Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving Pics

Making Mamaw's Dressing . . .

Our "tablescape"
The centerpiece was James' mom's idea. She suggested using white pumpkins, which complement the china better than orange.
Getting the peanut oil hot to fry the turkey. The weather was cold. This was the first Thanksgiving in a while where it has actually felt like fall. The chilly air was nice.

The finished product. It was very good. We will do this again. It was a 13 + lb bird, and it only took 45 minutes for it to cook. It was tender and a little spicy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time year. The menu:
Cranberry Spritzers
Apple Butternut Squash Soup
Fresh Veggies with Spinach Dip
Green Bean Casserole
Carrot Souflee
Cranberry sauce
Fried Turkey
Sweet Potato Pie
Pecan Pie

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Chef Amongst us

I have to brag on James. He just made some of the best gumbo ever. And pumpkin bread - with real pumpkin - not from a can!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Window Treatments

There is some construction going on close to our backyard, and there is a new street light up that shines in through our window at night. This door is in our bedroom, and it leads to the backyard. James decided that he just could not stand to sleep with the light pouring through -despite the blinds- so, this is a picture of his redneck window treatment. He got a black garbage bag and taped it over the window with masking tape. I'm ready to see it go, but it's doing the job until we can have a better shade made.

And just so you'll know that the rest of our house doesn't look like that, these are the window treatments that I made. This is in the guest bedroom.
These are Roman shades in our living room.

Partially raised. . .

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Art has gone to the dogs

We have some new art work. James' parents gave us a painting for our two dogs. I was done by a lady in Jackson, MS. It is cute, but she didn't get Daisy's eyes right. There was way too much white around her eyes, and the fur on her head is sticking up too much. I decided to try to touch it up myself. This is the original painting.

This is my touch-up. I didn't have any black paint, so I'm going to see how it looks when it dries. I might need to get some black paint. I think it looks better.

I got some black paint a finished touching up the painting. After looking at the painting for a while yesterday, I realised that the lady had left one of Lily's paw's out, so I put that it and worked on Daisy's face some more. James didn't care for having the dog's names in the painting, so I painted over them. I think it looks a lot better. It is hanging in the laundry room.

The next photo is of our new art in our bedroom. I took all the photos. The pics are 8 x8 and framed in double glass frames. The one in the lower right of Daisy has a glare on it. I t is difficult to take a pic of glass and not have some glare, especially with the lighting in the bedroom.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


This past weekend we went to Memphis with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. We went to see the "Lion King" at the Orpheum. What and impressive old theater. . .except that the rows of seats were too close together and you had to stand up to let people walk by. The show was a lot of fun. I think the costumes are very creative. After the show, we walked around down town - mostly at Peabody Place. We ate dinner at a new restaurant that was very much like Gaucho's in Little Rock. We don't have a restaurant like that in Red Stick, and we'd missed it! It was a great treat.
The next day, we got up and watched the ducks march in at the Peabody. They are escorted down from their habitat on the roof in an elevator, and walk out - hopefully in a straight line - on the red carpet and into the fountain.

We ate lunch at Huey's - a local burger chain that is the home of the best onion rings in the tri-state area - and then took a trolley ride.

Friday, September 7, 2007

What to do with leftover brisket

I cooked a brisket on Tuesday for the two of us to have for dinner. It was very good, but the trouble with brisket is that we always have so much left over. It was about 7 lbs of meat, and that will go a long way with just two people. We've both had 5 meals out of it, and we still have some left. We've had sandwiches with it, but I came with something a little more creative. There is a chain a "build you own burrito" restaurants here in Red Stick called Izzo's. We sauteed mushrooms and onion, chopped tomatoes, made guacamole and made our own burritos. We used the extra large tortilla shells that are sold for wraps. I cut the meat up into small strips, poured a little McClards's BBQ sauce on it before heating it up. We also had cheese dip and sour cream. It was so good!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

How I've been spending my time . . .

I'm pleased with my quilt so far. James' mom gave me a little more info about the origin of the quilt pieces. They came from her great-grandmother - James' great-great grandmother. She lost her sight in the 1930's, so this was a project that she had started before then. I think some of the pieces were from clothing that had been cut up. There is a good chance that some of the fabric came from depression era food sacks. I'm excited to have a piece of history.

I've still got a lot of stars left - about 35 or 40, so this is going to be a good size quilt.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Funny Photo

The weather was nice Saturday (not raining, terribly hot, but I was very excited that it was not raining!), so I went outside to read my new book "All Creatures Great and Small" by James Herriot. I love it so far. I was peacefully reading in our courtyard, when James came from the backyard and sat with me. This is what he looked like:

I started laughing when I saw him. He had been working on our fence in our back yard to make it "doggie-proof." He said he needed something to keep the sweat out of his eyes, and he didn't have a headband. I asked him why a bandana tried around his head would not work. He said it would get saturated too fast. I just hope he threw those socks out after that! He was a good sport and let me take a photo.

My parent sent me flowers. They are so pretty. I am keeping them on my coffee table.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A lovely day!

We had a fun day today. We went to church this morning, and afterwards we had 14 people from church over for lunch. It was James' idea. He suggested we do it since I'm having surgery this week and may not be able to socialize for awhile. It was so much fun, and I have to brag about all the effort James put into the preparations. I had to work yesterday, so he spent the day at home cooking and cleaning. He made a big batch of red beans and rice and homemade blueberry ice cream. He cooked his grandmother's cornbread today. I put together a veggie tray and helped him finish cleaning the house yesterday after I got home from work.

After we finished eating lunch, we hooked up his new Nintendo wii and played.

Thank you James!

Friday, July 20, 2007

A New Project

A few months ago James' mom gave me a bag of quilt pieces that her grandmother -James' great-grandmother- had sewn together. They were in pretty good shape. No moth holes or tears. They did need a little cleaning up. I soaked them in a bowl of water and oxi-clean overnight and let them air dry. There were no instructions about how to sew the pieces together, but after a little trial and error -and a geometry lesson- this is what I came up with:

The star shaped pieces are what I was given. There are a number of them, so I think I'll be able to make a nice sized quilt. I think the fabrics that the stars are made from is from the 50-60's.

Friday, July 6, 2007

A Culinary Pet Peeve

I think that when you call food by a particular name, that there are certain qualities that it must have in order to actually be what it is named. One of the foods of South Louisiana that I just have to have from time to time is a po-boy. Growing up in Arkansas, I was told that a po-boy is basically the same thing as a sub-sandwich or a hoagie. That is not quite right. I hoagie has cold cuts and can have whatever condiments you want, and can be made out of a number of different kinds of bread. Not so with a po-boy. The traditional criteria for a sandwich to a called a po-boy in South Louisiana -which is the birthplace of the sandwich- are as follows:

1) Made with French bread
2) meat is fried seafood - shrimp, oysters, catfish, or gator. . .yes I said gator, and yes, I have eaten gator. . .I think it's just not right to call your self a South Louisiana resident if you don't least try to eat gator once :-)
3) It is dressed with Mayo - not Miracle Whip-, lettuce, tomato, and dill pickles-not sweet pickles. Any NOTHING else!

There have been two times that I've ordered a po-boy here in Red Stick, but I did not get a po-boy. The first time was at Monjuni's - a fabulous Italian restaurant - but just don't order the shrimp "po-boy." The shrimp on it is not fried. It is cold, and covered in mayo. This is not a po-boy. It is a shrimp salad sandwich. Monjuni's lasagna is just to die for though.

The other time was today at a local pub called Chimes. They put ketchup on the po-boy. I sent it back to the kitchen.

I'm not usually such a picky eater, but there are somethings that just should not be fooled around with.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My New Toy

I am so excited! I just got a new Canon Digital Rebel SLR camera. 10 megapixles!I've been saving for it for about 3 months. It just arrived today from Amazon. I have figured the basics out, but that's about it.

Here are a few pics.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Blueberry Recipes

Here are a couple of good recipes that I've tried out with our handpicked blueberries.

Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry Muffins

Thursday, June 21, 2007


We got up early this morning to drive to Jackson, LA to pick blueberries. The alarm clock went off at 6 am, and since I had gotten home from work at 10:30 pm the night before, I didn't want to crawl out of bed. James started gently trying to get me up. I got up at 6:15, and we got on the road at 7. It is a pleasant drive to the farm. We picked blueberries for about 2 hours, and we came home with 18 pounds. We're having blueberry pancakes from breakfast :-)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Anniverysary, James!

Has it really been six years? I'm so thankful for you, and I couldn't imagine walking down this road of life with someone else at my side. I love you!

Friday, June 15, 2007

The photo montage

As promised, a post about the photo montage that we made for James' parents for their anniversary. We used Photoshop and Adobe Premier Elements, which James gave me for our anniversary last year. Almost all of the pictures were not digital, so they had to be scanned. I went through about 2000 photos - I'm not exaggerating at all. For a few days, after we were done, I didn't want to see another photo! Haha. After I chose which pictures to use, we chose songs. We have about 300 pictures that were going on the DVD, and we had 6 songs. The pictures started with wedding photos and came all the way to a few from this year.

My advice if you want to do this kind of thing yourself:
1) name your pic files in chronological order from the start using the following format yyyy/mm/dd. That will keep everything in order, instead of having all the birthday pics together and all the Christmas pics together.

2) If you use text on your pics, don't put in on the edge of the photo. The DVD looked fine on our TV, but not all TVs have the same resolution, so some of the text of the edges got cut off when we watched it on a different TV.

3) We had most of the pictures paced at 5 seconds each, which was almost too fast for the 1 st time viewing.

4) The more pictures the better. We had about 300, and ended up with a 30 minute DVD.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Buttercream Icing

Per request here's the recipe I used for buttercream icing ;

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted
2 & 1/4 cup confections' sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Place butter in a mixing bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in sifted confectioners' sugar and vanilla. After that is mixed well, add 1 TBS. hot (boiled but not boiling) water. Beat to give a soft peak consistency. Use immediately or cover and chill until needed. Bring icing back to room temperature before use.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Let them eat Cake

This past Sunday James' parents celebrated their 35th anniversary, and in honor of the occasion we all met at my bother-in-law's house Tuesday night and the six of us went out to eat at The Bonefish Grill. Yummy. After dinner we went back to the house for dessert. I had made this cake, after a number of phone calls to my mom for advise and reading a book on cake decorating. I assembled the cake in Red Stick and then carefully boxed it up for the 3 hour drive to my brother-law's house. Here's what I learned from the project:

1) Do not attempt to make a cake like this in one day. I spread the task out over 3 days. Saturday night I made buttercream cream icing. Sunday, I baked the cakes - 4 layers total. Monday, I put the "primer coat" of buttercream icing on. Tuesday I iced the cakes with fondant, assembled them, and inserted the flowers and ribbon.

2) The cake layers need structural support. I used chopsticks cut in half, and put them in 3 different places that went through all 4 layers.

3) For stability during travel, put a layer of buttercream on your serving platter before you put the cake on it. It will serve as glue to keep the cake from shifting on the platter.

4) If you're using fresh flowers on the cake you need to use flowers that have not been sprayed with pesticides. You can special order them from a florist, but the Whole Foods Market here keeps them in stock. To keep the flowers fresh for several hours, cut a drinking straw into thirds, fold one end up slightly, and tape it. Fill the taped up straw 3/4 full with water, insert into cake, and place flower into straw. The straw is so narrow that the water doesn't spill out. I turned them upside down and the surface tension of the water kept it in the straw.

We gave James' parents a DVD montage, but more on that later.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

What a Day

I have been working at a Walgreens that is in a bad neighborhood for the past several weeks. Wednesday, I went to work at 8 am, and at 10 am one of the front end managers came back to the pharmacy and told me that I'd better come outside and take a look at my car. The driver's side window had been busted out, and my purse - and it's contents- had been stolen. I had a very small purse tucked way under the seat. I hope they were greatly disappointed when there was only $5 cash to be found and no credit cards.

James was home, so he spent most of the day with the police, insurance, etc. Some people came out to our house to repair the car window on Thursday, and we've replaced everything was taken. Just waiting for my employer to refund us.

It is amazing what some people will do in broad daylight. I guess they are just desperate, they are so poor it doesn't matter to them if they get caught. . .at least they get fed in jail.
We're thankful that no traumatic damage was done, and I'll be even more thankful when I'm no longer working in that area.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Congratulations James!

Friday James got his masters degree from LSU. He didn't want to walk in the ceremony, so we celebrated at here at home with his brother and his wife. We had homemade pizza for dinner Friday, and Saturday morning James made French Toast for breakfast. These are a couple of pictures of a cake I made for him.

Saturday night the four of us went out to eat at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. It was delicious and the service was top rate. It was the first time James and I had eaten there.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Saturday James I and went to Mobile, AL for the day. We went to see the Pompeii exhibit at the Exploreum. It was really interesting, but to cameras were allowed, so no pics. They had an IMAX theater there, and they were showing a movie about ancient Greece. The screen was all encompassing - like a planetarium.

After the movie and exhibit we went to see the USS Alabama at Mobile Bay.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Our Artwork Arrived!

While we were in Sedona, we spent one night browsing through the local art galleries. I was impressed, and sometimes it takes a lot to impress me in the art world. Not that I don't appreciate simple beauty, but I love it when you see something truly creative and imaginative, something different. I was awed with some of the sculptures we saw, but they were out of our price range. . .$40,000 and up. The last gallery we went in was one that I almost passed up. I didn't care for what was in the display window. It was full of weird cartoonish sculptures, but I decided to wander on in. I'm glad I did because we found a little treasure there. Click here to see what we bought.

It is not an original. It is a hand pulled lithograph reproduced from the original after Geisel's death per instructions that he left in his will.

It's at a framing shop right now. I'm not sure where it's going to hang yet.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

More Trip Pics

On our way to breakfast at one of the lodges our last day in the National Park, we saw a group of six elk grazing right by the road. They were used to traffic I guess! Breakfast was a treat that day. We had been at our campsite, and we were down to oranges and granola bars. We had biscuits and eggs at the lodge. After that we went to the IMAX theater to see an IMAX movie about the Grand Canyon. Well worth the time! After the movie, we got back on the road in our little rental car - a Chevy Cobalt, with a very little engine. Driving through the mountains, James had it floored going uphill - and as fast the car could go was about 40 mph. Our next destination was Sedona. On the way there, we saw this sign on the highway. We passed it up at first, because it sounded like a hoax. I mean, who's ever heard of a white buffalo? We decided to turn around and see what it was all about.
We walked into a small gift shop, and there was a lady in there to greet us. They charged $5 admission, and she gave a little bit of history about how their ranch got started, and she had pics of the animals - sure enough, they had white buffalo. They had genetic testing done on the first white one that was born to make sure that it was 100% buffalo - no cattle in its ancestry. It was all buffalo.
The Native Americans in the region come and bring offerings to the buffalo. These are the 1st white ones documented, and the Indians believe they are the fulfillment of an old prophesy to bring peace.

There were other animals at the ranch. They had Pygmy goats, doves, a bunny, and an alpaca.

After we arrived in Sedona, we went to see the Chapel of the Holy Cross. It is a catholic church, built in 1957.
A bird's nest we saw in a cactus outside the church - it was occupied. The bird flew out when we walked by the cactus.

The next morning we went to Slide Rock State Park. The photo above is a rock formation at we saw while hiking on one of the trails at the park. The photo below is of the park's swimming hole, which was named one of the top 10 swimming holes in the US by Life magazine. The water was very clear, and very cold!