Friday, April 29, 2011

Duchess Stephanie Prudence Jordanton of Shreveportburgh

I didn't wake up in the wee hours this morning to watch the royal nuptials, but there are several things I loved about what I did see.

These two are actually very sweet together. There's nothing personal when billions of people are watching, but there were some great moments between the two. I loved that when she finally made it down the aisle, William told Kate she looked "stunning, babe."

I also loved when they got in the carriage that Kate looked at William and said, "I'm so happy." I love the dress and flowers and all, but that is the stuff of fairy tales.

Because there's nothing like it in the States, I'm fascinated by the titles they received this morning. They each received three:

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Earl and Countess of Strathearn
Baron and Baroness Carrickfergus

My personal favorite is the third. Doesn't "Carrickfergus" sound like a rash that would break out on the bottom of you feet?

E Online knew we would all be curious about our perspective titles, so they've created a page where you can type in your name and generate your own royal title.

Mine is Duchess Stephanie Prudence Jordanton of Shreveportburgh

That is how I expect you all to refer to me now. It's only proper!

And Ty's is Earl Ty Fearnsley Jordanham of Shreveportport

Not sure why we don't live in the same place? Or why our last names are the same? But I prefer Jordanham of Shreveportport.

So, in celebration of this royal day, you can go here and generate your royal title. And please do share with the rest of us!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring Has Sprung (In My Closet)

I'm wearing my white pants for the first time this season. I love white pants. I have three pair - linen, cotton, denim. It's a problem.

Since today is my first of many days in white pants, it seems a fitting time to discuss what happens in my closet this time of year. Like most, I rotate out the winter wear and in the spring stuff. Then I immediately set about filling in all the items I think are missing. This has resulted in three weeks time, the purchase of four dresses. I find summer dresses completely irresistible. I should be set for church for some time.

Here's a preview of what I'm liking so far.

I bought this little knit number at Loft several weeks back and haven't worn it yet because I can't decide between ...


or not belted? I'm thinking belted, right? Otherwise it looks like a very cute nightgown.

I wore this ruffly silk dress to church last week. It was bright and fitting for Easter. I ordered it from Boden, my ultimate weakness, and it took three weeks to arrive at my house. With Boden, you never know if you're garments are shipping from the States or from across the Big Pond, so it's always good to order in advance. And always worth the wait!

I also got this dress from Boden. It was so summery, bright, fun and adorable ... just couldn't pass it up. This is what spring does to me! It makes me want to part my hair down the middle and dress like a 70s disco dancer. Still cute!

And if that wasn't enough, I felt I didn't have something appropriate to wear to an engagement party last weekend, so I had this Maggy London dress overnighted from Nordstrom.

It could be my favorite of them all. I'm really into orange right now and ikat fabrics. I wish I could find this fabric to make some matching throw pillows.

I hope this spring shopping addiction ends soon, but I've been eyeballing this dress from Garnet Hill and don't know how long I can resist.

There's just so much cute stuff right now. Someone stop me!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Buttermilk Chive Biscuits

As a Blue-Ribbon Southern Girl, the Good Lord knows I love a biscuit. Biscuits and gravy. Sausage Biscuits. Biscuits with sausage and gravy. I just decided that if we ever get another dog, I may name it Biscuit.

As much as I love biscuits, and dogs named Biscuit, I can't say I've ever been known to make them from scratch. Just seemed like one of those unnecessary tasks when it comes to prepping dinner. Especially since there's a chubby little Dough Boy who's happy to do the hard work on my behalf.

But those canned biscuits just aren't the same. A Cracker Barrel biscuit is the only thing that really comes close. So, I decided I would try my hand at biscuit making a few weekends ago and take them to a friend along with dinner. I found a Buttermilk Chive Biscuit recipe on Annie's Eats that persuaded me into thinking this was a great idea.

{Photo by Annie's Eats}

I made these on a recent Sunday afternoon and they filled the house with the wonderful, doughy smell of homemade bread. And, they were surprisingly easy.

I only have one complaint and guideline regarding these delicious little biscuits. Serve them immediately. They came out of the oven and tasted so fresh, but by the next night they'd fallen flat and a little stale. Not what you want when you've spent time making homemade biscuits for someone and by the time they're delivered they've lost their mmmph. But immediately out of the oven, they've got the mmmph.

Buttermilk Chive Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1½ tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk (optional)
Scant 1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup snipped fresh chives
  • Preheat the oven to 400. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  • In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk together to blend.
  • Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients and, using a pastry cutter (I used a pizza cutter), cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal and the largest butter pieces are the size of peas. This can also be done in a food processor or stand mixer.
  • Place the egg and egg yolk in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough buttermilk to measure a full 1 cup. Whisk in the snipped chives. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix together gently just until the dough comes together and all the dry ingredients are absorbed.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat into a disc that is ½-inch thick. Use a well-floured 3-inch round biscuit cutter (I used the rim of a cup) and cut out dough rounds. Place finished rounds on the prepared baking sheets. Gently re-roll the excess dough and cut out additional biscuits.
  • Bake until golden brown and fluffy, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
Again, we emphasis serving them warm and immediately!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Four Things I Loved About Easter Weekend

I left work early Thursday 100 percent thrilled about the long weekend ahead. The stretch between Christmas and Easter is exhausting with no breaks, and I needed a four day weekend and some rejuvenation. Unfortunately, when I got home, I checked the nest on our front door to see our two little birdies and our egg didn't make it. So, Ty and I removed the nest and wreath from the front door.

My friend Jenny sent me this picture today of some birds at her dad's house. Why couldn't my little birdies have held on like these guys?

I hope they grow into their big mouths.

All in all, our weekend was laid back with a few highlights. ... mainly four worth sharing:

1. Saturday morning, Ty and I spent lounging around the house and eventually mustered the strength to go eat lunch. We decided on Cush's, where we ran into this person:

We heard Jessica Biel was there long before we saw her. She's tiny, which I always thought she was more tall and athletic. Makes you wonder what how tiny the really petite women in Hollywood actually are. We're probably better off not knowing. Later in the day, I summed up the experience via text to some friends saying "Ty and I saw Jessica Biel at Cush's! And that skinny bitch took the last piece of strawberry cake that Ty and I were eyeballing. I get really pissed when I think about how she's probably going to just throw it up."

For the record, I don't know if she's a bitch or if she's going to throw up the cake. But the laws of nature tell me that girls who look like that don't eat gigantic pieces of strawberry cake. They just say they do. I think from now on I'm going to tell people I saw Jessica Biel with a huge piece of strawberry cake. That's the real story.

2. For the third year in a row, Ty dressed as the Easter Bunny for all the church kids and then formally announced his retirement from the bunny suit. Before the Bunny put away his suit for good, he made a special house call to see the Pipkin twins.

Considering Ty has about 20 percent vision in the bunny costume, I was a little nervous with him holding these sweet little babies. But we plopped him in the recliner and everyone did great! What followed was more than I could have anticipated. I ended up feeding, burping and swaying Lila to sleep. Three things I've probably never done, but when there are twins around, it's all hands on deck!

3. Just before Christmas, my husband bought a 1984 Jeep CJ7 Renegade. It took a while for me to get behind since we didn't really need another vehicle. But Ty's always wanted one and found one in great condition and didn't want to pass it up. There's nothing fun about owning a Jeep in the winter, but since it's starting to warm up, we've been enjoying the Jeep more and more.

Saturday after lunch, we took off down Ellerbe Road toward Hill Country, where we were married. We like to drive out there and see if there are any weddings that day. It brings back good memories! It takes me about 20 minutes to brush through my hair after an afternoon Jeep ride, but it's worth it to feel the sun on my face and wind in my hair.

4. And more than anything, I simply love Easter Sunday. I love the celebration. I love that we have such a great, big God who's love is incomprehensible. And this Easter Sunday, I love that we worshipped by singing U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)." We didn't sing the last verse, since that's really about Martin Luther King, Jr., but the other words stir my heart:

One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come here to justify
One man to overthrow
In the name of love!
One man in the name of love
In the name of love!
What more? In the name of love!

It may not have looked anything like this, but it truly felt that way! What more? In the name of love!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Baja Fish Tacos

For the past seven and a half months, Ty and I have had an insatiable appetite for fish tacos. We enjoyed the official/original baja fish tacos on our honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas (located on a skinny strip of land also known as Baja California peninsula) and things haven't been the same since. Our resort, Zoetry, was mentioned last fall in Martha Stewart Weddings as one of four places honeymoon in Mexico. It is simply stunning ... if you go, get the fish tacos ... and the nachos ... and the pina coladas!

We've ordered fish tacos at Superior, formerly one of my menu favorites, and now they can't measure up and I don't order them anymore. Don't even try to order fish tacos at Oyster Bar. You can't taste the fish for all the tortilla. And Don Juanz Baja Fish Tacos is entirely too far to drive for a taco.

So when I found a delicious sounding fish taco recipe in my Dallas Dish cookbook, I knew it was time to gather ingredients. The recipe actually comes from Jim and Liz Baron, the owners of Blue Mesa Grill in Dallas. It's a fantastic Southwestern restaurant right across from Northpark Mall (although there are other locations) that serves as a nice spot for a shopping break.

There's a lot to the recipe and a few changes I made or recommend, but I'll share the original recipe with you so you can decide for yourself. I would break up the recipe into stages. You can make the slaw and mayonnaise first, so you only have to prep the fish when it comes time to dine. It also helps to have a brilliant fry cook. LJ, who claims she can't cook (not buying it), served wonderfully on the frying station. I would dredge, she would fry. This way none of the fish was overcooked.

See the recipe below and my notes in italics.

Baja Fish Tacos

Grilled Jicama Slaw
5 corn tortillas, cut into julienne strips
vegetable oil for frying
1 cup (1/4-inch) sliced peeled jicama
1/2 cup each julienned red, yellow and green bell pepper
1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
1 cup finely shredded green cabbage
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 shallot minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated cotija cheese or Parmesan cheese
  • Preheat the grill. Fry the tortilla chips in oil in a skillet until brown and crisp and drain on paper towels. (I skipped this step. The fish is crispy enough to give you a nice texture.)
  • Grill the jicama for 3 minutes or until the jicama has grill marks and is slightly softened. Cool and cut into julienne strips. (I'd never heard of jicama, pronounced hick-a-ma, but you can find it in the produce section near the potatoes and garlic and onions. I followed this step, but it didn't add much. It can easily be skipped and no one will notice.)
  • Toss the jicama, bell peppers, cabbage and tortilla strips in a bowl.
  • Wisk the canola oil, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, shallots and salt in a bowl until the canola oil is incorporated and pour over the jicama mixture. (I only used about half of the mixture and it was plenty.)
  • Sprinkle with the cheese and mix well.
Ancho Mayonnaise
1 cup mayonnaise
1 or 2 ancho chilies, roasted and chopped
  • Combine the mayonnaise and ancho chiles in a bowl and mix well. (I couldn't find ancho chilies at my grocery store, so I used canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. I pulled out the peppers, gave them a rough chop and put them in the food processor with the mayo to blend. It was full of flavor with a little kick!)
The Fish
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons each salt, garlic powder, dry mustard and dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup beer
1 pound mahi mahi
all-purpose flour
vegetable oil for deep frying
16 (6-inch) white corn tortillas, heated
  • Mix 1 cup flour, the salt, garlic powder, dry mustard, oregano and pepper in a bowl. Add the beer and stir until the batter is smooth.
  • Cut the fish into 2-inch strips and coat with additional flour, shaking off the excess. (I couldn't find mahi mahi, so I used tilapia, which held together well through the batter and frying)
  • Dip the fish in the batter and deep fry in the oil in a skillet for 2 to 3 minutes or until light brown. Drain on paper towels. (The batter is thick, so it helps to run your fingers down each fillet to pull off any excess batter. The fillets also have a tendency to sink when you drop them in the oil due to the heaviness of the batter. Be on hand to quickly remove them from the bottom of the pan or they will stick and be difficult to remove.)
  • Stack the tortillas 2 high for each taco and spread the top of each stack with Ancho Mayonnaise. Top each with equal portions of fried fish and grilled jicama slaw. Serves 4.
This recipe has come the closest to satisfying our cravings for Baja Fish Tacos. It'll be a great summer recipe for a lazy pool day or an intimate backyard party.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Not So Empty Nest

{Day 1: Post Bird Rescue. You can see the birdies in the nest in the bottom of the picture.}

We have had a couple of very traumatic days in the Jordan household. First, I've been sick off and on since last Thursday. My stomach ain't been right, but I'm feeling better today. So that means you'll finally get my fish taco recipe in the next day or two.

Due to my stomach woes, I stayed home from work Monday. I spent the first part of the day in bed, and the second part of the day on the couch, and by about 4 p.m., I was going out of my mind in boredom and decided I could at least water the hibiscus by the front door. I filled up my watering pale (I'm your modern day Jill, I can fetch water without Jack's help. Girl power!), and walked out the front door. Of course, while on my front stoop, I had to check on my little blue egg.

There it was, on the edge of the nest, hanging on for dear life and fully appreciating how gingerly I've been closing the front door over the past several days. You're welcome, little egg! I was feeling like I'd done something good for the universe by looking after my little egg, so I set about watering the hibiscus.

Then I saw a bundle of feathers near the door mat. I thought it was a good sign that momma bird had been by to check on the egg, too. Then I saw the feathers move. Then I saw little yellow legs kicking. Then I realized it was a baby birdie breathing and struggling and fighting for its life. Then I thought the universe must hate me. I was so consumed with my egg that I didn't even know there was a living baby bird!

I freaked out for a minute or two. Then put down my watering pail and did the only thing that made sense ... I called Ty. He gave me two options:
  • Google how to save a bird.
  • Call Billy the Exterminator.
Considering I'd been home all day with a stomach bug, I didn't call Billy. I wasn't TV ready. Google would have to navigate me through the rescue. I did my research and went outside to check on the bird. And instead of one little birdie, there were two.

Freaking universe!

I couldn't handle it ... the little helpless babies ... Ty would be home soon and I would tell him what Google said we needed to do to save the birds (Turns out I'm not such a modern-day Jill. Jack comes in handy from time to time.).

I met Ty at the back door with a pair of latex gloves. He looked at me with mild concern and asked, "Is this what life is going to be like if you ever become a stay-at-home mom?"

"I didn't know that was going to be an option," I replied. I fear I've now ruined my chances of that ever happening.

I stood there in latex gloves while Ty picked up both the birdies, held them to warm their bodies and placed them back in their nest. I heard them chirping yesterday morning before I left the house, then I snapped the picture (above) yesterday evening to see if they were still in the nest. I didn't hear any chirping today, so I'll check back in on them tonight. After all this, I hope they survive despite Ty's regular reminders that a very low percentage of baby birds actually make it.

I feel like there is a bird soap opera being played out on my front door. Will the mother return? Will the children live? And what will come of the bad egg?

Stay tuned to .... "As the Wreath Turns"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rockin' Robin (Egg)

I was going to share my fish taco recipe today. But I'm feeling nauseous and can't really talk about fish tacos because it makes me gag, and no, I'm not pregnant. Warning to the single ladies: Once you get married, you can no longer have a tummy ache. Someone will always suggest it's pregnancy. And then you'll have to remind said someone that you've only been married seven months and aren't ready for babies yet. Then they'll ask when you think you'll start "trying." And then you'll do you best to change the subject. It's just the way things are going to go for a while.

But, as an alternative to fish tacos, I will update you on the bird that has built its nest on our front door arrangement and flown into our living room twice. Pretty much the bird's second visit was a repeat of the first event, but the second time ended with Ty batting it out the front door with a broom. Pretty good swing for a swimmer.

Since the bird's second visit, I've made sure to make a lot of noise and give the door an extra shake when I open it. We're idiots if this bird flies into our house for a third time, so giving the bird a little heads up that we're about to open the door seems like a good solution until we can remove the nest.

I opened the door yesterday and saw something new.

That little blue egg changes everything. It's sort of teetering on the edge of the nest, which makes me very nervous.

Now, I can't remove the nest.

Now, I can't make noise and shake the door when I open it to alert the bird, which means there will probably be a third visit to our living room.

Now, I will feel like a jerk if this little egg ends up scrambled on the threshold of my front door.

Now, I must check daily to make sure this little egg makes it to full term (not sure if that's how birds refer to their egg's hatching, but you know what I mean).

Now, I'm thinking of putting a sign on the door similar to one of those "shh ... baby sleeping" to let the mailman know to be gentle when he inserts our mail in the mail slot. For heaven's sake, there is a robin's egg on my front door!

Now, I'm wondering what happens when the egg hatches. Will there be a baby bird living in my door for several more weeks? Will it chirp a lot?

Now, I won't be able to get a new wreath for spring.

Now, you're all thinking this is the most thought ever put into a robin's egg and wish I'd just written about fish tacos.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Outlook on Life

Yesterday, I sent my husband an Outlook invite to my 30th birthday dinner.

Then I quickly realized I have a problem.

This is my Outlook calendar.

Now I feel as if you have all, more or less, seen me naked. Every appointment, detail and scheduled event in my life is stored here. And I'm beginning to infiltrate my husband's calendar. A little organization never hurt anyone, right? It's good for him.

I know that on the surface, this seems mildly neurotic. But I can explain:
  1. I am hyper-organized. I'm pretty sure Ty and I will both remember when we're celebrating my 30th birthday. I don't think on that May date we'll be sitting around the house wondering, "Humm ... now what was it we were planning to do tonight? .... Aww, shucks! We completely forgot we were going to eat at the chef's table at the Mabry House tonight." I highly doubt that would happen. But doesn't such a notable event need to be officially recognized on my calendar? Indeed.
  2. I'm painfully forgetful. And I mean painfully. Just a few weeks ago, I asked one of our dear church friends when she was scheduled to have her baby. She'd had the baby two weeks prior, but since I hadn't seen the baby yet and it seemed soon to see the mom back at church and I'd been out of town for a week... it just didn't register in my pea-sized brain. See what I mean, painfully forgetful. Fortunately, I made the mistake with some very good humored people who have allowed me to grovel ever since. And, all in all, a valuable lesson was learned. All births should be marked on my Outlook calendar from now on.
My company's VP was in my office recently and saw the words "Beef Tips and Rice" on my calendar and said, "Do you really keep your dinner schedule on your calendar?"

I explained that although it was tempting, no I don't. ... I have a separate calendar on my fridge for that. It was just a reminder that I was delivering dinner to our friends with newborn twins. I further explained that things can't just float around in my head. Things get lost there. Then I say stupid things. Things that require me to grovel for weeks on end.

So, forgive my neurosis, but I need my Outlook to do most of the day-to-day thinking on my behalf. And sometimes on Ty's behalf. It's better than the alternative. The painfully forgetful alternative.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars (Almost as Sweet as These Twins)

Last night, we were scheduled to drop food off at the Pipkins house. I'd spent Sunday making some special treats. I'd had beef tips in the crock pot all day. I just had to go home, make some rice and green beans and head out the door.

Things never go as planned with us.

I was late getting to Ty's office (he wasn't there yet either), late getting to the Volvo dealership to pick up my car from its day of scheduled maintenance, late getting home to make rice and late getting to the Pipkins house. I hate being late. It causes internal turmoil for me.

We arrived at the Pipkins house about 30 minutes late. Walt met us at the door, gnawing on a rib, and my internal turmoil returned. I hoped the food would make up for our lateness and their starvation.

But then I saw them.

{Photos by Nicole Spikes}

And all my internal turmoil ceased. There were Molly and Lila, completely conked out in their rockers. Completely peaceful and precious and sweet. Sweet babies, just days old, who really didn't care that the beef tips were 30 minutes late. If it were their feeding, they may have felt otherwise.

We had a great time visiting with Walt and Nancy and seeing the babies. We enjoyed them sharing dinner with us and getting to catch up on all the happenings.

{Photo from Annie's Eats}

For dessert, I made some Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars. I got the recipe from one of my favorite food blogs Annie's Eats. Her food photography is beautiful enough to frame in your house (nevermind how creepy it would be to have framed photos of your favorite desserts). 

They were delicious and almost as sweet as those baby girls we were hanging out with last night.  I have several other recipes to share this week, but starting with dessert always sounds best to me.

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

For the crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp. sugar
8 tbsp. butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
16 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature.
½ cup sour cream
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 pint fresh blueberries

  • Preheat the oven to 325˚ F. Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with foil. Lightly grease the foil. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Toss with a fork until well blended and all the crumbs are moistened. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool and maintain the oven temperature while you prepare the filling.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and sour cream. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add in the sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice. Fold in the blueberries gently with a spatula until evenly incorporated. Pour the mixture over the graham cracker crust and gently spread into an even layer with an offset spatula.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until just set and the center no longer jiggles when the pan is tapped. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before slicing and serving.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Five Things To Sum Up My Weekend

Ty and I enjoyed a much needed low key-ish weekend with no official plans. I love these kind of weekends. With all my heart. Forever and ever. Amen.

Here's an update on my five favorite things that happened this weekend:

1. Friday night at Smitty's. Have you tried this place yet? Honestly, what are you waiting for? It's the very best pizza in town, but it does require some commitment. Considering we can get to Pie Works in under five minutes, getting to Smitty's, about a 20 minute drive for us, doesn't always seem to be the most practical decision for pizza. But it's so good that we made the drive Friday night and got two very bad announcements upon walking in the front door:
  • They were out of cheese sticks. Heavens to Betsy!!!
  • There was a magician in the house.
Out of sheer fury, I was ready to flip over a table right then and there. But Ty did a fantastic job of giving the magician a suggestive look to let him know we weren't interested in any magic that night. He didn't come near our table. I love my husband and his suggestive looks. Unfortunately, he could not correct the cheese stick shortage. My heart still hurts a little.

2. Face to Face Chat with Steven and Danielle. I got Ty an iPhone 4 for his birthday, and while I thought he would only use it to check the weather, I must say the man is full of surprises. Saturday night, we spent some time Face to Face chatting with Steven and Danielle McMorran, aka. "our friends from California."

You have to love anyone who will travel all the way from Los Angeles for your wedding. But making that trip doesn't happen very often, so the face to face chat was a great way for us to catch up! Here are some interesting things about Steven and Danielle:
  • Danielle is the assistant publicist for Miley Cyrus. Can you imagine doing that job? I would really like to hear Danielle's take on salvia.
  • Steven is a musician and he's written songs for Michael Bolton and Celine Dion. Steven's music sounds very different than you would think after hearing who he's written for. See his music video below ... I think he's amazing and I'm embarrassed that I ever karaoked "What's Up" in front of him.
  • Both of them are way too cool to be our friends.

3. Cleaning the Heck Out of Our House. This point is less than interesting and almost sucks as much as actually having to do the cleaning. But it's the reality, the ugly truth of my weekend. And under our terms of full disclosure, I felt forced to share.

4. Punching Out a Window at Superior. We had a low-key evening at home planned for Saturday night. Until our friends called with an invitation to joint them at Superior. They just had a baby and the mom works all the time, and we figured we needed to rally for our friends who really needed a night out.

We had a great time over frozen margaritas, and somehow ended up discussing circumcision with the people at the table next to us. For the record, they started it.

And as we started to leave, one person in our group decided to tap on the window to startle a little boy on the other side of the glass. I'm not sure how it happened, but the glass shattered and the little boy looked at our friend like he was going to be in big trouble.

We left soon after that.

5. Cooking Extravaganza. On Sunday, I really felt the urge to get after it in the kitchen. I spent the afternoon making Buttermilk Chive Biscuits and Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars to take to our friends (and new parents) Walt and Nancy, and then I started prepping for the fish tacos we were going to have for dinner. I sliced tilapia fillets and dredged them in a seasoned beer batter, then we topped them with a citrusy, colorful slaw and some homemade chipotle mayonnaise for an extra kick.

We invited the Taylors over and ate poolside on Dixie paper plates. I'm certain bad things are impossible while dining al fresco on Dixie plates. It was the perfect Sunday night.

I'll be sharing these recipes as the week goes on.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Chicken Dorito Casserole

I'm sure the serious food bloggers just gasped after reading the title of this post. Doritos and casserole are sinful words for some foodies. My theory is more accepting. If it tastes good and my husband likes it then it passes all inspections in our home. 

Don't get me wrong, the corn chip/casserole combination can go terribly wrong. Like the Cheese Whiz Casserole that showed up at Ty's family potluck Christmas. I can bring it up since no one in Ty's family made it. How does hominy mixed with Cheese Whiz and topped with Fritos ever sound good? Heck, when does hominy ever sound good? I took one very small bite and tried to keep it down. Then just scattered the rest around my plate.

No worries. This is not that casserole. This recipe came from my sister-in-law Ashley. She's the Claire Robinson of my life. Her recipes often include few ingredients and lots of pantry staples, but taste great and win Ty over more than some of my meals. There's never been an Ashley recipe he didn't like.

This is very similar to a traditional Mexican casserole but it substitutes chicken for ground beef, which works for me since I prefer chicken. And you probably have most of these ingredients swimming around in your kitchen somewhere!

Chicken Dorito Casserole

2 large chicken breasts or one pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can Rotel
Cheddar Cheese
  • If you're using the two chicken breasts, boil them in seasoned water. I used a rotisserie chicken to save time, and I think it adds a little flavor and keeps your chicken from turning out dry.
  • Whatever chicken you use, shred the meat and mix with the can of Rotel and can of cream of mushroom soup.
  • Grease your casserole dish and layer, starting with Doritos, then the meat mixture and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Repeat until your meat mixture is gone and end with cheese on top (I did two layers).
  • Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.
This recipe is delicious and simple ... exactly what I need when I have to make dinner after working all day and my 45-minute commute. And while the picture above is beautiful, I feel the need for full disclosure. I pulled the pic from the Web because my picture looked like this:

It's out of focus and the casserole dish seems to be floating in some strange world of white-background nothingness. I figured it looked less than appetizing and would be a misrepresentation of the recipe. I've got to start working on my photos!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Party Pics

The sweet and amazing Kristen Blancher left a CD filled with party pics by my back door last night. I love her for it and wanted to pass these pics along. Lord knows if I'd been left to taking pictures there would be none to share. It's one of my many flaws.

{Ty with some of the girls from church: Jill, Misty, Erin and Wendy. Love them!} 

 {Ty's parents, Butch and Margaret. Or according to Ruby Belle, Pop and Mimi! I think Ty and Mandy look identical to Margaret. Such a wonderful family to be part of.}

{The spread pre-fajitas and post-taquitos. We grossly underestimated how much people would love taquitos! My sister-in-law Ashley made the fruit skewers. She's amazing like that.} 

{I believe this was the exact moment that Ruby Belle fell in love with her Uncle Ty. She crept closer and closer until she was touching his guitar. She was completely mesmerized by him. I know the feeling.}

 {Adam and Kristen Blancher. The reason for most of the fun and flair at the party.}

{Church girls in mustaches! I'm not sure what sort of faces we were supposed to be making, but they're all pretty funny!}

{Erin was very innovative with her mustache!}

 {Group singalong time and Sonny's tonsils! Wowzer!}

{I'm amazed that Cookie Company got this right.}

{This picture of Senor Jimmy makes me laugh.} 

{Dancing with my old fart husband, who at some point in the evening felt a cowboy hat was essential.}

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Nice Place to Perch

Ty and I returned from a nice, quick dinner out (I'm still in party recovery mode and haven't wanted to cook) to something unexpected. Pardon the picture quality, but I was trying to take a photo for you all during a moment of complete confusion and panic.

We came home, opened the front door and accidentally released a bird into our house. Tall ceilings are nice until there's a bird perched on your rafter and you can't reach him with a broom. Ty and I decided we would tag team the bird: Ty with the broom, me with the Swiffer.

I thought the Swiffer would work as a nice perch. The bird would land on my Swiffer, we would sing a happy song like in "Enchanted," and I would send him back outside to his nest having developed a new friendship and deeper understanding of one another.

That didn't work out so well considering each time the bird came near to me, I dropped the Swiffer and ran to the bedroom.

What? All I could think about was the bird flu!

Really, I was looking out for you. A bird flu outbreak in Shreveport would ruin most of our summer vacation plans. You're welcome.

Ty got in one good swat. Feathers went flying. I felt the bird flu epidemic was now, most certainly, going to become a reality. The chase looked something like the picture below. Lots of chasing, little catching.

Finally, Ty realized I was going to be no help at all and called Justin downstairs to lend a hand. The two guys swatted, trying to wrangle the bird out the front door, until finally the bird tired, landed on the bookshelf and Justin grabbed it with his bare hands (bird flu, for sure!).

The bird was probably in a panic, but not really harmed. We discovered the bird had built a nest in the wreath on our front door. We also discovered that our dogs are have little interest in birds and were of absolutely no help.

Now, for the important part, does anyone know how to safely remove a bird's nest without getting your eyeballs pecked out?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ty's Treinta Fiesta!

In honor of Ty's 30th, we hosted a fiesta this past Saturday night at our house, complete with "music, margaritas and mustaches." If you know my husband, then you understand the inclusion of mustaches. He simply loves them! I think he must have watched too many Bert Reynold's movies as a kid. Specifically, "Smokey and the Bandit."

Picture above: I think this is what Ty dreams our life should be like. In reality, I probably wouldn't be smiling as pleasantly as Sally Field. But can you believe that once upon a time Bert Reynolds was actually good looking? And with a mustache? My husband dreams of the day's return when mustaches are more common place and viewed as "sexy."

Back to the party. We provided the keg, Vodka Freeze and frozen Hurricanes (Ty decided at the last minute he didn't really want margaritas), fajitas, taquitos, queso, salsa and a variety of other yummies, and our friend Sonny Rambin provided the live music. With the help of The Blanchers, I had some interesting mustache decorations scattered across the tables. We super-imposed mustaches on some of Ty's pictures (yes, there actually is an app for that!). These are my favorites:

I also found some stick-on mustaches for people to try on and have a good laugh. Which worked out wonderfully and resulted in much laughter and some fantastic photos:

 {Lauren, me, Ashley and LJ}

 {Marcus and LJ}

{Adam and Marcus}

{Chris ... this was taken a little later in the evening!}

The mustache bash worked out great, but I'm not really sure what to do for Ty's birthdays from here on? I may have pulled off some of my best work (with the help of several others), and thankfully I have some time to plan before 40 rolls around.

P.S.: In case you were wondering why LJ's arm is in a sling. Here's the explanation:

My girl broke her collar bone like a twig on a recent ski trip. This picture hurts me. And I can't imagine how she did this and didn't even cry!? Can you say "ouch"?