Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It Was A Dark and Stormy....

Month? The rain just keeps coming! Spring is always rainy in Tennessee but this season has been worse than normal. There have been many beautiful days but it seems that we are having more than our fair share of severe storms this year.

Of course, I wonder if it seems like there are more storms because of the news coverage. I appreciate the Tornado warnings and such. However, the constant coverage seems to perpetuate fear. At this point every time I hear thunder I jump...and we have not been that affected by the storms. I used to love a good thunderstorm.

The year my son was born I remember diving to Sams club (I wasn't supposed to be as it was not long after an emergency C-section) in pouring rain. Not only was it pouring there were lightening strikes every few minutes. There were tons of people out running around and it didn't stop anyone. Today I had to get dog food so I ran out with my kids to Target. It was a break in the storm and it was raining. We were practically the only people in the store.

It was nice to get in and out very quickly but a little creepy. We have had the TV on all day watching the coverage. I really think I just need to turn it off. But, with morbid curiosity I keep it turned on to see the trees and fences that have been knocked down and to see what has flooded so far. I am praying there are no homes or businesses flooded this year. That was terrible last year.

This is the thing that bugs me about the coverage "Lots of colorful radar left to see but no warnings to speak of." If there are no warnings please stop with the coverage. I shouldn't complain, I know the coverage is helpful I am just tired of hearing it.

How about you? Do you think the coverage of storms (unless giving specific information about storms that could kill you) is a bit excessive?

Nashville Speedway

 On Saturday, the day before Easter the Nascar Nationwide Series race was at the Nashville Speedway. They had an Easter egg hunt on the pavilion several hours before the race began. I had to walk away and let hubs make sure the kids got out to hunt eggs ok. When things are a little unorganized it makes my stomach hurt.

They got the 0-5 year old kids out on the field and made them stand there for another 10 minutes before letting them actually pick up eggs. I am not sure if you have met any 0-5 year old children lately but they are not the most patient little humans on the planet. They did surprisingly well for how long they had to wait. The guy that had the mic told us to wave at the camera and shout. He counted to 3 and the kids were off. It took him a good 10 more seconds before he realized the 0-5 year olds were almost done picking up eggs. :)
 Once they managed to get all of the little little kids off the field our age group was ready to go. Munchkin is an expert egg hunter at this point and Little Man is starting to be able to hold his own. Munchkin got quite a few more eggs than Little Man but was happy to share extras with her brother. She did it so selflessly it made me proud!
 Hubs took the eggs back to the car and picked up our cooler, sunscreen and all of our hats. He met us back by all of the vendors where we were having a good time picking up swag. The Buzz radio station was on hand with a Plinko like game. Munchkin won a coupon to Hardees. Little Man won a Buzz sticker and I won a CD. One of our favorite activities was shooting in the Army tent. Munchkin helped out by holding the curtain closed while one of the guys went over for a push up contest. Because she was such a good helper he gave Munchkin an Army water bottle. After shooting she was awarded a notebook and pen that she later used to "live blog" the race.
 Little Man was thrilled to see race cars up close and personal. By the time we got to the actual race though he was exhausted. I am pretty sure he slept though the first 14 laps of the race. We were in the family section which means there was not drinking or smoking. Of course a bunch of college students came up and sat next to us. I don't know if someone complained or if the employees at the track just have good radar but they came up and asked them to move. They weer very nice but I am glad my kids, hubs and I didn't have to breather their second hand smoke.
 The race was pretty close....Kyle Busch is a really good, if somewhat controversial, driver. Karl Edwards was driving the 60 car. That car was just fast all day long. It was exciting to see Karl Edwards do his signature backflip off the car.

The race was fun, the kids had a great time, the parking was free and the kids got to hunt for Easter eggs. What more could we ask for?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

{TWD} Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

 A few weeks ago we took our kiddos to the Scottish festival at the Nashville Library. Munchkin was super excited to participate in a scavenger hunt around the children's department. The prize? A package of Scottish shortbread. She did the scavenger hunt with minimal help from me and my hubs. Little Man helped her though and was rewarded with his very own package of shortbread.

Now, I like shortbread but it is not my very favorite thing in the world (I will always choose chocolate first ;)  ). These though are really tasty! I used a Meyer lemon for the zest which to me tastes a little bit peppery. Maybe my taste buds are off this morning though. The cornmeal definitely gives these otherwise tender shortbread cookies a crunch factor.
These were a snap to put together. My daughter found the dough in the fridge yesterday after school and gave it a few hearty punches. No damage was done though and I was able to bake these after bedtime. This morning I brought them to my students who all said that they were really really good! They were right next to a plate of large, fluffy homemade chocolate chip cookies though so they kind of got the short end of the stick. However, I left the rest at the front desk and they disappeared!

A big thank you to Valerie of Une Gamine dans la Cuisine for choosing this weeks recipe. She is one of my very favorite TWD bakers so make sure to check out her site and give her some comment love! :) Make sure to check out the other bakers as well!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter

 We did our annual Easter photos outside this morning. I have to say, with Easter being so late at least my kiddos were not freezing while I took their pictures!
 Some years it is like pulling teeth to get these two hams to smile. Today though they did great and did everything I asked. Sweet kids! They are getting so big!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Eggs 2011

 One of my favorite traditions each year is decorating Easter eggs. The kids love it as well. For some reason we ended up with quite a few cracked ones this time. Oh, well. I guess we will just have colorful deviled eggs and egg salad! :) After attending a funeral earlier in the day is was nice to have an activity to distract us.
 Little Man liked decorating the eggs but didn't really want to be in pictures today.
 Munchkin was quite intent on drawing a a rabbit jumping rope. :)
 We had 10 eggs without cracks but I am pretty sure there were more by the end of the dying process. :)
Oh yeah, so my daughter was telling my son that she thought they would get Webkinz in their Easter baskets since they always get one (they don't). I said don't be so sure you are going to get one. To which she replied "Why? are you the Easter Bunny?" I asked why she asked that and she said "Well you said not to be so sure about the Webkinz". So I avoided the question a little more...mostly because Little Man was sitting right there. We'll see how that all pans out soon. :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bumble Bee

 This bumble bee was on our back deck attached to the screen. I thought it was pretty and not aggressive so I had to snap a couple of shots. :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

{FFwD} Mustard Batons

If you are looking for an extremely simple but very delicious savory recipe, I have found it! This recipe took less than 5 minutes to put together and only 15 minutes to bake. I only had 1 sheet of puff pastry in the freezer, I did not roll it out, used stone ground mustard and a pizza cutter. Hubs is a bread eater. He saw these and was more than happy to be my tester. He REALLY liked them. Of course we went outside and it turns out the dog also liked them. At least I only made 8. I could have probably made them thinner and will probably do that the next time....and make a sweet version.

Make sure to check out French Fridays with Dorie's LYL to see how other cooks around the world adapted this recipe this week! :)

Good Friday

First and foremost Good Friday is a day that our family remembers the sacrifice God made by sending his Son to die on the cross. For that I am thankful and believe that I will be with Christ when I die.

I am also thankful for the day off to spend with my family though much of our time has not been spent reflecting on the blood of Jesus. However, this afternoon we will be reflecting much more. Our neighbor passed away this week and today is his funeral. It has given us a chance to talk to our children about eternity and what we believe happens when we die. Our neighbor was 82. He lived a very full life but has been pretty sick for the last few years. We have lived here 10 years and he has kind of been a surrogate grandfather to our kiddos. He loved to have them come over and climb on his wall and just talk to him. He has been a fixture in our lives since we had children and he will be missed.

Munchkin made brownies this morning to take over to the family. I think it made her feel a little bit better to be able to do something. She, especially, took our neighbors death very hard. He is the first person she has really known that passed away so she is dealing with it in her own way. She cried immediately, and she is not one to cry very often unless she is angry or frustrated. I am glad that she could cry though and let out some of the anguish I know she was feeling.

Little Man does not quite understand yet. While we were at the visitation he was looking a a group of elderly people and asked which one of them died. We tried to get out of there as quick as we could. He then asked if  the statue was the one who died. He cried later in the evening and said his heart hurt. I think he is starting to understand and I am glad he could cry as well.

Facing the death of a neighbor and friend reminds me of our own frailty as humans and that we are only here for a moment. It makes me glad that I am sure of what I believe and why and that I am sure of the blood of Jesus and his forgiveness.

I hope you will take this Good Friday and spend some time reflecting on Jesus and the sacrifice that was made for us so we could spend eternity with God.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Southern Women's Show

On Friday I went to the Southern Women's Show at the Nashville Convention Center. I didn't know anyone who wanted to go on Friday so I went by myself. By the time I got there it was pouring down rain and I parked a couple of blocks away. Thankfully I have a big umbrella and stayed fairly dry. I thought I was early enough that I wouldn't be in a big line but I was wrong. The line was ridiculously long and there was a lot of big hair. I am not just talking body, I am talking big hair!

I started off spinning a wheel and getting a coupon for something from Firestone. I missed the Nashville Ballet Flash Mob as it was on the other side of the convention center from me. Of course, I have to wonder, if a flash mob is on the schedule does that actually make it a flash mob or just a performance?

As I roamed the aisles of the show I remembered why I hadn't been in awhile. I don't really care about monogrammed anything, I don't really care about purses, timeshares or even expensive shoes. Much of the stuff in the center just did not apply to me. However, I did love the cooking demo given by Stuart Mayo for waterless cookware. I realize it was a presentation to sell the cookware but I liked it anyway. I did get to see Holly Thompson from channel 4 and Kix Brooks who was signing autographs. I also got to have a lovely lunch with my hubs downtown. :)

The Southern Women's Show was pretty fun but probably would have been more fun with a friend. The last time I went I took my kiddos, one of whom was in a stroller. I was thankful not to be pushing a stroller this time.

I may go back next year. I guess time will tell. :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

{TWD} Tourtely Apple Tart

Is it a tart or is it a pie? That was the leading question for this weeks Tuesdays with Dorie recipe.  I actually kind of baked along with some other members of TWD on twitter today including Jeanette of The Whimsical Cupcake who chose this weeks recipe. It was fun to keep up with what others were doing and good to know I was in the same part of the process as others.
 I made the dough yesterday and popped it in the fridge. My tart pan is 11 inches so I found another plate (one that I got for free from some food magazine years ago) that was 9 inches and patted in half of the dough. While the base was in the oven I made the filling. Since the recipe said applesauce I was surprised that it stayed so chunky. Of course, once I check out the other posts I may find that it was too chunky. Oh well, it was tasty anyway. :)
One twitter comment was that this tart tasted like McDonald's Apple Pie. I can see why they would think that but my Little Man said it did not taste the same and he is, of course, a McDonald's Apple Pie connoisseur. ;)
My daughter wouldn't even try the tart because, in her words, "I am not a cooked fruit person". Hubs tried it and really liked it, but he likes my apple pie so it makes sense that he would like it.

I loved this! Despite the top crust being my enemy, I thought it was pretty tasty. Honestly, I could eat the dough all by itself. It was flaky and delicious! Make sure to check out the LYL to see how other bakers did this week. Also, make sure to check out the cookbook Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan!

Spam and Anchovies - Thai Night

 This months Spam and Anchovies cooking club was hosted by Kenna. We actually had it at Melissa's house as Kenna is in the process of closing on a house! :) She told us some fun stories about picking up the ingredients for dinner. She actually went to a Thai market to pick everything up and was very impressed by the customer service and how helpful the store owners were in getting her the right ingredients. Kenna even brought each of us a bottle of fish sauce (one of the ingredients is anchovies so it fits out title!) that was recommended at the market.
 The first dish we made was Tom Kha Kai Soup. I was a little nervous about this as I made a coconut milk based soup a little while back and it was too rich. However, this was fantastic!
 The two different types of mangoes were cut up for dessert. There was a big difference in taste. I preferred the yellow mangoes. :)
 This is the lovely centerpiece that includes the Kaffir Lime Leaves that were picked especially for Kenna!
 I had never had Pad Thai before and was again a little nervous about it. I love to go out and eat Thai food but always get the same thing. This was so good! I am not a big fan of spaghetti or pasta in general but the rice noodles were a different story. The lime and cilantro just gave the dish the most delicious finishing touch.
Last but not least we had this fantastic mango and sticky rice dessert. As a former Pampered Chef pusher I have a rice microcooker. My rice usually turns out perfectly. We didn't have a rice cooker on hand though so I was afraid I was going to really screw up the rice. It turned out really good though. The sauce was supposed to be white but we used brown sugar instead of white. The texture, the taste, the sweet and the sauciness of this dessert was a perfect end to our meal!

Once thing I love about the cooking club is trying things I would never try on my own. I also love the time I get to spend with other women just having a delicious dinner and having good conversation! If you don't have a group like this you should definitely start one or join one! :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

{FFwD} Chocolate Eclairs

 If this adorable little face was offering you an eclair you would be sure to take it, wouldn't you? :) He was so excited to be my taster for this weeks French Fridays with Dorie recipe. The recipe was actually for vanilla eclairs but why do vanilla when you can always to chocolate. Plus, the photo in the book had chocolate eclairs.
The thing that surprised me about these was how small they were. That is my husbands hand and they were not much bigger than his fingers. It doesn't matter how small they were, they were delicious! Instead of ganache for the frosting I used the same pastry cream that I used inside. I realized I can almost make pastry cream in my sleep. Last but not least, if you take these out on a plate to the neighbors who are working on their lawns they will eat them up, enjoy them and be very impressed! :) Definitely a recipe to go on the repeat file! :)

Make sure to check out the Leave your Link to see how other bakers did with this recipe this week! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

{TWD} Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

mmmmmm strawberries! This is one of those foods, when juicy and ripe, makes me sound like Homer Simpson when he is talking about donuts. I am completely excited to go strawberry picking this summer with my kiddos and try my hand at canning.

 Now you may notice that the title includes rhubarb. Well, several trips to stores to search for rhubarb left me empty handed. So I did what any normal uninsane woman would do and added dark chocolate! I will definitely try this again later this summer when I have access to the rhubarb.

This recipe was pretty easy to put together. It involved a base of crisp, sprinkled chocolate chips, cooking the strawberries into a jam, covering with more crisp and baking for an hour.

My husband has yet to try it. He is not a fan of cooked fruit. My son loved the crisp part but insisted he didn't like the strawberries. My daughter, who is also a cooked fruit hater, loved it! She has eaten more of it than the rest of this. I really thought I would love this with the chocolate and strawberries, etc. I was actually kind of eh about this. Don't get me wrong I like it but I think I will like it more the next time I make it with rhubarb.

Check out Tuesdays with Dorie Leave your Link to see how bakers around the country did with this recipe. Also, thank you to Sarah of Teapots and Cakestands for choosing this weeks recipe. Make sure to check out her blog for the recipe! :)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Crazy Weather

You can always tell it is spring when the weather gets crazy and the brown recluse spiders come out. Yesterday was a doozy of a weather day. About the time I was supposed to go pick the kids up from school the tornado sirens started going off. I figured I had enough time to get to the school and get inside before the storm actually hit. I was right. About 5 minutes after I got in the building I could see the rain going sideways out one of the windows. Outside another door water was just pouring off of the roof.

The kids were all in their duck and cover position and were so quiet. Later Munchkin told me that they held that for awhile and then were able to sit up but still face the wall so they could be prepared if they needed to get back down. She said at this point she started to get a little worried...mostly because they had said it was a drill but she knew it was the real thing. When they let the kids turn around and whisper to their friends she relaxed a bit.

When we got home my neighbor called me over to her porch so I could see the willow limb that had attached itself to our roof. I managed to climb out the window and release the vines which dropped the limb onto the play structure. It is still attached to the tree and it is not a huge limb but it could have caused some damage had it actually fallen from the tree.
A store not too far from us lost its roof and there were several very large trees down in the neighborhood. This is the second major storm in our area in the last month. I am wondering what the rest of tornado season holds in store for us.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Random Updates in Bullet Form

  • It is raining in our neck of the woods today. It makes me kind of antsy when big storms roll through. The dog seems nervous too and that never seems to be a good thing.
  • I am teaching one class right now but will be adding two more in the near future. Good for the pocketbook and the experience. Most students are fantastic to work with. :) I also just added a certification so I can teach a different modality of classes.
  • I got to go on a fabulous girls trip to Vegas (this deserves its own post and will have one soon). The girls and I had not all been together in 18 years. Hopefully it will not be 18 more before we are all together again.
  • Munchkin is reading like crazy. I actually had to take her books away as a punishment yesterday. It was quite effective in her choosing her attitude later. She also called a boy for the first talk about books. :) I <3 that she can hold an intelligent conversation with a friend!
  • Little Man is playing baseball. He is a super slow runner but I am sure that has to do with the motor skills issues than anything else. He really seems to like playing as long as he has had a rest and a snack before he heads to practice. 
  • Hubs is working hard and playing music. While I was gone he sent me the sweetest text: "I realized how hard you work in the morning getting the kids ready for school, and I should probably help more." He is a fantastic hubster! :)
  • I have been lacking in the baking and cooking department lately and need some new recipes. I am hoping April bring more time to bake and cook. :)
  • Stay tuned, I hope to be back on the blogging bandwagon soon!
  • And there go the tornado stuff.