Tuesday, November 30, 2010
1 tsp. ground cumin
In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and whipping cream. Serve immediately.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Somehow, I managed to put down the fork and return to work today. I enjoyed the long break. To the contrary, my hips did not. We're eating carrot sticks and an apple for lunch today. My guilty conscience and expanding hips are making me. The lower half of my body hates me. The upper half is in denial.
We kicked off the long weekend by hosting the 2nd Annual Friendsgiving. For the past two years, this has been a potluck tradition that our friends have all truly enjoyed ... and the guest list continues to expand. This year's feast included, fried turkey, Duvalls green bean casserole, Jenkins corn casserole, Brewers potato casserole, Pipkins spinach salad, Smiths sweet potato casserole, Taylors green bean bundles, Nethertons cream cheese dip, Guletts school cafeteria lady rolls, Johnsons pumpkin pie, Jordans mushrooms and mac n cheese. I've included everyone's name in this post so I can remember what everyone brought and politely suggest they bring it again next year.
The Brewers also brought this delicious creation - a chocolate topiary. I need someone to come and steal this from my house or else I'm going to have to post it on CraigsList. Just let me know and I'll leave the backdoor unlocked for you. My hips say thanks.
The next day, Ty and I enjoyed our first official Thanksgiving. We woke up Thursday and made blueberry muffins and watched "The Addams Family" movie before eating lunch with his family and dinner with mine.
Other things that happened:
- We spent time with our precious, sweet niece Ruby Belle. In about a month, they'll call Shreveport home, and we can't wait!
- We spent two nights sitting around the fire pit at the Taylors. I love fire pit weather. And how wonderful smores and beer taste together.
- There were two pregnancy announcements made by friends, and we realized that this time next year there will be EIGHT more children in our midst! FYI, none of them with the last name Jordan.
- We did a little house hunting with Mandy and Justin (Ty's sister and her husband). The house they love the most happens to be three houses down from ours. Mandy was apprehensive to tell us this, but Ty and I were both very excited and promised if we saw anyone look at it we would come out in the front yard with shotguns and pretend to be the world's worst neighbors to run them off.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I'm not much of a cake person. When I go to weddings, I'm not one of those people hovering around the cakes until the bride and groom cut into them. Cake is something I can live without.
Pie? Did someone say pie? Where? I can't resist a pie of any sort.
But when it's your wedding cake, you really want to eat a big fat slice of it and then move on to having a big fat slice of the groom's cake, too. You'll never plan so much over a cake in your life and actually eat so little. How unfortunate that you only get one small wedge of each. But, it's really all for the best. It would have been an evening of very shallow breathing. There just wasn't room for me and cake underneath all that lace.
The wedding cake was very traditional.
But then there was the groom's cake.
Holy crapamoly! This cake was divine ... and a gift from a friend of Ty's parents, Marie. She had never made a groom's cake before, so she researched and made us a sample cake to make sure we liked it. Ummm .... yeah, this cake changes everything I ever believed about cake. I never knew you could do THAT with cake.
Marie even surprised us with another gift at our rehearsal dinner - a strawberry cake for dessert! It was the best cake I've ever tasted, a little slice of strawberry heaven.
Yesterday morning, I was taking some chicken spaghetti out of the deep freezer and spotted a storage ziplock with the words "Strawberry Cake" written in black marker. Could it be? How had I over looked this for all this time?
I put it in the fridge to thaw, and after dinner last night, without mentioning a word to Ty, I pulled it out of the fridge and unwrapped it. He was so excited to walk into the kitchen and see two slices of Marie's cake. There was naturally some discourse regarding who's piece was bigger. And then we agreed to disagree and silently enjoyed our strawberry cake with two glasses of milk.
Best. Cake. Ever.
Friday, November 19, 2010
My husband and I are not exactly keyed into the society scene in our local community. When we had to go to the 40 Under 40 event last year, I believe it physically pained him to attend. There's a lot of mixing and mingling, small talking, and business card trading. Neither of us are good small talkers. But he suited up and went to it for me, and I love him for that.
So, yesterday when Ty's mom called to say his picture was in the "On the Scene" section of the latest edition of The Forum, we were both very confused. Where could he have been hanging out that would be classified as "the scene?"
The Delta Waterfowl Banquet. Strange, but true.
Can you find him? He's the most tan and the most handsome on this page (Sorry Matt, Kenny and Lane, but it's true. And sorry to readers for being mildly mushy). However, one thing alarms me about this picture.
It seems that every time Ty's picture ends up in one of these publications, he's not wearing an undershirt. I'm a big fan of undershirts, too. Gah lee.
I explained several months ago to my friend Jenny that when Ty's not wearing an undershirt, you better watch out. No undershirt = bad day. Undershirt = good day. Now, when Jenny sees Ty and he's not wearing an undershirt, she knows to say, "Ty, are you having a bad day?"
It's a theory that has proven true until I saw this picture. No undershirt and he's smiling? What does this mean?
Thursday, November 18, 2010
About a year ago, I left the world of print journalism to pursue a marketing career with a regional construction/ concrete/ manufacturing company.
The transition was a slight resurrection of my childhood. In my formative years, my family owned a construction company, which meant that Chris and I spent a lot of time at construction sites surrounded by dozers and dirt and wearing s#@! kickers (example below). I still have the t-shirt I'm wearing in this picture. And no, that doesn't make me a hoarder.
If I learned anything early on in life, it was that you can't go to a construction site without a pair of s#@! kickers on your feet. No one will take you seriously.
So, shortly after we returned from our honeymoon, I was scheduled to go to Southmayd, Texas, to coordinate a catered dinner for some potential clients. This would also require me to enter the construction site, and to me that meant one thing, I needed some s#@! kickers immediately.
Ty was thrilled that I wanted some boots and drove me to Cavender's Western Wear that next weekend, and we bought these.
I'd never been to Cavender's before and was shocked to see they had such stylish footwear and Seven Jeans. In light of these new discoveries, I considered becoming a card-carrying cowgirl.
But, I realize that I never could be a true cowgirl. After all, I went shopping for an outfit to wear to a construction site. But what choice did I have? Ballet flats? The construction group would have laughed me off site while simultaneously telling me I'm breaking safety regulation. I tried to act natural in my new s#@! kickers. I tried to act like I'd had them forever, but I think everyone knew they were brand new.
My excuse: I never needed s#@! kickers to meet a story deadline.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
One of my best friends hates cheese. I'm not going to reveal her name because I'm pretty sure this news would cause the townspeople to descend upon her house with pitchforks and torches like in "Beauty and the Beast." I don't want to cause her any harm, but it's been a challenge to accept someone into my inner circle who doesn't like cheese. I choose to look at the positives, and with her around that means more cheese for me.
Needless to say, when I pulled this dish out of the freezer, I didn't extend a dinner invitation to my cheese-hating friend.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
When I think of a crape myrtle, my mind visualizes something like this:
Small. Pretty. Manageable. Contained.
But at our house, we have a crape myrtle that's been on the Juice. I'm thinking about calling a Senate hearing on the topic. Look at this monster:
And a view from the street:
I hate it with every morsel of my being. Spring through summer it blooms, late summer through fall its buds fall, fall through winter it loses its leaves and year-round I'm losing my mind. If there were ever two entities that should not co-exist in a backyard, it's a swimming pool and a gigantor crape myrtle. We have pool parties just so other people will skim the pool. And nothing ruins a delicious glass of sangria like a light breeze and a million buds falling in your drink. Enough is enough.
Now, if you're a nature lover and think trees and pools and people can all share the planet, then please stop reading here.
This weekend, I left the house to run a few errands and when I came back about two hours later, the crape myrtle was chopped up into little pieces on the front curb. Fortunately, Ty chronicled the entire process.
I have no idea how any of this works, but I'm glad I wasn't home because this makes me very nervous. Jerry, who works for Ty, cut down trees for 20-plus years in his previous job.
This was about the point where Ty started contemplating keeping the tree. Then he thought about all the hours we've spent skimming only to find buds in our sangria, and he quickly snapped out of it. We want our lives back!
I'm not sure what happens when you get to the top.
And what happens at this point? How do you get down?
I don't have a final picture, but all that's left is a stump. The tree is gone and our pool is clean! And hopefully by next summer, we'll have a beautiful pergola built, with tons of room for entertaining. Doesn't that sound more fun than skimming?
Friday, November 12, 2010
After an hour-long boat ride, we finally arrived at the Santa Maria Cove where we would snorkel. The location was gorgeous, but as we strapped on our flippers and pulled on our masks, I began to grow very nervous. Clearly there were going to be a lot of fish in the water, which is something you're supposed to want on a guided snorkeling tour. But the idea of fish being all around me wasn't a relaxing and serene thought in my mind. I wanted to see them, but I wanted them to not invade my personal space. To the contrary, Ty was not nervous in the least considering he's practically a merman.
As our boat pulled into the cove, I looked down into the water and saw a large, dark object moving near the boat, which kicked my freak out up a notch. I didn't know there were going to be sting rays in the water I was about to voluntarily jump into. The entire life of the Crocodile Hunter flashed before my eyes, and I knew I didn't want to go down like that.
What I didn't know at this moment was that the large, dark object near the boat was actually a rock, and it wasn't moving ... the boat was. Thinking it was a sting ray, I still agreed to get in the water if Ty jumped in first and we didn't go near the other side of the boat where I had spotted the ray.
Ty jumped in and I apprehensively followed. Less than a minute later, Ty tells me his flipper has broken and he has to go back to the boat. I felt like he was leaving me for dead, but I took deep breaths and watched him climb up the boat's ladder to get a new flipper.
This was taking longer than I thought and my breathing began to grow more and more shallow. Then, at the moment when I realized I couldn't take it much longer, one of the guides swims next to me and squirts a liquid in the water that creates a tropical fish feeding frenzy all around me.
This was it. I was going to die in a freak honeymoon snorkeling incident.
I managed to get Ty's attention on the boat and mouth to him, "Hurry up, I'm freaking out!" To a merman, this is ridiculous. But to a husband who can only imagine the life or death scenario his wife is creating in her head, he knows he must quickly get back in the water.
For the rest of our snorkeling adventure, Ty held my hand and kept the guy squirting the fish crack cocaine away from me. He's a mighty good merman!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
While Ty and I were in Cabo, we decided we would spend half a day engaging in some form of adventure. We weren't interested in devoting an entire day to adventure. That would cut into our drinking and eating by the pool time. We could spare only half a day away from our magical resort.
We looked into playing golf and then realized three things:
- We can play golf at home, and we don't.
- It's freakin hot in Cabo.
- Golf doesn't classify as adventure when you consider all the naps I've taken on my grandparents' couch during most Sunday CBS golf coverage. Those announcers have the most soothing voices.
We had several options to choose from and we picked the one that included transportation. However, we did not know it also included a guided tour of Cabo San Lucas where the guide mostly speaks Spanish and occasionally throws out a tequila joke to the two gringos on the bus (that would be me and Ty).
First stop that we didn't know about: The glass blowing "factory." Ty got to try his hand at blowing glass.
Initially, I thought he exhibited a strong ability to make a living as a glass blower in Mexico and afford to keep me at the magical resort forever. But then his glass exploded and hit a few people, and I knew he was too much of a liability in this line of work.
Next, we stopped at a tacky jewelry store in Cabo where they fed us tequila shots and tried to get us to buy items such as a turquoise and silver dolphin necklace with matching earrings. We immediately exited the store to explore other shops, but it seems the only shops in Cabo are tacky jewelry stores. So, we just sat on the curb until it was time to leave.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
1 large stewing chicken
1 lb andouille, sliced in 1/4-inch slices
6 large white or yellow onions, chopped
1 small bunch of green onions, cut fine
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped celery
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, chopped
salt, black pepper and red cayenne pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (for roux)
1 cup cooking oil
6 cups hot water
- Cut up chicken, wash and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 cup oil in heavy skillet and fry chicken until brown. Remove chicken and put aside. Pour remaining oil into large heavy pot for making roux
- After roux is made, lower heat and add all chipped ingredients, except green onions, garlic and parsley. Cover and simmer until onions are clear, stirring occasionally.
- Add sliced andouille and chicken to roux mixture, cover and let simmer for about 1/2 hour. Stir often during this process. Keep heat low through this point.
- Add water, garlic, parsley and green onions. You may increase heat until mixture begins to boil. Now, lower heat to simmer, cover and cook 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until chicken is tender.
- This has a lot of liquid and is served over rice, over which 1/4 teaspoon filé has been sprinkled. It's even better the next day.
My personal thoughts: Between step one and step two, this recipe skips the steps involved in making the roux. As a Louisiana native, I guess I'm already supposed to know how to do this. At least we have Google!
- Recipe from The Justin Wilson Cook Book
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
This past weekend, while Ty and I were eating Tacomania, shopping, cleaning out the Envoy and pretty much being lazy, our friend Marcus (LJ's husband) was in Panama City, Fla., exercising for 14 hours straight in an Ironman Triathlon. The Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile ocean swim, a 112 mile bike and a marathon (26.2 miles).
To me, this sounds like torture. But then again, my idea of exercise these days is walking for about an hour to justify the glass of red wine I'm going to have when I finish. Marcus and LJ are a different kind of people. The kind of people who enjoy exercise, marathons and triathlons and the challenges they present. I can raise a glass of red wine to that.
So, in honor of Marcus' newly claimed status of Ironman, we went with him last night to get his Ironman tattoo. This is a right of passage for people who complete an Ironman. And in future races, it will say to Marcus' fellow competitors, "Hey, I'm pretty much a badass."
This was also my first time to visit a tattoo parlor. Thankfully, the atmosphere is pretty mild on a Monday night. I was intrigued by the environment. Marcus and Melanie (the tattoo artist) sketched out the design, put a stencil on Marcus' leg and then she started the tattooing. I asked Marcus if he was nervous or if it hurt. His answer was "no" but I figured he would never tell us if it did hurt. After all, he's an Ironman. You can't get an Ironman tattoo and then complain about it hurting.
And then I saw this and decided if I ever got a tattoo, I would want this one. I think this guy is drunk, but of sober mind, I still hypothetically want this tattoo.
Monday, November 8, 2010
This weekend, Ty and I put the Envoy on the market. This meant a lot of elbow grease on our part, and it resulted in several interesting finds:
- Five cocktail straws.
- A collapsible lunch cooler filled with range (golf) balls.
- My softball glove, which hasn't been used since my senior year of college. I guess at one point in my life I never knew when an impromptu slow pitch softball game would arise.
- A package of resume paper. I used to really hate my previous job.
- The third copy of "New Moon" that I have either borrowed or purchased in the past year.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Here's the group and some of their wives. It's always a treat to see everyone since its something that usually only happens at a wedding or the annual LSU/Arkansas game.
Then the guys engage in another Sigma tradition. They pass around a bottle of Four Roses, each taking a pull, until the bottle is empty. I don't think it goes down quite as smoothly as it used to. Ty now refuses to participate. Yet, another sign we're getting older.
After all that singing and whiskey drinking, things really started to liven up. We can thank that mostly to our amazing band, The Gnarly Brothers Band. Jen and Sonny (pictured) are married, and Jen's even played the Grand Ole Opry stage. I bet she didn't rock out quite like this when she played there, though.
Then my bangs started to separate, my hands started to raise and we all started to get down.
And sing our hearts out.
And cut off our dresses. LJ offered to cut mine off, too. I said no thanks.
And then my brother sparked up his Bic and hands started waving in the air. You may be wondering what encouraged such behavior?
This guy. I'm not sure who he is, but I'm pretty sure I married him a few hours earlier. Just didn't recognize him with those sunglasses and popped collar.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Here's an inventory of what everyone brought:
Chicken and Dumplings
Shrimp & Corn Chowder
Crock pot Beef Tips
Chicken Andouille Gumbo
Broccoli & Cheese Soup
Chicken Noodle Casserole
Creamy Chicken Chili
I walked away with the gumbo, taco soup, broccoli cheese soup, chicken chili and chicken divan.
During the exchange, I could see my brother was in the kitchen negotiating on behalf of my dish, the chicken noodle casserole. "You know, that's my grandmother's recipe. That stuff is awesome." Isn't he sweet?
Chris and I have always loved Nana's Chicken Noodle Casserole. It's nothing complicated or fancy. For all we know, she could have gotten the recipe off the side of a Campbell's can or a box of Velveeta. But it's still a favorite and does require some elbow grease if you boil your own chicken, which is a must. In my opinion, using canned chicken is a cardinal sin. Although, when I breached my third hour of boiling and deboning, it sounded like a tempting offer.
In the following weeks, I'll post each of the recipes as I sample my dishes and prepare the dishes I didn't take home. For now, I'll start this series with my Nana's recipe. Enjoy!
Chicken Noodle Casserole
4 lbs. chicken, boiled and deboned
2 1/2 cups of chicken broth
1 12oz. package of egg noodles
1 can cream of celery soup
1 lb of Velveeta cheese, plus a little extra for the top
celery salt, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
Combine first seven ingredients.
Top with additional Velveeta and bread crumbs.
** For added flavor, I boil my egg noodles in the remaining chicken broth. It gives them a richer flavor.