October 31, 2011


Happy Halloween Y'all!

The pumpkin I carved at work this year...

Mr. Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas

Some of the other entries that my Audubon coworkers did for the annual carving contest (prepare to be amazed)...

The bumble bees in the mouth pumpkin ended up winning.  My poor Jack Skellington just couldn't compete.  I'll get 'em next year though!  We'll end with this... J and I hope your Halloween doesn't suck like a vampire. Or how about... we hope you are able to dance like a ghost this Halloween and BOOOOgie! Or maybe... the skeleton laughed so hard at our blog that it tickled his funny bone.  Hahahahaha.  You get the idea. 

October 21, 2011


The man needs no introduction but in case you have been living in a culinary hole for the past decade, that's John Besh, chef extraordinaire! He was recently featured in Country Living magazine and shared some family recipes with readers. They all sounded delicious but there were 2 in particular I'm excited to make and try for Thanksgiving this year. I thought I'd share them (below) so if you need an extra side dish or 2 for Thanksgiving, it's your lucky day.  What is great about these 2 recipes is they cook at the same oven temperature (425 degrees) for almost the same amount of time (30 minutes vs. 35 minutes) and seem easy peasy to throw together.  Enjoy :)

Olive Oil Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

Serves 12
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Oven Temp: 425

· 2 head(s) cauliflower, cut into florets
· 1/4 cup(s) olive oil
· 2 clove(s) garlic, sliced
· Salt
· Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower, oil, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat once more. Transfer cauliflower to a large baking sheet and
roast until golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway through.

Sweet Corn Pudding Recipe

Serves 12
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Oven Temp: 425

· 1 stick(s) unsalted butter
· 1 medium onion, chopped
· 2 clove(s) garlic , sliced
· 12 ear(s) (about 9 cups) corn, kernels cut off the cob, or 3 (12 ounces each) frozen bags
· 1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
· 1 quart(s) heavy cream
· 1 cup(s) (about 6 tablespoons uncooked) cooked grits
· 3 tablespoon(s) minced canned jalapeno or chile peppers
· Salt
· Freshly ground pepper
· 9 eggs, beaten
· 1 cup(s) (about 4 ounces) shredded white cheddar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add corn and cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes more. Add flour and stir for 1 minute, then stir in cream. Continue to stir until mixture comes to a boil, about 15 minutes. Add cooked grits and remove pot from heat. Stir in jalapenos and season with salt and pepper. With a handheld immersion blender in pot, puree corn mixture while slowly adding eggs until thoroughly incorporated. Pour mixture into a 9- by 13-inch baking dish and 
sprinkle with cheese. Bake until center puffs and top turns golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

I'm thinking this will end up being my menu for Turkey Day...

Honey Baked Ham
Mashed Potatoes
Olive Oil Roasted Cauliflower (John Besh recipe)
Sweet Corn Pudding (John Besh recipe)

Marshmallow Coconut Fruit Salad
Green Bean Casserole
Stuffed Zucchini
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Apple-n-Praline Pie

Chocolate Wafer Cake

I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

October 20, 2011



Benjamin & Alisha are moving to Hawaii!  I can picture them now.... fresh pineapple for breakfast, a walk along the beach making it just in time for their surfing lesson, mahi mahi for lunch, followed by a hike on a volcano....

With one brother in Japan soon and another brother in Hawaii soon, I will be extra busy planning some awesome vacations! :)


J and I left last Wednesday, the 12th, and drove northeast towards his hometown of Columbia, Tennessee.  Columbia is about an hour south of Nashville.  A majority of his family members (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) live in Middle Tennessee.  As always, the trip flew by and we wish we could have had a few more days to spend with everyone.  Friday we drove 90+ miles from Columbia, Tennessee to Clarksville, Tennessee and spent the day there.  We got to have lunch with Madison (J's best friend friend from high school and best man in our wedding) and then spent the rest of the day visiting J's Dad's side of the family... some of them anyway.  It's a big bunch since J's Dad has 7 siblings.  Can you imagine raising 8 children?  Whew, wears me out just thinking about it.  So anyway, we got to visit with Uncle Hilary, Grandma Anitra and Grandpa Ed.  In true Anitra fashion, J's Grandma had gone all out for our visit.  It doesn't matter if you tell her you've just eaten, she prepares a feast anyway.  There was so much catching up to do that I forgot to take pictures while we were there.  Saturday was spent with J's Mom's side of the family.  It was Nana's surprise birthday party at my in-laws!  J's Uncle Art & Aunt Carolyn were there, along with his Aunt Kathy all the way in from South Carolina.  We were hiding on the deck in order to (safely) shock Nana when she came outside but she showed us all by peering out of the blinds before coming out.  Oh well, we'll get her another year.  J and I truly had a wonderful long weekend away.  The gorgeous fall weather, nightly happy hour with Mr. Terry's homemade wine, and laughing until I cried moments made for a great trip!  A few pictures below.... (note that my mother-in-law isn't in a single photo since she was busy being photographer extraordinaire) 

10/14/11 - lunch w/ Madison @ O'Charley's in Clarksville, TN

10/15/11 - Nana & Papa

10/15/11 - Mr. Terry & J grilling ribs.  They were delicious!

10/15/11 - J's parent's backyard

10/15/11 - J's sis Jacqueline

10/15/11 - J relaxing by the cabin & pool

10/15/11 - Cesar Millan doesn't have anything on my J!

10/16/11 - Bayou & Walnut cuddling on the long drive home