Monday, June 30, 2008

The Time Has Come...

The time has come for the Country Bob's Original Sauce Cook-off.

A few weeks ago, Diane and I were contacted by someone over at Country Bob's, asking if we would like some free sauce in exchange for a blog entry after we cooked with it. After a brief discussion, we decided to do it. After all, it's summer, it's the Cavalcade of Fun, and what else do we have to do anyway??

We decided we would each make a different recipe, hopefully pretty different from each other, then blog the results.

Tonight is the night of the challenge.

I have pork cubes in the ice box, marinating away, waiting for their chance to be impaled on a stick and grilled with veggies and fruit. Diane is going to do a reduction and use it on some fish.

I'll post some pics here, and link to the post on the other blog.

Wish me luck!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

And Here's Another One...

I'm sure it's not a shock to anyone that I'm not the easiest person to live with. Dev has learned this the hard way over the last 2 years.

This song kinda sums up the way I think he thinks about the whole situation....

And yes, I'm stuck on the Bangles tonight.

If She Knew What She Wants - The Bangles

Separation Anxiety

I severely underestimated how hard it would be to leave Devin for 6 weeks.

As I was listening to my imeem playlist of 80's songs, I came across a song that sorta reminds me of Dev...

I will attempt to embed it here....

In your room - Bangles

Family Dinner


IMG_2036, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi.

I miss Dev like crazy...but nights like this make me so glad I was able to come home for an extended visit.

We had everyone over for pizza tonight. Dogs, kids, friends- the whole lot..... It was a great night!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cavalcade of Fun on the Road

Friday, Di and I decided to scrape ourselves off the couch and take a trip to Bluffton, SC.

She had heard about a neat thrift store there where Habitat for Humanity sells building materials it can't use in its houses.

As a side trip, we were going to meet her friend Doug for lunch. He chose the Maye River Grille. What a great suggestion!

I ordered the blackened catfish. It came with perfectly steamed veggies and a new potato.



Di had the crabcakes and Doug had the cheese/sausage tortellini. Everyone's meal was great. We sat at the bar, where we could watch the food being prepared. What a treat that was! The kitchen is not huge, but very efficient. The food we saw coming out of there made our mouths water. Next time I go, I'll spend more time watching the cooking before I order my meal. And I'll also go at night, where the standard bar treat is crispy fried potatoes sprinkled with gorganzola cheese. What's not to like about that?

A million thanks to Doug for suggesting the location (and paying for lunch!).

After lunch we visited several thrift stores, including one that had children's play houses set up outside.

Here's Di showing us that she knows her way around any kitchen, no matter how small...



I hope Dev doesn't see this and think it's this easy to get rid of me....



In one of the stores we looked through, I found this book. The subject matter seemed a little odd to me.



After all, what if your wife is a quick study and decides to put this knowledge to use before you are ready?

I cooked dinner when I got home...which included this beautiful corn my Mom bought last week...



This post should catch me up on my vacation so far.

I'm planning on blogging some flank steak I'm making for dinner tonight, so stay
tuned to see how that turns out....

Crazy Weather

Right after Diane, Suzanne and I left for Atlanta on Thursday, a tornado touched down not far from my house.

Thursday morning I was running around town and decided to take some pics of the damage.

Here is a church with the steeple sitting in the front yard instead of on the top, where they put it.



And here's a huge tree that crashed though someone's garage.




After documenting the storm damage, I got hungry and decided it was time for my weekly sushi fix. Here's my lunch from Sushi Time Towa...



I'm almost caught up, one day's posting left to go!!!

Chris

Chris...

I've been friends with Chris only slightly less time than I've been friends with Lizard. I met her in 9th grade, and I met Chris in 10th grade.

There are certain people you meet in life with whom you instantly connect. Chris is one of those people for me. From the first day he tranferred to my high school, we were fast friends. Our relationship has seen its share of ups and downs. Sometimes we are exactly what the other one needs, and other times we are awful for/to each other. So goes a great friendship, I suppose.

Chris came and picked me up at Diane's office Monday afternoon. He lives in Statesboro now, because he teaches in the Interior Design department at Georgia Southern University.

I didn't take many pics during our visit, because frankly we were too busy talking. I think we talked non-stop between Monday around 4pm and Wednesday around 1pm, when he dropped me off at home. But that's what we were supposed to do. We had lots of catching up to do.

I did manage to take a pic of his miniature Dachsund, Edie...



And his bassett hound, Winston...



And the landscaping he started in his backyard...



Tuesday morning we went out for breakfast. He took me to a great little bakery called Sugar Magnolia's...



I had a croissant stuffed with Virginia Ham and cheddar cheese. It was really yummie. Everyone should go there and order one.



After going to the store and purchasing groceries to make dinner for a few of Chris' friends Tuesday night, we went to see "The Happening." It was funny, but I don't think it was supposed to be.

Now don't get me wrong, I loves me some Markie Mark just like the next girl- but honey, please.

I won't give away the ending, although I truly think you should save the cash. I'll just leave it at this....I'll never be able to look at ficus trees again without bursting into laughter. The best thing about the movie was all the jokes it spawned after we saw it. Vegetarians thought they were safe- but believe me they are not!

We left for Savannah Wednesday morning, to meet our friend Jim at the New South Cafe for lunch.



I had the fried green tomatoes. They were very good, but not the best I'd ever had. I want to go back and try something else more substantial. I really wasn't hungry when we got there. Next time I'll save up and go for broke. Here are my fried green tomatoes...



Chris took me home after lunch. I hope I get to work in another visit before I fly back to Colorado. I didn't get enough of my Chris fix!!

Lizard

Friday morning, the girls dropped me off at the Jimmy Carter exit off I-85, where Lizard came and picked me up.

Lizard (her real name is Lisanne, but I've called her Lizard as long as I can remember) and I have been friends since high school. I'm not sure what else to say about that. A friendship that has lasted that long sort of defies description.

Not long after I confirmed my plans to travel home for the summer, I emailed Lizard a blog post written by Adam over at Amateur Gourmet. In the post he waxes poetic about the dining scene in Atlanta. Here is a link to that specific post. There were a number of restaurants in the post I had never visited, so I suggested when we formulated our plan of attack for the weekend, we include a few of them in our battle strategy.

I was especially interested in Watershed, a restaurant in downtown Decatur. At different times in my life I have spent lots of time crawling around this area. I have always loved it because it is ever changing. Lizard and I decided we would start our adventure with lunch at Watershed, then a trip to the Dekalb County Farmers' Market.

Here's the front of Watershed...



I loved the atmosphere. It's very open and airy. And as much as I want to effervesce about my experience there, I can't. The service was impeccable. The presentation was uncluttered and classic. My choices just didn't do it for me. I think next time I'll go for dinner. I ordered the Shed salad, which was a tad bitter for me. I needed more sweet or buttery lettuce to balance it for me. My entree was a roasted pork sandwich with fig conserve and fresh cheese. It was ok, but the figs were too big and the cheese was completely lost in the mix. It wasn't so bad that I won't ever go again, but I was disappointed.

After lunch, we loaded the mini van and headed to the Dekalb County Farmers' Market. I knew this wouldn't disappoint, because when I lived in Marietta, I travelled a long way at least 1 Saturday a month to shop there.

We spent several hours crawling over every inch of the place. I couldn't leave without the chocolate croissants that got me through many a night grading papers when I lived in Atlanta.

After we got home, I settled in my room, and met one of Lizard's newer cats, Peanut...



Cute?

Here's the other new one, Phoebe...



Phoebe is one of those cats that makes you glad you don't have a cat anymore, in spite of her cuteness. She is the trouble maker of the two, and is constantly on the look out for a reason to cause chaos.

Saturday morning we threw on clothes and headed to the Roswell Farmers' Market. It's brand new this year, so there aren't many vendors yet, but the ones there are worth the trip.

Here is some bread from the Artisan Foods Bakery and Cafe. They had a tent set up with bread and other goodies.



We enjoyed their bread so much that we decided to go to their restaurant for lunch. Here's my roasted veggie sandwich. It was simply divine- perfectly roasted veggies (eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, mushroom) on a fresh ciabatta roll.



Next we trekked to Ikea in Atlantic Station. It is such a pity I have to fly back to Colorado. If I had a means to get it back, I'd have gone insane in that place. If Ikea had existed in Atlanta when I went off to college, I would have had the mack daddiest dorm room in the universe.

After several hours in Ikea, we headed to midtown for dinner. Our choice was MF Sushi. Supposedly this place is one of the best places to eat sushi in Atlanta. And I believe it. Here's a pic of my Godzilla roll...



It was pricey, but worth it. The service was great and the roll was perfect.

And to complete my slide into gluttony, after dinner we walked next door to the Krispy Kreme.

You know, I honestly think if I make it to heaven, I will have 2 requests... Sushi at every meal, and a Krispy Kreme magic donut elevator over my bed so they can just drop into my mouth. That's not too much to ask, is it?

Here's a pic of the magic donut elevator...



We spent the next day chilling out and playing with Lizard's five month old son, Daniel. I would post pics of him, but Lizard is a little skeeved out about his picture being on the internet, which I can understand. But he's a cutie, trust me!

Lizard delivered me back to the Jimmy Carter exit Monday morning, so Diane, Suzanne and I could head back towards Savannah. I don't get to see her often enough, and I'm glad we got to hang out for a little while.

April and Jerry....



As you know, Diane, Suzanne and I headed on a road trip to Atlanta last weekend. The first leg of the trip was a visit to April and Jerry's house in Lawrenceville.

I have known Jerry since college- April and I became friends after I moved into the apartment building next to hers about 3 years ago (before I moved to Colorado).

After they got married, they bought a house and moved to Lawrenceville, which is just outside of Atlanta. The house is beautiful and they have a wonderful garden and backyard. Dev is very jealous of the backyard and garden.

Anyhoo- we had a great time staying with them. Here are some pics of the evening...

April's dog, Bruiser, showing a stuffed squirrel who's boss...



Jerry's dog, Love, posing for the camera...



Di fixed dinner for us. I was too busy being lazy....



After dinner, Jerry fell asleep on the couch, so April, Di, Suz and I sat on the back deck. There were many trampoline demonstrations and much talk...



That was my big trampoline trick. Impressive, no?

Here's April showing me up really bad...



We ended the evening sitting and watching the fire die down...



It was a great evening, and I'm so thankful I was able to spend some time catching up with old friends!

Procrastination.....

I'm still trying to make myself sit down and write some real blog posts. I just keep thinking of little blurbs I want to talk about, and being the type of instant gratification person I am, I am going to give in and post this first.

A while back I posted about imeem.com.

I fell out of love with imeem temporarily, because after spending hours scouring their music files and compiling several playlists, many of my selections shrunk down to 30 second sound bites instead of whole songs. This was not acceptable.

A few months ago, I received an email from the fine folks at imeem, saying they had improved the sight and had a much better supply of whole songs to put on playlists.

I gave them another try, and they delivered what they promised.

I like imeem because if you're like me and don't have music loaded on your laptop and you haven't been able to justify the purchase of an iPod, as long as you have an internet connection, you can listen to your song lists at imeem. They have tons of stuff from every genre, including new artists and lots of covers.

Here is my imeem page. Feel free to look over or listen to my playlists. If you decide to make some of your own, or if you already have one, leave a comment and link and I'd love to listen!

A Mental Tangent

Before I sit down and begin the arduous task of chronicling the last few days of my vacation, I want to mention one of the many inconsistencies that plague my psyche.

I say many ugly things about people who routinely eat fast food. It's horrible for you, and it is largely devoid of flavor. That being said, as I was making my list of places I HAD to go when I came home to Savannah for the summer, 3 fast food restaurants made the list. This makes me a big fat hypocrite.

My saving grace in Alamosa is the fact that we just don't have that many places to go out and eat. The fast food restaurants in town are simply not acceptable under most conditions. If these three fast food restaurants existed in Alamosa, I'd be in trouble- and an even bigger, fatter hypocrite.

What 3 fast food restaurants are on my list, you are undoubtedly begging to know...

Chick-Fil-A, Great Wraps and Moe's. In my defense- Moe's isn't really fast food, cuz most of the ingredients are fresh and assembled right before your very eyes.

So far I've managed to get to all of them except Moe's. I feel so guilty. I'm not sure what punishment I'll inflict upon myself to make up for these transgressions, but gaining back the weight I've managed to lose over the last month is probably a good place to start!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Have Returned!

But it's early and I'm still not ready to begin the epic documentation of my trip, so I'll give you this to get you started. I promise I'll get to it as soon as I take Mom to work... (really).

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Thursday, June 19, 2008

On the Road Again....

Suz and Di and I are headed out to Atlanta this morning. I'm not sure how often I will be able to blog while I'm gone, but I promise to take tons of pics and write it all up when I get back.

After Atlanta, Suz and Di are dropping me off in Statesboro, where I will stay with my friend Chris for a few days.

So be safe and check back in to see what's going on!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Lascivious Bitties

That's my book club, or at least that's what we used to call ourselves. I think since I moved, the name has changed.

If any of you ladies read this and want to remind me of the new name, please leave a comment!

Anyhoo- We had a special meeting of book club because I came home for the summer. I'm so glad we got together. It was just like old times- lots of wine, lots of food and lots of laughs. There was very little talk of books, but much talk of Krista's recent wedding, overseas trips, medical traumas and kiddie stories.

I love this group of ladies, and I am so glad they still consider me part of the group. Here are some pics I took between mouthfuls of food and bursts of laughter.



I Love Making New Blog Friends!!!



I checked my comments this morning and received quite a surprise! My new friend Illatharasi had given me a lovely blogging award! You should go check her blog out here....

She gave me the "Good Chat Blog Award." I really appreciate things like this because they come from fellow bloggers. It's nice to be recognized by your peers.

And to maintain the spirit of giving, I'm going to bestow this blog award to 2 friends of mine....

Diane at 1700 Miles of Cooking
and
Jill at Simple Daily Recipes

Diane has been a friend for years, and Jill is a new friend. They are both amazing women, and deserve as much recognition as they can get. So they are my picks for the "Good Chat Blog Award."

If I Was a Character On Sesame Street...

My name would be SushiMonster.

I adore sushi. I could eat it everyday and never get tired of it. Unfortunately, I can't eat it everyday because I live in a place where we HAVE NO SUSHI. NONE.

But I'm not home now. I'm in Savannah. I can get sushi in Savannah. So I have- twice in the last week.

I have discovered a new favorite sushi place. I'd been there once before, but it was overpriced (in my humble opinion).

The restaurant is called Tangerine, and I went back there today because I saw a sign that said they had sushi lunch specials. I'm so glad I gave them another try.

The prices are much more reasonable at lunchtime, with many pieces of sushi on a dollar list. I had one piece each of tuna, salmon and white tuna nigiri. I also ordered a crunchy salmon roll, which was salmon, cream cheese, eel and asparagus, with the roll tempura fried. OMG- the roll was heavenly. It was $7.00 but had 8 pieces, and I ended up bringing 4 of them home.

Isn't it beautiful????

Father's Day 2008 and PIE

We had lots to celebrate this year. Not only do we have a wonderful Dad (two when you count Ron, my brother-in-law), but we also have a recent high school graduate in the family.

I decided this should mean royal feasting in the village! So with my sous chef Tater Tot (aka Taylor, my niece) at my side, I embarked on my next culinary adventure.

Cooking for your family can be quite a challenge. My family is no exception. Ron does not like onions. The only thing I cook without onions is dessert. Michael and Taylor can be pretty picky eaters, as they are part of the McNugget generation.

Mom already had a ham thawed in the ice box, so that part was a no brainer. 18 minutes per pound or til it's done. I can handle that.

The side items were a bit more challenging. Considering that it was Father's Day, I wanted to incorporate ingredients I knew my Dad liked. Therefore, I picked fresh asparagus (to be roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper) and roasted new potatoes (also with olive oil, salt and pepper). My sister Cindy wanted to bring something, so she brought baked beans with raviolis (a childhood favorite of ours) and deviled eggs (a favorite of Ron's). Multi grain rolls rounded out the dinner.

For dessert I wanted to take another stab at the rhubarb pie thing. This time I did it with strawberries instead of raspberries. This pie recipe was given to me by Dev's Mom, Eleanor. She makes it better than I do, but mine's still pretty dirn good, and pretty dirn easy. Even if you don't think you like rhubarb, you should seriously take this for a spin...it might change your mind.

Let's start with the basic recipe...

Rhubarb-Raspberry (or whatever you can get your hands on) Pie

3 c. rhubarb, sliced fine
1 c. raspberries (or whatever)
1 1/3 c. sugar (I used 1 c. and it came out just fine)
3 T. tapioca
1 T. AP flour
1/8 t. salt (I didn't measure)
1/2 t. lemon juice (again, I didn't measure- are you detecting a pattern?)
1/8 t. almond extract (I used vanilla, and no, I didn't measure)
1 T. butter (I left this out and it was fine)

Blend sugar, tapioca, flour and salt....



Add the raspberries and let stand for 15 minutes. Add the rhubarb and let stand another 5 minutes....



Add almond extract and lemon juice. Pour into a pie crust and cover with a second crust...



And yes, I cheated and used store-bought pie crust. And I won't apologize for it. I was so traumatized by the last pie crust I made, I just couldn't face it. I'm taking steroids right now for lung inflammation, and I was afraid I'd go postal and kill my whole family in a fit of 'roid rage. So deal with it.

Anyhoo, you bake the pie at 375 degrees for around 45-50 minutes. You never can tell. Don't leave and run to the store. There's a fine line between "golden brown" and "charred."

Here's the finished product...




Did I take pictures of the actual celebration? No. Should I have? Yes. It would have been the daughterly thing to do.

I was busy eating.

And after we cut into it....

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Michael David Reed is an Official High School Graduate!



Day Three started out on a most auspicious note! My nephew, Michael David Reed, graduated from high school this morning.

Here is the shot of his diploma awardage...



Michael has turned into a fine young man. I don't have any pictures of him when he was a baby (readily available, that is) so I won't embarass him further.

We are all so proud of him, and we wish him luck and success in the future!



Here's another shot with his proud Aunt Mimi...



He decided he wanted to go to Spanky's for his graduation dinner, so the whole family loaded up and went out for dinner. Most of the family ordered chicken fingers (since Spanky's has the best chicken fingers in the universe). Here's a pic of my dinner.



Here's a pic of a future leader of the free world playing with a spud.



And here's Mom and Dad...



I hope Michael had a great day, and that he knows how proud we are of him and how much we love him!!!

PS- Dev I miss you!

Day Two- But Who's Counting?

Day Two has been relatively low-key but very reminiscent of summers past.

After dropping Mom of at work, I went by Di's, and we jumped in Mrs. Ticklefeather and hit the town.

We bopped around World Market for a little while (they have these little packets of barbecue almonds that I love and can't find anywhere else), then headed out to Brighter Day (a natural foods market) to look for quinoa. I figured if anyone in Savannah would have it, they would. And they did.

My stomach decided we needed to have lunch next, so we called Suz and she met us at B. Matthews for lunch.

B. Matthews has a wonderful menu and consistently good food and service. I'm not sure why I don't think of them for lunch more often when I'm in town.

B. Matthews Eatery is located at 325 East Bay Street in Savannah, GA. They offer indoor or outdoor seating. Here's a picture of Di and Suz I snapped while we were waiting for our lunch.



Suz ordered a chicken salad sandwich, and Di and I split a black-eyed pea cake sandwich. I didn't taste Suz's lunch, but our sandwich was PERFECT!!! Here's a pic...



After lunch we decided to walk down Broughton Street to a little bead shop. As we passed Johnson Square, there was a lunchtime concert going on, and the square was packed!



I started turning into a lobster on the way back to the car, so we went back to their house and chilled out a while. After deciding what we wanted for dinner, it was back out on the road to find some shrimp.

Going down Abercorn Street, Di noticed a rather strange billboard. I'm not sure what a "teen fire" is, but I'm all for it if I get to choose which teens are the kindling. Here's a shot of the board.



After retrieving our groceries, it was back to the house for more hanging out. Here's a shot of Suz's cat, Phoebe, relaxing under the trampoline. She's such a cutie!



Here's Di posing with the gift I brought her....it's a beer apron, complete with little cloth coasters tucked in the pocket.



My friend Heidi, her husband Adam and their son Carlos joined us for dinner. Here is a shot of Suz on the trampoline with Carlos. I am loading more shots of the trampoline light saber battle on my flickr page.



Di made some delicious fried shrimp for dinner. She also offered sweet potato fries. Heidi contributed home made guacamole and cole slaw. It was a wonderful meal, eaten outside in the backyard. Here's Di fryin' some shrimp...



And here's a shot of our lovely dinner on the lawn...



It was a wonderful evening, and one I hope will be repeated before I leave. It doesn't get much better than good food and good friends.

Happy Summer!

PS- Dev I still miss you!
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