Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top 5 of 2012

Last year I did a "Top 10" blog posts of the year.  This go-round I've slacked off a little. Such is life. You understand.

I'm going to stick with the top 5 for 2012. According to the stats, here are your favorites....

#5: Grief Camp

#4: Grocery Trip Gone Wrong (Or Right)

#3: Recent Developments

#2: Bachelorette Commentary

and the #1 blog post of 2012......

Chicken, Pickin' and Oysters!

I love seeing which posts get the most hits. It usually surprises me. The ones I enjoy writing the most are usually not your favorites. The ones you love are the ones I've thrown together on a whim. Interesting how that works out.

Did you have a favorite that didn't make it to the list? Do tell!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Quinoa Crack Balls

I am my happiest self when my kitchen counter looks something like this:

Here, I am in the process of making a little something called Quinoa Crack Balls, compliments of Pinterest of course. I made them once before and they were pretty tasty. I just finished watching the documentary Forks Over Knives (about eating a plant based-whole foods diet) and felt that I immediately needed to make some sort of health food.

On hand in my kitchen were all ingredients necessary.

  • 1/3 cup quinoa
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons dried cherries
  • 1/8 cup almonds
  • 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
I totally did not measure out any of the ingredients this time. Just dumped them into a bowl. And, truth be told, I substituted couscous for quinoa only because I had it on hand, already cooked. And while we're being honest I used Craisins instead of dried cherries AND a mixture of agave and honey instead of maple syrup. So basically, this is a completely different recipe. 

Here is the actual recipe. I copied and pasted from here

Rinse quinoa. Combine water and quinoa in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer and cook covered until water is fully absorbed (you want it on the dry side.) While quinoa is cooking, combine cherries and almonds in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to small bowl. Once quinoa is cooked, spread out on baking sheet or another flat surface to let it cool for a few minutes. Once cooled, add to bowl with almond/cherry mixture. Add maple syrup, almond butter and chocolate chips and fold together. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. Roll quinoa mixture into balls and place on sheet (this is a messy process, embrace it by licking your fingers at the end Winking smile.) Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, until quinoa becomes golden and crispy on the outside. Let balls cool on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes.
 ...and Ta- Da!! They are a bit tricky to form into "balls" so this is the best I could do. Maybe I needed more almond butter and honey. Who knows. This will be be my breakfast/snack for the next couple days or until I've devour it all. 

If you try them, let me know how they turn out. Yours will probably be prettier than mine. 


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Road Trip

Well, the apocolypse didn't happen. I wasn't exactly surprised. Were you? What did suprise me, however, was my spontaniety in taking a day trip to Charleston on Thursday with my friend, Mirek. For me, that's a big deal. I'm not one to just get up and go. He definititely marches to the beat of his own drum, that Mirek, and I think its pretty refreshing. Probably the complete opposite of me in just about every way.

The "plan" was to visit the Angel Oak in Charleston, one of the oldest living oak trees in the country. This was the only plan. The rest of the day just unfolded in which ever way the wind blew. For instance, we took 2 impromptu hikes on the way to the Angel tree. His rental car took a beating. Remind me to never ride with him in a rental again. Lets just say.... off-roading in a Corolla. He supposedly "took it easy" because I was in the car. I'd hate to see what happens when he's alone.

Hike #1 took place at the Edisto Nature Trail.  It happened like this: Cruising down the highway.... Edisto Trail comes up on the GPS. Screeetch! "Hey, lets stop here! I've hiked around here before," he says.  And so it begins. We walked the trails and took random pictures. Nature all around.

Back to the car and a few more miles down the road we approached Caw Caw Park.  Once again, Screeeetch:  "I've never been to this one...lets go." The gift shop had CAW car decals. I purchased one to proudly advertise the park whose name also doubles as my initials. It is already on my car, just above the Isle of Hope sticker. I kind of love it. Here, we commenced to get lost in the woods because I can't read maps and apparently neither can Mirek. He ended up getting us back to the car.... eventually. The color coded trails kept running together. But that's all part of the adventure, right?

So after a couple hikes, kicking up some dirt in the Corolla, and a few snacks from Mirek's Tupperware bucket of fruit, we made it to the Angel Tree! So majestic. Okay, moving on...

Charleston is my favorite place on earth so far in my 28 year old life. I should get out more. Or maybe I'm easily satisfied. We walked for hours just tooling around the city. A nice little restaurant on King Street doubled as a bathroom pit stop for us. I felt awkward going in there just to use their bathroom without buying anything.  Mirek? Oh, he strolled in there like he owned the place, shamelessly used their restroom and walked out, no problem. I followed suit and the host wished me a Merry Christmas on the way out! I guess I shouldn't worry so much.

We split 3 cupcakes at a cute little shop. Almond, strawberry, and Death by Chocolate  (because he's allergic) Not really. We walked all the way through the Market upon my request. Love that place. I got to talk to the lady who made my Danny's Song folk art sign that I told you about in my Charleson Via Instagram post.

Cupcake shop mixing bowls

My favorite part of the trip was our 4:30 bottle of Pinot Noir while we sat outside at Southend Brewery and people watched. Bliss. "All we need now is a dog."

Side note: I'm sitting at Starbucks right now as I write and the song Flip Fantasia by Cantaloop just came on. Here, Please listen. There is an old couple in here and even they are tapping their foot to the beat.

Back to our trip. The day was slowly coming to a close so Siri helped us find an Irish Pub for dinner. She led us astray a few times and we ended up having to ask a real human where to go. The trip ended with us breaking into a jog through a bit of a seedy area in order to find the car. But, alas, we made it back and as soon as we shut the doors, raindrops started falling. Impeccable timing.

All in all, I think I held my own on the adventure. Round 2 someday, maybe?


Sunday, December 16, 2012


Note the vanilla soy milk carton. Now notice that it has "Large Shrimp 10-10-12" handwritten on the front. In my family, it is a sin to buy shrimp from the store. Complete and utter sacrilege. I've been eating my shrimp out of random containers (mostly old orange juice cartons) since I was a kid. I never knew any different. Now I realize how cool it is that my grandfather, Bob, has always caught our shrimp for us. The freezer is always loaded down with his catch. I remember him teaching me how to throw a cast net in the yard when I was about eight. Hold it in your teeth between the weights, get your stance, and....cast! I gradually moved on from casting into the grass to actually throwing the cast net off the bow of the boat. I may have caught a handful of shrimp every now and then but he would always bring in loads of them. They would get all caught up in the net and he'd empty it out. I'd watch them plop onto the bottom of the boat and jump around. Every time I tried to pick them up they'd poke a hole in my hands with their sharp little points, but it never seemed to phase Bob. He'd scoop them up by the handful and throw them into the live bait well.

So yeah, it takes a little extra effort. You have to peel them yourself, but that's all part of the fun. Makes them taste better in the end knowing that your own sweat, blood, and tears (mostly just sweat and blood) went into to bringing those shrimp home for dinner.

In case you're interested, here's was the most recent recipe I made with Bob's shrimp. Click the link below.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving has such a way of reminding us that the year is coming to a close. Hard to believe that its already come and gone. I always leave from family visits feeling so blessed that I still have all of them here to celebrate with, on both mom and dad's sides.

I love getting a taste of the country life when we go see all of dad's people in Statesboro. I got to see pictures of my cousin, Katie's, first 8 pt. buck might I add. A neighbor's "pet" peacock came up to the door and peeked his head in the window a few times. We also raved over cousin Kelli's little boy, Brooks, the newest addition to the family. He and his big brother Cole are two of the cutest kids ever. Hopefully mine will be equally as cute one day. I have this fear that I'm gonna have an ugly baby. Is that shallow? But in all seriousness, these two are precious. (so I stole facebook pics....sorry) Cathlin and I baked pies at one of her friend's houses on the night before the Statesboro trip. We had a slight incident on the car ride back home resulting in me with a lap full of Karo syrup. To the feast, she brought the remains of the pecan pie that did not end up in my lap. According to her, I'm not a very good pie holder. We sat around with full bellies afterwards and caught up on each other's lives. Some of us tossed a football around in the yard. Easy livin' out there in the Boro.

On Saturday we had Thanksgiving with my mom's side. We dressed up all nice beforehand with intentions of taking a family picture for our Christmas card. Somewhere along the line we became too full and lazy to exert energy on pictures. Better luck next time. You may or may not be receiving a card from the Wilson family this year. Depends on whether or not we get our act together. Cathlin made the most delicious white macaroni and cheese. It was on the verge of being a flop when the flour started clumping, but mom saved the day with her swift stirring action and it turned out to be pretty delicious. We had way more food than all 7 of us ever needed. For appetizers while we cooked, we had mimosas, cheese, nuts, and jalapeno stuffed olives. When lunchtime rolled around it was time for collard greens, dressing with gravy, creamed corn, stewed squash, broccoli cornbread, sweet potato casserole, fried turkey, ham, mac & cheese, rolls, brownies, and banana pudding. Heaven. Afterwards the boys went fishing and the girls stayed in and played Apples to Apples and MadGab. This card from MadGab had us all in tears:

Go ahead. Read the words that you see on the card and try to decipher what phrase it is.

Give up? Mickey Mouse. Mom was the one trying to guess it and she kept saying Meeeek- Caaaame- Houuss. We could all hear exactly what it was supposed to be, but she had no idea. Every time she repeated it with this puzzled look on her face, it made us laugh even harder. Of course Grama laughed herself into a coughing attack. (Love you!)

Soon it will be time for a repeat of family & food when Christmas comes around. Its the most wonderful time of the year!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Bag, Fridge, Heart

I tried sleeping but that isn't working right now. Too many thoughts swirling around. So, what better to do than write at 1:30 AM?  I think a JoyDare prompt is the direction this one will be heading.  Here it is for tonight: What is one thing in your bag, one thing in your fridge, one thing in your heart?

In my bag?

The FOUR fortunes I received last night out of ONE fortune cookie. You heard me. If that isnt lucky, I dont know what is. I have a hard time throwing those things away for some reason. I feel like I have to hang on to them so that they'll come true! So, in my purse they went. Along with all the old gum, loose change, and receipts that continue to hang out in there. I want to be one of those people ( like my sister) with a clean, organized purse. It just isn't in the cards for me.

The fortune cookies were on the counter at a surprise 30th birthday party I went to last night with my friend, Kasey. At the party, this happened....

A little off track there. Back to JoyDare.

In my fridge?

Farmers Market purchases! (nevermind that this was from last week.) I got romaine lettuce, feta cheese, cheddar cheese, a dozen large eggs, shelled pecans, jalepeno peppers, bell peppers, and a vidalia onion.  Now, for what I made with some of these things....I'll share the recipes.

1) Autumn Chopped Salad
2) Creamy Jalepeno Dip
3) White Turkey Chili 

In my heart? 

Celebrating one year today with this guy. I found him last year on Veteran's Day. He's provides entertainment for me on the daily. Thanks Whales.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Productivity in Reverse

Not sure what it is about getting my eyes dialiated that makes me immmediately want to read. What a tease. Does that happen to anyone else? I was so exhausted after my long day at work and my eye doctor appointment immediately following that I decided it would be a perfect night to sit on the porch and read my book. Fail. Its been three hours since my appointment and just now are my eyes starting to adjust back to somewhat normalcy. I can see up close just barely enough to type this. Every time this happens I promise myself that I won't make fun of my mom for having to break out her reading glasses.

I think my bed time will be no later than 8:00 tonight.  After my nutritious dinner of Reese's pieces and milk followed by Nyquil and nose spray, I won't be able to function for much longer. Hello first cold of the school year. I held out until October.

I am now changed into a mismatched sweatpants and Walmart sweat shirt ensemble and it reminds me of a little something I saw on Pinterest:

So true.

Here's to a more productive evening tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Charleston via Instagram

Friday, 4:30...hit the road from home to my next favorite city

Met my travel buddy, Margaret, at the hotel...after our dinner we stopped in for a beer at Henry's 

Woke up bright and early Saturday morning & made it downtown in time for brunch at Eli's Table

I ordered two entrees...don't judge. #1: Sweet Potato Pancakes with Candied Pecan Butter #2 Cheese Grits, Bacon & Egg Biscuit

Spent the afternoon shopping at the Market

This was my purchase. Tell me its not the most perfect piece of folk art you ever did see. Kind of hard to see here, but its a block of wood distressed in red with the wording painted on pieces of hammered tin. Its now hanging in my bathroom! (lyrics from Danny's Song- Kenny Loggins)

4:00- stopped in the Lululemon store on King Street to purchase some new yoga pants....then off to "practice" my moves. 

Post-yoga happy hour and appetizers on King Street. 

Cleaned up for the night and back downtown at Vendue Rooftop Bar

Second stop... Squeeze: Charleston's Tightest Bar. And that it was!

Sunday morning brunch: Hominy Grill, featured on Man vs. Food for "The Big Nasty" consisting of a biscuit piled high with deliciously spicy gravy and pan friend chicken. Also the place where a complete stranger asked if I would like to try a bite of his meal. I took him up on it. We became friends. 

Waiting for our names to be was the obviously place to be. We waited for 30 min for brunch.

Love the ambiance here (Hominy Grill)

A walk up window outside where we ordered mimosas for the wait (can you see it on the far left?)

Walking along The Battery

Do people get married here often? Because I would. (just clarify)

Rainbow Row

Beautiful day & perfect weekend. 
The End.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Finding Inspiration

One of my favorite things to do as a blogger (a very small blogger) is to read others' blogs. Its usually my greatest source of inspiration.

I don't know what it is about this school year...but I'm starting to notice that dreaded "burn out" feeling that so many teachers begin to have starting around year 5. (Or so I've been told.) My save-the-world mindset has begun to fade a little and my thoughts drift to....there's got to be something more. Anyone? Don't get me wrong. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the children. Yet, I don't want to get into a rut and never venture out into new territory just because I have a secure job. Don't worry- I'm not quitting my job. I'm thinking out loud. Exploring.

I found so much inspiration from Lisa Leonard, that I have to share her video. She writes one of the most recent blogs that I follow and this video clip confirmed my thoughts of trying something new. Her thing is jewelry making. I am not sure exactly what mine would be, but its brewing.  Watch her video and you'll see why I fell in love with her and her family.

Ideas Welcomed!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Ketchup Popsicles

A word on blogging: I've found that my blog has helped me to slow down and notice life. At dinner tonight, I had a conversation with a friend that went something like this...

Friend: I like reading your blogs. I wish I blogged.
Me: You can!
Friend: But I don't do anything cool.
Me: Uh, neither do I.  

Its all about celebrating what matters and noticing the moments. What matters to me isn't always earth shattering, but when I take 2 seconds to write about it, it somehow gains a form of significance. It is published. It is recorded for ever and ever amen. When I'm old and gray I can look back and reminisce. 

Another thing. If you're excited about something, odds are, your passion for it will spark someone else's interest. Or their curiosity if nothing else. If you put your heart and soul into something, it really doesn't matter what it is. People seem to buy it. Its your passion for that "thing" that becomes appealing to everyone else. They may not love the "thing," but they will love your passion. Be passionate about SOMETHING. It kinda reminds me of one of the greatest movies of all time, Tommy Boy. The part when Richard says, "He could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves." Obviously, this quote deals more with being a good salesman- but it all ties together. If you don't believe in it,  no one else will either. 

 After all ....


Well, this wasn't the original direction that this post was supposed to follow, but somehow I went off on a rabbit trail. All that to say... do something you love. And don't worry about it being not "cool" enough. 

This blog was SUPPOSED to be about my Fabulous Friday with Jessica and Julie. An after work trip to Bonna Bella, complete with: Blue Moons, Appletini's, and Coors Lights (yes- I was the classy one with the Coors Light.) We also had Nachos, Grilled Shrimp Salads and Molten Lava Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream. And last but not least, a trip to Goodwill. Who knew Goodwill was the place to be on a Friday night? We closed the joint down and left with bag fulls of thrifty goodness.  So, go on and do what you love. And if you don't know yet... try some new things until you figure it out. Start a blog! And be sure to tell me about it if you do. 

Happy Friday