Monday, June 30, 2008

ve•loc•i•ty - n. rapidity or speed of motion

Monday morning it was off to the Adventure Science Center! They had all kinds of exhibits on scientific theories, dinosaurs, space, planetarium, sound, light, etc. It was pretty amazing and very interactive. We learned about our bodies fighting infection and we played all kinds of games. It was a little crowded, but a very neat experience.

More pics!

We had lunch at my very favorite café/ deli- the Puffy Muffin. They have an amazing selection of baked goods. We had tortilla soup and chicken salad and everyone got to pick out a dessert. Delancy had a huge piece of strawberry cake; Deborah had a triple chocolate mousse bomb; Lisa had a piece of Jackson pie (also called Derby pie); and I had snickers cheesecake. They were all amazing!

We couldn’t leave empty handed, so we got a few decorated sugar cookies and cinnamon rolls for breakfast tomorrow morning! Yummy! Here is the recipe for Jackson Pie/ Derby Pie. I have no idea if this is like the recipe used by the Puffy Muffin, but I can’t wait to try it.

Jackson Pie

1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 tablespoon bourbon
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 prepared 8 inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F Spread chocolate chips and nuts in bottom of pie shell.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter or margarine and sugar together. Mix in flour. Beat the eggs slightly, and mix into the creamed mixture. Stir in bourbon. Pour filling into pie shell (over chips and nuts).

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes

*** This is only a theory, but I'm going to guess that the difference between Derby pie and Jackson pie might be the type of liquor used. Derby pie calls for bourbon, but I think it would be appropriate to put Jack Daniels in the Jackson pie. JD is from TN and so was President Andrew Jackson! I'll let you know how it turns out!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

wa•sa•bi - n. a very pungent green Japanese condiment

On Sunday, we went to church and had Pei Wei for lunch. We stopped by the pool and had some fun in the sun. But the highlight of our day was our sushi experience.

Deborah and Delancy had never tried sushi, but they really wanted to give it a go. We ordered the basics- edamame, California roll, crunchy shrimp, veggie roll, and tuna roll. Deborah loved it! Her favorite was the crunchy shrimp. They both enjoyed the edamame.

Delancy wasn’t crazy about any of it. But she insisted on trying the wasabi all by itself. I told her I didn’t think it was a good idea, but she would not take no for an answer. I put her chopstick in some of the green goo and she put it all in her mouth. Luckily, her water glass was full and she drank every last drop! So, Delancy probably won’t be willing to go back for sushi anytime soon!

Here are some more pics!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

hot- adj. 1. being at a high temperature 2. very good or impressive

So it was about 95 plus degrees today with very little breeze- what better time to take 2 girls to the zoo?!?! Probably not the best idea, but we made it work.

I've been to several zoos- Dallas, Fort Worth, San Diego, Washington DC, Abilene (yes, Abilene has a zoo). Out of them all, the Nashville Zoo ranks pretty low. There is a lot of walking and not a lot of animals. It seems like we would walk forever to see the meerkat exhibit, then walk forever to see a toucan. The best thing about it- they have Tim Macaw and Zebra McEntire! ha ha!

Like us, the animals were really tired too- most of them were napping in the shade. Who can blame them?!?!

Does your zoo have these two mammals??? I think it was a limited time only special exhibit. Lucky that I caught them on camera . . .

After some lunch and some down time, we headed to historic Franklin. We passed by Franklin High School where Miley Cyrus filmed part of her new movie- Hannah Montana: The Movie. Very exciting for the girls!
Then, we went to one of our favorite spots- a chocolate shop. It smells completely delicious inside. Deborah and Delancy got a specialty chocolate and Jeremy and I got frozen hot chocolates. Yum! I highly recommend stopping by this store. We walked down the streets and stopped in a few cute stores.

Next, it was Ivy’s turn for a treat. The dog park!!! There were no other dogs, but luckily Ivy had 5 people ready to entertain her. She had a great time and we had a great time watching! Click here for the rest of our pics from today!

Friday, June 27, 2008

gaud·y - adj. 1. brilliantly or excessively showy 2. ostentatiously fine

The 2nd day of Deborah and Delancy's visit has been very exciting! We decided to do a craft project and we headed to Michael's for supplies. I had already purchased two very large "Ds" for them to "embellish." Luckily, Lisa and I found our letters there on sale for $1. We bought paint, sparkles, ribbons, dazzlers, glue, rhinestones, etc.

We took a small break for lunch, but we spent most of the afternoon working on the craft project. Deborah and Delancy learned a new word- gaudy! I'll let you decide which letter we were describing when we said gaudy!

Here is our beautiful art work:

We have also spent a lot of time with Ivy! She is a little bit confused, because the girls like her, but they also get a little scared of her. Ivy can be very excited! They told me earlier today that Ivy was sitting at the top of our stairs looking down and she would not come down. They decided that she must be scared & sad and Delancy swears that she saw a little tear roll down her face! I'm not sure- I've never seen Ivy cry and there is not much she is afraid of!

We also stopped by an Italian ice and gelato place near Jeremy's office. It was delicious. We tried a little bit of everything- chocolate gelato, vanilla ice, cookies & cream gelato, lemon ice, blackberry gelato, and mint chocolate chip gelato! That was the highlight of our day!

Click here for more pics!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch.

My cousins, Deborah and Delancy, are coming for a visit. I asked them what they would like to eat while they are here. They said- Chinese food and chocolate cake. So they're driving out here today with my Aunt Lisa and since I don't want them to be disappointed on their first day at Cousin Erin's, I have the chocolate cake waiting on them!

I made a Butterfinger Cake, which was first introduced to me by Jeremy's mom. It's completely ridiculously fattening . . . but so yummy! I think they will really like it. I personally prefer it with Symphony bars, but Jeremy told me he liked the Butterfinger better, so I did half and half!

Butterfinger Cake

1 chocolate cake mix
1 can Eagle brand milk
1 jar caramel ice cream topping
1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip
2-3 Butterfingers (or other favorite candy bar)

Bake cake as directed on box. Punch holes over entire cake top when it comes out of the over. Pour can of Eagle Brand milk over top of cake while it is hot. Pour jar of caramel over top of the cake next. Let cake cool and absorb these. Refrigerate. When cake is cooled, smooth Cool Whip over top of cake. Top with crushed candy bars.

here is the cake after I've poured on the Eagle Brand and caramel topping

the finished cake!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I’m Movin’ On

We are so sad and we can’t believe it, but we’re MOVING! It’s been in the works for a few weeks now, but I’ve been reluctant to blog about it, because it still hasn’t really sunk in! Although we are so sad about leaving Nashville, we are very excited about this new adventure in Oklahoma City.

On Wednesday night, Jeremy and I left Nashville and started our drive to Oklahoma City. We stayed the night in Little Rock, AR. I’ll mention here that we brought Ivy with us. The hotel in Little Rock (which shall remain nameless) did not allow dogs, so we smuggled Ivy inside in a blanket at midnight. I wish I had a camera to take the picture of Jeremy trying to wrap up Ivy and her little white head poking out of the pink blanket. Looking back, it was pretty funny but at the time I was furious. I’m not a rule breaker and I was so worried that we were going to get caught and have no place to stay! It turned out fine, but I can’t help being a rule follower.

We had a great weekend in Oklahoma. Jeremy met with people at the hospital where he will be working and I checked out the town and we looked at a few homes. We got to catch up with my friend from college, Amanda. We had some delicious sushi and had a great time!

Ivy did so great in our hotel (which in OKC allowed pets and even had a goodie bag for dogs!!!) and really great in the car. She had zero accidents and she didn't even whine! I was super proud of her. But like us, she was ready to get home! She was a little confused by the mirror in our hotel room- I think she thought the Westie in the mirror was going to get her ball!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

I love you like a fat kid loves cake.

I made some cupcakes for our cookout on Sunday night. I think they turned out pretty well. I cheated a little bit by using a white cake mix for the actual cupcake. But the icing was completely from scratch and that's what really counts!!

I think they were a hit- although, not everyone tried a cupcake. Luckily, Jeremy can always take the leftovers to work! I also have to credit to Melissa and Jeremy- they put the sprinkles on top!

Milk Chocolate Frosting

1 cup butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup milk

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add remaining ingredients, beating until smooth.

E’s Notes:

  • I used one package (or box) of powdered sugar.
  • I think I added a little extra cocoa powder- I like it very chocolatey!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Our great friends, Melissa and John, came to Nashville for a little visit. We had an amazing time. And I spent about 88% of that time being extremely full- I mean stuffed! Because Melissa has lived in Nashville before, she knew all of the delicious restaurants in town and we went to every single one of them!

We started things off by eating at California Pizza Kitchen and looked at the stores in the new Green Hills shopping center. Lunch at CPK was so-so, not the best service, but good pizza! Life is good . . .

Ivy playing with John!
Since Melissa and John were a little tired from their flights, we ordered out sushi and fried rice for dinner. It was fabulous and relaxing!

Sunday we had a HUGE lunch at Amerigo’s and it was completely fabulous. Everything we had was so delicious!

Sunday night- cookout time! Mandy and David (& Harley and Paisley) came over for a cookout. We had hamburgers, hot dogs, queso & chips, baked beans, corn on the cob, and cupcakes for dessert. Ivy, Harley, and Paisley played until they were completely exhausted. We had a great time catching up and of course, eating!

Ivy, Paisley, & Harley

On Monday, I went to a very “Tennessee” tourist site that I have never had a chance to visit! I went to the Jack Daniels distillery- the only place that they make JD in the entire world! It was very interesting and if you’re on a trip through Nashville, I highly encourage you to drive about an hour to Lynchburg for the free tour! They even make their own barrels to store the whiskey! But you can’t buy or try any JD- it’s a dry county!

Melissa & John

Me & Melissa with Jack!

Monday night, we went to another tourist attraction- The Loveless Cafe. It has amazing Southern fried chicken and biscuits! You don’t want to miss it if you’re visiting the area! Praise the lard and pass the biscuits!

We had such a great time with Melissa and John and we can’t wait until they come back!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The “C” Word

We found out in April that Jeremy’s dad, Billy, has prostate cancer. As expected, everyone has been pretty upset. He finally had his follow up appointment today. And if you’re going to have cancer, Billy got the best news possible. The doctor said they caught it very early and it’s very slow growing. What a relief! He is scheduled to have surgery on September 2nd. I know- we couldn’t believe it either! We know there is not a serious rush, but September?!?!

Please remember to keep Billy and Jeremy’s family in your prayers during the next few months. While we are thrilled with the news, it’s still a little scary!

We had a wonderful visit with Billy and Rita! Ivy absolutely adores Billy and will hardly leave his side during the entire time he stays with us!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Birthday Dinner

On Monday night, we grilled some chicken, which we had for dinner. Rather than have the same, grilled chicken again on Tuesday, I decided to look for a recipe that would use the chicken. I stumbled across RR's recipe for Mexican Lasagna. I made quite a few changes, because I just used the ingredients that I already had in my pantry.

I thought it was a good dinner and you could always assemble the lasagna the day before you're eating it and keep it in the fridge until dinner time. But we love Mexican food and we love all these ingredients- corn, onion, black beans, cheese, etc.!

It was also Ivy's first birthday yesterday!!! Can you believe it?!?! I can barely believe that she's ONE! She had the fabulous canine cuisine of porterhouse steak and she absolutely loved it. She literally licked the bowl clean. She also got 2 new toys. Happy Birthday, Ivy!!!

Mexican Lasagna

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground chicken breast, available in the packaged meats case
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 cup medium heat taco sauce or 1 (14-oz) can stewed or fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
8 (8 inch) spinach flour tortillas, available on dairy aisle of market
2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or shredded pepper jack2 scallions, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - twice around the pan. Add chicken and season with chili powder, cumin, and red onion. Brown the meat, 5 minutes. Add taco sauce or stewed or fire roasted tomatoes. Add black beans and corn. Heat the mixture through, 2 to 3 minutes then season with salt, to your taste.

Coat a shallow baking dish with remaining extra-virgin olive oil, about 1 tablespoon oil. Cut the tortillas in half or quarters to make them easy to layer with. Build lasagna in layers of meat and beans, then tortillas, then cheese. Repeat: meat, tortilla, cheese again. Bake lasagna 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. Top with the scallions and serve.

E’s Notes:

  • I did not use ground chicken breast. I diced up our grilled chicken tenders.
  • I sautéed the onions and then added can of black beans, a can of petite diced tomatoes and some frozen corn.
  • I seasoned the mixture with chili powder, cumin, chipotle pepper, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. [Taste the mixture to see if it needs more seasoning.]
  • Then, I added the chicken and layered the lasagna- I used four cheese Mexican blend.

Ivy is ONE!

Ivy's gourmet dinner.

Once we put the bowl down, she did not look up!

She licked the bowl clean!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Show Stopper

This dessert is really delicious and so pretty. It looks like it's difficult to make or like it takes a lot of time, but it's easy and doesn't take too long. There are several different steps and you do have to wait on the crust to cool, but other than that it's a piece of cake (or tart!). The crust tastes almost like a sugar cookie- it's very soft and sweet!

It does take a little bit of time to slice and arrange the fruit, but it's definitely worth it. Jeremy and I had some and we took a few pieces to our neighbor, because it's not really a dessert that lasts for very long. It's the perfect summer dessert!

Fresh Fruit Tart

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened and sliced

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fresh strawberries, kiwi slices, blueberries, raspberries

1 (6-ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust: In a food processor, combine the confectioners' sugar, flour, and butter, and process until the mixture forms a ball. With your fingers, press the dough into a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, taking care to push the crust into the indentations in the sides. Pat until the crust is even. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until very lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

For the filling and topping: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Spread over the cooled crust. Cut the strawberries into 1/4-inch slices and arrange around the edge of the crust. For the next circle, use kiwi slices. Add another circle of strawberries, filling in any spaces with blueberries. Cluster the raspberries in the center of the tart.

For the glaze: Combine the limeade, cornstarch, lime juice, and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until clear and thick, about 2 minutes. Let cool. With a pastry brush, glaze the entire tart. You will not use all of the glaze. Keep the tart in the refrigerator. Remove about 15 minutes before serving. Slice into 8 wedges and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.