Saturday, June 26, 2010

First Camping of the Summer

We went camping with a bunch of friends this past weekend up Green Canyon in Logan, staying in our special "Meadow" that we always go to. It was fun, beautiful, and such a good way to celebrate summer!

Here is Blanche, on her first camping expedition with us. She came in handy, climbing hills and such.

The guys first attempt at fire. Something they called cross-ditching. It's supposed to push the smoke UP and out of our faces. Nice attempt, but didn't really work all that well.

Michael, Greg, and Brad chopping wood...

For some reason I really like this picture. I married a sexy man.

Look at that masculine stance, and those muscles!

Getting the fire together for making coals so we could eat Dutch Oven potatoes and cobbler.

Why is it that when ever we all sit around the fire, we MUST stare at it? It's hypnotizing or something.

Silly me in the morning, just waking up. You can tell it's summer because of all the freckles that are appearing on my face!

Good Morning Dani! She's beating eggs for our Mountain Man Breakfast.

The beauty of a campfire and breakfast. :)

Sausage, eggs, hashbrowns, cheese. Yum.

And our fellow campers across the way, who were drinking LONG into the night. Seriously, it was around 3 a.m. before they went to sleep. They were LOUD, but friendly as they invited us to join them for some drinks, or "non-drinks" as one guy drunkenly said. Hilarious.

Great way to spend a Friday night and Saturday morning. Can't wait for more friendly camping trips this summer!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Natural Beauty

One of the things I love most about summer is planting flowers and herbs, then watching them grow. They are like the gift that keeps on giving as new blooms appear everyday, brightening any space.

As Michael and I have a patio and flower beds in which we are able to plant, I have seized the opportunity to beautify our home.

Lobelias and Zinnias (which are just beginning to bloom).

This is why Zinnias are one of my favorite sun-loving flowers. Look at that color!

Our collection of pots in the back corner of our patio.

Which is growing beautifully! (I'm going to give it a couple more weeks before I make pesto.)


Greek Oregano


And Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley.

Here is our backdoor flower bed.
Full of Impatiens, Vinca, Lobelias, Parsley, and a rather large and fertile Hosta plant. (The Hosta was here when we moved in. Good thing I trimmed it back because it was HUGE!)

And on our front porch, PROOF that I have inherited the "Resurrection" gene from my dad and grandfather. This Hydrangea was practically a goner after one night outside in freezing weather. (Completely space cadet moment on my part, how embarrassing!)

But, I nurtured it by cutting off all the dead leaves and branches, giving it water, love, and much sunshine. And it has rewarded me with this beautiful purple-ish bloom. I've already counted two more buds where it should bloom any day now.

Yay for summer!

Pictures of our vegetable garden to come...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bright Star

Just watched this movie on Netflix.

Set in the early 1800s, it is based upon the personal and passionate romance between the poet, John Keats, and Fanny Brawne, his great love and muse.

I love his poetry, and the filmmaker uses it beautifully within the film.

The actors within capture and display the reality and undeniable strength of a first love in a breathtaking way.

I highly recommend it to any Austen, Bronte, or British literature fan.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What I have been CRAVING...

This is the one and only thing I miss about Louisiana summers.

If you've never had crawfish, you are surely missing out.

I am salivating.

Picture of me at the Baton Rouge Institute Crawfish Boil in 2006. The last time I had crawfish. Something must be done to rectify my lack of spicy cajun goodness.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chicken "Noodleless" Soup in a Bread Bowl

Well, Michael and I have perfected this recipe. My part was for the soup and his for the bread bowl. Since it's been rather chilly lately, we figured a little soup would help keep us warm. It did. And it was really something special. Simple, but special.

You can easily add any noodles you wish to this recipe, but we like it without when eating within bread bowls. (Say that 10 times fast!) Also, this soup was quite hearty and could have used some more broth. Personal preference, but choose whatever you fancy!

Chicken "Noodleless" Soup for Two
1 chicken breast
2 carrots
1/2 medium size onion
3 stalks of celery
4 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning of choice (I used Slap Ya Mama)
3-4 cups chicken broth
1 T. vegetable oil
  1. Cut the chicken and vegetables into bite size pieces. Mince the garlic.
  2. Heat oil in pot over medium high heat and sautée the vegetables, including garlic, until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned around the edges. Season to taste.
  4. Add broth and let simmer for 20 mins - half hour.
  5. Taste and add more seasonings if desired. Serve in bread bowl and garnish with fresh parsley or green onions.
Bread Bowl
(adapted from the recipe for American Sandwich Bread by Cook's Illustrated)
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup warm water
3 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for brushing
3 T. sugar
3 1/2-4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 tsp. salt
  1. Whisk the milk, water, butter, and sugar together in a large liquid measuring cup. Combine 3 1/2 cups of the flour, yeast, and salt in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the milk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.
  2. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. If after 4 minutes more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Cut into 4 pieces and shape each into a smooth, round ball. Place them on a lightly oiled sheet pan and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven, and the baking stone, to 400 degrees. Brush tops of bread bowls with melted butter and place on the heated baking stone. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.
  5. Let cool and cut hole in middle for soup. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Death of Michael's Shag

How did we start off Memorial Day this year?
By giving Michael a haircut!

He was a little distressed after working for about 6 months to get his hair so long!

Yes, there was a bit of a mullet in the process.

Getting closer to the end...

Oops, we forgot one long strand. He looks kind of like an emo punk.

It's all gone!

Look at all that hair. We cut off about 4 inches worth...yuck!

Cleaning up the mess. Looking like a "Molly Mormon". What a great day!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

1st Year Anniversary Events

Michael and I started off our 1st year anniversary by going to the temple to perform sealings. It was beautiful and a wonderful way to celebrate and remember that special moment when we were married in the Logan temple for time and all eternity!


After the temple, we made good use of our gift card to Smokin' Blues BBQ and went to dinner!

We had fried pickles for an appetizer...

And I ordered the Brisket with baked beans on the side. Mouthwatering. Those baked beans were legitimately southern.

Michael ordered the trio of pulled pork, brisket, and ribs, with mac&cheese and sweet potato fries on the side. Yum yum.

Interesting story #1 When we sat down at our table, a lady with a microphone and a cameraman asked if we would like to be a part of a commercial they were filming for the new restaurant. We said sure! I think they were excited that we were there for our anniversary, which makes for a good selling point to the restaurant, that people can come there for everything. Anyway, they filmed us, at a BBQ restaurant, a place where you expect to get messy, while we were both in Sunday dress. Michael in white shirt and tie, and I in a dress and pearls. Paints an interesting picture. They gave us a coupon for a free cobbler, which we ordered that same night. It was REALLY good.

Interesting story #2: The owner of the restaurant came around to our table and asked if everything was okay and we, of course, said yes. I then talked with him about my upbringing in Louisiana and how the BBQ really had an authentic southern taste to it. He was glad to hear it and walked away. Not a minute later, did he come out of the kitchen with a small serving of Jambalaya! It was a special that night and since I was a truly from Cajun country, he wanted me to try it and give my opinion. How fun! We talked about how it could be more spicy, but most people out here can't handle as much heat as southerners do. All in all, it smelled and tasted like Jambalaya, but I'll humbly state that mine is much better. :)
The restaurant has quite the large selection of root beer and I ordered one, but couldn't finish it at the restaurant, so I brought it home. Michael had to take a picture!


The night was late, so we relaxed and watched a movie, saving our cake topper for the next day.

Isn't it beautiful? I'd forgotten how much I LOVED this cake until I saw it again.

With fresh hydrangeas on it, this was the cake of my dreams. I wouldn't have changed a single thing.

The cake was still very moist and the buttercream icing very rich.

Enjoying our slices of cake...

And after our reenactment of the classic shoving of cake in face from our wedding reception. Definitely NOT as bad as a year ago. It was fun though!

All in all, we are just as much, if not MORE in love after a year of marriage than we were the day of our wedding. Things are good and we are looking forward to another year of excitement and possibilities. Can't imagine anything better than going through life with each other. :)