Sunday, August 17, 2014

Get ready to tailgate!

Who is ready for football season? Anyone? Anyone? Well you all know I am. I have been counting down the days until college football kicks off since the last down of the last game on January 6. The start of the college football season means so much for us--Saturdays spent in front of the TV or with 101,000 of our best friends cheering on the Tide, spending time with friends who live out of town while we are on our football travels, and of course, tailgating. Recently, I got to try out the Gourmet Grillware Deep Dish Sizzler. Not only can you grill in this dish, but you can also serve in it. It's very versatile and easy to clean, although you can't put it in the dishwasher. You can put it just about anywhere else though! It goes from grill to oven to fridge to freezer to tabletop! I think it will be the perfect tailgate accessory this fall! Forrest and I tried this baby out one Saturday night. We grilled burgers on the grill and used the deep dish sizzler to grill up some fresh veggies from Chip and Lucy's garden. After the burgers were grilled, we put them into the sizzler to keep them warm. You have to make sure it isn't hot enough to continue cooking your meat, but if you can do that, it really does a great job of keeping everything warm. No one likes cold burgers before the football game!!

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Delicious dinner in the Deep Dish Sizzler

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Here is my mom's recipe for her amazingly delicious burgers--perfect for tailgating:
per 1 lb of hamburger or turkey meat
1 egg salt pepper garlic powder
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
 Put the meat in a big bowl (don't chop it up yet). Add the egg on top. Then salt, pepper, and garlic powder the meat. I do this by eye--just cover it until you feel it is enough (then add an extra dash for good measure). Pour in the cheese and bread crumbs. Again, I usually eye ball this, so you can just pour from the can instead of measuring. I usually go heavier on the cheese and lighter on the crumbs--just do what you like! Now chop up the meat and stir it all together. You may decide to add more seasoning as you go!

I really did enjoy this product and will most definitely use it again. Although I did receive it for free in exchange for my review, my words and opinions are all my own!

Now YOU have the change to win $300 worth of Gourmet Grillware products. Just enter the giveaway below! Happy tailgating!!!


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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What to Pack for the Lares Trek

Remember when I went to Peru, like ages ago? Ok so more like March, but still. I wanted to be a prepared as possible for the trip, but I really had a hard time finding information about my exact trek. Most people do the Inca trail but it is longer and a little different than the Lares. My biggest concern, though, was what to pack. Luckily the info on the Inca trail translated well to the Lares, but I'd like to put this out there for anyone interested in this 3 day trek as opposed to the 4 day Lares. My friends Carly and Adam are about to do an even longer trek and their impending trip motivated me to get this post together!

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Here are my tips for packing for the Lares Trek....

1. Pack light but pack right. Remember you have to carry all of your crap with you like a turtle so you want to bring as little as possible but you want to make sure you have the things you need.
2. Abuse the extra bag they give you--Many trek companies will give you a duffel bag to fill with things you don't need immediately--those things you will keep in your day pack. Abuse the heck out of that bag. A very able bodied horse or donkey will be carrying it so you don't have to worry.
3. Choose a small day pack that is light weight. If I had to do it over again, Forrest and I would have just had one back pack and we would have shared it. Our packs were perfect sizes and light, but we really didn't need to both be carrying a backpack since we had expertly utilized the duffel.

I packed everything in individual ziploc bags that were labeled. This was to make sure everything stayed dry and organized on the trip. I have to say it was really wise...

What to pack in your day pack:
1. Snack bag--before we left I bought individual bags of trail mix and lots of luna and cliff bars. I divided them up and made each of us a "snack bag". You don't need the whole snack bag in your day pack, maybe just one of each snack. Your trek company will probably provide you with a daily snack so you will have plenty to eat.
2. Potty bag--Goes without saying. Our potty bags had those little packs of tissue (much easier than rolls of toilet paper), wet wipes and hand sanitizer (if I over did anything on the trip it was the hand sanitizer, but I think that was ok).
3. Water--coming from the idiot that didn't realize they were boiling stream water for us to drink, you would think I wasn't really worried about water, but I totally was. Forrest and I each had a Camel Bak reservoir in our back packs that we filled with bottled water. We had people along the trail selling drinks and snacks so we took advantage of the bottled water. I think our were 2 liters each. You will need it!!
4. Rain gear--nothing is worse than getting wet. We had rain jackets (that were insulated so they were also great for cold) and ponchos, just to be safe. Also, make sure you have a rain covering for your back pack.
5. Other necessary items: chap stick, sun screen, sun glasses, warm gloves, scarf, bug spray, hand sanitizer. Have these handy in your pack because the horses may go another way than you and you might need them. We went from freezing cold to burning hot all in one day so be prepared!!
6. Camera/iphone--you won't get service but I wanted to be able to upload pics as soon as I hit a wifi area so I had both my point and shoot and my phone. The phone was also great for setting alarms and some people used an app that calculated our elevation and how far we walked. I wish I had used one too!

In your duffel...
1. Changes of clothes-I'm sorry but I couldn't deal with feeling nasty so I had a clean pair of socks and undies for each day. I had 2 pair of yoga pants, 2 work out tops with built in sports bras (that saved me from having to pack bras!), and so I just rotated the tops and pants. For night time I had an extra pair of fleece lined leggings (amazing), a long sleeved tshirt, wool socks, and a sweat shirt. I ended up sleeping in my clothes for the next day topped with the pjs--it was that cold. Oh and I also slept in my jacket, scarf and fleece headband. Yikes. I had each day's clothes in individual ziplocs and then a PJ bag. I didn't bring an extra pair of shoes but if it has been warmer it might have been nice to have some flip flops to wander around in once we were at camp.
2. Sleeping bag--You must have a mummy sleeping bag! Find one that is compact and light weight but rated for lower temps than you will experience.
3. Pillow--A good night's sleep is essential!! All I had was a airplane neck pillow and rolled up clothes and that didnt cut it. Just find a small travel pillow or one that inflates.. Trust me, it's woorth it!!
4. Sleeping mat--Let's get this straight--I don't care how big it is or how much room it takes up! I would have gladly toted a twin sized mattress up that mountain if it was the only option. Our "mats" were hard rubber that were literally terrible. If the ground hadn't been so cold I would have scrapped the mat and just slept on the ground because it was softer. The mat was so hard I got bruises on my hip bones. I'm a side sleeper and I had to sleep with my gloves in my pockets to try to put a little cushion between my hip bones and the mat! You can rent mats when you get there and I promise you I would have spent all my money on one if I had known how bad ours were before hand.
5. Toiletries: I perhaps over did it slightly on the toiletries but I am nothing if I'm not prepared. I had small bottles of my  face medicines, moisturizers, and face creams. I wasn't about to get grody skin just because I was being outdoorsy. I also had my tweezers and a little compact--I mean, eye brows don't stop growing while hiking!! I also had a pack of wet wipes for bathing and those facial cleansing cloths for my face. I had my full sized brush (my hair is too long be to be tamed by those travel size brushes but I kept it in a high pony the entire time), hair spray, and dry shampoo. My hair was surprisingly descent looking when it was all said and done and I think it's because the hair spray and dry shampoo dried it out. Oh and of course, I had deodorant. OH and a disposable razor...
6. Meds-We had prescriptions for Diamox for altitude sickness and Cipro for any tummy infections, but we both hated the diamox and never took the Cipro. I'm glad we had it just in case though. I also had Advil, Advil PM (Forrest would say this is the number 1 thing to pack), Pepto to Go, Band aids, and Neosporin. Allergy meds might be a good idea too.
7. Extras--I highly recommend ear plugs and an eye mask. You will sleep by water and it is LOUD! Also the sun comes up really early and so the mask will keep you asleep.

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SHOES--I didn't pack these of course because I was always wearing them. I had Salomons and I loved them. I got them a 1/2 a size too big and that was great because my Darn Tough socks were really thick, plus your feet will swell AND when you are going down hill you don't want your toes cramming into the front of your shoes. Mine were not water proof because the guy at the store told me that Gore-tex made your feet sweat and that is NOT something you want to deal with. They are pretty water resistant so I was fine even when it rained a little and when we walked through wet areas. Also mine were just trail shoes, not boots, because my feet aren't used to big hiking boots, plus the boots were HEAVY! Think light!!

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Other things to consider:
1. I had my nails done with gel polish before I left. That sounds prissy but I didn't want to worry with picking them, filing them, or anything like that and gel tends to keep them pretty sturdy. I think I did have a file and clippers in my toiletry bag though.
2. I used Frizz Ease 3 day straight spray in my hair right before we hiked in efforts to keep my hair tangle free and less of a disaster. It was fantastic.
3. I brought a fleece headband instead of a hat. It kept my hair back and my ears warm and then I used my hood if I got really cold. I thought it worked pretty well.
4. All of your hiking clothes need to be dry-fit material. Socks, clothes, undies, everything. You don't want to hike in ANYTHING cotton because even though you may get cold you will sweat and you don't want to carry that water on yourself because you will a) stink and b) freeze.

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Ok--I'm sure I forgot several things so if you are going to do the Lares Trek, just message me. Hopefully by putting this out there I can help others who are on their way!!

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Well Hello There!

Long time, no see, Blog!! As you can see, I took a little blogging hiatus during the month of July. I wish I could say it was because I was doing something thrilling or was away on some fabulous trip, but that wasn't the case. Work slows down in July because we don't have much court and that gave me the chance to focus on finishing the house, among various other projects. I thought a little blog break would be perfect during that time because I was already on sort of a different schedule at work so I wasn't in front of the computer as much. Now I'm refreshed and revived with so much to talk about!
Here are a few pictures to prove that we actually were alive and well during this past month!!

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We were excited to attend Rock the River,  fundraiser for the Cultural Arts Center that was outside and was complete with a band and food trucks. It rained, however, and we had to move the party inside, but it was still a great time! Lucy and Kelly and I approve!

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The Yothers treated us to supper club at The Club during July. A 15 passenger van, dinner overlooking Birmingham, and a night with some of our nearest and dearest--who could ask for more? The singing on the ride home really added the cherry to the top of a magical evening!

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You know I had to get a pet pic in somehow--my sweet babies enjoyed being lazy with me during July. I got really good at going in late and leaving early!!

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Impromptu road trip to Georgia to eat and Canyon Grill with these fun gals (and our husbands, but for some reason I never document their presence).

Looking back, we most definitely ate well during the month! I can't believe summer is almost at an end! Before you know it, my posts will all be about football and tailgate recipes! I can't say I'm sad about that though.....
Have a great week! It's great to be back!
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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I've got the blues...

berries, that is. Mr. Bailey has several blueberry bushes and Forrest and I have been the lucky recipients of countless berries. We usually just gobble them up but I've been making an effort to incorporate them into some recipes.

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Here are my latest:

"Super Foods" Salad

I modified a recipe I found in the latest issue of Southern Living for this one. Delicious and crazy good for you!
1 package kale
1 package sugar snap peas, cooked and drained
5 oz shaved Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions and cooled
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup-1 cup fresh blueberries, cleaned and drained

Mix together all ingredients by hand and enjoy!! I made the red wine vinaigrette suggested by the magazine but you can use any dressing!

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Blueberry Cobbler

It's not summer in the South without cobbler. This recipe was actually a peach cobbler recipe from It is easy and tasty!!

I probably used 6 cups blueberries--make sure you use more than you think you need because they cook down.
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water

Mix together:
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine blueberries, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 min.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.
Remove berries from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. then sprinkle entire cobbler with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake until top is golden, about 20 minutes.

I served this with vanilla ice cream--who could ask for more!
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Monday, July 7, 2014

Star Spangled

I hope you all had a fantastic 4th of July weekend! We spent the weekend at my family's lake house. It was really a special weekend because my sister and brother both came with us. Since they both live out of state it's rare that we are all together any more....sad. That's what happens when you grow up, I suppose! Here is our weekend in pictures!

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Play time on the sand bar! (Sonny rode on the boat but would take breaks from swimming by climbing up on the wave runner)

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This is how we roll on the red neck riviera!

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Sunning with my sister

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Saturday morning Trade Day experience. You never know what treasures you may find!

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After 3 whole days at the lake, we all felt like this! Tired and happy!!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Free Travel for you!!

Hi friends! Remember THIS post I shared about flying for free with my Southwest Card? Well they are having another 50,000 point promotion right now! If you sign up for the Premiere Card, you will receive 50,000 free point after you meet the minimum spending. That's good for 2 free flights! What's to lose? You can go HERE to sign up!
Free flights are the reason that Forrest and I are able to travel so much. When you add up the cost of flying, hotels, rental cars, food, etc, travel is ridiculously expensive. However, taking the flight cost out of the equation makes the decision to travel much easier. We are currently planning a trip to Cancun later in the year that will include free flights and we have so many points though Southwest via the Companion flight program that we are looking into possible quick trips to Vegas and Lake Tahoe!
If you are interested, don't delay! The promotion only lasts for a limited time. Please contact me if you have any questions!

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Thoughts on Soccer

Who knew that international soccer could cause such uproar? Let me rephrase that...who knew that people cheering on our World Cup team could make other people mad? I ask because I am one of those people. I don't follow soccer, but I do know a thing or two about it because my brother played for 14 years. I didn't really think it was a problem for the country to rally around our team, true fans or not. I mean, wouldn't the team want as many people sending good vibes and prayers down there? Don't we do that every 2 years with the Olympics? I typically watch as many Olympic events as possible, not just the big ticket ones, because I simply like sports. Who cares that I can't name a US women's winter biathlon athlete on a non-winter Olympics year? To me, it matters more that I'm cheering at all! I'm proud to be an American and will cheer for my teams, no matter what it may be. Now I'm not going to lay out of work to watch Olympics or the soccer game (although I'll probably check it out on my phone a few times), but I don't think it makes me a bad person to jump on the soccer bandwagon.As a die hard Alabama football fan, we see this happen all the time. Every Bama fan crawls out of the wood work when we are doing well. It doesn't matter that they might only pull for us every so often. I want as many people  cheering for my team as possible. The more the merrier. I mean what can it hurt?
I've also read a lot about people ragging soccer for the procedures for getting into the round of 16. The US lost the game but still advanced--so what? Those are the rules. We had enough points, so there. Aren't we lucky that we were good enough to be in that situation? The same thing happens in football. Alabama ONLY went to the National Championship 2 years ago because 2 other teams ranked ahead of us lost. We lost a game, effectively killing our chances, and then because 2 other teams lost AFTER us in the season, we got to go. The year before that we didn't even play in our conference championship game and got to go. Of course there was LOTS of drama about that, and hence the eventual demise of the BCS, but still. Things like that are going to happen. It doesn't mean the US is ok with mediocrity, it means the rules played in our favor. Should they change that? I don't know--I'm only a fan for the next few weeks. I'll let more experienced fans handle that debate. But, seriously, let's get off soccer. Let's use this as an opportunity to come together as a country and cheer on our boys! USA!

Have you jumped on the soccer bandwagon??
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