6/29/12

A Few on Friday

Hi-ya there internet friends!  Hope this post finds you happy and healthy and raising the roof. 

Speaking of raising the roof...I have found the coolest thing to happen to food storage containers, since, well, ever.  I don't know much about the history of food storage containers so I can't speak much more on that.  But I can speak on these:


Look closely.  Can you see it?  That little tiny cup that is snapped into the top?  Genious!  This way, I can keep my double bean burger (look for that next week) and my avacado basil sauce seperate from each other without a lot of extra fuss.  If you've seen the amount of gypsy packrat-ness that I carry with me to work, you would appreciate the no-extra-fuss portion of this.  And what's that behind the DBB?  Why, it's a salad.  With the dressing not already on it  Seriously guys, this is good stuff.  

You know what else is good stuff?  Oikos Black Cherry Greek yogurt.  A while back, Chickey recomended the bluberry version.  It's good, for sure, this is even better.  What's better?  I can eat it for breakfast (3 pp) and it holds me into my mid-morning snack.    


Do you see how the light is shining on it?  It's a divine breakfast. A gift from the heavens.   

Since we're on the topic of good stuff, here's some music good stuff.  I was rooting around on the www yesterday and came across the KEXP youtube channel.  From what I can tell KEXP is a super rad radio station based out of Seatle?  Yes, I think so.  And since it's Seattle, you know it's as hip as skinny jeans on guys and LCD Soundsystem.  What's even cooler is that the radio station streams live.  Go check it out at this website.  My ears will probably be tuned in for most of the day. 

Back to food for a minute, because I guess that's where my mind is today, but I really really really want this for lunch.


You can find the recipe here, make it this morning, and bring it to me in Ruleville.  Thanks,  you're a peach.  

Mmmmmm.  Peaches.  

Love you all, happy Friday!

Guys, spell check isn't working.  So, sorry if this was painful.   

6/28/12

The Flaming Lips Come to Town

Sometimes, when you sit quietly and wait patiently, extremely cool things happen right in your usually music quiet back yard.  Or in the next town over, rather.  

This is exactly what happened last night when the Flaming Lips descended upon Clarksdale, MS to try to break the world record for playing the most concerts in a 24 hour period.  Visit this site for some live feed action. This record, it's worth mentioning, was previously held by Jay-Z.  To know me is to know that I love Jay Z.  But Flaming Lips, yeah I'll take them too.  Heck yes.   

Very very very cool to see such a huge rock and roll band in such a cool setting.  

Gary Clark Jr was the opening act.  He's good stuff, check out his website here. And go listen to this song.  


Me and the mister.  


Live music. And a large stick. 


Wayne Coyne and the dude from the Guinness Book of Records. 


My perfect evening?  Spending time with friends and hearing really really good music.  Done and done.  Perfect evening.  Thanks, Flaming Lips, for bringing it down south.  

Favorite Strawberry Pie

Freaking A, y'all, it is so hot here.  Summers in Mississippi are always hot but those first few days with 100 degree temps are always a shock to the system. In order to neutralize the shock, you should make yourself a strawberry pie.  Yes.  Yes you should.  Don't argue with me, just go do it.  For the record, I'm not the only one that loved it.  Here's the Baby Girl A enjoying her slice.  Looks a little mesmerized, huh? 
The food loving gene didn't skip this girl, that's for sure.  Perhaps we've got a food blogger in our future?  Perhaps.  

My mom made this on my recent visit home; my sister and I were thinking that we'd just pick up some tamales from Doe's, Peggy had a different plan.  And PTL she did because it included this pie.  

This glorious, wondrous, all is right in the world pie.  Make it and see for yourself!  And then invite me over for a slice.  Thanks mom for sharing!  And thanks, Lisa, for sharing with her!  I might have that mixed up, Lisa, you might not have had anything to do with this.  But something tells me that you did.....

Favorite Strawberry Pie


8 oz cream cheese
1 cup of powdered sugar
8 oz cool whip
2 cups of fresh strawberries, chopped up
1 shortbread pie crust (hunt for shortbread, it is clutch)


Mix the cream cheese and the sugar together with a mixer.  Add the cool whip and the strawberries, combine well by hand.  Pour into pie crust.  Chill for several hours.  Cut into 8 equal slices


Serving size 1 slice
Points plus 9


I wonder what this would be like with reduced fat cream cheese and light cool whip?  Hmmm.  Might be worth a shot.


Stay cool, y'all.  Brandon bought a sprinkler, you can come over and play in it if you'd like.  

6/27/12

Fajita Turkey Burger with Salsa Verde

Turkey burgers.  Some people love 'em, some people hate 'em.  Me....I love 'em.  But you probably knew that already.  In fact, one of my favorite summer meals is this turkey burger recipe.  It's also Brandon's favorite meal, I sure do bet he'd be happy if I made it again!  Maybe for his birthday. 

Anywho.  This one is another keeper.  Next time, I'll add salt and pepper in order to kick up the flavor just a bit.  Other then that, what we have here is a good, solid turkey burger recipe.  With salsa verde on top.  And orange bell peppers.  And some other jazz. 

Enjoy!


Fajita Turkey Burger
adapted from Eat Live Run 

1 lb lean ground turkey
1 orange (or red or yellow) 
1/2 onion
1 egg
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp tobasco 
salt and pepper
salsa verde (for serving)

Combine all ingredients.  Divide into four equal parts and form into patties.  Cook using desired cooking method.  I cooked them in a pan on top of the stove.  

Serving size 1 pattie (makes 4)
Points plus 5 

Serve on a light wheat but (2 pp) with 1/2 oz of pepper jack cheese (1 pp) and topped with some salsa verde (0 pp).  Heck yeah!  

6/26/12

Quiltin' Stuff :: Part Four :: Sewin' Stuff

Hi!  Welcome to part four of the let's try to figure out how to quilt party. 


I'll apologize in advance, I don't have any pictures for this section because I really got into the zone and didn't take pictures as I was going along!  Also, I can't find much information on this process on the WWW.  Probably because I'm doing it completely wrong and making up my own version!  Carry on. 

Soooo you should have your quilt squares / pieces cut out and organized in a fashion that suits you.  It's now time to sew together your quilt top.  My quilt is 12 rows of 10 squares so I had 12 stacks of 10 squares.  To start sewing, alls you do is take your first square and set it right side up; take your second square and place it right side down atop your first square.  Sew them together using the seam allowance of your choice.  Keep repeating this until you've sewed your ten squares into a nice little row.


Take your nice, neat little row over to the sewing board and press all of your seams over to one side so that they are all laying flat and facing the same direction.  


Meanwhile, back at the machine, take your next stack of squares and sew them just like you did the first stack.  After this stack is done, head on back to the ironing board and press all of your seems in the opposite direction that you pressed your first row.  So your seems will be facing the opposite direction for each row.  This will reduce bulk.


At this point, you can sew your long rows together.  Just lay them out right sides together, give it a few pins, and sew away.  I sewed each row to the quilt as I finished it because I liked watching my quilt grow!  


Let's jump back to seams for a second.  You'll have seems from where you sewed the rows together, press those down facing the opposite of each other, just like you did your quilt square seams.  Does that make any sense at all?  You got this.  


There are tons and tons and tons of different quilting patterns, i.e. ways to cut your fabric and get it sewn together.  All that really matters is that you get your fabric sewn together neat and nice and in the size that you want it.  


Happy quilt top sewing!


Just some random quilt inspiration:



Find it here 

find it here

Happy quilting dude-ettes!  Or dudes!  But I figure I have more of a dude-ette readership thing happening.  Don't forget to check out the rest of this series if you're interested!





6/25/12

McCaleb Southeastern Summer 2012 Adventure

The title of this blog says it all.  We McCalebs had ourselves a rip-roarin', bona-fide summer adventure.  It was the perfect break for everything.  The heat, the routine, the slow pace that comes along with living in the Mississippi Delta.  It was perfect.  Let me tell you about it... 

We left the delta on a Thursday after a lengthy oil change and a wrap sandwich from What's Cookin'. Birmingham was our destination, excitement was our mood.  We had reservations at Aloft Hotel and dinner plans for Sol y Luna

Aloft hotel was super hip, I felt as though a rave might happen at any time.  I'd recommend it unless you have an aversion to raves.  Kidding, it's real nice.  They had live music and a good spot to get snacks.  Great location, too. 

Sol y Luna is always one of my favorites.  It was even more fun because our friends Katherine and Jason were able to meet us.  The margaritas are outta this world and the food is delicious.  And it's tapas so it's like snack time for hours.  Here is Brandon sipping his perfect margarita.  Please take note of that single wide in the back ground.  


After dinner, we walked around the corner to some local bars.  The NBA playoff game was on, it's always exciting to watch a sporting event in a bar. 

We cabbed it home, got a good night sleep.  The next time I woke up, I was 30. 

Brandon surprised me by bounding up bright and early.  He was talking breakfast, naturally we decided to go to The Original Pancake House.  I ordered blueberry pancakes and homefries as my motto on vacation is usually go big or go home.  After breakfast, it was time to pack up the choche and head to Georgia.  

I took the first leg of driving; unfortunately this meant I accidentally wound up in Atlanta traffic.  Between Brandon's support and the GPS' guidance, we came out unscathed.  The scenery got better and better as we drove, I was getting super geared up for Athens.  Once we got there, we set out on foot to explore the city.  We stopped first at a thrift store called Dynamite. It's owned by a friend of a friend of ours in Greenwood so it was fun to get to chat with her.  I scored a silver shift dress and a coral clutch.  Heck yeah!  Brandon scored a UGA t-shirt.  Heck yeah!  The owner, along with other friends, recommended lunch at The National so we made our way there.    


I loved absolutely everything about it.  The ambiance, the staff, the menu. I give it all two enthusiastic thumbs up.  Pictured below is one of the drinks, A Loving Cup.  It took everything I had not to steal the menu so we could recreate it at  home.  Should have snapped a picture! 


For lunch, I ordered the pimento cheese turkey burger and fries (are you noticing a pattern?) and Brandon ordered the soft shell crab salad.  I kind of felt like a two-ton-tussy with our plates side by side but didn't dwell on that for to long.  It was, after all, my birthday.  I do what I want. 

I awkwardly blurted out "it's my birthday" when I ordered my burger and fries to the waitress.  My thought process was that she wouldn't judge me if she knew it was my special day.  She didn't seem to judge me and instead brought me creme brulee and a glass of champagne.  Girl.  Let's be friends forever and always! 


When we got back in the car, I wished I was wearing a yoga pant instead of my purple skinny jeans. Again guys...go big or go home.  

The drive to Brevard from Athens was long, but not terrible.  It got a little hairy when the GPS started taking us down back roads; maybe it knew we were from the Delta and wanted us to feel at home.  It also got a little hairy when we started driving up the mountain...there were absolutely 90 degree turns with drop offs to one side of you. 

We met one of our hosts, Brandon, in the town of Brevard so we could follow him out to his house / our vacation home.  We met in the parking lot of an Episcopal Church (heck yeah!).  I loved these hydrangeas. 


Brandon and his wife Emily live a few miles outside of Brevard in a great house with a great deck.  There's also a small pond, a garden, lots of dogs, and a potbelly pig named Ruby.  I love her. We got settled, did some deck sitting, played with the dogs, visited, ate steaks and cupcakes, checked out the fly making station and crashed. 





The next morning we woke up bright and early, had some breakfast burritos, and set out to explore the land.  We made our way to Pisgah National Forest to start the adventure. We started off at the trout hatchery...


...hunted some waterfalls...



...hopped over some logs...


....thought about jumping into a waterfall (Brandon, not me.  Heck no.  Do you know how cold that water was?)....



...and generally just hiked around.  You people that live in places where you can regularly hike...I envy you.  But you probably envy the fact that you can see for miles where I live so we're even.

After our hike we took a much needed lunch break in Brevard.  We went to Rocky's, I had a chili cheese dog, it was awesome.  The town is real cute, we spent a few hours just strolling around looking at stuff.  And eating homemade chocolates.  What?  Yeah, seriously guys.  My vacations are go big or go home.... 

We made our way back home and rested / showered / visited / geared up for the evening.    


We look good in front of a mountain, don't we?



Hey, Ruby!


Dinner was at a little hole in the wall Thai place called, simply, Pad-Thai.  I did steal this menu because you know how I said I'm going to start making Indian food at home? Same goes for Thai.  We got:  Tom Kha Soup (with vegetables), Pad kee Mao-Drunken Noodle (with shrimp), Kao Pad Sopparto-Pineapple Fried Rice, and Kang Dang Red Curry (with shrimp and pork.)  Again with the details, you'll have to bare with me.  It was all so very good.  Another way to break out of routine on vacation is trying new food....we did tons of that this trip! 

After dinner, we made our way to the restaurant that Brandon's friend Neal works in.  Did some visiting, met some friends, went home and rested up for white water rafting.  Wahooo!

We booked our trip through Pura Vida Outfitters.  If you are ever in the Brevard area and looking for adventure, check them out.  It's a small operation, very personal and easy to work with.  We traveled towards Ashville and the French Broad River to start our adventure.  It's a beautiful river with amazing scenery.  The rapids got up to a level three but it was still so much fun.  Here's Brandon, finally jumping off of something.       


I'm glad I put my old camera in my dry bag...this picture is a for sure keeper.  Might blow it up.

After we were all adventured out, we made our way to Ashville.  We spent some time at Wedge Brewing Company where the guys played corn hole (our river guides stuck around and hung out...we are that much fun to be around) and I sat atop a perch and watched. 



After a bit of that, we headed to down town Ashville for exploring.  Here are Brandon, Neal, and Brandon ... buddies forever.   


Ashville is all kinds of cool. The architecture is beautiful and there's all kinds of neat things to see.  Here is a place where you can buy super cool books and order a glass of champagne.  I picked up Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina, both of which I hear are kind of racy.  I'll tell about them when I finish.  Or probably not.   



We dined that night at that awesome Indian place that I've already told you about it.  I'm still in love. 


We made the drive back to Brevard, did some more porch sitting and went off to sleep.  It felt so amazing at night there, we were able to sleep with the doors and windows open and not get carried away by mosquitoes.  The screens helped but we all know that Mississippi mosquitoes will get to you screen or no screen. 

The drive home was long but worth it.  We made some stops and I was able to somehow get away with only driving for two of the ten hours.  Thanks, B. 

I'm grateful for the ability to travel.  I'm grateful for good friends that give you a place to stay.  I'm grateful for God's beautiful creation, new adventures, and safe travels. I'm grateful for a husband that doesn't mind being holed up in a car with me for ten hours. 

If you're still reading, hope you enjoyed!  Tell me, what's the next adventure you have planned?  

6/22/12

A Few on Friday

Hey party people!!  Who's pumped about Friday?? Me!  Meeee!

Here are a few instagrams from this week that are making me happy...

My quilt is all basted and ready to be quilted!  I'm at a standstill right now as I had to order a walking foot for my machine.  I tried to do it with my regular foot but it turned out to be a big hot mess.  But I didn't pull the big hot mess stiches out because I figured it is all just part of my learning curve.  Do you have any idea what any of this means?  Yeah, I don't really either.  Still having fun though!  


I fill in at a clinic in Charleston sometimes.  I was there this week and we offered this craft as a therapeutic exercise to reinforce the material that we were discussing.  It's celery stalks dipped in paint to make flowers.  How cool? 


I have a little patio pot garden that I'm real proud of.  I've got a tomato plant, some mint, cilantro, and basi and a creeping petunia.

The petunia has been killed and brought back to life several times.  She's a survivor, she's not gone give up, she will survive, she will work harder.  Destiny's Child, anyone? 

I like to sit out amongst it while enjoying a Sweet Water Blue.    


You know what rhymes with blue?  View.  And here's my view from my desk chair.  And here's my brand new water bottle.  I got it in NC for the rafting adventure and I'm tickled to death about it.  Why?  Because I left my other one in Chickey's car and because it makes me drink oh so much more water.  And with temps like this, we should all be drinking more water. 


Seriously guys.  Loving this instagram business.

What's up with you this weekend?  I got a grill for my birthday from my mom.  B and I are going to get it put together and get to grilling.  I see lots of googling in our future, neither one of us are skilled in this area.  We'll figure it out.  I have hope for us.  Your tips, however, would be appreciated.  You've got until mid-afternoon on Saturday to share your secrets.  I mean, or whenever. I'm just guessing that it will start going down around then.  

Well I guess that's it.  At this point I'm just avoiding drying my hair and making my breakfast burrito.  My ability to piddle in the morning is kind of amazing...

I hope everyone has a great day!






6/21/12

Indian Chickpea Stew

Well hello there friends!  How are 'ya?  Me?  I'm good, thanks for asking.  

But enough pleasantries. We've got things to discuss.  Like Indian food and how amazing it is and how ridiculous it is that it took me 30 years to try it.    

But let's back up, shall we?

Earlier this week, Brandon and I returned from our Summer 2K12 Southeastern Adventure.  I'll tell you more about it later, but for now lets just say that there was some serious good eating that went down in some seriously cool towns.  Athens, Brevard, Ashville, Birmingham....it was good stuff after good stuff and I loved every bite.  

While in Ashville, our lovely hosts took us to an Indian restaurant called Chai Pani.  I was a little nervous about eating a cuisine that I've never eaten before (I hate to mess up a meal), so I'd already consulted my good friend Erin about what I should order.  Luckily, I didn't have to think for myself at all as our hostess ordered for the table.  Here's what she got us:

Samosa Cholle 
Samosas (2) served on spicy garbanzo bean stew topped with sweet yogurt, tamarind & green chutneys

Bombay Chili Cheese Fries (g) 
Spiced Indian turkey hash piled high on our masala fries, topped with paneer, onion & cilantro. Drizzled with our special hot stuff & served with tomato chutney. Yeah, it's awesome

Rickshaw Romeo 
Sweet & spicy. Top quality transport to another world. 
Coconut lemongrass sake, fresh lime, simple syrup, kashmiri red chili, soda

There was also butter chicken and chicken kabobs; they weren't on the online menu so I couldn't copy and paste them.  I'm not sure why I feel like you need all of these details, just bare with me.  

OH. MY. GAH.  It was all so good.  And throw in some Naan?  Shoooot.  Make you wanna slap someone.  

I decided at that table that I was going to get really good at Indian cuisine.  Sure, it will start off kind of American-ized and not at all fancy...but I'm going to try!

But how?  

Our drive home was 10 (yes, ten) hours so I had lots of time in the car.  While Brandon listened to talk radio, I searched recipes on my phone like a mad woman.  After finding out he would be working the night after we got home, I decided to go the vegetarian route.  This way, if it turned out horribly, I wouldn't be out to much money.  Smart, eh?  

So I make my list and head to both grocery stores to get the ingredients.  It was all fine and good until I went on the spice hunt.  Garam Masala and channa masala spice mix were nowhere to be found.   

I was disappointed but not surprised.  Then I was pumped when I learned that Erin had some extra that she was willing to donate to the cause.  She also has this super cool spice holder thing that when you take the top off, it knocks you down with good smells. Thanks, girl.  You rock.    


Spices were measured, vegetables were chopped, chickpeas were drained.  The aroma while it was all cooking was outta site....someone should seriously make a candle called "chickpea stew." To much?  Maybe.  I can't say.  

What I can say is that this stuff was good.  Spicy, flavorful, comforting, healthy.  I'm sold.  Done and done.  You're welcome. 


Chickpea Stew
adapted from All Recipes

1 tbl vegetable oil
1/2 of an onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbl of chopped ginger
2 tsp channa masala spice mix
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp of cayenne (or less, to taste)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 1/2 cup of water
2 (15.5 oz) cans of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
cilantro for serving 

In a large pan with a top, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until brown.  Add the spices, the tomato, the water and the beans, stir to combine.  Bring to a simmer, reduce down to low, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.  Remove the top and smoosh up some of the beans.  I used the bottom of a glass as that's all I had.  Recover and cook for about 5 more minutes or until the peas are soft.  

Serve topped with cilantro and with some naan bread*. 

Serving size 1/2 cup (makes about 9)
Points plus 5

*I found some naan at our local wal-mart.  A serving size (1/2 of a loaf) was 5 pp and worth it! 

Do you have any Indian recipes that you love?  If so, you should pass them along!  I'll be back next week to share about our summer adventure.  For now, I'm still soaking in how beautiful it was...

Namaste, y'all.  


6/20/12

Quiltin' Stuff :: Part Three :: Placin' Stuff

OK so now you've got all of these squares of fabric.  What the heck are you going to do with them???  You're going to place them, that's what!!

After cruising the world wide web and looking at different sources of inspriations, I decided to make my quilt 10 squares wide by 12 squares long.  This would make the quilt 50 x 60, minus a bit for seam allowances. ***This was a lot smaller than I would have liked for it to be!  It's going to be a lap quilt but I will love it regardless 

Alls I did was find a big piece of floor and start to placing.  I tried not to get to OCD with it, I only made sure that there were not square repeats on each width row.  There are some repeats on the length row but that's fine, I'll deal. 

Aside from there, there was really no rhyme or reason!  I just laid them out in an order that made me happy and called it a night. 


Soooo you are going to have some squares leftover.  Should you throw them away? NO!  You should should cut them in half, sew them right sides together in a neat little row, and somehow incorporate them into the backing of your quilt.  I've seen pictures...it works in my mind.  Remember, guys, we're learning as we're go!

So after you get everything placed, you want to pick it up and make neat little stacks.  Make sure that you have them stacked in the order that you want them and that you make note of which row is which.  Here's how I kept it organized:


Have fun with your placing of stuff! 

Here is some inspration: 





Did you miss Parts One and Two?  Go check them out! 




6/19/12

Blue Cheese Bits

Are you ready for this?  For the easiest appetizer ever?  Well, maybe not ever.  That french onion dip with the packet of onion soup mix and the carton of sour cream might be the easiest appetizer ever. 

But this one is still pretty easy.  And it's cheap.  Win win situation we have here.  
  

This was my appetizer for the most recent cookbook club.  It seemed to be a crowd pleaser, for sure something I'll whip up again.    


If biscuits, blue cheese and butter are wrong then I don't want to be right....


Blue Cheese Bits 
from Prime Meridian

1 can of refrigerated biscuits (I used Great Value buttermilk home style, 8 biscuits)
3 oz of blue cheese
1 tbl of butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place the cheese and the butter in a baking dish, place in the oven for 4-6 minutes.  Remove and blend the butter and cheese.  

Meanwhile, quarter the biscuits.  Once the butter and cheese are blended, place the biscuits on top.  Return to the oven and bake for 12-15 more minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.  Invert onto a serving dish.  

Serving size 1 bit (makes 32)
Points plus 1 per bit