Jun 25, 2015

Why, Hello!

I have been out of pocket for the last two weeks- an impromptu visit to the beach.  It was lovely, but a faulty internet connection and poor cell service sent me into lovely state of technology aversion.

 My parents recently bought a new house on the bay, so I came down to help with the move and get the Beach Barn ready to go on the rental program at Watercolor.

 I picked up this little dress at Lily before I left, and barely took it off.  It was just too hot for any clothes to touch my skin. We walked up the street a couple Sundays to visit a charming Methodist church.
 Live Oaks and Spanish moss never fail to make me happy.

Deeds and Dell Harper feel the same way about new playgrounds.

 And their Gigi.


 This girl?  Loves the beach with all her heart.

 This one gets a little tapped out, but can hang pretty well.

 A week of solo parenting calls for wine and a cheese plate for dinner.

Deeds had his first plane ride, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

 Thanks children for cooperating with my beach picture.

 The trip was made even better by the surprise of the arrival of two of my UGA girls- I had no idea they were planning a trip to 30A, and they were staying in Watercolor!  I was soooooo thrilled to see Kinger and Preston and their babies.

We added it up, and Kingsley and I have not set eyes upon each other in 2 years! It was glorious!
I told you about wearing this dress every day.  Ha!

Including a date night for Father's Day- thanks to Mama and Daddy for babysitting while we hit up Caliza and Bud and Alleys.  A perfect evening!
Well, all the pictures are now cleared off my computer, and I am sure you are thoroughly sick of pictures of my children!

Jun 5, 2015

Five on Friday

1.  Shrimp Salad- another great recipe from Cook's Illustrated.  Serve with French bread and sliced tomatoes for a perfect summer supper.

  •              1.5 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  •              1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons), plus 1 additional tablespoon, spent halves reserved
  •              5 sprigs fresh parsley leaves, plus 1 teaspoon minced parsley leaves
  •              3 sprigs fresh tarragon leaves, plus 1 teaspoon minced tarragon leaves
  •              1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns plus ground black pepper
  •              1 tablespoon sugar
  •              1/3 cup mayonnaise
  •              1  shallot, minced fine
  •              1 stalk celery, minced

                        1. Combine shrimp, 1/4 cup lemon juice, reserved lemon halves, parsley sprigs, tarragon sprigs, whole peppercorns, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt with 2 cups cold water in medium saucepan. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook shrimp, stirring several times, until pink, firm to touch, and centers are no longer translucent, 8 to 10 minutes (water should be just bubbling around edge of pan and register 165 degrees on instant-read thermometer)..

2. Meanwhile, fill medium bowl with ice water. Drain shrimp into colander, discard lemon halves, herbs, and spices. Immediately transfer shrimp to ice water to stop cooking and chill thoroughly, about 3 minutes. Remove shrimp from ice water and pat dry well with paper towels.

3. Whisk together mayonnaise, shallot, celery, remaining tablespoon lemon juice, minced parsley, and minced tarragon in medium bowl. Cut shrimp in half lengthwise and then each half into thirds; add shrimp to mayonnaise mixture and toss to  combine.


2.  Dresses:
Isn't this dress from Vineyard Vines darling?

I love this one, too!

 This one from Land's End is darling, too- especially for $99.  Now to transform my children into the types that allow their mother to wear white or linen.  And transform myself into someone who doesn't spill things all over my clothing.

I have been closely watching my budding hydrangeas with bated breath.  They are massed all along the front of my house.  Expecting white or Limelights, I squealed with excitement when I spotted PINK AND BLUE!!!!!! Oh, I am just thrilled.  Even better?  Pink and blue on the same bush!  Oh, it is just too exciting.

4.  Baby Gorillas, squee!

Two mama gorillas just gave birth, for the first ever gorilla babies born at our zoo.  It's soooo exciting.  I can't wait to take the kiddos once the excitement dies down a bit.  The zookeepers have had the area roped off for a little privacy for the new mamas, but everyone is following the babies via the news outlets.  That's the beauty of living in a small city/big town.  You have a zoo with gorilla babies, and not too much else is going on to eclipse them in the newspaper.

Look at that mama smiling at her baby and try not to smile yourself.

5.  VBS
Today is the last day of Vacation Bible School.  It's been a wonderful week corralling five year olds, but I'm exhausted, and so are my kiddos.
Deeds was completely uncooperative for this photo, by the way. Looking forward and smiling until the camera (phone) came out.  Stinker.

You can tell my brain is gone from repeating "Hands to yourself!" ad nauseum for a week- look at this post.  Shrimp salad, white dresses, flowers and apes.  I'm ready for a nap!

As always, thank you to the Five on Friday ladies for hosting the link up!  Bullet points are about all I can manage right now.  Or most of the time, if we are being honest.

Jun 4, 2015

Baked Fish With Chickpeas and Cherry Tomatoes

So, I got a cookbook from the library a couple of weeks ago.  After cooking a couple of its recipes, Morgan ordered me my own copy.  High praise, indeed!

Baked Cod with Chickpeas and Cherry Tomatoes


5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons ground coriander, divided
2 teaspoons paprika, divided
1/8 cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
4 cod fillets (about 2 lbs)
2 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chickpeas, rinsed
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 shallots, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Chopped parsley for garnish (or cilantro if you prefer that)

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon paprika, cayenne and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Rub cod evenly with mixture. Place cod in resealable plastic bag, seal and toss to coat. 

Refrigerate 1 hour to 24 hours.

When ready to bake, heat oven to 400 degrees. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, combine chickpeas, tomatoes, broth, shallots, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon oil, remaining coriander, remaining paprika, remaining salt and pepper. Nestle cod into chickpea mixture. Bake 20 to 24 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout. 

You could finish it here, but I recommend removing the fish to a a plate and covering with foil.  Crank the oven up to 425 and roast the chickpeas and tomatoes for an additional 10 minutes, or until the chickpeas are browned and crispy.  It takes it to the next level!

Drizzle with remaining oil and sprinkle with parsley.

So the cookbook?  The Make Ahead Cook by Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen.  I cannot say enough good things- I have tons more recipes from it for y'all.  The premise is perfect for me, as I do most of my cooking and prepping the night before after kids are in bed.  Occasionally, I can get stuff done during Deeds' nap, as well, so anything make ahead is ideal.  This has recipes for your traditional casseroles and pasta bakes, but also steps it up with things like above.  All you have to do it stick it in the oven.  Perfection!

Jun 1, 2015

Summer Activities

We hit the splash pad last week, but it was a little chilly for my crew, so they opted for swinging down by the lake instead.

This little corner of my driveway is quickly becoming my favorite spot.  I sit in the shade in a plastic adironack chair, flipping through a magazine while I watch the kids play before dinner.

Last week I took the kids to the downtown library, then walked to lunch, and played in the park.
 They had a great time watching buskers in Market Square, the biscuits at Tupelo Honey, and chasing pigeons in the park.  Such urbanites.

 We've hit up the pool several times.  Deeds is not fond of a puddle jumper.  Any alternatives out there?

 He is fond of sticking his head between the stair railing and smiling at me.  I'm quite fond of this, as well.

We had our 6th wedding anniversary last Saturday.  We had a great time celebrating at a pig roast at a nearby farm.

 This one barely left the bounce house, and Deeds slept for 14 hours the next day, as he was so worn out from running around.  Glorious, as Morgan and I had gone out for dinner and drinks after family fun.

We also hit up the strawberry patch for a little (late-in-the-season) picking.
 Deeds was pretty awesome at picking, as he barely had to squat to get to the berries.  Zero made it into his bucket, and plenty of (stems and leaves included) made it into his mouth.
So proud of her bucket.

I'm already exhausted. When does camp start?  HA!