Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Foodies

So was looking back at my calendar to make sure that I didn't forget to mention any of the fun things we did this weekend and I realized that basically we ate. We ate at home, we ate with friends, we ate and ate and ate! Honestly, eating is one of the most fun things that Forrest and I do. We are both adventurous eaters and like to try new foods all of the time. We are always up for a good meal, whether it be at a gourmet restaurant or a yummy frozen pizza!! This weekend we really had some fun along with our meals! On Thursday night we went with the Gandhis to the Borders for pizza and salad. The real reason was that Forrest and Anu wanted to drive Kevin's GTR before he sold it. They had a blast driving around while we ladies hung out with the kids inside. Kelly has 2 adorable girls and I was in LOVE with all of their princess toys, and Mamatha brought adorable Arth. It was a really fun and easy night with sweet friends!
The next night we met with our Young Marrieds group at Tre Ragazzi, the new Italian restaurant in town. Everyone had a great meal and of course the company was great fun. as well. The Ford's are going to Italy in March so we were excited to share our own experiences with them and to hear about their trip. Ahh, Italy. I wonder if the Fords will let me stow away???

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Tiramisu? Don't mind if I do!
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I definitely want to recreate this pasta dish. It was delicious yet light!
On Saturday Forrest was busy with errands and what not so I busied myself by making soup! I love to have soup ready to go in the freezer for those cold nights when I don't feel like cooking, and an open Saturday was just what I needed. I made Vegetarian Taco and Tomato Basil Parmesan. Yummy yummy!!!!
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Cooking down the veggies for the Tomato Basil soup in my new crock pot!
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This is what my kitchen looked like--oye
That evening we had supper club at the Yother's. It was their first time to host and I was excited to see their house. Claire and Paul really went above and beyond the call of supper club, that's for sure! We had tomato tarts, homemade crackers (Ina Garten-omg amazing) and Brie with honey, apples, and pecans for appetizers, served with Sidecars to drink. Holy moly--I was stuffed before dinner. Then, they served Coq au vin--oh sweet heavens-how have I never had this before??? I was literally licking my bowl by the end--the chicken was SO tender and flavorful!! I might could eat only that for the rest of my life. I mean, it is pretty good for your heart, right?? Veggies, red wine, chicken? Can't go wrong!
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Sidecar--mmmmm
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Who doesn't love a giant wheel of cheese?
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Homemade bread
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Coq au vin!! Magnificent!!!
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Do you understand why I decided I needed the bowls?? This presentation is wonderful!
Claire's table was lovely and I was super jealous of her bowls and crystal. I don't have the bowls to my china because I thought I would never need them--well now how on earth am I going to be able to serve Coq au vin to my friends? I spent a lot of time trying to find them on eBay but I found my crystal instead--yippee! Even better! Forrest won me 8 of the water goblets for basically the price of one--hooray! If only I could serve coq au vin in those!! Oh well, I digress.....
After dinner we surprised Mamatha with a birthday cake since it was her actual birthday! Yay!! Claire also had the most amazing chocolate mocha cake. By the end of the night Forrest literally had the left over cake plate in his lap. It was that good.
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One of my all time favorite people! Happy Birthday Mamatha!
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Make a wish!!
After dinner we all played a game called wins and wagers (wagers and wins?) that had us in fits by the end. We played in teams but you couldn't have your spouse which made it really funny and wild! We were screaming, laughing, spilling wine, just plain old having a great time!!!
On Sunday I met my darling friend Randi for lunch to celebrate my birthday. I haven't seen her in so long and it was wonderful to catch up. I picked the Cheesecake Factory for lunch since they obviously have good desserts, and I mean we were celebrating a birthday! I must report that my salad with salmon was the BEST salad and really the best fish I have had anywhere in a really long time! Nice work! Of course, my chocolate tuxedo cheesecake was divine as well!
That night we ate with my parents (mahi mahi) as usual. You'd think that is where our weekend of eating would end, but oh no. Last night we ate at Sky with our "Lake Family" to celebrate January and February birthdays (me, Sara, and Barbara). On top of getting presents (yay!) we ate some amazing smothered chicken, and Aunt Sue brought an adorable cake!!  photo 6B76FDC5-3AEC-4533-B321-C4D97747BCC7-21349-000009355A8EDE31.jpg Even today I'm still stuffed and I probably don't need to eat anything again until next weekend!! Hope you had a "full" weekend and are having a fun weekend!!

Soup recipes:

You can find the Tomato Basil Parmesan soup recipe on my blog here.

I also make a yummy taco soup that you can find here, but I used this recipe for my soup this weekend (which is basically the same I think) because it used a crock pot.

Heart Healthy Taco Soup

Ingredients:

  • 28 ounces Hunt’s Crushed Tomatoes
  • 10 ounces Rotel
  • 16 ounces Black Beans
  • 16 ounces Kidney Beans
  • 10 ounces Corn
  • 1 package Taco Seasoning
  • 1 package Ranch Seasoning
  • 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (approximately 5 ounces each)

Directions:

If using canned beans, rinse all beans thoroughly. Then dump all ingredients into a slow-cooker and heat on high for 2-3 hours. Shred chicken breasts when cooked thoroughly.




Thursday, January 24, 2013

Skinny Enchiladas

Forrest has recently become a big brother through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. He was matched with an 11 year old boy and they hang out together about once a week. A few weeks ago Forrest said he wanted to host him for dinner and I decided I would try my hand at these Skinny Enchiladas from cooking club for the occasion. I figured kids loved enchiladas and surely the skinny version would be good, since I'd seen it on pinterest about a billion times. I have to admit I was right on both counts. The enchiladas were delicious! I paired them with some refried beans, some black beans in sauce, and Spanish rice. Over all it was a great little meal and quick to throw together!

Skinny Enchiladas

Skinny Enchilada Filling

9 Tortillas (low Carb La Tortilla)
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast meat
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell peppers (I used 1 can of green chilies instead)
1/2 cup Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
1/2 cups Shredded Low-Fat 4 Cheese Mexican Cheese

Skinny Enchilada Sauce

3/4 cup Salsa
1/4 cup Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup Low-Fat Shredded Cheese

Directions

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and Lightly spray a 9×13 inch-baking dish with non-stick spray.
2.) Sautee onions and bell peppers in a small skillet using cooking spray till onions are lightly brown. If you are using chilies, don't saute them!
3. Mix onions, peppers (chilies), chicken, yogurt and cheese in bowl
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Starting to look yummy!!!!
4). Fill tortillas with mixture. I only used 6 tortillas for this one recipe. Plase them in baking sheet, seem side down.
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My 6 fit perfectly in a 13x9
5.) Mix together  sauce and pour on top of enchiladas.
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Yummy sauce!
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This pic is pre-baking. No after pics I'm sorry to say! We ate them too quickly!
6.) Bake at 350 for 15-20 min. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve!


I ended up having extra of all of the ingredients so I mixed up a 2nd recipe and put it in the freezer. Hopefully they freeze well and we can eat this again in a few weeks!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Facts about Me Link Up

My friend Lauren had this link up today and while I'm sure you are bored by now by all of my "facts" that I share with you, in the spirit of blog-erly love, I'm going to be a joiner and go for it! I'm linking up with Whitney from I Wore Yoga Pants to Work--who I just started reading and am now obsessed with. Enjoy!

Some Very VERY Random Facts about Catherine:

Fact: I am a joiner, even though my intro may have suggested I am not. I am typically the first one to join anything, but I can hear about something and be all "Ugh, that sounds so lame" but as soon as a friend joins in, I am in too. Currently I am the Bar Association Treasurer, Service Guild VP, County Panhellenic President, in a book club, a blog cooking club, supper club, Young Marrieds group at church, and am on the board for the County Alumni Association and just rolled off the Humane Society Board. Plus I'm the municipal judge in Sardis. Fun times. I love every single one of those groups and wouldn't give them up for the world!

Fact: I love to sing. I sing every song in church (unless I don't like it in that case I rebel by not singing--I'm sure they notice). I was in the choir in high school even though my voice is just ok. I would never sing solo or anything, but I just really really love to sing!

Fact: Despite my love to sing, I do not like listening to the radio because of the chatter. My work involves chatter and while I'm all for chatter, I don't want to listen to it all day long. Therefore, I listen to silence in the car unless it's like a road trip, in which case let's please use an ipod or XM.

Fact: When I had XM, which was only when I got my new car because it was free and then when Forrest got me an extension for my anniversary, but not now because I am cheap, I listened to the satellite radio stations that I probably could pick up in the car. Purpose defeated, I think, but sometimes 90's on 9 would call my name and the fantastic tunes on that station made it all worth it. I loved being 12 again!

Fact: I've seen several boy bands in concert: Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, 98 Degrees, Hanson (when I was in law school-for real) and New Kids on the Block WITH the Backstreet Boys in 2009. I also saw Brittney Spears--Mandy Moore opened for her. Non-boy teeny bopper concerts that I have attended include: Billy Joel, Elton John, Billy Joel AND Elton John, Eric Clapton, Chicago, Harry Connick Junior, Celine Dion (in Vegas, by myself-yep).


Fact: I want to travel as much as possible. If I ever have "extra" money I want to use it for traveling anywhere and everywhere. There is so much of the world that I want to see! Forrest and I have a map that we put pins in to document the places we have been and the places we hope to go next. The best thing about returning from a trip is getting to put a new pin in the map!
Forrest and I in Eze, France this past year

Fact: I have wanted to be a lawyer since I was about 4. For some reason my dad had to take me to court with him one afternoon and I absolutely loved it. I remember exactly what I wore and exactly where I was standing when dad gave me a speech about how I had to be quiet and couldn't run around. I was in AWE of the judge and had a great time meeting everyone after the hearing (of course I don't remember what the hearing was for, yet I remember my outfit 25 years later). Ever since then, all I wanted to do was take after my daddy, and I did just that!

Fact: My sister is the newly crowned Miss Alabama USA! Hooray! However, I am a "beauty queen too"! I won the first pageant I ever entered--Miss Purple and Gold, our high school pageant--in the 11th grade. I was also a "Corolla Favorite" in the 2nd pageant I was ever in (and last), Miss Corolla, at the University of Alabama as a freshman. My crown is still smaller than my sisters. Boo.

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Me and Miss AL USA!
Fact: I love to read, but will only read one book at the time. College killed me because my majors required lots of reading, so I would have to read one whole book before starting the other. I may have made one or two exceptions but didn't like it. Text books are thankfully a different story in my brain.

Fact: I have a brother!!! Usually people forget about him because he went to Georgia Tech for college so he never really met many of my college or grown up friends. My sister went to the same college as me, so people just assumed it was the two of us, when in fact there is a brother in the middle! He is very cool and awesome and is an engineering consultant. I don't even know what that is completely but he is very busy and important. Plus he loves sports and is super fun!
Me, my bro, and my sista

Fact: I have seen up close the following list of celebrities: Ruben Studdard (American Idol), Matthew McConaughey, Usher and Chili (from TLC) who were at Six Flags and cut line to ride the Superman, Angie Harmon and her football playing husband Jason Seahorn, Paul Finebaum (sports personality). I've met several University of Alabama football celebs, but for the sake of time, let's just leave it at that.


Farrah, Me, and Paul Finebaum in Gainesville



Ok--surely you are tired of random facts about me. This was kinda fun though! Have a fun Tuesday!



Monday, January 21, 2013

January Weekend

What a fun weekend we had! Really, the fun got started on Thursday with the first appearance of SNOW this year! It flurried throughout the day and started to accumulate about 3pm. I use the word "accumulate" loosely, as this is Alabama. The western part of the state got more than us though!! Typically the mere threat of snow in Alabama is enough to shut down any city, and Thursday was no exception. Schools closed at 1 and were delayed 2 hours the next day. Of course, or office wasn't closed, but luckily for me (don't my dad I said this) the power went out because a transformer blew (not sure why and I really don't care) so we got to go home anyway! Hooray! It was nice to go home and relax (aka work on the computer in bed in my pjs)! Forrest got home early as well and we took a nice walk around the neighborhood with Sonny, who loves snow! Ruffles is no fan and my parents' dog buddy (who was staying with us because they were in the Domincan Republic) hated it as well.

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My very good boy Sonny
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Nice view
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I love a snowy house. Notice Buddy to the right saying NO WAY!!
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These dogs like to stay where it is comfy and warm!
On Friday we scarfed down some leftovers before going to the movies. Since I picked last week Forrest got to pick this time, although we really agreed to see Zero Dark Thirty. O-M-G. I knew what it was about but was not expecting it to be the way it was. I started crying about 5 seconds in and really didn't completely stop throughout the whole thing. No exaggeration. I would like to say it is a good movie but I can't give a proper review since I "watched" it with my ears plugged like a five year old and my eyes looking at the floor filled with tears most of the time. It was too  intense for me but I guess that is the point so I can say it is a good movie? If you are prone to nightmares though, maybe just stick to Les Mis. I woke up singing after that one, not hearing phantom helicopters.
The next morning I got a surprise call from my friend Jenny inviting me to lunch. She lives in Birmingham now but was delivering some shirts for her new business, Blossom Blanks! If you have a store that sells blank shirts for children (like for monogramming) you should check her out! It was great to catch up with her and get in a little girl talk. I miss her so much now that she has moved away but I'm glad that we each make a good effort to see each other whenever possible!
Afterwards Forrest and I got in a little walk before church. That evening, we made Copykat Chicken and Gnocchi Soup from the Olive Garden.  I tried to "lighten" it up and I was not super happy with the result. I had just had the real soup on Tuesday so the taste of the full fat version was fresh on my mind. Forrest really liked it though so I guess it was a hit.
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I mean you really can't beat soup on a cold winter's night.
We also watched Beasts of the Southern Wild, one of the movies nominated for Best Picture this year (as are Les Mis and Zero Dark Thirty). It was a little weird but was a nice story. We decided that we need to make a conscious effort to watch all of the Oscar nominated movies for fun every year.

On Sunday we got right up and went to Birmingham. Our first stop was Chez LuLu for brunch. It was Forrest's idea to go a little early and eat somewhere yummy together and I have to say it was a really nice treat!

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First came my delicious tea!
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And then my pomegranate and pear french toast with homemade applesauce and cheese grits! 
Afterwards we were on to the real reason for our visit: meeting the newest member of the Rogers family. Amanda and Justin Rogers have been our friends for a long time. Forrest and Justin have been in school together since K5 and I was in high school with both of them. When we found out at our Bible Study this fall that they were expecting, we were thrilled! Right about Christmas we heard that she had started labor and was in the hospital for a few days. Everything settled back down but the doctor wanted her to stay in the hospital on bed rest. So, she checked in one day and the very next, they decided to induce her! Baby Jefferson Keith Rogers was born on January 18th, 2013 at 28 weeks! He is the teeny tiniest little thing but is strong! We were so glad to be able to meet him and spend time with his sweet mom and dad! Please keep the Rogers in your prayers as Jefferson grows!

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I was really proud of my basket for Jefferson, until AFTER this pic I realized the J was in there backwards. Oops. Long day I guess. 
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Look at this little lamb! I know the tubes look scary but he is really getting strong and doing well!!
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K5 buddies and little Jefferson. I'm pretty sure he has cooler stuff than Batman in that room!

On the way out of town we stopped in to visit my grandparents and did a few errands on the way home. That evening, we went to the Smith's to cook dinner. Lance and I really worked on the Crespelle from the Bottega Cookbook. We had high hopes for it but unfortunately it didn't turn out! We ended up heating some frozen spanakopitas and eating them with the cake Julie had prepared.
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It looks good, but OMG was that dough raw

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Henry enjoyed helping us cook. Here we are throwing the lemon back and forth. I'm sure Lance was really appreciative of our help! Oh and those scissors didn't stay there long and Henry was totally supervised!
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Henry thought it would be helpful to show me some of his moves on his new chair. He has style, I can tell you that!
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We really had good intentions!!!
And speaking of cake, they told me that they had planned a surprise birthday party for me with some friends, which I ruined by going to the National Championship Game! How very sweet of them to think of me! I really feel bad for messing it up!! It is so nice to have amazing friends, isn't it??
Hope you had a great weekend as well and are preparing yourselves (at least in the South) for the FREEZING temps that are coming tomorrow! I wish I could just stay under the covers!!

Here is the soup recipe! Click the link above to go to the CopyKat site to find this and other great restaurant recipes!


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 quart half and half (I used skim milk-boo--if you want this to taste real, use the good stuff)
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 14 ounce cans of chicken broth if you enjoy thick soup, use one can
  • 1 cup carrots, finely shredded
  • 1 cup chicken breasts, cooked and diced (you can use a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 package gnocchi, cooked  (you can find these in gourmet/pasta section of the grocery store - you may want to cut the gnocchi in half if it is large, or purchase the mini size if available)
  • 1 cup of fresh spinach coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

Instructions


Saute the onion, celery, and garlic in the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent. Add the flour and make a roux. Let the butter and flour mixture cook for about a minute before adding 1 quart of half and half. Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Into the roux, add in the carrots and chicken. Once the mixture becomes thick, add the chicken broth. Once the mixture thickens again, add the cooked gnocchi, spinach, and seasoning; simmer until soup is heated through.  Before serving season to taste by adding additional salt.

Shiny and New

I'm sure you have noticed that the Bailey Dailies is sporting a new look! Thanks to my friend Leslie at Sweetie Baby's Blog Design, the blog has gotten an much needed face lift! I absolutely love it!! In honor of the new digs I'm having a follower drive. Over Christmas, I ran into so many people at parties who would tell me that they loved reading my blog. Of course I didn't know that they did read it because they weren't followers! I value each and every reader and am so honored that you take the time to check in with us and our life on the blog and would really love it if you would consider clicking the "Follow" button to the right!
And speaking of "following" you can follow me on Pinterest and Twitter by clicking the buttons on the top of the page! Can't wait to see all of the new additions! Thanks again!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pan Roasted Chicken

This was my pick for cooking club this month. I of course found it on pinterest and thought it looked quick, easy, and light. Yesterday I went home a little early due to the snow (really because of the fact that a transformer blew and knocked out the power at the office) and Forrest got home early so we ended up making this together. We thoroughly enjoyed it and it has definitely been elevated to "do again" status. Good thing I bought enough to double the recipe and freeze a batch! Hope you like it as much as we did!

Pan Roasted Chicken with Lemon Garlic Green Beans


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large baking dish or cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish or skillet.
  2.  photo 4FF9BD65-B96D-4913-B4AF-65658D28D28F-7601-00000452DF2B359A.jpg
    So So fresh and healthy!
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    There was plenty of dressing for all of the ingredients. No need to add anything!
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    So pretty!
  3. In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans. Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish or skillet. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.
  4.  photo 5E31DEDC-301C-424D-AE33-2E666C13639D-7601-00000452EDE96BC7.jpg
    Mouth watering!
  5. Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish or skillet. Place the beans and potatoes back in oven for 10 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender. Place a chicken breast on each of 4 serving plates; divide the green beans and potatoes equally. Serve warm.
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I'm really upset that this isn't in focus. I promise you this meal was delicious and very good for you, even if you may not be able to see it that well.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Riding the Coat Tails

When my sister won Miss Alabama USA, I didn't really know what all was in store. We were so focused on her winning the state pageant that we really didn't think ahead to what that would mean--MISS USA! Furthermore, as Miss Alabama she gets to do many appearances throughout the year. It has only been about  6 weeks since she won and that girl has been a busy bee! Mom and I have been trying to help her as much as possible. Here are just a few of the fun things she has gotten to do these past few weeks!


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Posing for the RPM Christmas card, the day after she won
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Christmas Card with all of the RPM winners
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Signing autographs for sweet fans
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Reading to K-4 on PJ day at St. James School. She went to K-4 in this same room!
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Speaking to grades 3-8 at St. James School, where she attended from K-4 through 8th grade. She talked to them about setting and achieving goals. She spoke to 3 schools that day and is actually doing 3 more schools right now!
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Getting a proclamation from the Etowah County Commission! She is with Commissioner Carolyn Parker
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Proud Mom and Dad
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She was asked to appear at the Bama Bash event in Miami before the National Championship Game by the Alumni Association, since she is a graduate of UA! This is her with Cornelius Bennett, All Time Bama great!
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Mark Barron, former Bama player and current member of the Tampa Bay Bucs
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With Country Singer Sara Evans
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Former Bama Coach and National Championship winner Gene Stallings
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Former Bama Quarterback Jay Barker
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Former Bama running back and Heisman Trophy finalist Trent Richardson. He now plays for the  Cleveland Browns
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Getting a proclamation from Alabama Governor Robert Bentley
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MMM and her sister Queen, Miss Alabama Teen USA Lorin Holcombe
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Mom and I got to see her receive the proclamation. It was so special!
 
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