and then some of August

After getting to see my parents off, Maggie (my sorority sister who is also a twin) and Hikel were married that weekend with the reception at the Atlanta History Center.  Isn’t she gorgeous??

It was a gorgeous wedding and the couple is so happy.  They met while Maggie was in dental school (she’s now on her way to be an orthodontist) and Hikel in med school at UAB.  While Maggie is a Georgia girl, Hikel’s family lives in Alabama, but they are from Lebanon and my word do the Lebanese know how to dance.  There were few people in their seats during the Lebanese dance, it was so fun, and I’ve never seen men so into dancing, I loved it.  Hikel was carried around!

This wedding was so fun and good to catch up with Katie and Joey!  Like normal, Joey was a crowd favorite while the rest of us rocked the dance floor.
Sigma Kappa girls


The next weekend was rafting with a group of 30 from church.  We went up to the Nantahala River in Bryson City, NC.  I thought wearing a tank top and shorts was fitting for the middle of August, but it turns out that the river water is used for the nearby power plant, so the water is ice cold, about 40 degrees.

We managed to make a record of 10 spins going through one rapid.  I may have had some sore arms the next day.
Our guide doing a nice air guitar.  Summer, I have loved you.

Beach Week 2014

Well life has been busy.  Just when I think I don’t want summer to end because it has been such a good summer, the humidity comes out in full force, and I’m getting ready for fall, except fall weather won’t hit us for a few more months.

Back at the end of July (sorry it’s been so long!), we went with Jim’s family to Ponte Vedra (so kind of them to have me!).

We had perfect beach weather.
With 4 kids and 7 adults, there wasn’t a dull moment.  And probably not a quiet moment either, but with my 3 siblings and many cousins, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
The boys went fishing on the sea kayak.
One afternoon a few of us went in-shore fishing and each caught a redfish.  That was a blast!
We read on the beach, floated around in the water, did a puzzle, put on so much sunscreen that we were probably sweating sunscreen, made peach ice cream, cooked, and ate and ate and ate.  It was just what I needed, a relaxing and fun vacation.  The kids are all so sweet (and one is taller than me), and his family is just good people, so loving and welcoming, for which I am so thankful.  And they are good cooks, which works out because I sure do like to eat.

It was a great time with my guy (even if he was anti shaving that week).

Saturday Doughnuts

The closest Shipley’s is in Hoover, AL 3 hours away (the best doughnuts in the world for you non-Texans).  Krispy Kreme is too sweet, Dunkin Donuts is too cakey, not that it stops me from eating either one.

I made doughnuts last Saturday in hopes of having a hot and fresh doughnut (or is it donut?  I don’t think so.) at home.

I didn’t feel like making the dough from scratch, and I had seen online people raving about using canned biscuits as the dough.  Seemed easy enough.  Plus, the recipe was a Paula Deen one and had 5 stars for 191 reviews, couldn’t be bad.

I cut the biscuits
and dropped them into the Fry Daddy
Then covered them in the glaze
and ate them.

And they weren’t that good.  Super, super heavy.  Like a very thick cake.  Plus, let’s just say that these fried pastries did not agree with my stomach.

I’m glad I tried it.  These were easy to make, but I think my stomach and waistline will be in favor of me not making these again.  But there’s always the drive thru.

Lonesome Dove

I’ve been reading lots of case studies for school lately.  I know all about Herman Miller and their quest to not destroy the environment with more office chairs and Gillette trying to sell more razors in the south Pacific.

But for fun, I’ve been reading Lonesome Dove.  It took me many months to read this classic, but that’s not because it wasn’t good.
lonesome doveIt was one of the best books I’ve read.  Gus, Call, Deets, Lorena, Clara, these are characters I know and love.  I don’t know what to say to make you read this book other than you must.  The characters were developed so well, their story of taking cattle from south Texas to Montana was just so good.

My coworker lent me her DVDs of the mini-series, and I’m excited to start it.  Robert Duvall just might make me love Gus McCrae even more.

 

“to an aspect of womankind that Gus was always talking about – their penchant for flying directly in the face of reason.”

 

 

Georgia grown with love

After running the Peachtree for the sixth year in a row, I’ve decided on another July 4th tradition that I’m bringing back to the holiday.

For as long as I can remember, Mama made vanilla ice cream every 4th.  We had it in our small town in Texas where we had to watch fireworks from the mall parking lot.  We had it those few years in West Virginia, and we’ve had it in Georgia as well.  I remember it churning on the back deck and Daddy add more rock salt.

And y’all, if you haven’t made ice cream at home, you have not lived.  I don’t know if it’s the heavy cream (ok, it probably is) or what, but homemade ice cream is the best.  It even beats Blue Bell.

So this year, on the 5th (the 4th was busy, it was a holiday weekend), I made peach ice cream while Jim made a peach dump.  He picked peaches at the farm, and they were delicious.  Plus, Sloan and Ryan let me borrow their ice cream maker.

We used America’s Test Kitchen recipe for the ice cream, and I loved it.  Not too sweet, not too rich.  I think next time I’d puree the peaches more instead of just mashing them to avoid having a frozen chunk of peach.

Peach ice cream with peach dump… I’d say it’s summer in Georgia.
Which brings me back to my garden I’m growing… in Georgia.  Did that transition work at all?  No, ok, moving on.

I’ve always grown basil in the summer, and I’ll throw it in a dish here and there, but this year I wanted to get more use out of the plant, so I decided to make pesto.

My plant in all her glory pre-chopping.  This was enough for me to cut 2 cups and still have some left over.
I used this recipe from Food Network, which had great reviews.

I combined everything in the blender.  Time saving tip- Pine nuts are in the baking section, not in the nuts.
I blended while my pasta was cooking until it looked like so
And then I poured on top of pasta with the tomatoes from my garden for a lovely roommate dinner!
Super quick and easy meal that tasted so fresh!  Plus, it made enough pesto to use again.

Cooking from the Farm

Last weekend, Jim’s mom sent us back from the farm with a good amount of food!

I decided to use the corn and squash to try something new.  I made creamed corn and delicious squash pepper slices, let’s call them squash boats that she made us for supper as she came up with the recipe on her own!

For the creamed corn, I roughly used this recipe.  I’m a fan of creamed corn, but I usually buy the frozen McKenzie creamed corn because it’s ready in a few minutes and it really is amazing.

I fried up a couple pieces of bacon and left the grease from the bacon in the pan.  (and ate the bacon, of course) Then, I milked the corn.
I looked up some videos on YouTube on how to milk the corn.  I cut the corn about halfway then flipped the knife around and scraped the back.  Jim’s technique was  to slit the corn before cutting.  We each thought our way yielded more cream.
I added the corn with the other ingredients- salt, pepper (not much since you can add those later), flour, sugar, heavy cream, and water to the bacon grease.

It cooked down for a while and turned out like this.
Then, you add the butter.  The creamed corn was excellent.  A little bit of a hassle having to cream all the corn, but a nice treat, especially with fresh corn.  Something my Mimi probably made often.

For the squash, it’s best to use squash that is on the smaller side.  Cut off the ends, cut them in half, and scoop out the seed parts.
Slice up a red pepper and a sweet onion to put in the squash.  Add salt and pepper.
Top with a slice of raw bacon because of course.  Cook in the oven (I think I did 375 for 15 minutes at least and then broiled the bacon at the end).

Sprinkle cheese on top once squash/bacon is ready and take it out once melted.
Y’all these were so good.  They didn’t even taste like squash.  Thanks to Jim’s mom for letting me steal her recipe,  I’ll be making this again!

This is my kind of summer meal.  So tasty.  Paired with baked ranch chicken, I was one full and happy girl.
 Thank goodness for leftovers.

Veggie Garden

I’m sick of the recap posts myself, so I can’t imagine how the rest of you are feeling.

Back at the end of March, maybe early April, I planted some vegetables, fruit, and herbs.

Here they are in their glory now.
Far left pot: Two tomato plants, one is bigger sandwich type tomatoes and the other is growing grape (or maybe cherry) tomatoes

However, I had to adjust the metal tomato cage (because I may have put it in there upside down, we can pretend I didn’t do that), and I had a casualty of a branch of my tomatoes.  I stuck the branch in some water, and it immediately started producing roots.  I can’t decide if I should plant the branch back in the soil or keep it in the water.  There are 5 tomatoes growing off this branch.
The rest of the plant is producing and tastes great in my salads
Middle pot: My green peppers are starting to bud!  The strawberries in this pot were a bust.  Each strawberry grew in half eatable, half rotten.
(and I know what you’re thinking, no, I didn’t hire a professional photographer for these pictures)

My herbs are in the pot on the right- basil, cilantro, and rosemary, all regulars in my cooking. Besides one less thing to have to buy at the grocery, these taste so fresh and good.

And then there’s my Boston fern next to the front door.  Along with a statue of UGA of course (my Clemson roommate just loves it!).  I’m a big fan of ferns.
One day it’ll be nice to plant in something other than pots, but for now, my little porch suits me just fine.