Sometimes it’s more fun to color outside the lines!

Why is it so hard to color in the lines all of the time? Sometimes it’s just too much to bear and ya just have to scribble in a wild color all over the page…and that is exactly what I did over the long holiday weekend.

Did anyone else wake up this morning feeling like a big fat baby back rib?

Let me illustrate…Friday night…chocolate chocolate chocolate…Saturday…too many boiled peanuts to count while out on the lake followed by hot dogs, corn on the cob, Cajun baked beans and blue cheese cold slaw punctuated with vinegar pie and fresh berries…Sunday….pork chops, mashed potatoes and lemon berry cake which I made and sampled a significant amount of batter from the bowl…and for the grand finale…..July 4th….breakfast began with homemade french toast,,,,club wrap with bacon-served with french fries..more boiled peanuts….and another cookout with buffalo chicken dip, homemade cheese biscuits, ribs, baked beans, slaw and fresh watermelow…did I mention a lot of wine, vodka sodas and a few beers? Oh my…I so wish I hadn’t written this out. *This post brought to you by Tums!

Feeling a little guilty, not to mention a little pressure on my stomach, I was anxious to get to hot yoga this afternoon to sweat it out. Did I mention that those ribs and boiled peanuts were much more delightful going in than coming out. OUCH…my body is protesting my irreverent behavior.

Note to self…color in the lines next holiday.

Summer is here

As if the thermometer on your car didn’t give you a big enough clue…summer is here. In honor of the heat…I mean the first day of summer, C. and I had the best summer dinner imaginable. If I could eat summer style all year I’d be so happy…and skinny.  The juicy sweet peaches, the tangy tomatoes and the slimy but oh so delish okra. Man….can’t get better than that. Tonight, after a long day in the office,  we had a simple summer supper – grilled mahi, a tomato, corn, basil relish and fresh avocado. Dessert- the sweetest watermelon imaginable.

I can remember how drastically our childhood summer supper menu changed from the menu the other nine months of the year. We would often just have veggies for dinner…always fresh…always from either a local farm or from Dad’s garden. Growing up in a small southern town, fresh veggies were always available and were meant to be shared with neighbors. 

This is probably foreign to you city slickers….My grandmother used to “put up” vegetables in the summer. Bags and bags of zip locks filled with corn and peas and butter beans…Can you even imagine shucking all that corn and then cutting off the husk? Or shelling peas…how dreadful. Guess that is why sitting on the front porch rocking and shelling was so popular. A different time we live in today…but the same summer flavor creates special memories. 

What’s your favorite summer food?

 

Spring Has Sprung

Time to come out of hibernation. The birds are chirping a little more brightly and yellow bells are announcing Spring is here! So happy to see fresh asparagus, strawberries and sugar snap peas lining the shelves in the produce section.

In honor of Spring I made a yummy, low fat, good for you appetizer for our supper club cook out. I made it up this afternoon in three shakes of a jiffy!

AG’s Happy Spring Dip
8 oz plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 pack of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
Mix together…and presto a delish dip for all of the fresh Spring veggies.

Enjoy!

everything old can be new again!

I have always been a bit obsessed with things that are old, things that have served another purpose…things that have a story to tell. And I am a firm believer that everything in my home should be beautiful and should reflect our lifestyle. If I don’t love it and it doesn’t work for us…it’s outta here! If you have journeyed through our home renovation, you know what I mean…from rusted bird-cage lighting in the kitchen to an 1800’s pine mantel in my living room, I love old things.

It seems like a natural progression to move from the antique stores to Goodwill. Yep. That’s right. Goodwill. There I said it. I have become a Goodwill shopper (Inspired by my historical preservationist friend RCR!). I’d like to say that this new hobby came out of necessity. But it didn’t. It’s more about the quest, the history, the thrill of the hunt! I could go to pottery barn to buy a lamp (and I have and probably will again), but how fun to find a lamp or a painting or other accessory at Goodwill. There’s a story for sure!

Yesterday, I didn’t set out to find these amazing  pottery bowls, because Lord knows…I don’t need another bowl (I probably have a hundred!) But I just couldn’t resist. They look so fab with my Vietri brown and black pottery. AND they were perfect for the Gumbo I served for last night’s cold rainy get together with friends.

So here they are!   I purchased all four for $6.50. They are handmade and include the potter’s stamp. I’ll have to ask my friend E.F.  if they are “fine” pottery! Why in the world would someone part with these?

Regardless, their loss is certainly my gain. These little darlings are fabulous. Won’t you join me for a bowl of soup?

And if you think I was clever enough to dream up shopping at Goodwill and Craig’s list for home decor…I am flattered but you are mistaken. I have become a blog junkie for several design inspiring blogs including Apartment Therapy http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ and Mr. Goodwill Hunting  http://mrgoodwillhunting.blogspot.com/

meat and three…hold the meat

I love a plate of good southern vegetables. I don’t even need meat when my plate is filled with yummy southern veggies-fried okra, corn, butter beans, collards, sweet potatoes, field peas and much much more. My grandmother’s country cookin’ was the best. No one….I mean no one could ever cook collards (Collard Greens) quite the way she did…not to mention the spicy sweet chow chow that she made to top the greens.

We all have comfort foods and we use those comfort foods to soothe our souls. I don’t feel anything real stressful or challenging…yet I am craving comfort foods. Cookies yesterday, southern veggies today.

My schedule was stacked so I didn’t have much time to pursue lunch, yet I couldn’t quite shake the veggie craving. I pass by an S&S cafeteria everyday on my way in for lunch- though I have never eaten there, so I decided to give it a shot. Not too far from the office and an easy place for take out. I ordered a plate with four veggies- green beans, collards, fried green tomatoes and squash casserole. They were out of the fried green tomatoes so I subbed for cooked cabbage.

Oh dear….perhaps it was because it was after 1:00 before I could get out for lunch, BUT these were the WORST, MUSHY, overcooked, over salted veggies I have ever tasted. I’d like to think my standards are too high, but it had been so long since I’ve had a veggie plate such as this, I feel certain I wasn’t being overly picky.

Now I know that a cafeteria is designed for the blue hairs and they probably eat around 11…but seriously this place should have been flat out embarrassed to serve up a plate such as this. Only a few bites taken and I was finishing out my lunch with Halloween candy. Candy corn is considered a veggie right?

No one will ever be able to cook up veggies quite like my Momo…so I guess my comfort food cravings will have to be satisfied with precious memories of days spent with her shucking corn and making peach preserves!

Everything but the kitchen sink

Crazy cookie craving. Can’t seem to get enough carbs. I tried an “everything but the kitchen sink” cookie from the Fresh Market today. I wonder if they have a recipe or if they really just throw a bunch of leftover stuff together. So this cookie had white chocolate, milk chocolate, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, raisins, oatmeal and maybe other things I didn’t recognize. Very interesting. It was quite tasty. I loved the combo of nuts. How often do we get cookies with all kinds of nuts? Love the savory and the sweet. Stop by the Fresh Market for a sweet treat and an unexpected surprise!

Pumpkin Everything

Have you ever noticed that pumpkin is added to virtually everything in the Fall? There is pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pound cake, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin sorbet…and I just discovered chipotle pumpkin salsa. The moment I saw it, I knew I needed to try it. Not simply because it was “pumpkin salsa” but because it was made by Rick Bayless, a James Beard chef who specializing in Mexican cuisine. AND whose restaurant, Topolobampo, is on my Chicago bucket list.

I wasn’t really sure what this pumpkin orange salsa would taste like. The smokey chipoltle peppers gave the salsa a rich campfire aroma and the flavor was an interesting combo of tangy tomatillos and earthy pumpkin. This salsa definitely had some kick and was a little too rich to be just consumed as a dipping salsa. It really needed to accompany and slow roasted pork tenderloin or a lean flank steak. The pepper flavor lingered like fireworks in my mouth-a delish celebration of Fall.