Friday, April 29, 2011

Funny Friday - Royal Style


All this coverage of the Royal Wedding has got me thinking....I've always felt that somehow I was born into the wrong family.  I'm pretty sure that I should've been a Royal.  Maybe I was switched at birth, kidnapped...I don't know, but it seems pretty apparent to me. 

I mean, don't I look perfectly natural in a tiara???  I could get used to trumpets blaring and people curtseying when I enter a room. 

If, like me, you think you should've been born a princess, go ahead and crown yourself, too.  I tihink on a day like today, we're should all be Royals!!

Make me a Princess

I hereby decree you are a princess....enjoy!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Garden Pergola Swing...the perfect gift!

When my husband asked me what I wanted this year for my birthday, I gave it some serious thought.  Past gifts have included whiskey barrels and flowers, dilapidated chairs, antique wooden bunnies..... many of these gifts will live forever in the realm of family lore...let's just say hubby has a "knack" for gift giving. 

But I digress....what did I want this year?  Some girls wants diamonds, furs, expensive cars...me, I want the smell of fresh lumber and topsoil.

We had a swing at our old house and I've always missed it, so when I mentioned that to hubby, he pounced on it and said, "I'll build you one!"

....and that's how the perfect birthday gift came to be.


This area of the yard used to have a wooden bench, but it had gotten rickety and we were trying to figure out what to do to jazz up the area.  It meant moving my beloved baby lemon tree (you can see it in the far left of the photo) and I was nervous about that, but it seems to be doing just fine in it's new home. 

We looked at pictures on the www and hubby came up with a plan and got started...no kits for him! We did order the cypress swing, but he did everything else. 

Did I mention that I have quite possibly the handiest husband in the world?

To get started...he cemented the poles in the ground....


and started building the fun stuff.




Tons of measuring, figuring out angles, cutting notches, curves, trim....countless trips to Lowe's and Home Depot....


...and voila!!!  Isn't it just perfect? 




He even built a little lattice screen to go behind the swing and hide the A/C units.  We planted Confederate Jasmine to grow up the pergola and the A/C screen, and I can't wait for that, and the rest of the landscape, to take off.  

We just finished it Sunday night and you can guess where I've spent most of my evenings since then. 

Just a swinging......



Hands down...one of the best gifts ever.  Did I mention that I have a great husband?  Thanks so much....smooches!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Meatless Monday - Eggplant Lasagna

 I love me some Italian food...I mean, other than chocolate, what's better than tomato sauce and cheese...so when I'm looking for meatless dishes, I naturally gravitate towards pasta.  I searched the all knowing Google and couldn't find a recipe that I really liked, so I combined several of them and came up with my own. 




Today, you get a bonus, simple salad recipe to go along with your main dish.


Eggplant Lasagna
with Ricotta and Parmesan

Ingredients:

28 ou. can crushed tomatoes
14.5 ou can Fire Roasted diced tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine
2 eggplants
1 onion
3 cloves garlic (or a couple tsps of minced garlic)
4 tbs. olive oil, plus more for eggplant
15 ou. ricotta cheese
2 lg. eggs
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbs. Italian seasoning blend
Grated Italian Cheese blend

Directions:

1. Heat broiler. In 2 batches, arrange the eggplant slices on a broilerbroof baking sheet, brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil until charred and tender, 4-5 mins. per side.

2. Meanwhile, pour 4 tbs. of olive oil in skillet and brown onions and garlic. Turn off the fire and pour in the red wine. Immediately turn the fire back on high and allow the wine to cook off, scraping the pan to get all of the goodies off the bottom. Add crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes, oregano, and Italian seasoning blend. If you don’t have fresh oregano, just add extra Italian seasoning.  As always, all of my seasoning measurements are approximately.  Add or subtract to your taste.

3. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta, basil and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.

4. Spread 1/3 tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9x12 baking dish. On top of it, layer 1/2 the eggplant slices, half the ricotta mixture. Repeat for the next layer, finishing with the final 1/3 tomato sauce. Sprinkle grated Italian cheese blend on top.

5. Bake at 400 until bubbly, about 20 mins. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.



and here's your bonus side salad recipe


SALAD:

4 cups mixed baby greens
chopped red onion
Grated Italian cheese blend

ITALIAN VINAIGRETTE DRESSING:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbs. fresh oregano/2 tsp dried
3/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients. Shake. Dress salad immediately before serving.


I have to tell you, we REALLY liked this meal.  Even Meg, who has "food texture issues" enjoyed the eggplant.  Definitely a keeper.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Funny Friday - For all my Peeps!

In honor of Easter, today's Funny Friday is brought to you by
The Washington Post.


Every year, they sponsor a contest where people use Peeps to make a diorama.  Here are the this year's entries and the winner of the


Chilean Mine Rescue
Check out the detail

Getty Images / Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Here are some other clever ones:
InPeeption
Angry Peeps
The King's Peeps

Getty Images / Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post
TSA gets a "Peep" show


and you thought all you could do with Peeps is...

No Peeping

Happy Easter!!!





Wednesday, April 20, 2011

...and with this ring....

In case some of y'all have been living under a rock and missed my shouts of joy....my eldest daughter, Megan, is engaged!!  They've been engaged for just over a month now and the wedding plans are moving along nicely.  The orignal plan was to just wait until after she and her fiance'. Matt, take the Bar exam in late July before they began any hardcore wedding planning, but after talking to a few vendors at a Bridal show a few weeks ago, we realized that many venues and vendors are already booking up for Fall of 2012. 
Can you even imagine that?!?

So....the planning has begun!

But I digress.....I figure most people have already seen "THE RING", so I'm safe now in posting a picture now on the www.  Here ya go.....isn't it beautiful??  And believe me, this picture doesn't do it justice.  If you could put Meg in the form of a ring, this one would sum up her personality perfectly. I can't believe what a great job Matt did in picking this ring out.  A++++

Think back to when you got your engagement ring.....do you remember how you couldn't look at it enough...how you caught glimpses of it in the mirror, or as you were holding a glass, or doing any number of mundane things....how elegant and foreign it looked on your hand?  How it reminded you that someone loves you with all his heart and you'll be sharing a lifetime together.  So much love, anticipation, hope and...as life goes on...memories wrapped up in a tiny band of diamonds.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Meatless Monday - Crunch Romain Salad with Sweet and Sour Dressing

This is a delicious salad that was introduced to us a few years ago by my daughter's future Mother in Law, Ginger....so, we call it Ginger's Salad.
It's from the Mississippi Junior League cookbook and it is DELICIOUS!

The only change I make is that I substitute Splenda for the sugar...and I add red onions.

On "Meat Days" it's also really good if you marinate boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a variation of this dressing (overnight preferably), pop them on the grill, slice and place on top of the salad.  I could almost live off of this meal.

Hope you enjoy!


Friday, April 15, 2011

Funny Friday

I know I should save this for Father's Day, but heck...it's too good to wait.


You might be listening to the radio too much if.....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The sweet smell of Spring


Along with the promise of warm weather and blue skies, Spring brings with it some of the most wonderful smells in the world.

One of my very favorites is Confederate Jasmine.  It's a quick grower and is great when used as a privacy screen, or just to hide something unsightly.  Our pool equipment is hidden behind this one.



You'd also ever know it, but this vine structure also serves as our outdoor shower.  No, we don't routinely shower naked in the backyard for all the world to see...you never know when you might want to run for public office, and we can't have any youtube videos in circulation. 

There's a shower head hidden somewhere towards the top of that vine, and we primarily use it for a quick spritz after getting out of the pool.

But for a few weeks every April, I can't get enough of the smell of Confederate Jasmine.  The minute I walk outside, the sweet aroma envelopes me and fills me with a  sense of .....ahhhhhhh.


 There's no greater argument for the benefits of aromatherapy than Springtime in the South. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Meatless Monday - Vegetarian Chili

Today's Meatless Monday recipe is brought to you courtesy of my friend Jenn over at jenuinemoments.  She turned me onto this recipe and boy, am I glad.

It's actually a Rachael Ray recipe...and before you Rachael Ray haters write this one off, try to have an open mind.

...and because I'm lazy and it's just easier for me to post this link to the recipe....here ya go.




I pretty much followed the recipe, except I did add a can of diced garlic/onion tomatoes.  It'd be just as good without that addition, and when I make this again, I'll probably leave it out just to see.  I also just used diced jalapenos in a jar....I warned you I was lazy.



Friday, April 8, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Our first Bridal Show!!!

We took these fun pictures at a photo booth
at the Bridal Show
...and we're off!!!  Well, sort of...

Meg and I went to our first Bridal Show together last night.  We had a ball....spoke to a lot of wonderful vendors....got waaaaaay too much information (I think both of our heads are still spinning)....and realized that it's definitely not too early to start planning a wedding that won't take place for another 18 months....gulp.

We were fortunate enough to be able to speak to both a photographer and videographer she's interested in booking....only to find out that they're already booking up for fall of 2012.  Yikes!!

So, while Meg and Matt still need to put wedding planning on the back burner and focus on taking their law school finals and the bar exam, I have been given permission to gather information about venues.  Yeeeeeeee Haaaaaaaa!!!

...and so I'm off....sort of....venues it is!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Calling all silver wearers...help is on the way!!!


I wear a lot of silver jewelry and for some reason a lot of it had begun to tarnish recently.  I spent hours with those pesky, oily, little silver cloths polishing each piece until it glistened, only to have them tarnish again in no time.  Since patience is not a virtue I've been able to master, I knew I had to find a better solution.

As far as I'm concerned, there's only one place to go for the answers to all of life's questions...the all knowing Google!!

Lo and behold, I came across this little life saver.

Here's what you'll need:

Glass/Ceramic Bowl
Aluminum foil
water
baking soda
salt
dishwashing liquid
polishing cloth

1.  First boil a cup of water (or enough to cover your jewelry)

2.  Line your bowl with aluminum foil

3.  Add 1 tsp of baking soda, 1 tsp of dishwashing liquid and 1 tsp of salt to the dish.  It'll get a little bubbly.


This is what the solution looks like at the beginning of the process.

4.  Place your silver jewelry into the bowl, allowing all pieces to touch the aluminum foil.  Allow to soak 5-7 minutes


After a few minutes, it begins to turn this dirty color and develops a bit of an odor.

5.  Remove the jewelry from the cleaner and rinse under cool water.  You might want to use tongs to retrieve the jewelry as those with sensitive skin might be affected. It didn't bother me at all though.

6.  Some pieces might require a light buffing to remove a sort of film.  I think only one pair of my earrings required this. 

Nice, shiny jewelry
 It's amazing how something this simple can make me so happy!

I did this about a month or so ago, and all of my pieces are still tarnish free.  I've read that this solution can be used on all sorts of silver...jewelry, serving pieces, etc....you just have to adjust the amounts of each ingredient to suit your needs.

Now go gather up all that nasty jewelry and bring it back to life!



Monday, April 4, 2011

Meatless Monday - Italian Pasta Salad

Today's Meatless Monday recipe is one of my all time favorite, go-to recipes.  I've been making this for years and it's an often requested dish at family/friend gatherings

For the Italian Pasta Salad you'll need:


1 lb. Rotini Tri-Color Pasta
(if I'm making this just for our family I use wheat pasta and it's equally good)
1 jar Italian Giardiniera mix
1 lg. jar Salad Olives
Marinated artichoke hearts (make sure you use marinated)
1 bunch broccoli
1 red onion
3 tomatoes
1 bottle Robusto Italian dresing
1 bottle Ceasar Vinaigrette
Creole seasoning, salt, pepper - to taste
Parmesan cheese (use Parm/Reggiano or Parm/Romano,
fresh grated is better)

***The amounts listed above are only a guide.  Use more or less of each ingredient to suit your own individual taste.  Add new ingredients, subtract the ones you don't like. This recipe is super forgiving.***

Directions:

Boil pasta (al dente)

Chop and cook broccoli...do not overcook or it'll be a mushy mess

Chop onion and tomatoes  

Drain most of the liquid from giardiniera, olives and marinated artichoke hearts.  Rough chop giardiniera and artichoke hearts.

Add above ingredients to bowl.

Add half a bottle of each salad dressing to moisten the ingredients.

Add cheese, creole seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.  (Taste before adding salt as the dressing, olives, cheese, etc. are already salty.)

Just before serving, add more salad dressing to taste.

***I find this recipe is much better if made a day in advance.  It gives the ingredients a chance to blend and soak up the dressing. ***

Hope you enjoy!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Funny Friday - April Fool...NOT

super funny hilarious pictures Broken Egg Super Funny Stuff   Broken Egg  funny aniamls, cool pics, hilarious pictures

Seriously, there's nothing funny about this Friday.  I drowned my stinking Blackberry in barely a sip of water yesterday and I feel lost and betrayed.  I've babied that *&^$ thing for almost 2 years and it goes and gives up on me in my hour of need.  Okay, maybe a little dramatic, but it's like the egg every middle school kid carries around trying to prove that they'll someday be a responsible parent, and just when you're about to hand it in for an A+, it goes splat all over the floor.

Alas, I think today I'll make the jump to an iPhone.  An exciting prospect for any teenager with twitchy thumbs, but an aggravation for me...at least until I get it...and learn it...and download a zillion useless apps...and fall in love all over again.

Okay, now that I've vented, I feel better.  Here's a little Friday funny for you after all.


Dislcaimer:

Anyone who knows me knows that I have some perverse, uncontrollable laughing issue whenever I see someone fall....it's bad...I know...I'm evil...I can't help it.

So....remember friends...drink responsibly...or I'll laugh at you!




There, now I feel better.  Happy Stinking April Fool's Friday.

Drunk smiling ball picturing bottle Stock Photo - 4667304