Sunday, August 31, 2008

August's Daring Bakers Challenge - Chocolate Eclairs

I really procrastinated on this one, literally waiting till this afternoon, but I'm excited to say I successfully completed my 2nd Daring Baker's Challenge!

The challenge this month was hosted by MeetaK and Tony Tahhan. They had decided on Chocolate Eclairs taken from a recipe by Pierre Herme from a cookbook written by Dorie Greenspan: Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme.

Again, these were all new things for me to try, from the Pâte à Choux or what's also known as the Cream Puff Pastry dough, the pastry cream filling and the chocolate glaze on top.

They took a bit more time than I expected to make all the components, but once I assembled it all together we couldn't take the pictures fast enough before devouring the bunch! Thankfully I had decided to only make half the recipe since I knew that leaving 20-24 eclairs alone with Jason and I would not be a good idea especially over a three day weekend.

But even then, I ended up with 11 eclairs that I baked more in the shape of cream puffs, cause I thought they were much cuter than the traditionally shaped eclair. We were allowed to modify the recipe a bit, so instead of going with the chocolate pastry cream, I made mine a white chocolate pastry cream and then kept the rest as the recipe directs, except for adding a tad bit of powdered sugar and whipped cream on top of the chocolate glaze for decoration.

To say these were yummy, is an understatement!!!! They were... STUPID yummy!

For instructions on how to make this recipe, you can go click here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Great & Relaxing Weekend

This weekend was a rare opportunity where Jason had both days off from work. And because of that, if felt like it stretched on more than a typical weekend, which was awesome.

Saturday morning Jason got up early to head to his championship baseball game out in Franklin. They lost 0-3 and Jason had to step in as catcher from his usual position as shortstop. I would have gone to his game, but at noon I needed to be sure I was at our church for their Grand Opening community event. OF COURSE, even though I brought my camera, I didn't take any pictures, so I lovingly borrowed these from our friend Melanie :-)

This is Melanie Carter, she also is one of the high school youth leaders and attends our small group.

Our head pastor Bobby Harrington, is the man in the bright pink shirt. He had just cut the ribbon for the new building.

Jason and I had both decided to just meet at the church since we had separate shifts volunteering the event - I was to be working the popcorn stand and I had signed Jason up in the dunk tank...ha ha! But unfortunately the dunk tank had plenty of volunteers, so he never actually got wet.
This is JP Robinson, the youth pastor who works with Melanie Carter. You can see he's getting his fair share of dunking!

Advertisements and signs had been posted all around the community weeks in advance, because this was more as an outreach to the community rather than just for Harpeth Community Church itself. 200 church members volunteered and they counted another 2500 guests and visitors participating in the event!!
Even the veggie tale stars made a cameo appearance for the kids!

There were lots of blow up toys, grilled food, free popcorn and snow cones, carnival games, face painting, train rides for the kids and live music. It was really fun and the weather wasn't too hot, so it made for a great time!

Bouncy blow up toys!

Free Snow Cones!

Carnival games - this is the ring toss!

Face Painting!

Here's Melanie Sutton on the kids train ride. She's also the Children's Ministry Director and attends our small group with her husband Ryan.

After the church event we headed home to change and relax a bit before grabbing our books and heading down to our favorite coffee shop Ugly Mugs. When we got home we topped the evening off with cuddling up on the couch and watching Mad About You episodes we rented off Netflix.

Sunday we were up and off again heading out to church and afterwards having lunch at Raffertys (two weeks in a row - yeah me!). Then when we got back home, we watched the Little League World Series (well he did while I cleaned the house and read), finished off the Mad About You dvd and enjoyed a nice long walk through the Shelby Bottoms Park a couple miles from our house.

It was an ideal weekend and I'm glad it lasted so long!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Interesting little sensory quiz...

I took this fun, little quiz at to find out which of my five senses is most dominant!

And the results are.....

I am the sense of Sight

You are a very observant, detail oriented person.
You are able to take in a lot of information at once.
You often see things that other people never notice.
You have a good eye for design and aesthetics.
You love to be surrounded by beauty - natural or not.
When you imagine how something should look, you see it clearly in your mind.

Click here to take the quiz yourself!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'll Never Feel The Same About Sweet Tea Again.

SO I was going to wait to write this post till I got a good picture of the souvenir I walked away with (more like crawled away with) from Saturday's escapades of making sweet tea. But first I should say that we are addicted to this Southern nectar known as sweet tea. Back when we first moved to Nashville, Jason's aunt Bettie Walker taught me how to make southern-style sweet tea and since then we have lived off this drink throughout the hot summers.

Back to the story - Saturday morning I got up early (9am, it was early to me ok?) and we left for Jason's baseball game out in Franklin. After they won to a shut out of 15-0 we left after the 5th inning and had lunch at Rafferty's, just the two of us :-) On the way home we stopped at a brand new coffee shop that opened up a couple blocks from our house called the Ugly Mugs and enjoyed a great cup of coffee (the owners are from the Northwest, so they knew what they were doing! LOVE THIS PLACE! Definitely will become mine & Jason's new spot!)
From there we headed back home and Jason thought he might take advantage of this awesome weather we've been having and mow the lawn. Just as he's getting ready to start the weed-wacking, he asks if I'll make a pitcher of sweet tea for him. No problem, I do this ALL the time. So I head into the kitchen and put the kettle on to boil. In a matter of minutes the kettle is whistling and I take out a large glass pitcher and scoop in the sugar, pouring the 2 liters of hot water over it so it would melt. As the last drop of water fills the pitcher, it explodes like a bomb!!! ALL 2 liters of BOILING HOT WATER splashes all over my legs, the counter, oven, floor, cabinets....everywhere. The next thing I know I'm ripping my pants off and grabbing the nearest towel to douse it in cold water from the sink. I wrap the towel across the front of my thighs and head to the back of the house starting to panic at the realization of what just happened. I open the backdoor and step out on the porch, in my underwear, screaming Jason's name, but he had the weed-wacker going in the front of the house so he couldn't hear me.

At this point, the searing pain is setting in and I'm REALLY starting to panic. I can't get to the front of the house because there is shattered glass all over the kitchen floor, laundry and dining rooms and I was barefoot. So I took my wet towel and curled up against the fridge and started banging on the kitchen window till Jason came across to the side of the house. It was probably only 5 minutes, but after what felt like forever he heard the pounding and saw my panicked face and ran into the house. At first he couldn't tell what happened because it was such a mess. And I was at this point sobbing from the pain. He grabs a huge ice pack and we called my mother-in-law Sherry, since she's a former nurse, for what we should do next. She said the best thing would be to get into an ice cold bath and fill it with ice cubes. Ever done that before?? BRRRRR!!!!!! And yes, I was a total baby, it hurt like hell and it was probably 30 minutes before I was numb enough to not feel any pain. After that the weekend was kind of a bust because of my stupid mistake. I guess its good that all I'm doing much these days anyway is watching the Olympics, because I was useless otherwise.
The burn is the size of my hand on my upper right thigh and is healing slowly but surely. There's some blistering, but I'm being careful to keep it from getting infected. So what is the lesson we've all learned here? NEVER pour boiling hot water into ANYTHING glass!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Not In My House!

Boy do I have a story for y'all!!

Saturday morning Jason left for his baseball game while I slept in and caught up on some much needed sleep. I thought I'd have myself a nice lazy morning and make some coffee and eat a little breakfast. Waiting for the coffee to brew, I headed to the guest room to find Banks for a quick snuggle and kiss. At first I didn't see her, but then saw a quick flick of her tail from the bottom of the guest bed. Now usually seeing a flick like that can only mean she's stalking some sort of prey. So I walk around the room to see what she's after and see that it must have burrowed itself under a plastic tub. Oh how I love when Banks kills any living thing in the house. Eager to assist Banks with the satisfaction of making a kill, I slide the tub out of the way.

The next thing I know this long black slimy looking thing is running in circles around by my feet, Banks is going ballistic trying to catch it and I'm running barefoot in the opposite direction, screaming my head off!!

I grab my phone to find out how close Jason is to getting home. He's like 20 minutes away, which can seem like an eternity when something alive, black and slimy is running through your guest room. SO NOT OKAY! Jason is trying to get me to give a description and I can't think of what to tell him, except long black and ridiculously fast. I run to put my tennis shoes on and sneak in the back room to see if Banks has saved us both. But now she's facing the corner next to the TV stand, making her most intimidating meow sound and flicking her tail. So thankfully, at least I know she can see it and still has it trapped. Thank God.

I go back to the front of the house and wait for Jason, pacing back and forth in the dining room. I realize it's a good thing I've already taken my heart pill, or to my absolute horror I may have passed out cold right there in the guest room.

Finally after what feels like an eternity Jason shows up. He grabs a piece of cabinet trim and heads to the back of the house. At first he doesn't see it, so he asks me to grab the flashlight for him. What and bring it to you???!!! In there??!!! For crying out loud! So I run to get the flashlight and stretching out as far as I can from the door, I hand it over to him. In reality, he's lucky I didn't chuck it at his head as I make a run for the front of the house. I hear him say he sees it and he thinks its a stick bug.
This is what a stick bug is, which is gross, but not what I saw. What I saw was a lot more scary and super fast.

Jason: Ohhhh...I know what it is.

Me: Oh crap, what is it??

Jason: It's a lizard!

Me: WHAT!!!! IN MY HOUSE??!!!!

Jason: Can you bring me a glass?


Jason: Just bring me a glass!!

Me: Argh!!

SO I grab a glass and plate and give it to Jason who by this point has it moved into another corner of the room, asking me to look at it. No, I don't want to look at it, I've already seen it -just get rid of it or let Banks eat the thing! The second he takes the glass and plate, Banks sees her chance for lunch and lunges at it - in which Jason stops her cold by smooshing her into the floor. She looks up at him and begins to growl because she's completely pissed that she's worked so hard for this treat and he's standing in the way of it. Finally, he captures the thing and takes it outside to free it in the alley. We tried rewarding Banks with treats for all her hard work, but she had no interest in her treats at all and ignored us for a good few hours while she sulked.

And just so you all know the terror I experienced, I found a picture of it online. It's called a blue tailed skink lizard, and don't you dare say its beautiful! It's not, its freaky, scary, fast and does NOT belong in my house!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Baby Fever~!

No, not me!

Quite a few of my friends have recently gotten the baby fever and have been producing some adorable kids!

I had to highlight a few pics of these babies, cause they're just too good not to share!
Karlee Blake with her two daughters Jordyn on the left and Zyan on the right!

Zyan Lily Blake: Born at 9 pounds 10 oz on June 30, 2008

Here's my dear friend Katie Hallstrom with their little one Rocco.

Rocco Hallstrom: Born at 7 pounds 3 oz. on July 3, 2008

And of course a huge blessing from God, the Bradford boys born to Jorian and Morgan Bradford. They were born so little but are such little fighters and are now home with their parents getting bigger every day!

Tristan Barrett & Jameson Cole Bradford: Born at 1 pound 9 oz and 1 pound 15 oz on March 27, 2008

And how can you resist the cheeks on Alissa Grace born to her parents Traci & Steff Pohle?

Alissa Grace Pohle: Born at 7 pounds, 7 oz on October 13, 2007

And of course we have irresistible Aiyers born to Aaron and Heidi Powell.

Aiyers Gideon Powell: Born at 7 pounds 13 oz on February 21, 2008

Oh and one more quick pic, here's the little cutie Ada Victoria and her mom Vanessa Curtis.

Ada Victoria Curtis: Born at 8 pounds 3 oz on April 18, 2008.

There are more babies being born all the time and more on the way, but like I said, I'm only highlighting a few!!! I love and miss you all and can't wait to kiss and squeeze all these munchkins hopefully someday soon!!

Monday, August 04, 2008

3 Years Today!

Three years ago, Jason got down on one knee on the Shelby Street Bridge here in Nashville, looking out over the Cumberland River and asked me to marry him. It was a perfect night, after a perfect dinner, with perfect white roses.

I love you baby and am so glad you asked for my hand three years ago today!!