She believed she could. So she did.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Mixed Spinach Salad with Tahini Dressing

From the Chronicles of Chicken Fried Veggie Food Babe one of my favorite new blogs writes about Tahini Dressing as if it were the second coming. For me, the jury is still out on this one. Maybe it's my crude taste buds or my lack of cooking skills, but I just wasn't that into it. Wendy on the other hand loved it and asked for seconds, so we'll give it another go before scratching it off the list. If you've read my other posts, you know that you're more likely to find me frantically trying to empty my email inbox than spending any real quality time cooking in the kitchen, so I have several criteria for rating recipes in this little social/culinary experiment Tastiness, Easiness, Accessiblity of ingredients, and Clean up time. For the tahini dressing, here are my ratings with a 10 being chicken-fried deliciousness and a 1 being total bleh. Tastiness: 3 - it was just kinda bland for me. It needed some spice or some red chili paste to jazz it up. Wendy gives it a 6. She says she enjoyed the fresh tanginess of it. Easiness: 6 - it just required throwing a bunch of stuff in the blender, not much chopping or prepping. Accessibility of Ingredients: 6 everything was already in the pantry or fridge except the tahini but I found it in the organic section of Kroger so not too much of a biggie there. It cost like $5.99 or something so kinda pricey for me. Clean-up: 3- had to clean a blender and a whole bunch of muxing cups and measuring spoons, so that's always going to get a fairly low score. Overall, we will make this again and add some spice and I will just eyeba the measurements.

Welcome to Southern Fried Veggie

Reposted from new blog -- Southern Fried Veggie. I'm a southern woman in a long line of southern women who are delicious cooks. I grew up on biscuits and gravy, eggs over easy, cornbread dressing, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese with ranch beans, fried catfish and hush puppies. My Granny was a good southern cook. We called her Big Bill. My favorites were strawberry cake with about a pound of confectioner's powered sugar as the icing and pineapple upside down cake. I'd stay with her during the summer and every day at lunch, we'd enjoy a bowl of Campbell's chicken noodle soup, peanut butter mixed with Welch's grape jelly on 2 slices of white wonder bread. Of course, that was after the fried eggs and bacon breakfast we had earlier. Hmmm, that was some good eating. Now, Granny was a good cook, but my Momma is a phenomenal southern cook. Chocolate pie with mile-high meringue, coconut cream pie with crust made from scratch, banana pudding eaten straight from the bowl while standing with the refrigerator door open. (What? You know you've done that too). Where I come from food is love, comfort, and hospitality, and warm wishes. Food is everything. For a southern woman like me, food is life and I'm a true foodie. I wake up thinking about what I'm going to eat and rate if my day was decent or not by the tastiness of what I ate. Of course, along with all of this is a scale that goes up and up and up and feelings of having no energy or that good 'ol hidy-ho zeal for life. I wake up tired and fall in bed exhausted. Cranky, grouchy, sleepy, hungry.., don't mistake these as members of the 7 dwarfs, it is me on a typical day. Harrumph. There's got to be a better way, right? If there is, I'm determined to figure it out. This blog is to document the journey I am taking to capture the same southern fried deliciousness that is engrained in my DNA and eat a more plant-strong, whole-food, non-processed, environmentally conscious diet. Is that even possible? Who knows. Here I will try out recipes, read and review books and documentaries, etc. You get the idea. In addition to my "would you like fries with that? Oh hell, yeah" outlook, I'm a workaholic with a 1.5 hour round trip (on a good day) commute, and mom of Miss Anna-Jane my 5 year old so there's not a lot of time to fool around shopping for odd ingredients and slaving the day away in a kitchen. So basically this social experiment boils down to this: is it possible for a 40 year old southern woman to make real health differences with food quickly, efficiently, cheaply and still taste as good as coconut cream pie? Well, let's get started and find out.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

R V there yet?

Fun family summer vacay at Daingerfield State Park. Here's the run down: rode scooters, went swimming in scary 3rd world like country swimming hole (I wore shoes and couldn't convince Anna-Jane of the virtues of such until the last day). Bleh. Anna-Jane swam all the way from the shore to the diving dock about 100 yards away. Brave, determined girl. Cooked out--fried chicken with grilled corn, fresh tomatoes, coleslaw, hamburgers and hotdogs. Visited Jefferson, TX and rode the carriage and took the Bayou boat ride. Drove around and fantasized about owning a B&B in town (but thinking about cleaning up after other people kinda icks me out so will have to continue to develop that daydream.) Ate at the Hamburger store (if you ever go there, hope you are not in a big hurry), Catfish Village in Ore City, made pancakes, ate lots of ice cream, went fishing and hiking, took a nap, and picked blueberries at Greer's Farm, a u-pick CSA. Just thinking about it all wears me out. Mark your calendar and let's do it all again next year. Wahoo!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Little Crochet Snuggies

Made from the YouTube pattern I found by Emi Harrington. Fun and cute to make but it takes several re-dos to make two that match in size because my gauge is so variable. I guess that's the Gemini coming through.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Henderickson's and Other Good Stuff

This stuff is so tasty!

And, I just can't get over finding this little jewel.

Seriously can't believe that I left behind the Buffalo china dish. That Canton Craze had set it and you just can't be held responsible for your actions. Fingers crossed it will still be there next time around.

Two blogs that I can't get enough of right now. Rabbit Food for My Bunny Teeth and Gone with the Wynne's. The first is a girl who writes about her yo-yo challenges with weight and how she has created a Rabbit food pyramid. Her mantra "nibble like a rabbit." She does a lot of DIY stuff/recipes/tips and her voice is authentic and likeable. She has lots of good information and she happens to be from Houston but is now living in LA. I copied off the essentials pantry list and am going to make a date with Whole Foods to find Quinoa. I've seen that stuff written all over the health food websites and blogs, but I've never seen it. This summer one of my goals is to try out as many of her recipes as I can. Gone with the Wynne's is a hoot. They are a quirky couple of twenty-somethings from Dallas who are RVing full time. Trust Fund, maybe? I don't know, but they are super cute and lots of fun to watch as they travel around in their RV. It's the only blog that I found with folks under the age of 40, so I will take it. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hello, Summer!

I have always considered the first day without kids at school as New Year's Day. Hurray! Summer is the start of the year for me. I have always loved, loved, loved summer. Reasons: my birthday is in the summer, being outdoors, the sound of locusts, bicycling, fireflies, homemade peach ice cream, any flavor homemade ice cream for that matter, waking up early then taking a nap then going to bed late, grilling, going swimming, water parks, and I don't have to work!!! heh

We kicked off the summer by ditching work at 10:40 a.m. after the end-of-school breakfast, loaded up Skipper, and headed towards Canton Trade Days. We had so much fun. Of course, as Jen-style, we had to drive all the way back to Denton (4 hours round trip) to conduct a 1 hour orientation for the students in my EDSE 5005 class on Saturday afternoon. (Didn't I just say I didn't have to work in the summer?)

It was still fun though. We crashed pretty early on Friday night because we have both been burning the candle at both ends, but we woke up at 7 a.m. and sat outside, drank coffee, and slowly welcomed the day. It was so cool and breezy that we had to wrap up in blankets. We loaded up on the 9:30 a.m. Canton Marketplace Trolley and away we went for a whole hour of shop til you drop then crawl madness. As usual, I think I spent my entire Canton allowance in that one hour and as usual, continued to spend, so now I'm totally broke but I think we got some cute stuff and no unfortunate purchases which can happen in Canton very easily. I *almost* bought a black sequined tank top. That would have been an oops! So cute on the shop owner so not cute on me. I was in that totally Jen wishy-washy thing but luckily Wendy saved me from myself. Thank you.

What we got: burlap footstool that looks really cool with our new sofa setup, 4 pairs of trendy (read: silly looking on 40 year old women) sunglasses for $28.00, a necklace for Cathy, a butterfly bracelet for me, a cute t-shirt for each of us, dog treats (really???), a heart hang-on-the-wall thingey for the RV, a bag made of reclaimed postal material, candied pecans and almonds, a magnetic golf thing for Tom, and 3 sets of bangley bracelets (why?). The "Canton Craze" was setting in at that time and there was no reason to buy 3 sets but did.

The "Canton Craze" is when you have low blood sugar, are getting hot, and have complete sensory overload, (and maybe even a little drunk) that you buy absolutely adorable can't live without at all goodies and get home to discover that while driving home in the car have transformed into very unfortunate, guilt-laden, even embarrassing at times, lack of good decision making skills items--like the double washtub and stand that Daddy carried across the field back in 1995, like the $150 fringy super high heel platform wedges (really?), license plate purse, patchwork knit pants, and revamped camo pants with appliques and sequins.

We did see some stuff that we I really liked and didn't get but maybe will sometime. A cute sign to put in front of the RV that says something like "The Hideout" or something like that. A cute t-shirt that says "it's all good in the trailerhood." A really cute bracelet with black and silver beads and crystal skulls.

When we got back from Denton, we stopped at Goodson's Farmer's Market and bought really tasty salsa, some fresh corn, delicious tomatoes, some olive oil and sweet vinegar salad dressing that is to die for, a cup of homemade peach ice cream, and some pickled tomatoes.

That night Wendy grilled a delicious ribeye to perfection and buttery corn on the cob served with tomatoes with that really good dressing, and a baked potato. Delish!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. On Sunday we totally scored a turquoise blue Fiesta deviled egg dish at a little antique store on the corner. I had also found an oval Buffalo china dish that matches my other ones (or mother's - I can't remember), but had forgotten about it when we got back to the store. Darn!

Serendipity really set in when we ran into Ann Daughtry at the Brookshire's. Ann is a vivacious 95 year old woman that used to be Wendy's neighbor at Cedar Creek Lake. She is so pretty and so sweet. She knows everything there is to know about gardening, canning, putting up preserves, herbs, etc. I think it is her fountain of youth. Wendy called it a God thing because ever since her Granny Katie passed, Ann has been on her mind. As we walked through the booths at Canton, Wendy kept saying I wonder where Ann's booth is. Then we walked right into her at the Brookshire's. It would be my dream to go and spend a summer with her and learn everything that she knows. That's my sociology degree kicking in, isn't it? I would love to document it (and then get super rich and famous when my book and then movie is released that then launches into a TV show where I travel around and document old timey stuff) like My Year with Julia or Tuesdays with Maury. A girl can dream right?

Isn't she cute? When we saw her from behind, I said to Wendy, "that is probably what I will look like with that red sparkly hat on my head when I'm old." That made her look at the lady and then I heard, "ANN!"

Well, I don't want this fun weekend to end. The last few weeks of school were grueling. Back to the grind tomorrow with writing the PE and speech class (can't we just combine those?), and working on master schedule. Yikes!