Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

 This morning we went to the Memorial Day Ceremony put on at Veterans Memorial Park. We got there just before the colors were presented which gave me an opportunity to snap a few photos.
 We have gone to this event several times. The first one was when Munchkin was in a stroller and Pam's Country Kitchen was Abe's Diner. We got pancakes that morning and I remember it was hot. Today may have beat that one as far as heat goes though. My sweet kiddos started to complain a bit about the heat but we reminded them that we were there to remember the people that had fought and died for our freedom. We reminded them that we would soon be back in our air conditioned house but the people who served and are serving deal with so much more than we do on a daily basis. They don't always have a bed to sleep in or a roof over their heads. They deal with excruciating temperatures without air conditioning. They have to fight so we don't. I am not sure how much got through but I hope that by us taking them to events like this and continuing to talk with them about the importance of our military that they will always respect those that have gone before us to protect our freedom.

As part of the ceremony, the Ceder Creek Community band played several songs which included the Armed Forces Medley. I did not have my video camera with me but here is a performance in Washington DC in 2010:

As the band played through the song each person who had served in that branch stood during their theme song. It was quite touching to see the men and women that stood. It made it tangible to the kids to see people who had fought and served our country.
Channel 4 and 5 were flitting around so who knows, the ceremony we attend may be on the new tonight. It is nice to see that this particular event is growing each year.

As we left the park we saw this sweet kiddo making a rubbing of some of the names on the memorial. Perhaps a grandparent.
It sounds awkward to me to say Happy Memorial Day so instead I say thank you to those who have fought and died, to those who serve now (including 2 of my brothers and several 2nd or 3rd cousins) and sacrifice so much and to those that will serve in the future. You are appreciated for all you do.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Spam and Anchovies: Greekfest

So, last month I missed out on cooking club. At the moment I can't remember why I missed but I did. Looking at the pictures I made the comment that I would not longer wear yoga pants since everyone else looked so cute. Beth jumped in with we should all wear yoga pants and have a Greekfest for this month's Spam and Anchovies night. She also offered to host at her gorgeous home. The night of, I wanted to make sure I wouldn't be the only one in my comfy clothes and Vanessa said she would wear her yoga pants for sure. (Side note: not long after discussing wearing yoga pants to cooking club Vanessa posted on of those ecards with the lady sitting on the couch with her head in her hand that said: "My yoga pants have never been to yoga!") When I arrived at Beth's she was all super cute. After dinner and before dessert though she joined the rest of us in our gym attire.

On the menu:
Greek Chicken (grilled by Beth's neighbor)
Greek style Orzo Pasta with brown butter (recipe from Beth's lovely Greek friend)
Traditional Hummus (made by LeAnne)
Black Bean Hummus (made by Anne)
Greek Lantern (also made by Anne)
Falafel (made by Sarah who is vegan and made delicious vegan tahini)
Spanikopita (made by our new Melissa)
Baklava (made by Vanessa about 10 minutes before she walked out the door)
and Greek Butter Cookies (made by me)
And wine...lots of wine

Dinner was fantastic and the night was glorious. We sat outside for quite a long time just chatting and indulging. I know I have said it before but I am blessed to have these ladies in my life. Without them I am fairly certain I would not have tried Greek Lantern, Falafel, or Orzo pasta. We were missing Melissa and Kenna this time and their absence was felt. Everyone brings a unique and fun perspective to the group.

Next month is Vegan night at Sarah's house. My alma mater APU has a small group coming through that night though so it looks like I will miss once again.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Great Tennessee Airshow Pt 2

I know, I know, it has been a few days in between posts about the airshow and I have a post about cooking club and our trip the beach brewing. :) Who doesn't love the Blue Angels? Like I said in the last post I remember seeing the Blue Angels when I was about 10 at Mir Mar. I loved that experience so much that I even joined JAROTC my freshman year in high school because I was convinced I was going to fly airplanes.
One of the coolest parts of seeing the show, in my humble opinion, is seeing the vapor trails forming on the plane as they speed by. I am pretty sure this was one of the sneak passes.
It is amazing to me that the pilots can fly these planes so close together in these formations.

And of course I know, they are farther apart than then look but they are still pretty darn close to each other!

I was not able to get all 6 planes in this shot but four was pretty good.
These last three are my some of my favorite shots from the day. Bobby says the one below shows that one of the pilots may have made a mistake. See the two in the bottom right? They seem to be awfully close to each other for a cloudburst.
This is the last shot of the day.
Outside of a little rain at the beginning of the day, and the torrential downpour about 20 minutes after we got out of the parking lot the weather was perfect for the airshow. I much prefer the cloudy skies and wearing a sweatshirt to 120 degrees on the tarmac. Next year you need to go with us! :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Great Tennessee Airshow Pt 1

 The very first airshow I remember going to was in San Diego at Mir Mar Naval Air Station. The Blue Angels flew and I was hooked. I had several posters of fast cars and F-18's. This year at the Great Tennessee Air Show we had the privilege of seeing them fly again. Bobby and I have been going to airshows together basically since we started dating. We went to one in Oregon where I got so sunburned (yes, in Oregon) that I think I peeled for a month.

We have taken the kids to several airshows where we have found seats outside so we didn't have to pay admission. Last year was our first year taking them in and sitting close to the flight line. This year we were a bit smarter than last. We brought our camping chairs and a blanket, my new Kobo, binoculars and a few games to play. The kids can only watch the sky for so long until they get antsy.

 We were excited to see the C-130, the former soldier that was paralyzed and still did a hang glider performance, all of the stunt planes, The P-51, and of course, the Blue Angels. They will be in another post. :)

 It was fascinating to see the wings on the B-One move to increase the speed.
 I was a little concerned because there was a fuel truck near us. There was no need to worry though. :)
 Of course, when you see an explosion like this you are glad the fuel truck is no where near you anymore.

 I love my camera and feel like I get pretty good pictures. However, I was having some serious lens envy at the show. There were tons of people that had huge lenses. At one point I got up to talk to one of the photographers who had an extra camera with another huge lens slung over his shoulder.
 The kids really did have a good time. They were pretty impressed with the stunt planes and the fact that they got to tour the inside of the C-5.
 When Munchkin and I weer coming back from the portapotties she found herself. :)
 The Oakley plane did quite a few fun stunts. Once he was done, the pilot got out and gave autographs. Munchkin had to chase him down the fence line to get him to sign her paper. He seemed nice enough. Bobby said his grin is from taking so many G's :)

 I will leave you on this post with this bit of cuteness. Love the headphones on cute babies! :)

 Next up: The Great Tennessee Airshow Pt. 2.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

{TWD:BWJ} Pecan Sticky Buns

Butter, butter, butter, butter, butter. This is a recipe that would make Paula Deen proud! :) There are at least 5 and a half sticks of butter in these delectable buns but I think I lost count so there could be more. Welcome back to Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia!
 I was pretty excited to make these because I have made brioche dough before but realized this was a different technique. It was kind of time consuming..each step wasn't long but the process took a day and a half. First you make the sponge and let it sit, then you make the dough and you let it sit. Then you let it chill over night or for at least 4-6 hours. Then you divide the dough, roll it out, add butter, roll it out, chill. Then you roll the dough out and add the filling and freeze for at least 45 minutes. Then you slice, press a stick of butter into the bottom of a round (high sided) cake pan sprinkle brown sugar and add the rolls. Then you let it rest for 1 1/2 - 2 hours before baking.
 I got up this morning at 4:30 to get the rolls out of the fridge, got up again at 6:15 to put them in the oven and then discovered why you were supposed to have a high sided pan. Several of the rolls were about 4 inches higher than the sides of the pan. As soon as they came out of the oven you were supposed to flip them onto a plate...I am not sure how other bakers did with this but I had to change my shirt as hot melted butter flew out of the pan, onto the stove, the floor and me.
I am not a big fan of nuts in my baked good so I couldn't leave well enough alone. For one batch I made them as the recipe stated, for the other I omitted the nuts and added chocolate chips. :) Yum! They did need a little crunch though...hmm something to think about for next time. The kids and my hubs all loved these. I packed up the remainder though and sent them with Bobby to work. I also packed 2 up for my kiddos teachers but I left them on the counter when I took them to school. Our dog, the goat/trash compactor managed to open the plastic bags and eat both of them along with a bag of M&M's, 2 butter wrappers from the trash and she was starting on the rest of the airshow kettle corn by the time I walked back in the house. Crazy dog!

If you would like the recipe for this you can check out Lynn of Eat Drink Man Woman Dogs Cat or Nicole of Cookies on Friday. Don't forget you an get the book Baking with Julia and bake along as well! :)

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Super Moon

 Last night as we were driving home from dinner with friends we saw some deer down in a low lying area. We jumped out of the car to get pictures of them but we scared them off before I could get any good shots. The moon was almost full though so I was able to get a good shot of that instead.
 Tonight, since the moon was actually full I though I would be able to get a good shot of the moon reflecting on the water. Alas, we went out too late so I missed that opportunity. However, we drove down to the dam anyway to see what we could see. Along with some night fishermen,  Bobby spotted the reflection of the moon in a puddle and this was the result:
 I actually have a couple of better shots of the moon in the puddle but I couldn't get the actual puddle to show up. I love to go our though when the moon is full like this because I get shots like this:

 The dam was well lit and I obviously was not using my tripod. Oh well, it was pretty anyway. :)

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

{TWD:BWJ} Hungarian Shortbread

 Have you ever looked in your freezer and discovered a pound of butter and thought "what can I use a pound of butter in today"? Well look no further, Hungarian Shortbread is the winner. This tasty treat has 1 pound of butter and 4 egg yolks in the crust alone. There is also a non so insignificant amount of sugar.

The filling is homemade rhubarb jam that is supposed to be infused with vanilla beans. I bought vanilla beans a few weeks ago. Could I find them yesterday...nope. So I just put in a glug of vanilla extract and hoped for the best. I also managed to only came home with 3/4 of a pound of rhubarb instead of the specified pound so I threw about 8 frozen strawberries..that I realized I should probably slice before cooking. I fished them out and sliced them. The jam came together really quickly and turned out quite tasty!

I remember one of my grandparents had a garden that had rhubarb in it and I remember picking it and eating it straight from the sun drenched plot. I don't think my kiddos have ever had rhubarb before so I gave each of them a little taste while slicing it up to make the jam. Munchkin loved the sour taste. Little Man said "my thumb is pointing down"!
I am really glad I checked out he P&Q's for this one before attempting it on my own. Many people said to par bake the base before layering on the jam and top layer. I am glad I did because I think it would have been mushy without the first 15 minutes in the oven. This recipe used a technique I had not done before; grating the dough to make it fluffy. I bought an Ikea box grater at a yard sale several months ago and had not had a chance to use it. I actually was just considering turning it into an earring holder that I saw on Pinterest however, this recipe specified using the large holes on the box grater. Well, I used it for the first half of the dough and got quite a bicep workout. The other half of the dough went through the food processor just as my hubs was watching the beginning of Hawii 5-0. Sorry honey! I know it was loud. The dough I ran through the food processor came out just as nice as the dough I grated.

Overall this delicious shortbread seems to be a hit in our house. My daughter ate it for breakfast, Little Man took some in his lunch, and Bobby tasted it and said it was pretty tasty. I did figure though that this would not go as quick in our house as some treats do so I have several baggies packed up to share with the neighbors. :)

If you would like to try this recipe check out Lynette of 1smallkitchen or Cher or The Not So Exciting Adventure of a Dabbler. Both have the recipe on their blogs. You can also check out the LYL to see how other bakers from around the world liked this, including a lady from Hungary! :)

Doh! I just realized I left off the pretty powdered sugar...oh well, it was sweet enough without it. :)