Thursday, February 26, 2009
They may not start out looking very appetizing, but stick with me . . .
These are really easy to make, and you probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen
right now. The most time consuming part is grating the sweet potatoes. This can also be the most dangerous part (especially if you're easily distracted like I am) I thought I would spare you the pictures of my bandaged knuckles!
After mixing up all of the delicious ingredients, simply fry them up in your favorite skillet . . .
Mix up your celery and parsley with a little oil and dijon mustard, cook some lovely green beans seasoned just the way you like and . . .
Voila, dinner is served. By the way, DH LOVED them.
Ham and Sweet Potato Fritters (Everyday with Rachel Ray)
1 1/4 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
1/2 lb ham, chopped (go ahead and cheat, use deli meat)
5 scallions, finely chopped (I substituted green onions, that's what I had on hand)
2/3 C chopped flat leaf parsley, plus 1/3 C leaves
1/3 C flour (I used a "tad" more)
salt and pepper
2 large eggs
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 C plus 2 tbsp vegetable oil
6 ribs celery thinly sliced plus 1/2 C celery leaves
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a rack on a baking sheet and place in the oven. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes, ham, scallions, chopped parsley and flour; season with salt and pepper to taste. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with 1 tsp mustard (reserving the other 2 tsp) Stir the egg mixture into the sweet potato mixture.
2. In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium high heat. Working two at a time, add 1/3 C mounds of sweet potato mixture, flattening into rounds. Lower the heat to medium and cook until golden, about 3 minutes on each side; transfer to the baking sheet to keep warm. Add 2 tbsp oil between batches.
3. In a bowl, whisk the remaining 2 tbsp oil with the reserved 2 tsp mustard. Add the parsley leaves, celery and celery leaves and toss to dress; season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with the warm fritters.
Hope you enjoy this as much as we did. Now let's go to Gollums and see what's cooking there!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
This week I am attempting 3 posts in one again. I started by choosing one of two themes offered this week for Wordless Wednesday. I chose Ash Wednesday, which led me to choose these pictures for my outdoor Wednesday post.
Steeple of the Grace Heritage Center. This was the original Grace Episcopal Church on University Avenue. When the congregation outgrew this beautiful little building, it was moved
to the downtown area just off of the courthouse square. It is now the Grace Heritage Center and is available for public use. Can't you just imagine what a beautiful setting this would be for a wedding or anniversary celebration?
Detail of the arched stained glass window and arched doorway. Don't you just love this?
Here she is in all her glory. As you can see, it is still dead winter here. Even though the sky is gorgeous and the temperature is warm compared to my buddies up north, the trees are still bare and the grass is brown. I will take pictures this spring and summer when the flowers and plants are thriving. Now hop on over to Susan's and see what everyone else is sharing!
WHAT'S ON YOUR WALL WEDNESDAY
Barb at Grits and Glamour recently started this fun Wednesday event. What's on Your Wall Wednesday asks us to share our wall decor with each other! I just love this one, since my DH is a picture framer and this is one thing I have ALOT of. I'm cheating a little bit here and repeating a post I did right after Christmas. This is one of my favorite pieces of photography and I felt that it fit with my "theme" today, which was inspired by Dixie's Wordless Wednesday theme of Ash Wednesday. I'll apologize in advance to any faithful reader who has seen this before. If you want, you can just skip down to Wordless Wednesday lol! Please make sure to stop by Barb's blog at http://gritsglamour.blogspot.com/
and stay for awhile, you'll be amazed at her beautiful home and delighted by her wicked good sense of humor! Check for a list of this week's participants and have fun visiting everyone.
My Favorite Christmas Gift
Lynette at Lynette's L.A.M. blog posted a wonderful gift she received from her mother and asked everyone what their favorite gift was. This gorgeous photograph by my favorite photographer has to be right up there with my all time special gifts. It's not just the photo, it's the story behind it. We vacation in Florida every year, and discovered the photography of Richard Bickel in an Apalachicola shop several years ago. I fell in love with his work, and every year we would try to buy at least one piece. He has published two books of his photography and I discovered this work in the second book "Apalachicola River, an American Treasure". I was mesmerized by this photograph. Last summer, we discovered that Mr. Bickel had opened a gallery in Apalachicola. Well, I was like a kid in a candy shop. The rest of the family was tired and hot, but indulged me my time in the gallery. I bought one small piece that I have always loved, but could not purchase the piece that I really wanted. The work in his gallery was very large and more expensive than I could afford. So I purchased my small 5 x 7 and went happily on my way. Little did I know that my dear husband had been corresponding with the artist over the month of November. He made arrangements for the artist to reproduce this piece in a smaller size for a surprise Christmas gift. Now this is where the "Christmas Miracle" comes into play. The last correspondence indicated that the piece could not be ready in time for Christmas, as the framer that the artist uses had been ill. My husband is a picture framer, but Mr. Bickel signs all of his work on the custom cut mat that surrounds them, so that was the hold up. On Christmas Eve, we received a note in the mailbox that an express mail package was out for delivery. Of course we were not home, but we just assumed it was something DH had ordered from Ebay. Suddenly our daughter grabbed daddy, ran into the music room with the phone, and 2 minutes later they were both running out the front door. What on earth? It turns out that Caitlin had a suspicion that this photo was what was being delivered. She called the post office to find out the senders name and sure enough, she was right. The postal clerk told her that our carrier was still in the neighborhood and that they could probably catch him (sometimes it pays to live in a small town) So off went dear hubby and dear daughter to chase down the mailman! They finally caught up with him and pulled up next to him frantically waving the delivery notice. I'm happy to report that he gave them the package, they went to my husband's shop and framed this and one other photo that they had purchased. Imagine my total surprise when I opened this on Christmas morning. I will cherish this always, not just because it is one of my favorite photographs, but more because of the love and thought that went into the gift.
It's time once again for Wordless Wednesday, graciously hosted by Dixie down in French Lique, Texas. If you haven't visited French Lique, you really should take a stroll on over. Dixie's blog is full of beautiful ideas, wonderful stories, and besides, she is a hoot! The theme for this week is your choice of Fat Tuesday or Ash Wednesday. Make sure to visit Dixie at
and see what everyone is sharing today.
Celestial Glory, courtesy of Windberg Enterprises
Glorious New Beginning, courtesy of Windberg Enterprises
Now go visit Miss Dixie!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
And while you're there, stay awhile and enjoy a cool glass of lemonade on Susan's incredible porch, you'll feel like it's summertime again before you know it!
Today I am sharing a different kind of metamorphosis, the one that occurs in an artist's mind as he is painting. This idea actually originated with a phone call from my husband. Late Thursday afternoon the phone rang and it was DH, who was at Pier One. Now, first you have to understand that if I want to go to Pier One, I have to drag him kicking and screaming (or at least alot of frowning). So my curiosity was piqued, to say the least. He said he was looking for props for the gallery window. DH " Do we have a bottle of red wine that I can use" Yes, we did. "Do we have a wine glass that I can use" Yes, we did. "I'm looking for a bottle glass vase" - well you may have to go to Pottery Barn for that one. "Where can I find white linen napkins or tea towels?" At this point, I was thinking of all of my tablescaping buddies in blogland, so I told him to check TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc. In the background I can hear him clinking and clanking through all of the glass ware and I got a fit of the giggles. I told some of my blogland buds that I can't do a tablescape to save my life, but my DH was doing one! Needless to say, he wasn't amused. So I asked what kind of display they were doing, and he said he wanted to mock up two of their still life pieces so people could see what the set up looked like, and how the artist actually saw it in the final painting. So I thought, hmmm . . . this could be a great idea for Met Monday. I'm out of projects around the house (actually I'm not out of projects, I just haven't started on any of them!) So this is what I came up with!
This is the basic mock up for a piece entitled Tropical Reflections.
"Tropical Reflections" by Kyle Polzin courtesy of Windberg Enterprises
Props used for a piece entitled Island Interlude. Notice the wine bottle - DH said ours had
the "wrong" type of label, so I was shopping Thursday night for a bottle of wine with the "right" kind of label! The clerk asked if I liked this particular wine, and I had to tell him I had no idea, it was being used in a window display. I think he may have wondered if I'd already sampled some!
"Island Interlude" by Kyle Polzin, courtesy of Windberg Enterprises
The window as it looks now. DH said that they have had more people stop to look at this vignette than any other display they have done. Here's hoping that we have done our part to stimulate the economy! (Excuse the reflection in the glass, I could NOT figure out how to get this shot without getting myself in it too)
Now swing by Susan's and see what everyone else has done for Metamorphosis Monday!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I received this lovely award from my dear friend Marty at A Stroll Through Life. I first met Marty on RMS and then we re-connected at MicasaStyle. We both started blogs after being persuaded by our mutual buddy Debbie from Confessions of a Plate Addict. I kept hearing that blogging buddies can be some of your best friends, even though you've never met in person. That has turned out to be so true! I feel like I've known Marty and Debbie for years. They are so much fun and so supportive! If you haven't met Marty yet, make sure that you visit her beautiful blog at http://astrollthrulife.blogspot.com/ You will be amazed at her gardens, her talent at decorating and sewing and her fantastic bargain hunting skills!
This lovely award is the "Best Blog Daily Thinker" award. What an honor to receive this, especially coming from Marty. The rules are to post it on your blog and pass it on to 10 other deserving bloggers. I'll be honest, I think that everyone out there deserves this award. Every blog I read has given me new ideas, made me think, made me giggle or just brightened my day. So I'm going to cop out here and just say that if you are reading this, please accept the award! Many of you have already received it, so consider yourself a double award winner!
I really do want to thank everyone who has read and commented on my blog. I started this several months ago with MUCH trepidation. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and the support and enthusiasm of everyone has really been amazing. I have found so many wonderful friends here. It's also been a big help in adjusting to the world of the "emptynester". It's so nice to have others to bounce ideas off of , or just to be able to "vent"! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
If you saw my Valentine's day swap post, you will remember that I mentioned a wonderful chili recipe that I found in Southern Lady magazine. I had not seen this publication before, and was so excited to discover it. It really has a wealth of wonderful decorating ideas, but more importantly (at least in this house) some really great recipes! This is probably one of the best chilis I've ever made or had, and considering that we live in Texas where chili is an art form, that's saying something.
Spicey Chipotle Chili (makes 8 servings)
2 pounds lean ground beef or chili meat
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 Cups chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 Cups water
2 (16 oz) cans hot chili beans, undrained
2 (14.5 oz) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce, minced
2 tablespoons adobo sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1. In dutch oven, cook beef over med-high heat until browned. Remove meat from pan, drain and set aside.
2. In dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add reserved ground beef, water and remaining ingredients. Stir to combine well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Tip: PLEASE make sure to wear gloves or wash hands VERY well after dicing the peppers. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT forget and rub your eyes, bite your nails or do anything else silly while working with peppers, such as attempting to pet the cat. I'm speaking from personal experience here!
I always serve chili with green chili corn muffins. I'll be honest, I cheat and use a fantastic mix that I get at a little gourmet kitchen store here, but you can always chop up some canned green chilis and throw them into your favorite cornbread recipe.
Hope you enjoy this chili as much as we did. DH suffers from acid reflux, so we don't have spicy food every day. But some days he just says "it's a two purple pill day" and throws caution to the wind lol. This is fairly spicy, some might find it too hot, some might not think it's hot enough, but I'm going to play Goldilocks and says it's just right! Enjoy! Now stop by Gollum's place and see what everyone else is bringing to the party.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
This is MY pitiful collection of shoes. I actually have more, but how many pair of flip flops and tennis shoes do you need to see? I work for a vet, so tennies are an absolute must. When I get home, I'm generally barefoot (my DH will tell you my hillbilly is showing lol), but I can't walk barefoot on the hot concrete, so I wear flip flops. I resent cold weather when I have to wear closed shoes! We had a party to go to and I really didn't want to wear heels as I knew I would be on my feet all night. I realized that I really wanted some fun shoes, so Sis and I went shopping. And I got . . .
These! Aren't they adorable! And they are comfortable too. DH payed me the ultimate compliment when I wore them - "hey, you look like a comfortable Cait". Made my night!
Now make sure you hop on over to KD's place and see what everyone has come up with for this week! I'm sure it will be fun.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
This was a Christmas gift from my darling daughter Cait 2 years ago. Bless her heart, she was a freshman in college with no money to speak of. She raided our photo files on all of our computers and came up with this gorgeous collage of some of my favorite pictures from family vacations at the beach. She then sweet talked Daddy into printing it on canvas and stretching it for me.
Needless to say, this is one of my most cherished gifts. She really put alot of thought and work into this. If you look closely, you will probably recognize alot of the shots from previous posts and my sidebar (and yes funny Mr. Crab is there too!) She really captured the feeling of our family time together. I told you I have the best daughter in the world, right?
Hope you enjoyed seeing what's on my wall. Don't forget to check Barb's blog to see who else is sharing their wall decor with us this week!
It's time for another edition of Wordless Wednesday, graciously hosted by Dixie at French Lique, Texas. Where is French Lique you ask? Just hop on over to http://frenchlique.blogspot.com/ to find out! Visit Miss Dixie to find a list of this weeks participants in Wordless Wednesday - the word for this week is "books". Enjoy!
And since it's Wednesday, that means it's time for Outdoor Wednesday, hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer. Make sure to visit Susan at http://asoutherndaydreamer.blogspot.com/ to see a list of this week's participants and visit all of their outdoor spaces.
Several years ago, our little town approved plans for a large outdoor shopping center to be built on property that had been a family owned ranch for over a hundred years. Most of the "old timers", including myself, were not too thrilled with the idea. We have worked very hard in Georgetown to retain our small town charm, and many people have worked tirelessly to ensure that our downtown square remains vital and busy! The developers promised that this would not be a "cookie cutter" project, and that they would retain natural areas, trails and outdoor space for public use. They also made arrangements to place signage in the center directing people to visit the square and historic courthouse. They also arrange for shuttle buses to the downtown square during festivals and fairs. I am pleased to say that they lived up to their promises. Below are just a few of the areas that can be enjoyed by people shopping at Wolfe Ranch.
A view of the hills surrounding the shopping center.
This is one of the many patio areas in this development where you can relax (or send hubby when he starts driving you nuts!)
View of the fountain area from one of our favorite restaurants. When the weather is pleasant, there is nothing nicer than sitting on the patio with a cool drink and watching an amazing sunset.
Hope you enjoyed this little tour. It's nice when a large development can complement a small town rather than overrun it!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
This is the sweet letter that was waiting for me on the top of the goodies.
Oh just look at all these goodies! There is wonderful Rose room spray, the cutest little hand towel, an adorable wooden heart and picture frame . . . . . but wait, there's more!
See that little purple "tub" - that is filled with the most fabulous body cream - very subtle lavender scent and it is wonderfully creamy and smooth. See that bag of chocolates - mine, all mine haha. She also included a copy of one of her favorite magazines, Southern Lady. I'd not seen this before, and it is a beautiful publication full of gorgeous homes, decorating ideas and recipes - more on that later. And just look at that cute little valentine plate - perfect for . . .
Displaying those wonderful chocolate kisses on my counter - that way they are always close at hand!
Remember I mentioned the great recipes in this magazine? I tried a chili recipe and it was a BIG HIT! And don't forget, we are in Texas, where chili is an art form. This had the most wonderful smokey chipotle chili base, and it was great. It was 35 degrees when I got up that morning, so I thought it would be a great day for chili (and green chili corn muffins - yum). Of course by the time I got home from work it was 70 degrees, but I went ahead and made it anyway. No one seemed to mind!
Thanks Claire for all of the beautiful gifts. You really outdid yourself, and this was a really fun way to get to know you. Visit Belle at http://sbelle-lifeofasouthernbelle.blogspot.com/ when you get a chance and get to know this great gal! She has such a fun blog, filled with humor, warmth and fun! If you want a good laugh, read her posts about Little Miss Priss! And if you want to know how great kids can be, read anything about her precious children! Hope you enjoyed my little show and tell, it was lots of fun!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Hope you enjoyed these pictures that represent love to me. Make sure to visit Dixie and see
what everyone else is sharing this week.
This week I had planned on taking some outdoor shots around our little town - we are finally seeing a few little signs of spring. I've seen quite a few robins and lots of daffodils peeking up. We've had some rain and it's been very cloudy, so I didn't think that would put anyone in much of a spring mood. But I'm not going to complain, we desperately need the rain, and besides it washed most of the blankety blank cedar pollen out of the air! Anyone who is from or has lived in Central Texas knows that's nothing to sneeze at - pun VERY much intended. So, instead, I'll be sharing more pictures from St. George Island Florida. Hope you enjoy these little doses of summer!
Sunrise from the deck of our rental house
Sea Oats, St. George Island National Seashore
Just a cool cloud we shot from our deck
Oops, sorry to disturb you Mr. Crab!
Hope you enjoyed these little glimpses of paradise. Jump on over to Susan's to see what everyone else is showing off this week.