May 23, 2013

Just Have to Mention

Although I have a trove of recipes to share with y'all (my laziness over transcribing recipes is once again slowing me down- I just hate tedium), and we must discuss the commenter who offered to sell me spells, today my focus is solely this:

Y'all will probably see these pictures every May 23rd, but I am still so proud of that event, and more importantly, what it signified- marriage to a man I love and respect more every minute I spend with him.  We were laughing over the past four years- selling a condo, buying a house, adopting a dog, renovating that house, having a baby, renovating that house, switching jobs, renovating that house. . .

Of course, Miss Priss has changed our lives and our marriage the most.  I was reading a book the other day that said the first year of having a new baby is the toughest on a marriage.  I can definitely see how this would be the case- the added amount of stress of an infant is sometimes immeasurable.  However, I received some good advice from a couple of friends that I believe helped in that regard, so I will pass it along.  When your husband (or wife) is taking care of the baby, whether it's changing diapers or reading stories, don't take over because they are "doing it wrong".

Seems simple, right?

HA!  I have had to bite my tongue or sit on my hands innumerable times the past 15 months, especially in the infant stage.  Will Dell Harper sleep if the lullabies are sang to her out of order?  Her head is facing the wrong end of the crib- the world is going to end! She must be suffering so much having her diaper on slightly crooked!

Uh, no.  The world did not end, the baby slept, and she did not suffer.  And I had a partner who did not feel criticized, or fearful, or inept (at least not anymore than I or any other new parent feels!).  Also, it helps me from lapsing into full blown matyrhood over all that I do for our family (insert heaving sigh). Ahem, not that I would ever go that route.

At least not daily.

It is such an incredible wonder to see Morgan caring for our daughter- it brings an entirely different level of love to our joyous union.

So to wrap up this cliche-ridden post, I feel so blessed by the past four years of marriage to the man I love, and whose kindness and patience never cease to amaze me.

I promise I'm done with the sappiness now.  I'll return with okra, anchovies, biscotti and cornbread.

May 21, 2013

We Fancy

We had an action packed weekend- black tie party on Friday night.  I did my hair, spent time on my makeup, and wore a new dress.  And forgot to take any pictures whatsoever. Luckily, there was a photo booth at the party, so we snuck in and got some photographic documentation of our fanciness.

Dell Harper went to a friend's second birthday Saturday morning- she was very fancy as well with her bow and her gold shoes.  I, on the other hand, was bleary-eyed and rather sweaty.  

I have to tell y'all a cute story about my girl and her bow.  I was doing laundry the other day, while Miss Priss sat on the floor of the den, playing with her toys and drinking milk.  Out of nowhere, I heard a blood curdling scream. After racing through the kitchen to find my little girl sobbing,  I asked her "What is wrong?"  She held up a trembling finger and pointed at Buddy. I crouched down to investigate, and found her bow in Buddy's mouth!  Ha, good things goldens have such soft mouths.  I wiped it off, and replaced it in her hair.  Order was instantly restored.

We had a nice time the rest of the weekend- Morgan's dad came in town, which was lovely.  We relaxed, ate, churched it, and visited.  Then I topped off my busy weekend with an absolutely glorious 2.5 hour nap while DH napped and it thunderstormed outside.  Is there anything better than a Sunday afternoon thunderstorm nap?  Just what I needed to recover from my weekend.

May 16, 2013

Palazzo No?

 So I have been waffling about these pants from Anthropologie for the last couple of weeks.  I love them.  I decide to buy them, finally.
I started envisioning how cool I would look in palazzo pants.  The fact that they are palazzo pants is the reason for the waffle.  However, I started to roll with it.

Now they are sold out.  I am super bummed.  How are y'all feeling about the resurgence of palazzo pants?

May 14, 2013


Well, my return from the beach was rather exciting.

1) My Knock Out roses are blooming!

2) Construction began on the addition to the house.  I walked into our bedroom at midnight to find this, which is apparently helping hold up the house as they begin constructing a new roof.

 Which was rather disconcerting, as you can't close the bathroom door.  However, I am thrilled that so much progress was made while I was out of pocket.  The crew could not be nicer, and Buddy and Dell Harper are just loving all the action around these parts.

3) This is the most exciting in my book (Morgan would probably go with construction on our house for his excitement level).  Our family portrait session with AK was finished while I was gone, with a CD of the pictures waiting in my mailbox.  I'm sure y'all will get sick of my outfit in these pictures, because they will be making lots of appearances!

Oh, I just can't stop looking at them- aren't they just gorgeous?  AK did my bridal portraits (although not my wedding, since she was a bridesmaid), and I have not had the opportunity for her to formally take my picture since.  I told Morgan that I wanted this to be an annual Mother's Day gift.  He was rather bemused, as the boy does not like having his picture taken.  Anyway, I guess it's finally time to swap some profile pictures out for something a little more recent- laugh lines and all!

If you are looking for a photographer, AK is amazing.  She even corralled this crew- a feat in itself!

Also, I am so glad to have all my hard work on my containers immortalized.  The bugs got them while I was gone- they still look beautiful, just rather, um, chewed on.  Shaggy pansies and geraniums- thanks unknown bug.

May 13, 2013

Summer Salad

Now, I know this is completely obvious, but I just want to holler with delight when summer produce begins to arrive in the market.  While I am snatching up fresh corn and tomatoes, I am frantically scrolling the recipe compendium in my brain.  I settled on this one from Melissa Clark's "Cook This Now", which is a lovely read, as are all of her cookbooks.  After seeing how itty bitty she is, I even tracked down her diet book on Amazon.  It's yummy, and does not involve anything fat-free.

Anyway, this salad tastes like a bowl of summer.  I served it with fish and asparagus, but it would also make a lovely light lunch the next day.


1large garlic clove
¾tsp. plus 1 pinch kosher salt, or to taste
2tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
cups Israeli couscous, preferably whole-wheat
1cup fresh corn kernels (from 1 large ear)
2large ripe tomatoes, diced
4oz. crumbled feta cheese 
2Tbsp. heaping chopped fresh basil
  1. Using a mortar and pestle or the flat side of a knife, mash the garlic and a pinch of salt to a paste. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic paste, lemon juice, remaining ¾ tsp. salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil.
  2. Cook the couscous according to package instructions; add the corn for last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain well.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the hot couscous-corn mixture, tomato, and vinaigrette. Let the couscous cool for about 10 minutes before gently folding in the feta and basil.

I doubled the tomato the recipe called for, and thinking back, I would maybe add even another tomato.  Speaking of, Dell Harper ate an entire Grainger County Tomato tonight for dinner.   Pool, tomatoes, and bare feet- my girl is ready for summertime.

Make this salad, grill a steak, and enjoy the lingering daylight- you will be ready for summer, too.

May 12, 2013

Creole Love Call

You know what makes me happy?  Slicing, stirring, tasting- making a delicious meal for my family.   And of course, eating said delicious meal is quite enjoyable as well.

We capped off a wonderful beach trip with an early Mother's Day dinner of Shrimp Creole.

This Shrimp Creole is adapted from the indomitable Nathalie Dupree.  It is an essential dish to add to your repertoire- easy to prepare ahead of time, fit for company, and incredibly delicious.  It was a lovely meal with my parents, husband and child (Mama- we forgot to get any pictures of the two of us!).

Shrimp Creole

1.5 lb. fresh raw shrimp
5 tablespoons butter, divided
2 medium onions, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
2 lbs fresh tomatoes, chopped, or 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (I used basil and thyme)
1 bay leaf, crumbled
hot sauce to taste
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon flour
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
juice of 1/2 lemon

Peel the shrimp and set aside

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a  saucepan.  Stir in the onions and cook until soft.  Add the celery, bell pepper and garlic.  Cook about 3 minutes stirring occasionally (the vegetables should stay crisp).  Add the tomatoes, herbs, bay leaf, hot sauce, lemon rind, and salt and pepper to taste, and cook 20 minutes, or until thick.  Add the shrimp, cover, and cook three minutes.

Blend the remaining butter with the flour, and add bit by bit to the simmering pot.  Cook about 1 minute  Add the parsley and lemon juice.  Heat and serve over rice.

I like to serve it with the perfect rice- this recipe comes from Virginia Willis' excellent cookbook, "Bon Appetit, Y'all".  This rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan, or to itself.  I am generally not a rice fan, because, well, it doesn't taste like anything.  This rice tastes like something good.  Then you add the Shrimp Creole on top.  Well, it's just heaven.


    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 small shallot, chopped
    • 2 cups long grain rice
    • coarse salt
    • fresh ground black pepper
    • 3 cups chicken stock
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large, oven-proof saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until foaming. Add the shallot and cook until clear and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add rice and stir to combine. cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is coated with butter and lightly toasted. Season with 1 teaspoons of salt and pepper to taste. Add the stock and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover with a tight fitting lid and place in oven and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 17 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Add the parsley and fluff with a fork just before serving.

I ate a bowl of this on the road home, and it tasted even better the next day.  It eased the pain of the long, long drive home with a toddler (oh, the days when I could drive without stopping for wiggle breaks).

May 9, 2013

Big Changes

What a difference a year makes. I can't believe my sweet teeny baby is a toddler.  A beach trip with a 15 month old is far more enjoyable than a 3 month old, although I miss that teeny little baby.

Happy Mother's Day to all of us who love of children and to all of us who adore our mamas!