Monday, November 19, 2012

No Blog November

I promise I am not neglecting my blog, but I have been neglecting my pictures! When I switched from Droid to iPhone I was super excited to find that the iPhone camera far exceeds the quality of the Droid camera, so I stopped carrying around my point and shoot for random photos. For some reason, not having my actual camera makes me feel like I don't have one so I have been slacking in taking pictures over the past few weeks. I always think blog posts are much more enjoyable so I will endeavor to do better, especially now since the holidays are upon us! Here is a quick bullet point (you know I love them) list of what we've been up to lately and I PROMISE I will do better with my camera this week! Happy Thanksgiving week! Hope you are stretching out your tummies!!

Nov 6 (Tuesday): Lake Family birthday celebration at Sky restaurant. Also election night!
Nov 8: Outback road trip with the Hayes. Try the sangria sampler--I promise you will thank me!
Nov 10: Bama v. TX A&M--lost. It sucked. Nothing further to say.
Nov 11: Lunch with the Baileys and Nana Frith! Took a lovely walk with the dogs that turned into a not so lovely off road adventure.
Nov 12: Red Elephant Club meeting at Classic on Noble, one of my FAVORITE restaurants! Hear Phil Savage, the color analyst of the Crimson Tide speak about how the Tide could still get to the championship. Haha Phil, very funny.
Nov 13: Book club at Farrah's! Always a great time!!
Nov 14: Celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, with supper club at the Gandhis! Mamatha made my favorite butter chicken and I got to love on sweet, snuggly baby Arth!!
Nov 15: I went to the Fall luncheon that my aunt helps throw at her church each November. I LOVE going because they have a tea cup auction. I never win but I love to try! My grandmother actually won a gorgeous Oriental rug this time that she promise to give to ME because I liked it! Yay! Forrest had his guys "drinking club" that night at Fish Market, which is a spoof on Book Club, because the husbands say it is more about wine than books. So what if it is?
Nov 16: Etowah County Bar seminar!!
Nov 17: Dad's birthday! We got up early and went to Tuscaloosa for the 11:21 kickoff against Western Carolina. We knew we would win but it was nice to see Dad, even though he hurt his back. That evening we picked up the new rug at Mimi's and then had dinner with our friend Troy and his fiance Casey at the Courtyard. THEN we watch Kansas State and Oregon lose, which catapults Bama back into the number 2 spot and into BCS championship contention! Phil Savage and my dad, who was very smug, were both right! All we have to do is beat Auburn this weekend and Georgia in the SEC championship and we are in Miami!
Nov 18: Mom came to help me decorate for Christmas. Yes, it is early, but I am hosting the service guild Christmas Party in 2 weeks and with everything else going on I wanted the majority of my decorating finished early. Afterwards we ate dinner at her house to celebrate Dad's birthday.

Whew--ok--hopefully I got everything in there! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fall Treats-Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

I made this for Halloween and boy oh boy was it yummy! It got slightly chaotic at my house that day so I didn't take a picture, but just know it is delicious!!
(I LOVE this blog! She has some great recipes that are not too time consuming or complicated)

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano
1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed (substitute milk for less calories)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1. Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft. At this point I added all of the vegetables to a blender and blended until smooth. If you have a hand immersion blenderthat would work great. If you prefer a chunkier texture you can leave it as is or even blend just some of it. Return blended veggies back to the slow cooker.
3. About 30 minutes before serving prepare the roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add the flour. Stir roux constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly whisk in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.
4. Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve. Serve with warm rolls and a green salad.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

WILD Weekend

What a weekend we had! Gracious me, I don't really know how we squeezed all that we did into such a short amount of time! This weekend was the Gadsden Service Guild's annual rummage sale. If you have never been to the sale before, it is HUGE! It is the main way that we make money to donate to our special charities so we put all of our efforts into it. We started unloading our 2 HUGE (like RV size) storage units on Thursday and unpacking everything at Convention Hall on Thursday at 3pm. By Friday at 10pm, we were finished and ready for the sale! I worked the entire sale--5:45am to 2:30! It made for a long day but it was really fun! I worked with Shalon in the "Formal Store", a specialty section with new or gently used formals. It was so much fun to help girls try things on, accessorize, etc. I felt like I worked in a bridal salon!! When it was all said and done, we raised nearly $20,000!! Great job girls!!!

I left straight from the rummage sale and went to the LeBlanc's to help celebrate Eloise's 1st birthday! I can't believe their sweet baby girl is already 1!! She had an adorable Minnie Mouse party complete with pink EVERYTHING!! I really enjoyed seeing her open her presents, especially when she got Biddy Baby. I think I had more fun than she did!!
Doing her pageant wave to her favorite friend, Mr. Forrest!

Adorable cake!

Biddy Baby! She was so sweet to her!

I left straight from the party and went to church. I was my only quiet time in the day!! Afterwards I ran home, change, made some dip, and headed to the Monk's to watch the Bama v. LSU game with our Young Marrieds group. We just so happen to all be Alabama fans so it works out perfectly! We all brought appetizers and snacked while we watched the game on the patio. It was a perfect fall night to bundle up and watch some football outside! We took a little break at half time to ride Ben's go-cart like we were little kids, and I may or may not have jumped on the trampoline. Alabama looked pretty terrible and was losing with 2 and a half minutes left. I had mentally checked out and decided we had lost. Well, LSU missed a field goal and Alabama was able to drive the field in under a minute and score!! I was so nervous I was huddled in a ball in a chair not watching the game. It was just too much!! It was an amazing victory even though we didn't look that great. I hope we NEVER have a game like that again!!
I thought Ezra was adorable kicking back in this chair during the game. I didn't realize I was taking this while a Bud Light commercial was on behind him. Ooops.

Forrest and I returned home victorious and ready for a LONG night sleep!! I literally did nothing on Sunday except sleep and watch tv. Forrest was much better than me and energized by the extra "fall back" hour of sleep, got tons of yard work done while I lounged slouthily on the couch with Ruffles.
I have to mention that my cousin Ashley got engaged this weekend to her boyfriend Jeremiah! I LOVE Jeremiah and am so excited that he will be part of our family! He proposed to Ashley at the church we all attended in Tuscaloosa (where they met) with a beautiful ring! We had to miss her surprise engagement party due to our hectic Saturday but we couldn't be more thrilled about the upcoming wedding!!
I hope you all VOTED today and remember what an honor and privilege it is to live in a country that puts the choices in your hands!! USA!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fall Treats: Halloween Snuggles

For our Halloween gathering I wanted to have something yummy that kids and grown ups could eat when they came inside. I Ended up with Aunt Sue's famous spinach dip, Mrs. Cynthia's famous cake mix cookies, and Halloween Snuggles! I LOVE my so called "Snuggles" and when I saw them done up for Halloween on Pinterest I knew I had to add those to my Snuggle repertoire! They are easy to make and always a crowd pleaser!!!

Quick and fuzzy pic with the phone, but you get the idea!!
Halloween Snuggles:

Pretzel Twists
Candy Corn
Hershey's Hugs

Lay pretzels flat on cookie sheet. Place Hug in the center of each twist. Bake at 200 for 2-3 minutes. (I did 2). Immediately push a candy corn into each melted Hug (they should still look whole but should "smuch) when you press in the candy corn). Put into the refrigerator until hardened. 

Happy Halloween!!

We have pretty low key Halloweens around our house, I suppose because we don't have kids. That is totally find by me, especially since I usually have some reason to dress up anyway! After last year's Halloween random (random non-neighborhood kids coming to my door while I was in the shower, parents hollering at them to "keep knocking, they're in there") I decided that my porch light would be off and all Trick or Treaters would be invited. We NEVER have trick or treaters so that one last year ruined it for everyone! Jay and Claire felt the same way so we decided to "not" do Halloween together. I made homemade tomato soup and garlic bread (not homemade) and also had some cookies, dip, and Halloween Snuggles for our trick or treater guests. About 7 the first one came: Eloise!! She was such a big girl and walked up to the door all by herself. When I handed her a cookie  (Oatmeal Cream Pie) and a Snickers, she instantly reached for my phone. So, she carried my phone around in her pumpkin for a while.
Red Riding Hood!!

Next came Arth!! Isn't this guy getting big? He is just too adorable and was so well behaved!! It got a little rowdy by the end of the night and he just took it all in! He was super snuggly and I loved carrying him around!
He was super cute!!! Hasn't he grown?

Next came Henry and Michael!! OMG--too cute! Henry was a little shy but ended up making friends with Ruffles. Michael had the sweetest laugh and surprised us all by enjoying the spinach dip! What baby likes spinach? I may or may not have bribed him with Wheat Thins to say Roll Tide.
Henry the Cookie Monster!

My sweet trick or treaters!

It was such a great night and I would say a success! The dogs would too!
Sonny: Hmm, those look like some tasty reduced fat Wheat Thins

Sonny: Red Riding Hood, would you please give me a Wheat Thin?

Sonny: Thank you so much!!
I was SO impressed with how gentle he was with her. He actually freaked out when she started crawling, but other than that, the free treats won him over.

Sonny is nearly 80 lbs. Eloise had no fear. Yes, her whole hand is in his giant mouth her and he didn't even nip her!

Ruffles: Hello?? Red Riding Hood? It's me, Ruffles. I like Wheat Thins too!!

Hope you had as much fun as we did!!!
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