May 31, 2012

Piperade Pie

I just have to share with y'all this delicious egg pie- not quite a quiche, but perhaps a handsome Basque cousin of a quiche.  A friend brought this to us post baby, and it was devoured immediately.  I had it for dinner, then breakfast, then lunch.  Now that glorious tomato season is upon us, I cannot wait to make it again with fresh Grainger county tomatoes, or some out of my dear neighbor's bountiful vegetable garden.  I used store bought whole wheat pie crust, which I overcooked a bit.  This did not harm the flavor, but I would swath the crust with an aluminum foil shield.  I doubled the recipe and made two pies, one of which went into the freezer.

  • Ingredients:
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 1/4  heaping cup coarsely chopped red bell peppers
  • 3/4  heaping cup coarsely chopped onions
  • 8 Tbsp. Chopped green onions
  • 1 Tbsp. Minced garlic
  • 3 cups drained peeled tomatoes chopped
  • 2 tsp. Dried basil, or 2 tbsp. Fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 6 dashes tobacco
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 pie crust

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • To make the filling, in a large skillet over medium heat, sauté peppers and onions in live oil until wilted. Stir in garlic. Add tomatoes, basil salt pepper and Tabasco. Slowly simmer cook to reduce the liquid (abut 10 mins). Stir in butter, and then mix in the eggs. Pour mixture into pie shell and Bake until set, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest before serving.

It's perfect for a ladies luncheon or a light dinner served with a green salad, or an ideal brunch dish with fruit.  Packed with veggies, Piperade Pie is a great way to celebrate my favorite season.  Can y'all tell that I really love this dish?  Unsurprising, considering egg dishes seem to be my main form of subsistence these days, much to Hubs' chagrin.  He is under the impression that they aren't substantial enough for dinner.  However, this dish made him a believer.

Hostess With the Mostess and Grocery Store Feet

Miss Priss hosted her first pool party Saturday.  It was rather hysterical.  The triplets and Caitlin attended.

Caitlin was very relaxed.

Miss Priss was especially pleased that a cute older boy attended her party.

Since no meltdowns had occurred, the guys ran to get barbecue and baby food, and we had dinner by the pool.

I'm glad that she had her first party before the current onset of grumpy behavior began on Sunday afternoon.  I'm afraid the next step for her reflux/GERD is seeing a specialist.  We are seeing her doctor tomorrow morning to check things out.  Has anyone been to a pediatric gastroenterologist?  Please give me some information if so!

I made stuffed shells times three this weekend- two new babies to admire, and my mama had surgery on Tuesday, so I wanted to have some for my family as well.

Good thing I have her kitchen, as mine currently looks like this-
Floors are in and cabinets are being painted! (River Gorge Gray by Benjamin Moore, in case you are curious).  I am too tickled.

Finally, my primary indicators of summer have arrived.  I have white trash legs (mosquito bit, bruised, and scratched up) and grocery store feet.  I am a professional lady!  I wear suits and high heels.  How is it the minute the weather heats up, I manage to look like a 4th grader hanging out at the ball park eating hot dogs?  It's a mystery for the ages.

May 29, 2012

The 5-7 Diet (Eat More to Stay Slim!)

This is me a year ago.  This is the size I would like to be now.  I'm just 5-7 pounds away, but my body is different post baby.  After Dell Harper threw here first pool party this weekend (more to come on that adorable baby-fest), I realized that swimsuit season is here to stay.  Time to get serious!

Now I am loathe to diet in general, but especially while nursing.  I need plenty of fat and calories to pass along to Miss Priss.  However, the easiest way for me to lose weight involves nary a counted calorie or point.  All I do is make sure I get 5-7 (preferably 7+) servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  As long as I get those veggies and fruit in, I can eat whatever I want!  I think your body fills up so much on all those nutrients, that you can't overindulge too terribly in food that isn't as healthy.

So, I'm upping my apples and cutting back on the desserts.  Here's a typical day on my 5-7 plan (keep in mind I'm nursing so eating more than normal):

Breakfast: 3 Mini Freezer Fritattas (2 vegetable servings)
Snack: Apple and string cheese (1 Fruit)
Lunch: Quinoa Salad with veggies, brownie (2 veggie servings)
Snack: cherry tomatoes, turkey, triscuits and hummus (1 veggie serving)
Dinner: Stuffed shells, garlic bread and salad. (3 veggie servings)

Right now after dinner there is a Klondike Bar (they have these Heath Bar ones now, that are to die for!).  Due to the bathing suit issue, that Klondike bar is hitting the road.  Also hitting the road?  Miss Priss and I in her stroller. My goal is the hilly 2 mile walking path at least 5 times a week.  That, combined with Jazzercise on Saturdays should be a good start.

Are y'all with me?  Bikini confidence by the end of the summer!

May 24, 2012

Tis a Gift to be Simple

Hubs and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary yesterday.  He made a fantastic dinner, and surprised me with a gallon of orange tea from Petro's and a custard pie from S&S Cafeteria.  I was in seventh heaven.  If you asked my younger self to describe the perfect anniversary celebration, I'm fairly positive I would not have described sitting on the back porch, drinking iced tea in grubby shorts and no makeup.  It was perfect though. 
We gazed out at the oak tree where Hubs proposed and where we were married.  I am so very lucky to be married to a man who helps me slow down, and who I have the best time just sitting around shooting the breeze.  He has taught me that so much joy comes from the simplest things.

He also was ready for me to quit taking pictures of the lovely meal he prepared, and sit my ass down to eat.
In addition to being an excellent companion, Hubs is amazing on the grill.  Delicious lamb chops, grilled simply seasoned with salt and pepper, roasted asparagus, and Ina Garten's roasted potatoes with mustard.

Please note Buddy in the background.  He is dying to celebrate his parents' anniversary with a piece of lamb.  It didn't happen.

I walked down the aisle to Appalachian Spring, also known as Simple Gifts.  The words are just how i feel about my life with Hubs.

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free

'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain'd,

To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.
Some people might want fancy trips or expensive gifts.  Apparently you can just give me a good old custard pie, and I become a complete sap!

May 23, 2012

Quick Eye Makeup Tutorial

 I had so much fun putting makeup on my fellow bridesmaids, Miss Purvis and Marge this weekend.  I also got to put a little lip gloss, mascara and eyeshadow on the preteen junior bridesmaids, which was exciting for all parties involved.

Miss Purvis requested that I post a tutorial on how I did her eye makeup on the blog, so here we go!

This is a super easy look, that takes five minutes for the entire face, and is great for girls who don't like to wear makeup. Note- I myself am not part of that category. I like to be as made up as possible, but am restricted only by time, manners, and the fact that false eyelashes aren't appropriate for the office.

Now I hate to blow my newfound reputation as a stellar makeup artist, but I have a confession.  I just follow the diagram on the back of the drugstore eyeshadow.

This Almay "Intense I-Color" for green eyes eyeshadow palette is awesome.  Start with your liner- I used my liquid Loreal liner on Marge and myself- starting at the halfway point of the eye, and smudging with my finger.  For Miss Purvis (since she has a greater aversion to makeup), I used her own charcoal pencil liner and lined the entire top half of the eye.

I didn't do any liner on the bottom for any of gals since it was a wedding and someone might cry.  Also, we were all pretty exhausted.

Then you simply sweep the plum shade just past the eyelid crease.

Next, sweep the gray shadow from the crease and up.

Finally, add the sparkly pink along the brow bone, and in the corner of your eye (by your nose).  Add mascara and voila!  Your look polished and "done" in about two minutes, ( five if you add some foundation and BLUSH (most important to look rosy and fresh), and a bright lip gloss).

Also, try that Almay eyeshadow.  It looks great on everyone's coloring, and won't break the bank!

Any makeup (from the drugstore) that makes your face?  Please share your secrets ladies!

May 22, 2012

Charleston Wedding Weekend

I have just returned form a lovely wedding in Charleston celebrating Virge's nuptials.The weather held up, the bride was gorgeous and relaxed, and a marvelous time was had by all.  Congratulations Virge and Jake! Side note, the beautiful bride graduated from pharmacy school two days before her wedding, so she became a Dr. and a Mrs. all in the same weekend!

Miss Priss managed the car trip- we broke it up on the way there and stayed in Columbia for the night, leaving us just 2 hours on Saturday left to drive (the wedding was on Sunday night).  She had a break down the last 30 minutes because she was hungry, but was fine otherwise.  She attended about an hour of the bridal brunch, and was pretty grumpy.  I was disconcerted as normally she follows the dictum of good in public, bad in private (which is doable).  However, I think she just needed to get her bearings, as apparently she was lovely all afternoon and evening.  She was a smiley happy little thing on the long way home (praise Jesus!)

It was so wonderful to see all my dear friends and celebrate such a fun happy occasion.  I have to confess I was a ball of stress about being in a wedding with a baby in tow.  Luckily, her sweet little nanny came with us, and everything worked out fine. Haha, I did get a bit teary after being apart from Miss Priss all day long when I received a text from her nanny that they were giggling and snuggling up in bed before Dell Harper's bedtime.  Whoever would of thought I'd become such a mushball?  My mama is shaking her head at me right now I'm sure, thinking "I told you so, you twerp!"

Anyway, after traveling the last 3 out of 4 weekends with an infant, I am ready to hunker down at home, get her back on schedule (does anyone know anything about this four month sleep regression?  I believe we are dealing with that and I am not pleased), and get my life in order!

Except this is what my kitchen looks like (or did before we left).  Check out the original tile from 1963 the contractor uncovered.  Don't worry, it's not staying.

This is/was our family room.  The big open space used to be a wall.  There used to be a floor.   The ceiling is coming down any day.  Good gravy, what have I gotten myself into?

May 17, 2012

Tips and Tricks for New Moms Going Back to Work

The other night Peg was asking me about my schedule, and how I do feeding in the morning before work, etc. Now, I am not sure why she was asking me, as she is the mother of 11 month old triplets and still manages to look perfectly polished at all times.  I just have one baby and can't remember my mascara half the time.

However, it really helped me before I went back to work to see other people's schedules, and I wanted to compile all the wonderful advice you readers gave me. 

Look at my desk!  Is that not awful?

So, basic schedule:

6:00 AM- wake up, throw on makeup
6:30 AM- Miss Priss wakes up, I give her Prevacid, we let out and feed Buddy
7:00 AM- feed the baby
7:30 AM- hand Miss Priss over to Hubs, and throw on some clothes
8:00 AM-4:50 PM- work.  I bring my lunch and eat at my desk.  I pump once when I get to work, while I eat my oatmeal (notice vital elements- chair blocking office door, breakfast and diet coke).  Thanks to my goofy hands free "bustier" (sooo sexy, let me tell you!), I can work away while pumping.  I pump again in the afternoon after lunch.  Each time last about 30-45 minutes, including prep time.
5:00 PM- Before I give that sweet child kisses, I race to change into "play clothes" and get my dry clean onlies away from my reflux baby.  As soon as that is done I scoop her up and feed her (she has a "cluster feed" at this time).  Her sitter and I discuss her day briefly, then she heads home. 
5:30 PM- walk.  Hubs and Buddy come along if Hubs is home.
6:00 PM- do any dinner prep I can while Miss Priss plays on her activity mat, or chills in the swing.  If it is a bad day, we will sit outside and chill out.
6:30 PM- start bath. Depending on what's going on Hubs will take care of bath while I work on dinner, or he might go pick something up if I have been a slacker.
7:00-7:20 PM- after bath I put on her pjs, feed her dinner, say her prayers, put her in a sleep sack and say goodnight!
7:20-10:00 or 11:00 PM- I eat dinner with Hubs, then my real work starts. Hubs and I clean up the kitchen from dinner. Then I clean her bottles, and my pump bottles.  I pack my lunch and breakfast for the next day, and prep 2 bottles for Dell Harper. I lay out my clothes for the next day, and take a bath or shower depending on whether I need to wash my hair (I have super thick hair and wash it 2-3 times a week).  If needed, I blow dry my hair.  I run a load of laundry.  If I need to finish up stuff at work I try to get it done. Then, if I am not about to just fall out, I sit down with Hubs and watch a program (usually a 30 minute one!).

Okay, so my advice:
  • I like doing everything at night, because it means I get to spend more time with Miss Priss in the morning, when she is her least grumpy and more time at night with Hubs when he is his least grumpy.  I don't think I am allowed to be grumpy anymore at any time of the day.
  • Pumping Hints-
    • Clothing wise, pull up sweaters and tops, and dresses which zip down the back work the best for me.
    • Best advice I received?  Put a big burp cloth in your lap for spills and drips.  The day I forget to do this, I invariably drip milk everywhere.
    • Make sure you have something to drink while you pump.
    • If you notice your milk supply is low, while you are home with your baby on the weekend, throw in an extra couple of feedings.  Just one or two will help your supply get back up.  If your baby is like mine, she will be sooo happy.
  • Make your husband (or boyfriend, or girlfriend, or grandmother, or whoever), a partner.  I realized I was shouldering way too much.  Once I asked, Hubs was down with giving her baths, and he is awesome at diaper changing, and dinner prep. I just needed to enlist his help, instead of being super stressed and acting like a martyr.
  • Prioritize but relax.  Your family is more important than a clean kitchen.  Sometimes it's better to snuggle up on the couch with some ice cream, your man, and Modern Family than to have an empty sink.
  • Buy multiples.  In case I don't get the dishwasher ran, I have 2 sets of pumping gear and bottles.  This is such a small thing that is so helpful.
Sundays I make a bunch of freezer mini fritittas or a quiche for my breakfasts for the week, and a big batch of soup or quinoa salad (or both) for lunches.  Go ahead and pack them in individual servings.  Also, I keep oatmeal and some soup in my desk drawer for when I forget.

Most important advice I received?  Don't be a perfectionist.  I have a tendency to want everything to be done, and done just so.  I've got to let stuff go.  Sometimes I might have to go to work with my hair in a messy bun.  I might not get to go on a walk, or have a sparkling clean house every day.  Dell Harper might have a meltdown in the Chick-fil-a drive thru (happens every time).  And, it's okay.

May 16, 2012

Impromptu Out of Pocket

We were surprised with an impromptu trip to the Beach Barn to join my family for Mother's Day.  Dell Harper had a multitude of "firsts", which has resulted in a bit of grumpiness, but it was well worth it.
 She adored her first plane ride- I fed her on take off and landing, and she played and snoozed the rest of the time.  If only she liked the car as much as a plane!
Brother and Emily went down as well.  The four of us got to have a "kids dinner" out, while Mama and Daddy babysat the sleeping Miss Priss Saturday night.

Em's family was down at Watercolor as well, and they joined us for a feast of fresh from the Gulf New Orleans barbeque shrimp.  (recipe here- make it now, please, because it is to die for!)

Hubs approved.

Miss Priss did not feel like cooperating for Mother's Day photos.  However, she did give me and Mama a lovely gift on Monday- she rolled over for the first time! It was extremely exciting for all parties involved.  Law, I never thought seeing something roll over could give me such a thrill.

It was a different type of beach trip, considering I saw the beach and the pool for about ten minutes each.  It was lovely to get to relax however, especially since I returned to a mountain of work and a ripped up kitchen and den.  It comes as no surprise that renovating your house with a 15 week old baby is a terrible idea.

May 9, 2012

Get to Your Skillet Immediately!

Tonight I stared into the fridge, wondering what i the world I was going to rustle up for dinner. Then I saw the latest Southern Living with w recipe for Spring Onion Pie I had tabbed. Intrigued by the combination of eggs, green onions and cheese (!!) and I quickly threw it together.

Dear lord.

Get to the kitchen and make this RIGHT NOW. Amazing how something so incredibly simple can be sooo tasty. I ate half of it. It's six servings. Oops.

I am super excited to wake up tomorrow morning and eat the other half.

Modified slightly from here.


10 thin spring (green) onions
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons butter
8 ounces Farmer's cheese, cubed

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in oven. Trim roots from onions; discard roots. Chop half of onions. cut the other half of the onions in half (this will not look as pretty, but make cutting and eating far easier).
2. Whisk together eggs and milk. Sift together flour and next 3 ingredients (I was too hungry to get out my sifter, so I just tossed them in the eggs). Gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture, whisking rapidly 20 to 30 seconds or just until blended and smooth. (There should be no lumps.) Stir in chopped onions. Let stand 5 minutes.
3. Carefully remove hot skillet from oven. Add butter, and let stand until butter is melted. Place skillet over medium-high heat, and pour batter into skillet. Arrange cheese and remaining whole onions over top of batter, and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute or until edges begin to set.

4. Transfer skillet to top oven rack, and bake at 400° for 22 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and puffy. (Outside edges should be crispy, and inside texture should resemble a custard popover. Pie will deflate quickly.) Serve immediately

What a wonderful recipe to have in your pocket for dinner time emergencies! Simple, quick, and absolutely mouthwatering! I am going to try it next week with leeks instead of green onions. I'm sure it will be just as yummy.

May 8, 2012

Freezer Friendly Meals- The Classic

This recipe for Stuffed Shells, Giada Style is the most searched for recipe on this blog (hmmm, I hope that has to do with the yumminess of the food, not the fact that I posted pictures of myself with gratuitous cleavage).

Adapted from here


  • 1 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells (recommended: Barilla)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 (8 to 10-ounce) package frozen artichokes, thawed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 bag of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and well drained)
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 5 cups marina (store bought is fine, but I like to add some fresh basil and garlic)
  • 2 cups freshly grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta.
  • Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through.
  • Add the artichoke hearts and spinach and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • In a large bowl combine the cooled turkey mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • To stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of marina sauce. Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of turkey mixture, about 2 tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Continue filling the shells until the baking dish is full. I  normally get three 8x8 baking dishes full.
  •  Drizzle the remaining marina sauce over the shells, top with the grated mozzarella. If freezing, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1 day and up to 1 month.
  • To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60 minutes (20 minutes if shells are unfrozen.)

This is my go to meal to bring new mamas.  It's nutritious, yet comfort food.  It makes 3 8x8 pans.  I stick one in the freezer for my family, then the other two are ready to be delivered.  It's super nice to have them in separate dishes, so the new mama can freeze one to pull out when she goes back to work and forgets how to get dinner on the table (not that I have done that at least twice a week the last month, or anything of the sort).  Plus it means you are not eating leftovers for days upon end.

A nice green salad, bottle of dressing, garlic bread, and brownies make it a feast!

This freezes exceptionally well, and one pan is the perfect size for a family of two adults and two children, or two adults with leftovers.  Enjoy!

May 7, 2012

Monday Mundanities

Is mundanities a word?  It's what this post consists of, so I am rolling with it.

  • I had my first cocktail flu in about a year on Sunday- Saturday's derby party, paid babysitter, knowing I didn't have to  feed until the morning, and not having to teach Sunday School, combined with a super lightweight tolerance led to me overserving myself with pinot grigio. I was a mess!  But, I learned my lesson.  Cocktail flu plus a baby? Worst combination ever.
No sympathy from this little cutie.
  • In other annoying news, my arm is COVERED in poison ivy.  I want to just chop off my arm, because then it would quit itching.  I'm all about rational solutions here.

  • In good news, I bought this top in green and white from Sears on Sunday.  They have a great selection of Lands End there.  Did y'all know that?  I did not, until Hubs informed me.  I might pop back in to get one of those bathing suits that sucks everything in before our upcoming beach trip.

  • If anyone wants to send me this little Nanette Lepore number, I would really appreciate it.  Perf for Virge's rehearsal dinner, and for DH's baptism (which I need to set up soon).

So that's it around here. I have lots of freezer friendly recipes to share with you this week (unless I cut off my arm, and can't type).

May 2, 2012

Bags of Brilliance

I am one of those annoying people who can eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day.  And honestly, I could probably have various types of soup every night for dinner, much to Hubs' chagrin.  I am a leftover-consumption machine.  This makes preparation of my weekly food fairly simple.

Sundays I make a batch of Mini Frittatas, and fill ziploc baggies with a serving of two for easy retrieval.  Currently I am enjoying a batch of Broccoli Bacon Cheddar-

12 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 bag frozen chopped broccoli
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar (I use 2%, and you can't tell the difference)
1/2 cup chopped bacon
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.
Nuke the broccoli, and mix with the cheddar, and cooked bacon. Let cool.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, and add a generous teaspoon of salt and pepper.
Mix the veggie mixture into the eggs.
Using a measuring cup (1/2 cup worked great for me), spoon the egg mixture into the muffin tin.  I usually can get a tin and a half out of this recipe.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until the eggs are set.
Let cool on a baking rack, then put in sandwich baggies (then to a big freezer bag, if you are are going o freeze)

Grab and go!

Such a lifesaver on my now hectic mornings.

I'd rather be gazing at this little one-

Good gracious, she entertains me.

What else is going on in my world?  I've become addicted to chai tea lattes made at home.  I have been making pitchers of iced Tazo Passion tea, until I ran through 2 boxes, and just had some chai in my cupboard.  Brewed up a bunch, tossed in some milk and stevia, and voila!

Asheville went well, and Dell Harper slept through the night like a champ!  I was as proud as a peacock.

In other excitement, a friend bequeathed seven bags stuffed to the brim with baby play clothes and pjs to Miss Priss (thanks so much, Holly!).  I had more fun washing and folding every thing- it was like Christmas!  Why isn't my own laundry like that?

So that's about it. . .I have lots of freezer friendly recipes coming y'all's way, since the freezer has become my closest ally lately.  Brownies need to become my nemesis, as I just found out we are making a last minute trip to the beach soon. A bathing suit.  Dear Lord.

Oh, and we are redoing our kitchen and den, which will mean we are booted from our house for about 3 weeks.  With a three month old. Thank goodness my parents' is nice and spread out!  They love their granddaughter, but she can raise the volume!