Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Flowers & Family

It occurs to me every spring that I come from a family of major flower lovers. My grandmother Hazel, step-grandpa Tommy, grandmother Ina (who's house we live in), great-grandmother LaBass, great-aunt Ruby, my aunt, my mom & dad...etc, etc. As far back as I can remember all of them had lovely flower beds and things blooming. When I was little, I remember our house in Florence Park had azaleas across the front with a tulip border in front and the loveliest garden in the back with dogwoods, a rock path & everything. Including our sandbox at the back. My mom loves pots of red geraniums on her porch every summer and pansies in the fall. My dad has a crazy mass of lantana and all kinds of transplants and fun things coming up in his backyard. Gardenia included. I remember my grandma Hazel always had the best looking creeping flocks I'd ever seen along her front border. With some clymatis climbing up the metal molding on the front of the house.

Since living in my grandmothers house, (she loved roses, hyacinths, and irises) even though I know what all she has planted around here, its equally as exciting every year to see it all start to bloom. Reminds me of her of course, like its her way of saying hello :) Same with the bird chirping in the mornings here. I love it, what a pleasant first sound of the day! Makes getting up for work not as bad, haha!

Recently my dad & I went to visit my aunt who lives outside Kansas City. I hadn't been to her house in years. It was exactly as I remember. And her garden as well. Not organized at all, but pretty in a scattered sort of way :) My dad just kept saying how much it looked like their grandmother's garden exactly.

I hope my sister and I inherit the same green thumb all of them have. We're going to give it a shot anyway. I can't hardly drive by a nursery or flowers for sale without wanting to stop & buy all of it up. One of these days.... :)

Here are some small reminders of my grandma from around her yard right now. Everything that grows around this house she planted years ago.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lacking Art Skills

So I gave my first decorative cupcakes a shot for a baby shower last weekend. The theme was birds, so I went with a bird nest/egg theme.

These were in my Martha Stewart Cupcake book, and they are perfect! But I haven't had much icing experience, so I figured they wouldn't look like birds when I finished!
I ultimately decided on these that I found online at this blog & they are perfect! She did such a good job. My #1 reason being they had an icing nest. Most of the nests I was finding were made with toasted coconut. Looks great but I loathe stringy coconut. And I didn't want to risk others picking it off, etc. And #2 because they are super cute and looked easy enough.

I decided to use Martha's recipe for white cupcakes, those turned out good...no issues. I made them the night before. I also made the risky decision to make her buttercream recipe the next morning. I had my appropriate icing tips, the green food coloring for the edge portion, and the chocolate buttercream ready to go. Unfortunately, my new (wedding gift) Kitchen Aid Mixer is in storage. I was stuck using a hand mixer for this. It didn't get quite smooth enough, but was ok. The recipe said it made 5 cups. I assumed that was enough for 24 little nests. WRONG. I had to go to the store to get regular icing to mix with my homemade stuff to have enough, but it worked! I also used those mini-Whoppers robin eggs which worked out well.

I began trying to ice the green edges on. It looked awful! Like a 2 yr old did it. I was so flustered I forgot to take a picture! So long story short, I was short on time & just knew these were not going to be presentable or look like the picture above! Eric came in and assisted me, and that's all I will say :) They got done! And weren't huge, gross blobs! Although the nests were more swirly than I my perfectionist self wanted, but oh well! Everyone really liked them and they worked out very well in the end.

I do not have an artist touch or steady hand by any means and won't be attempting anymore fancy decorations soon :) At least they tasted good!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tim McGraw, Baseball, & Flowers

I love all things spring. Except for maybe allergies :) But, its a reminder things are blooming, which is good! The temps were PERFECT this weekend, my favorite kind of weather for sure!

This weekend was tons of fun! Starting Thursday my dad got last minute suite tix to the Tim McGraw/Lady Antebellum concert that he didn't want. So my friend Amy went with me, since Eric doesn't even know who Tim McGraw is. Plus he had a paper to write :)

Friday came the good news about my little worry I've had going on, so God answered my prayer big time & all is well :) So thanks for your prayers! We headed out Friday night to the new ONEOK Field for opening weekend with some friends. What fun! Nothing like a Driller Dog, lemonade, and some ice cream in a hat :) The stadium is great, fantastic area, great downtown views...etc, etc. Can you tell we love it? And they even have some super cute retro-ish Driller shirts I plan to purchase at some point.

Saturday I tackled my love/hate relationship with Zumba class, then off to the Tulsa Garden Center for their annual Garden Market. I'm after a yellow rose called the Julia Child. Perfection, right? Unfortunately I don't have a good spot for it at our house now, but it is on the list for the next house :) I brought Capone because the poor guy has been cooped up inside for way too long. He was so excited I couldn't even capture it in a picture, but it was hilarious watching him.

Woodward Park is blooming, tulips are so pretty & the azaleas are coming along. Unfortunatly it was prom time, so I had a hard time getting pictures without a giant sequin dress in the background :)
Saturday night we met some friends at Oscars & then went back to their house to play Rock Band. We hadn't played in a long time and it was of course so fun. Lots of new tunes are out, so it was a hoot. Lady Gaga on guitar? Not so much :) But some classic Nirvana & Weezer were fun :)

I'm going to attempt to begin a running regiment this week. Right now I can run for about 1 minute without my lungs coming close to exploding. So we'll see how that goes........

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What If

Needing a good dose of faith. And peace of mind. And patience. And healing. And trust.

Having a personal issue going on right now that I prefer not to share with the internet community, but it has me all worked up. I have a major case of the "what-if" syndrome, which isn't good for a darn thing.

I am doing my best to have a positive attitude and have faith but this is something totally out of my control (when we need faith the most!) & I have to hope for the best. Trust God for the best. And that everything will be fine. It will be!!

This is my prayer request for today.

Jesus is always faithful, by our side, in control, protects, heals & knows our desires.

On another note, which cheers me up just looking at it, this perfect necklace from Vintage Pearl is on my wishlist as of now! I love her stuff. Happy Wednesday everyone. I feel better already :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Menu Monday

I've been trying to do better planning the meals for the week, I mean hello...it does make shopping so much easier! :) Here is the plan for this week!

Breakfast- Orange
Lunch- Leftovers from Easter lunch
Dinner- Cosi (post-workout dinner spot) soup, salad & hummus

Breakfast- Oatmeal
Lunch- Salad & Apple
Dinner- Roasted Chicken & Sweet Potatoes

Breakfast- Greek Yogurt
Lunch- Salad, String Cheese, Orange
Dinner- Baked Parmesan Chicken Cutlets & Roasted Veggies

Breakfast- Whole-wheat English Muffin
Lunch- Salad, Yogurt
Dinner- Springy Shells & Salad

Breakfast- Greek Yogurt
Lunch- Salad, Laughing Cow Cheese w/Whole-Grain Wheat Thins
Dinner- Eating out somewhere downtown before the Driller's Game!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Meyer Lemon & Asparagus Risotto

I got this recipe off Tasty Kitchen last week and thought it sounded so good for spring. Spring always puts me in the mood for all things lemon :) So I made it this past Monday & it was SO good, I wanted to pass the recipe on! Eric loved it also, so its husband approved! We had it as our main entree, and there was plenty.

Enjoy & happy spring cooking :)

2 cups Asparagus, Washed, Tough Ends Removed, And Cut Into 1-inch Pieces
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
½ cups Shallots, Minced
1-½ cup Arborio Rice
1 whole Meyer Lemon, Zested (or The Zest From One Regular Lemon)
½ cups Dry White Wine
6 cups Chicken Or Vegetable Stock
2 Tablespoons Meyer Lemon (or Regular Lemon) Juice
1 Tablespoon Flat-leaf Parsley, Finely Chopped
¼ cups Parmesan Cheese, Finely Shredded Or Grated
2 Tablespoons Mascarpone Cheese (optional)
Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper, To Taste

Preparation Instructions
Fill a large skillet or a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus pieces and cook for 2 minutes. While the asparagus cooks, prepare an ice bath (a large bowl of cold water and ice). Remove the cooked asparagus to the ice bath to quickly stop the cooking. Set aside.

In a medium pot, bring the chicken or vegetable stock to a simmer. Keep hot, but do not allow it to boil.

In a large saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat.

Add the shallots. Cook for 1 minute.

Add the rice and lemon zest. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.

Add the wine and stir until absorbed.

Begin adding the hot stock in small increments, waiting for each addition of stock to be almost completely absorbed before adding more. This process should take about 20 to 25 minutes.
(Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to stir risotto constantly. You just need to stir it after each addition of stock and then occasionally between additions. Don’t go too far away, but don’t be afraid to leave the stove.)

The risotto is ready when all of the broth has been absorbed and the rice is tender but still has some bite to it.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, parsley, and mascarpone cheese (if using).

Drain the asparagus and stir it into the risotto.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Serve immediately, garnished with lemon zest or extra cheese, if desired.

Serves 3 to 4 as an entrée, or 6 to 8 as a side dish.