are fresh peas and little pieces of fried okra scattered around.  I love this salad.  Mark - who doesn't like tomatoes at all - even loves this salad. Mark actually ordered two appetizers.  He ordered boudin balls (I didn't get a picture!!).  He was full after his two appetizers!

Being full never stops us from eating (how stupid is that!).  Mark ordered pompano and it was served over avocado and tomatoes (he didn't eat those tomatoes - they weren't heirloom!!).

I ordered chicken "fried" steak.  The steak was cut into sections with a piece of fried chicken "skin" stuffed between.  It was served with fingerling potatoes and buttermilk gravy over greens.  You see that tiny smear of gravy on the left side of the plate - it was sooooo good!  Mark loved my chicken skins and helped eat the beef, too.

Needless to say, we were actually too full to order dessert.  Really - we were too full.  It was delicious.

Those are our dining escapades . . .yum yum!

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Last night, we finished week three of our current Tuesday night study --
#Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World by Craig Groeschel. It is a “light” study – just perfect for summer – 5 weeks. 

It is amazing to me that even through a “light” study (not deep – sort of fun) that God can still speak loudly and clearly.

Did you know that yesterday was national selfie day?  Yes, there is evidently such a day.  

Here is my poor attempt at a selfie . . .with filters :-)  My eyes look crossed because I'm not coordinated enough to hold my phone and touch the button at the same time!!  Had to leave my reading glasses on because I could not see . . .oh well . . .

We talked about being authentic last night and about having a veil over our face as Moses did (2 Corinthians 3:13 refers back to the Old Testament Exodus 34:35)

We all wear masks (veils) almost all of the time.  We have a work mask and we have a church mask and we have a family mask and the list goes on and on.  When are we real?  When are we authentic? Mark even pointed out that we “try” to wear a mask with God.  We fool ourselves into thinking that we are fooling God.

Our masks continue right into social media.  We put filters on our pictures.  We try to do things that we think are Instagram worthy.  When are we real?  When are we authentic? With whom are we authentic?

Brene Brown – a great author, writes this about authenticity “authenticity is cultivating the courage to be emotionally honest, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable.  We let go of what we are supposed to be and embrace who we are.

I love her definition!!

What mask are you wearing today?  Can you take it off?  Will you be authentic?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What a Mess!!

Yesterday, I noticed that my office is a complete and total MESS so I took a picture of my desk.  Look at this crazy mess!!

I brought my silhouette cameo to work and I’ve been cutting out a banner for “the calm before the Stork” – a new ministry in our children’s department.  I have a tendency to create and make a mess and then clean up all at once!  I’m going to have to do some cleaning before Sunday J!!

What else do we see in this picture?  In the background you can see a shirt hanging over a chair.  Elaine and Noah got married at Trinity on Saturday and a groomsman (or groom?) left a garment bag and a shirt . . . and my office is the pick up spot!

My birthday was last week and sweet Graham (3 years old!) picked out my balloons and they are still happy so they are still here.  People keep stopping at my door and they ask, “Is today your birthday?  Happy birthday!”  I then have to explain that “no, my birthday was last week but my balloons are still happy!”

I recently made a sign for my office door – This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it – I like it ok but I want something else.  I even googled “decorations for church office door” or something equally as crazy – no luck.  Any suggestions?  I could get a big “E” – would work for both Elliott and Erickson!!

My office is indeed a MESS right now but it will be clean soon – surely!  I decided to google “creative and messy people” and found a great Huffington Post article – here is a quote:
At the same time, a study by Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, found that a cluttered environment helps increase creativity.
“Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights,” she said.

So there!  Are you creative?  Are you messy?

Monday, June 20, 2016

We are Framily!

Urban Dictionary defines framily like this:

A member of your circle who is more than a friend but not a blood relative. Combining the words friend and family. Someone very significant in your life not in your family. Joined by hearts and souls, not bloodlines.

We have been blessed to have framily and we recently spent a whole day together.
It was awesome!

We are indeed joined by hearts and souls, not bloodlines.

We give thanks to God for our framily!

riding around was so much fun!

I love these people!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wednesday Hodge Podge ACTUALLY written on Wednesday

check out everyone's answers at From This Side of the Pond

1. If you could sit beside and/or jump in any lake in the whole wide world today, which lake would you choose and why?  
We have so many choices in Alabama!!  Our friends have a house on Lake Tuscaloosa and we always enjoy spending time with them – that would be good!  It is actually raining here today so a fun sunny day at the lake sounds so nice.  Lake Martin is a really pretty lake.  Our daughter stayed with a family on the lake when she first moved down that way.  She sent this picture last week.

I could jump in this!!  On the 25th, we are going to a friend’s house on Highland Lake.  It is a smaller lake “community.”  It is really neat.  This past Saturday, I went “fishing” with Mark (I cast (casted?) one time – then I took pictures).  I DO NOT WANT to jump in this lake.  It has been fertilized and it is green right now!!

Here is a peaceful view of the same lake -- isn't it amazing how we can look at something in a different way?

2. What's your favorite 'fruity' drink?  Limes are fruit, right?  They count, right?  Margaritas!  I also love Moscow Mules – ginger ale (or ginger beer), vodka, and a lime’s worth of juice – yummy!!

3. I read a list here of thirteen things to do right now to simplify your life. They were-

clean as you go, re-evaluate your relationships (cut toxic ties), unsubscribe (too many blogs and websites), de-clutter, write down your daily goals, reply to emails right away, forget multitasking, create a morning routine, re-evaluate your commitments (which hobbies and responsibilities are most important to you), say no, clean up your computer, and plan your day ahead

Which of the tasks listed do you currently find most helpful in keeping life simple? Which item on the list should you adopt in order to simplify your life this month?
I try to clean as I go (sometimes!); at 58, I’ve started cutting those toxic ties!!  I need to unsubscribe – I get way to many junky emails!!  I keep a daily list and love accomplishing things on the list!  I have a loose morning routine but there is a routine.  I have lots of commitments and don’t plan to re-evaluate those anytime soon.  I’ve actually been trying to clean up my computer some.  I still have a million emails in my inbox but I’m working on it - - I promise!!
Yes, I know that I didn’t answer the exact question.  Sometimes I just run with it!

4. What did you do the summer after you graduated from high school?  I graduated from high school on one day and I started working at South Central Bell (now AT&T) on the next morning.  I had not had my 18th birthday yet and my daddy had to sign a release for me to go to work (child labor?  Full time?).  I learned a lot in that job!  I didn’t start college until a couple of years later.  South Central Bell had a tuition program and I took most of my classes at UAB and some at Jeff State (jr. college) at night.

5. Are you a fan of podcasts? If so what's a favorite? I rarely listen to pod casts.  Sometimes I listen to Ted Talks . . .and I listen to sermons on our church website (told y’all about those the other day).

6. Do you think today's fathers have it harder, easier, or just different than fathers in the past?  I think being a parent is always hard – very rewarding – but very hard.  I think parenting is different these days.  Dads are much more involved in the care of their children. We had twins so Mark had to help and he was great but he still hunted and fished on the weekends and I did the birthday parties and the chauffeuring.  I think more dads show up at those events these days.

7. Tell us one way you're like your father? Or not at all like your father if that's easier?
My dad always had a temper.  I have to work at controlling my temper.  I like to think I’m like my dad – he was a good man.  In reality, I think I’m more like my momma.  I definitely look more like her.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

My birthday was yesterday and I think it was one of the best celebrations of my life!  I’ve had a couple of incredible parties over the years given by friends and those were wonderful, too.  This year, I started my birthday by reading as a guest reader for The Overflow Foundation which just happens to be hosting a camp in Tarrant - my home town.  I was saddened by the condition of many of the homes in the neighborhood but these children sang happy birthday to me, made giant cards for me, and seemed to enjoy the book I read.  These children made me smile from ear to ear.

Since my birthday fell on a Tuesday, I was surrounded by young adults in the evening – they brought desserts and cards and treats for me and they made me feel so special.  (Kate standing beside me)  Yes -- I blew out ALL those candles - cupcakes, regular cake, ice cream cake and individual cupcake!!

Laura came home from Auburn and when I got home from work she had decorated the kitchen.  

My co-workers showered me with cards and treats and gifts.  My sisters both sent a package.  My mother-in-law made German Chocolate cake for Sunday’s dessert for my birthday (it is one of my all time favorite cakes!!).  

Tonight, Mark is taking me to Hot and Hot, a wonderful local restaurant and I plan to get the heirloom tomato salad and who knows what else.  The chef is Chris Hastings who beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef and he was also a James Beard award winner.  Eating at Hot and Hot is a real treat and I’m excited!!  He uses as many local ingredients as possible. 

Chef Chris Hastings making his fabulous tomato salad.
doesn't it look amazing???  I'm so excited!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Is it really HOT?

Last night Mark and I ate dinner at a new restaurant in town with two of our friends. We had an enjoyable dining experience. Want me to tell you about our experience at Hattie B's Hot Chicken?

We arrived about 6:15 and the line was to the door. We snagged a dirty table and Mark bussed it as I offered, "gross don't touch that" comments!! I held the table (tables were in high demand) and Mark got in line. The line was really long but moved fairly quickly. Mark said the employees taking the orders were really nice. Of course, Mark made a new friend in line - anyone surprised?  When you arrive, you go through a line - order - get a number - someone delivers your food. I had read a review that rated the black eye pea salad as their best side. We both ordered that as one of our sides. Mark is an adventurous eater so he ordered "hot" dark meat. There are stages of heat:




Damn hot

Shut the cluck up hot

They also offer "southern."

Glenn and Mark discussed the food beforehand and Glenn told Mark that medium is not hot enough. (Glenn has eaten at the original Hattie B's in Nashville.)

I ordered southern tenders - 3 giant tenders - I could only eat two!! The southern fried was nicely seasoned. The white meat was pretty and tasty (no weird pieces) and not greasy at all. I ordered fries and black eye pea salad. The salad did not disappoint. Yummy!! The fries were basic ore-Ida type fries but they were seasoned well and there were so many that I couldn't eat all of them. We also received a couple of pickle slices and there is a piece of white bread in the bottom of the basket (to soak up grease?? - or hot sauce???)

Mark had two large pieces of chicken and they glistened!! He ordered cole slaw - said it was ok and black eye pea salad (loved it and wants me to learn to make it).  He thought the black eye pea salad was so good that he said if we ever eat there again, he plans to order two servings as his sides.

Our companions ordered mild chicken and said it was spicy enough for them.

The wait staff was pleasant.  The food was good and plentiful. Mark was able to get a craft beer. I had a Sprite!  

The evening was enjoyable time spent with friends.

So.... Was the chicken hot? Yes! Mark said "whew" several times during dinner.  He also said, "this chicken is hot" several times!!

Fried chicken is not at the top of my favorite list but I would eat at Hattie B's again.

Mark loves fried chicken. He enjoyed his hot chicken but LOVES the fried chicken and waffles at Skycastle (just down the street from Hattie B's).

Both restaurants are located in the Lakeview district of Birmingham (there is no lake!).  It is a cool area with lots of bars and restaurants.  I said to our table companions on Friday night that I would bring out of town guests (if we ever have any!!) to the Lakeview District - there are lots of good restaurants and it feels safe to walk around at night.

All in all - chicken gets four stars; black eye pea salad gets five stars; other sides get 3 stars; wait staff gets 5 stars (just my opinion).  Would I eat there again?  Yes!

Note: I was not paid nor given free food from Hattie B's or Skycastle- they don't know me at all!!

Sent from my iPhone (I typed this in my notes section while Mark was bush hogging at the farm - no wifi . . .no service . . .notes section came in handy!

Friday, June 10, 2016

on my knees . . .

 Most of you know that I work in a church - I talk about it all the time.  I love my job for many reasons but today I'm going to tell you about one reason.

On Fridays, if there is to be a baptism on Sunday, I walk to the other end of the building.  The sacristy is on the far side of the main sanctuary.  I leave the baptismal certificate, a baptism candle for the family, and a letter on the counter in the sacristy for the acolyte to put out on Sunday morning. (or the acolyte mom)

This morning, when I walked into the sanctuary, the light was perfect.  Sun was streaming through the stained glass windows so there was just enough light in the room.

I actually thought about light in my life . . and how light always wins over darkness.  I'm so glad because sometimes life seems dark, doesn't it?

But I promise not to get off topic today - so what is one of the things that I love about working in a church?  When I walked back through the sanctuary (after leaving the candle, etc.), I felt the need to pray.  I had already spent time in prayer this morning and I have a tendency to talk to God throughout the day YET I felt a strong urge to GET ON MY KNEES and pray.  So I did that very thing.  I knelt on one of the kneeling cushions and I looked up at the big cross and I poured out my heart to God.

I am thankful to work in a place where prayer is not only allowed but encouraged.  I count that as such a blessing.

Where is your favorite place to pray?