Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wild Onions!



Today, as Dad and I were lounging around on my porch soaking up the beautiful North Carolina sunshine, I noticed that my yard had a bunch of funny looking green patches.

 
At first, Dad and I weren't sure what the heck these were. But upon closer scientific inspection (i.e...ripping them out of the ground and smelling them), we determined that these were in fact Wild Green Onions. Crazy!!!
 


There's some pretty big ones out there!
 

I figured Lizzie could be my Guinea dog and try one out. If she didn't keel over dead, I knew we'd be good.
 
I don't know why, but she thought she was too good to eat one.



What's a girl to do? 



Plant those babies in a pot and see what happens!

Keep your fingers crossed. I'm looking forward to some yummy dishes made with my Wild Green Onions. If I suddenly drop off the face of the Earth, you'll know that these were, in fact, not edible and eating them was probably not the smartest thing.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jack's 1st T-ball Game!

Jack had his very first T-ball game, Saturday March 27th. Him and his team mates have been practicing for about 2 weeks so far. If you're ever in need of a good chuckle, you should head on out to one of these games. I don't think I giggled so much, in a long time. There were kids running every which way, kids throwing the ball AT the players to get them out, kids off in La-La Land, or kids that decided that they just can't wait any longer and they need to go potty NOW!

Here's Jack on the bench, waiting for his turn to bat.


On deck.....
 

He's swings and it's a HIT!!!!
Run Jack, RUN!!!!

High-Five Jack! You made it home!
 
My proud ball player.
 
Chatting it up with his team mates....

Coming in after the final inning. It was a good 1st game for these kids and at this age, it really doesn't matter if you win or lose (it's way to difficult to keep track of all the insanity anyways), it's all about having fun!

Good game Jack!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

Feed Our Troops Luncheon!

I just have to gush and tell everyone about what my Mom and her friends at her work did for my husband and his fellow Sailors/Marines.

As my family and most of my friends are aware, my Mom is the 'Training/Communications Coordinator' for a state wide company called VG's Grocery. There's about 25 people who work with my Mom in the VG's Support Center.

A few weeks ago, my Mom was talking to Jessica, a good friend of hers from work about Jon's deployment. They got to talking about how Jon's deployment was affecting everyone, she showed Jessica and a few others my blog and pictures of Jon heading out to Afghanistan and his first few days there. Jessica had made mention on how they should do a fundraiser in the office and collect goods to send out to all of the troops.

Jessica then got together with another gal in the office, Heather. Together, they brainstormed and came up with the idea of doing a 'Support Our Troops Luncheon'.

The two of them put notices out that on March 12th, if you donate any of the items from the list of goodies I sent them, that they (as in Jessica and Heather) would arrange a free lunch for them all. But in order to receive the lunch, you had to donate at least 2 of the items. To everyone surprise, people didn't just bring in 2 items, they brought in boxes of donations!

To my Mom's surprise, there were over 15 boxes worth of items donated plus approximately $60 to go towards shipping costs for these care packages.


Jessica and Heather, passing out Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.


Making some yummy Tomato Soup to go with those Sandwiches.

Working for a good cause!

Mmmm.....chips!

Patty (who is so sweet by the way) getting ready to enjoy her lunch.

Some of the items that have already been donated, surrounded by pictures of my handsome hubby and his fellow Sailors/Marines.

A few pics of everyone who came in to donate and enjoy the perfect lunch on a late winter's day.


Gotta throw one in there of my Mom. She's the Cougar there on the right in the red.

The Co-conspirators, Heather and Jessica.

Heather and Rhona....

And finally, my Mama. Isn't she beautiful?


So far, my husbands battalion has receive 4 of the 15 boxes. Jon has made sure to pass out everything to all of them there. They cannot wait to see what the next boxes have to offer. I've asked Jon to see if he can get some pictures taken of the guys and gals with their goodies. If he's able to get those to me, I will put them on the blog for all to see.


I cannot express in enough words how THANKFUL I am to Heather and Jessica, who took this idea and put it all into action. It's a very heartwarming feeling to know that my husband is not only being looked after by his fellow troops and family but also by people he only sees whenever we can make it home to Michigan. It not only shows how well my family is thought of but also that everyone who works at the Support Center would do this because one of their own has family members who risk everything to defend all of our freedoms. It takes people with large hearts to be so generous in their time and money and I cannot thank you all enough for everything.


To all who donated:
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Love - Us Hammies

Sunday, March 7, 2010

They call me: Mellow Yellow.

What's a 'Single Mom' to do on a Sunday? Cook a big dinner? Nope, we're ordering Chinese. Clean house? Naw, that's what I have minions...er....kids for.  Lay around and be a bum? Nope, did that the other day.

What I  decided to do was to get a bug up my butt and paint my kitchen wall.

Back in January,  friend Jayme sold me her white crafting table (that I use as an island).

I also bought a white 2 shelf cabinet to go against the wall. Between the white table, shelf, appliances and floor there was A LOT of white going on here. I decided it was time to paint the kitchen.

A before shot with the shelf and my über white wall...



Are you any of you actually surprised that the color I picked is yellow? In the words of Shelby, "Yellow is my signature color!" Okay, not exact words but close enough. If you have no idea who Shelby is, you either have not lived in the south or missed one of the greatest chick flicks of all time. In any case, the actual color is 'Fruit Compote' and I got it at Lowes.

Here I am painting the trim and getting ready to have some fun with the roller....



It's ROLLIN' time!!



First we place the roller in this pan thingy filled with paint......



Then we get to rollin'... rollin'..... rollin'....

Come on wall! Take that paint! You know you want it!


It's a thing of beauty. It really is.


Not too shabby if I do say so myself. Two coats did the trick.  As I got on with the rest of my day, I started to notice how strange my kitchen looked with just one of the walls painted. So, the next day I grabbed my trusty paint roller and attacked the 'soffit' with a vengence!

This is the before of the soffit. In case you're wondering (like me) what a soffit is, it is that bit of wall above the cabinets. Who knew?! The things you learn.




And after.....


Sorry the picture quality is horrible. Jon has BOTH of our camera's over in desert land so I'm stuck for now using my iPhone camera. When's that deployment money gonna kick in? Mama needs a new pair of shoes. Oh and a camera obviously.

Now I just have to wait for my Dad to come back out (next week) to hang my Chalkboard back up. Apparently, it required double acting security screws that my little girl brain can't handle. Guess I'll be leaving that up to the men in my life.

So now that I've got my lemon yellow kitchen up and running....I am open for business! I've got coffee and scones!  But strangely, no lemonade. Go figure.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

What's for dinner tonight Mom?

Glad you asked. A little back story first. Most of you know how much of a FOODIE I am. A lot of my blogs are about food. What I've made (remember the Wonky Bread?), or what I've eaten. I love food. I love thinking about it, cooking it, shopping for it, and dreaming up dinner dishes. Some are good and some are bad (Beer Meatloaf anyone?) I am the type of person who gets almost embarrassingly excited when I come across a decent produce section of a super market and trust me, here in J-Hell, that is hard to come by!

I recently finished (this afternoon exactly) a book entitled 'Lunch in Paris - A Love Story, with Recipes' by Elizabeth Bard.

It's an interesting story of an American woman who moves to Paris and marries her French boyfriend (who's not at all the typical movie version of a French Man - he's a tap dancing engineer with the unlikely name of Gwendal), her adjustment to the culture and the long process of discovering who she is. Each monumental instance in her life is told through food and the gathering and appreciation of friends and family. There are many a story told in her book about the Parisian markets, the Bistro's, Cafés, Butchers and Fishmongers.

This book was right up my alley!

Unfortunately (or not, depending on how you look at it) it really makes me want to cook! In fact, during one chapter in her book, she went on to explain a recipe for Truite en Papillote, basically Trout with Cherry Tomatoes Baked in Foil.
If you know me AT ALL you all know how much I am NOT a seafood person. A lot of French cooking involves Seafood and I just have had no inclination or desire to make it. But this recipe sounded delish in her book as she was writing about it and then after reading the instructions on how to make it, made it sound so simple!

With all that being said, I had no fish in my house. Truthfully, I don't think I was quite ready for that step anyhow. But, I will say that this trout dish will more than likely be my first fish recipe that I will make.

Which brings me to dinner tonight. I had watched a few days ago, an episode of Everyday Italian on the Food Network. The episode she was doing was about comfort food. One of the recipes was 'Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto".

Here's a shot from the 'Everyday Italian' Website of her Risotto:


 I LOVE Risotto!  I buried that recipe idea in the back of my head for the next trip to the Commissary, where I purchased all the ingredients I would need.

Cassie was my Sous Chef for tonight. It was an excellent opportunity for some Mommy-Daughter bonding and the bonus is, we didn't die from eating it!

Basically this recipe starts with simmering a Vanilla Bean that's been scraped of it's 'beans' in 4 cups of Vegetable Broth. If you love the smell of delicious cooking filling your house, you will LOVE this!!! The only adjustment I had to make to this recipe was adding almost 2 more cups of vegetable broth to my Risotto. You want it to have a little bit of an Al Dente bite to it but mine was wanting to be crunchy and that was simpily not acceptable!

Here's the recipe bellow and a picture of tonight's dinner:

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large vanilla bean
  • 3 cups peeled cubed (1-inch wide) butternut squash, about 12 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped onion (from 1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

Directions

In a medium saucepan, warm the broth over medium-high heat. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and add them, and the bean, to the broth. When the broth comes to a simmer reduce the heat to low. Add the butternut squash to the simmering broth and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the butternut squash to a side dish. Turn the heat on the broth down to very low and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to of the broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Discard the vanilla bean. Turn off the heat. Gently stir in the butternut squash, Parmesan, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chives. Serve
immediately.


I hope you are brave enough to try it. Although, I do have to warn you - I almost took a finger off trying to peel that damn Butternut Squash. I also think Cassie will be sporting a very nice bruise on her foot tomorrow after it decided to make a jump for it off my counters. Ye be warned!


Bon Appétit!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What is it about a man in uniform?

Seriously?!

Jon sent me a few pictures of him. He's such a tease! But hot diggity dog does that man look good in his cammies!!!

 

 



That's all. You may now continue on with your day......