Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back in Town

I headed back to Tuscaloosa today, thinking I would get settled into my apartment a few days before I had to report to band practice. I stopped in Gardendale on the way, got my hair done for the big game, and then met my friends L. and M. in Gardendale for lunch. I ate so much at Logan's!!! It was delicious though, and since the server saw our Christmas presents on the table, she brought other servers over to do the birthday thing. Which at Logan's, by the way, is embarrassing even for that type of episode. Let's just say a restaurant-wide "Yeehaw" was included. We had so much fun catching up though, it was the first time we've gotten together all break. L. gave me a beautiful picture frame, and I had just the photograph to go in it.

This photograph now has pride of place among my other cherished mementoes, like the keepsake from Chris and Mary Lindsey's wedding, and the mangowood vase that E.O. brought back from Thailand as a gift for me.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Countdown to Christmas

I'm back home for the holidays again! I made it through my senior marching season, methods block, and 17 hours of classes! And I made all A's!!! I've terribly neglected my blog this semester. I'm amazed at how much else I got done though! Talk about a successful to-do list. I took the GRE, applied to the Grad. program at UA (in English), marched with the Million Dollar Band all the way to the SEC Championship (and soon, the National Championship in Pasadena!), and completed 110 placement hours at Hillcrest and Holt High Schools. It's been the best semester, I really feel like my methods block prepared me for my internship. I can't wait to find out where I'll be spending Spring semester. They'll mail the placements between Dec. 20 and 30, so I'll find out soon!
December is so much fun for me, it's my birthday month AND Christmastime! There's nothing better than finishing up finals just in time for your birthday, and then heading home for Christmas. I had the best birthday this year, Mom took me to lunch and shopping, I met up with A.B. for dinner, and the next day I had lunch with T. That Saturday E.O. and C. went to dinner and to see The Princess and the Frog with me! I was so excited to see the newest Disney princess movie. :) It was so great! New Orleans is one of my favorite places, and I loved that the newest Disney movie was set there. Ray and Evangeline were my favorite characters, I think. :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

BEST cookie recipe ever

Sorry this took me so long, Cassie. :)

Hershey's Mixed Chocolate Chip Cookies
6 T butter, softened
1/3 cup butter-flavored shortening
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups (12 oz package) dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (I haven't tried dark choc. yet)
1 cup milk chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 350.
2. Beat butter and shortening with electric mixer in large bowl until well blended. Add brown sugar and granulated sugar; beat thoroughly. Add egg and vanilla, beating until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually beat into butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly. Remove to wire rack and cool completely.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shrimp and Grits: An Experiment

Band camp is over, so I decided to celebrate by trying out a new recipe. I'm not usually big on grits, but I figure every southern girl needs to at least try them. I love shrimp, so I knew it wouldn't be a total disaster. And bonus, I couldn't cook until I cleaned up my kitchen, so I killed two birds with one stone. Now I just have to work on the rest of the apartment. :) (I love the sound of rain on the roof, it's really pouring outside.)

I got out my brand new cookbook, America's Test Kitchen: Cooking for Two. My whole thought process behind the cooking for two thing is that most recipes make enough for a family, and I'm cooking for just me. So one meal for me, and one in the fridge for later makes much more sense. I'm a huge fan of it so far, all of the recipes seem really well thought out, and it's stuff that a picky eater like me will actually eat. The ingredient list was pretty easy, I was able to buzz through Winn-Dixie and find everything I needed, including some nice shrimp. I came home, prepped for a few minutes, and had the meal done in about 30 minutes. It was pretty simple and fast. I'm happy with how the grits turned out, but my onion and garlic mincing skills could definitely use some work. I didn't bother with the scallion as a garnish. A tip: if you're like me, take it easy on the onion in this dish, it was a little too much. I can't wait to try some variations of the dish that were suggested in the cookbook.


8 oz large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 T olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

Pinch cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

1 T unsalted butter

1 small onion, minced (about 1/2 a cup)

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp. hot sauce

1/2 cup quick grits (not instant or old-fashioned)

4 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

1 scallion, sliced thin


1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the shrimp with the oil, garlic, and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate while preparing the grits.

2. Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3-5 minutes. Sitr in the water, cream, hot sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring often, until the grits are thick and creamy, 5-7 minutes.

3. Off the heat, whisk in the cheddar until combined. Lay the shrimp on their sides in a pinwheel formation over the grits, then press on them lightly to submerge about halfway. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the shrimp are cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle with the scallion before serving.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Adding Pictures

Enough said. :)
(This is a practice post, I'm trying to figure out how to add photos.)

Best Destination Wedding Ever, Cont'd.

We had way too much fun to fit it all in here, but all in all, days full of talking with old friends and making new ones, hanging by the pool, hiking, and getting sunburned because I forgot that I was finishing up a course of antibiotics sums it up perfectly.

Best Destination Wedding Ever

I'm home again, and not so happy to be that way. It's hard to blend back in to reality after such a fantastic trip. And to think I had such low expectations of it. When A.M.C. and I set off for Nashville we had no idea what we were in for. So you've heard about Day 1 of the trip. Not such an auspicious beginning. But from there, it only went up. We went to Boulder that night for the bachelorette party. T. was supplied with a list of about 10 embarrassing things to do, which she completed cheerfully. She danced with the street performers, asked a random guy for his number, and sang a Disney love song to A.M.C., among others. We ate on the rooftop of this great Mexican restaurant, and got dessert from the Rocky Moutain Fudge Factory. There was a hilarious fire juggler, and we got periodic updates on the bachelors, who apparently went paintballing without protective apparel. Smart, guys. After getting our fill of the Boulder nightlife, we went back to the condo, where the maid of honor had reserved a party room. We quizzed T. on her knowledge of P., and then went hottubbing. Question, if a group of girls descends on a hot tub, clearly having a bachelorette night, do you stick around? No, you gracefully exit. Unfortunately, a few people in the hot tub didn't get that memo. It's okay, we ignored them.
We crashed at the condo that night, and got up the next morning ready for a 3 hour drive to Steamboat Springs.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Greatest Day Ever (Sarcasm Included)

So, A.M.C. and I drove to Nashville last night for the express purpose of catching a 6 am flight out of BNA to Denver the next morning. We checked into the hotel without any problems, and tried to crash early since we planned to be up by 3 am the next day. Not being used to hitting the sack that early, we both had a little trouble falling asleep. Nonetheless, when 3 am rolled around we dutifully crawled out of bed, grabbed showers, and got out of the room on time. We showed up at the checkout desk around 4:15 am, where we were informed that contrary to our expectations we WERE expected to pay for parking. The irony is that we drove up a day early to spend the night in order to avoid long term parking fees. Strike one against the greatest day ever. But we moved past it. We hopped in the shuttle, chatted with the driver on the way there, and felt pretty good about ourselves when we got to the terminal around 4:30. Where we were greeted by roughly 50 passengers already in line at Frontier's check in. So we took our place in line. And waited. And waited. Then, from somewhere up ahead we heard those fateful words... flight cancellation. A.M.C. and I looked at each other. A.M.C. and I freaked out. A.M.C. called S. (it was 3:30 am in Colorado by the way) while I sneaked to the front of the line to read the sign. "Flight 239 cancelled due to lightning strike." Really? Really. So we waited in line for another hour while the harassed airline employees jumped through hoops to get us all onto different flights. At 5:35 we found out that we would be catching a connecting flight to Denver through Houston. The flight left at 6. Somehow, we made it to Continental's terminal, checked our bags, raced through security, and flung ourselves onto the plane by 5:55. Phew. As it turns out, our new flight was an ExpressJet, which equals tiny. A.M.C. and I grabbed the last two seats together... right next to the lavatory. Fun times. The only saving grace about that flight was the free muffin and coke, which definitely saved our lives. We landed in Houston, with just enough time to make our way across to gate C 44 and onto, thankfully, a larger, nicer, and better smelling airplane. Unfortunately, due to the crowded flight, A.M.C. and I were split up, and we each sat in the dreaded middle seat for the duration of the flight. More than a muffin and a beverage service saved this flight though, inflight movies were provided. I owe so much to Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail.
So we get to Denver, disembark, and miracle of miracles, our luggage made the journey with us. After that kind of day, I'd had my doubts. So after grabbing one red suitcase that wasn't mine, I pinpointed the correct one and hauled it off the carousel. After a short wait, we were picked up by Marcia and cruised a loop around the airport while waiting to pick up Fred and Jeb. She took us to their apartment, and we ate pizza and crashed.
Coming up... the bachelorette party!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

First Try

Let's see how this works...