Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Twice Baked Potatoes

6 baking potatoes
6 T butter
1/2 c heaping of Grana Pandano cheese or parmesan cheese
2/3 sour cream
2/3 cottage cheese
1 c half and half
whole package of fresh chives
1 t salt
1/8 t pepper

Preheat to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes and rub olive oil thoroughly over skin and season with seasoning salt. Place in oven and cook for 1 hour.
Let cool and cut into halves. Scoop out potato flesh and mix well with rest of ingredients except paprika. Fill potatoes with mixture and sprinkle top with paprika. Bake for 20 minutes @ 350 degrees.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Red Sauce for Enchiladas

2 T butter
2 T flour
1/4 c chili powder
2 c chicken stock
1 t (heaping) cumin pepper
1 t oregano

Heat butter over medium heat, mixing in the flour to make a roux. When roux is smooth (about 1 min), add chili powder. Continually stir for about 30 seconds (mixture should be thick and crumbly). Add chicken stock, bringing it to boil. Add cumin and oregano. Simmer until mixture reaches desire thickness. Do not overcook. If still too thin, add tortilla chips to mixture.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


So, I have been officially approved for bi-lateral cochlear implantation and have a surgery date of November 11, 2009. My "turn-on" dates are December 2nd and 4th. Giddy up!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Almost Heaven...

White sandy beaches.
Hot and sunny days.
Early morning bike rides followed by swim in pool.
Oyster Po boys for lunch.
Afternoon book reading on the beach accompanied by sounds of crashing waves.
Cocktail hour.
Appetizer contests.
Gourmet meals by candlelight.
Walks on the beach.
Movie nights.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Note to Self

Stay away from the hair coloring aisle.

For crying out loud, write this down and stick it on your forehead: YOUR HAIR TURNS ORANGE EVERY TIME YOU COLOR IT. YOU WILL STILL HAVE TO FORK OVER THAT $100 BUCKS FOR DAMAGE CONTROL.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Beach Menu 2009

Okay family, here is this year's menu. Remember this is not set in stone (except Saturday and Tuesday nights) in case we want to eat out any or all of the nights. Be sure to note which night you are in charge of appetizers. Appetizer award night is Friday night.

Monday, August 31, 2009

White after Labor Day

Those who know me well will tell you that I love etiquette books. They will also tell you that due to my penchant for transgressions in this area, I often look to my books for guidance. Of all my favorites, Judith Martin (aka Ms. Manners) rules. What I love —besides her wickedly dry wit— is her unpretentious approach to etiquette. She is on the bandwagon of "disavow(ing) the slightly embarrassing equation of good manners and money." (Time, Nov 5, 1984) In her book, manners are essential to a civilized society because they are all about kindness and consideration for our fellow man. 

All that to say that to say that I liked this article from the Washington Post on wearing white after Labor day. I will be walking on the wild side and wearing white after Labor day. Not white shoes, mind you. Or white pantyhose...

Wearing White Only in Summer, Weather or Not

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dear Miss Manners:

I'm pleased to note how consideration for others seems to be the guiding principle of manners as you promote them, but one rule of etiquette has puzzled me for a lifetime: the prohibition of wearing white or linen between Labor Day and Easter.

This rule assumes September is always nippy and Easter is always mild, when the reverse can often be true in the United States. The rule seems even more arbitrary when one lives in the subtropics, where February days routinely top 80 degrees. Would you please shed some light on how we might understand this rule?

Consideration for others is something you have kindly shown Miss Manners. When this rule is questioned, it is usually with a barrage of sarcasm and disdain rarely leveled on far more restrictive rules.

Miss Manners is aware of the glamour of rebellion, but could there possibly be a more tepid cause?

The source is a misunderstanding that you share with the ferocious rebels. It is true that consideration for others is a guiding principle of manners, but that is not its only function. It is also a repository of folk customs that are indeed arbitrary, but that folks like to practice anyway. Or, as Miss Manners has learned, hate to.

This one has to do with seasons, not with weather. Easter is a time for bringing out pastel colors and, for those few who care to, straw hats. Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, when white seems refreshing. However, there are no wardrobe police to enforce this, which makes Miss Manners wonder what all the excitement is about.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Loved this morning's devotion from Streams in the Desert...

The Scripture reading is I Cor. 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you..." Of the comments that followed, this one spoke to my heart: 

"Never change God's facts into hopes or prayers but simply accept them as realities, and you will find them to be powerful as you believe them"

So...His grace IS sufficient. And is a reality for those of us who believe.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


This past week Hubs spoke at a conference in Baltimore, and under the auspices of entertaining me, my sister joined us. While Hubs stayed in Baltimore, she and I took a train to DC and spent two days there. By day we wore ourselves slap out through our museum hopping activities and by night revitalized ourselves at the Fairmont Hotel watching the Bachelorette. So fun. We especially enjoyed the 3 hour, 2-margaritas-a-piece lunch at Oyamel Cocina Mexicana (http://www.oyamel.com/). Highly recommend it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Psalms 27:13

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalms 27:13

Abba, Father- help me to see you in all circumstances.

When I am in prosperity, let me see You
When I am afflicted, let me see You
When I am restless and bored, let me see You.
Especially when I am mired in sin and have lost sight of you, let me see You.
For I dwell in the land of the living. Remind me to believe that I will see your goodness in all things.
 I am Yours. Do not let me go...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

I have spent the morning scurrying around the house trying to complete all of my chores. Our godchild's mother is at the doctor's this morning for an ultrasound. Rumor has it that she may induce today. Since I am leaving town tomorrow, I am doing what I can to make this rumor materialize. Praying my heart out. I am certain that she is sick of me texting her.  So hoping to see him before I head out of town.

In this midst of the scurrying, I realized we probably needed to have something for dinner tonight. Given that its been a while since I've been to the store, dinner was looking like frozen pizza. However, I had some leftover chicken, and jalapenos in the fridge. I also had these items in the pantry:

Of course, time was put on hold and  a new recipe was created. This is quick and pretty yummy. Freezes well. I bet it it would also be good with ground beef and taco seasoning added.

Chicken Enchiladas

1 and 1/2 large cooked chicken breast, shredded
1/2 can of fat-free refried beans
1 small can of sliced black olives, drained 
1/2 jar Borders medium salsa
2 small jalapenos (do not deseed), finely diced
1/4 c purple onion, finely diced
4 flour tortilla
1/2 c enchilada sauce
Vermont extra sharp cheese, grated
ripe tomato, chopped

Mix first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Heap mixture equally into center of tortillas. Roll tortillas and place seam side down in baking dish. Pour enchilada sauce over enchiladas, top with grated cheese and sprinkle tomato pieces on top. Bake 350 for 15 minutes.

Monday, June 29, 2009


I love pesto, especially homemade pesto using the basil from our garden. There are so many ways to consume it: as a pasta sauce (especially over cheese-filled ravioli), slathered on Publix's wheat french baguette bread topped with tomatoes or just as a dip. Over the years, I have tried different pesto recipes but recently I found one from Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave that I like the best. Now, I am all about easy as long as quality is not sacrificed. With that in mind, I made some adaptions to her original recipe.

Basil Pesto:
1/4 c pine nuts
1 clove garlic, peeled (I only use fresh)
3 c of lightly packed fresh basil leaves (I use a mix of regular and spicy basil)
1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I use a bit more- see below)
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 c olive oil ( I use finest I can buy - always use first cold-pressed)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (ground sea salt or kosher is best)

I totally disregarded her instructions and made up my own because she has more time on her hands than I do.

First, when you harvest basil, stick them in a vase with water and leave out by your sink. They will keep fine like that for a couple of days. Do not wash until you are ready to use. I find that refrigeration produces black spots quicker.

If you have time, toast pine nuts. Otherwise, skip this section and just use raw pine nuts. Also, if I am out of pine nuts, I use whatever nuts I have on hand- such as almonds or pecans. You can toast on a pan under the broiler or in a skillet.  I prefer a skillet, stirring occasionally until they are golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside. 
In the photo below, I did a whole bag of pine nuts at once because I am always making pesto. The leftover goes into the fridge for the next time I make a batch.

Now, I am not a grater. If it can not be grated using my Kitchen Aid mixer or Punkin, it does not get grated. Hence, I cut about 1/4 or more of Parmesan cheese and drop the block into the food processor.

In the food processor, combine the garlic clove, block of cheese and nuts. Run it until it is chopped and well mixed. Scrap sides down.

While processor is running, put in your basil.

With processor still running, add lemon juice. If you want to squeeze your own lemon juice, have at it. Just put lemon in micro for a couple of seconds so it will be easier to glean all of the juice.

With processor still running, add olive oil. Try to use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil since it does give it a lighter taste.

Stop processor, scrape down the sides, add salt & pepper. Whirl it for a couple of seconds more and then serve or refrigerate or freeze in ice cube trays.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Heaven Stormed

So, yesterday morning Punkin and I sat in the neurosurgeon's office armed with a page and half of questions. I started off explaining my concerns about the compatibility of MRI monitoring of cyst and cochlear implant. The neurosurgeon stopped me.

"There is no cyst"

Me: "I am confused- how can this be?"

Neuro: "What appeared to be a cyst on MRI is actually the spinal-fluid filled hole where your tumor was removed. A mistake was made in how the scan was read."

Me: "How can you be so certain?"

He went on to draw a diagram and explained at length how and why he was certain. Both Houston and I were convinced. 

Me: "So you do you feel comfortable with me forgoing these MRIs?"

Neuro: " I do. We can monitor with blood work and CTs. Go for the cochlear"

What a confirmation. We are meeting with the implant doctor on September 9th to discuss surgery dates.

"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen."
I Timothy 1:17

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No Centerpiece like the Hydrangeas

At the beginning of the summer, Punkin and I installed a hydrangea bed on the North side of the house. So worth the effort! The soup tureen belonged to Punkin's grandmother. The photo does not do justice of just how fabulous hydrangeas look in it.

Nothing like McCarty pottery from Mississippi and french blue hydrangea. Makes me want to fix mint juleps and garlicky bruschettas and serve on deck.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Step Away from the Paint - Part II

The corner cabinet in the pool room? Came with Punkin when I married him. 
Punkin is one smart cookie but as a decorator, all I can say is:
Bless his heart. Bless it.

I so wish I had before pictures of what this contraption looked like before I got a hold of it with paint. I do have a picture of the glass door, so you can image what it looked like:

My curtains and pillows have a leaf design that I love. It is bluish grey with brown. I took the pillow to Lowes and matched base color to the bluish-grey leaf. I then went over it with a rag using a cheap antique glaze.

Copper knobs from Lowes:

Filled the top shelf with glasses that I purchased on a trip to Mexico. On the second shelf is a alabaster bowl that I stole from Mama. 

Here are some pictures of few things that I have added or changed around the house.
 First up is in the guest bathroom upstairs. My sister is quite the monogram Queen and has monogrammed many things for me over the years, so I decided to pull out a "Bee" towel that she did for me before I married:

I fell in love with this monogram art while on a trip in California

On the towel rod I have a plain thin waffle towel and then over it, a white linen hand towel with our monogram on it in white. I love the look of white on white or ivory on white. 

For our master bath, I love look of this fern that I dug up in our backyard. Fortunately, our bath is quite small, which means the fern gets a lot of moisture when our showers steam up the room. He is quite happy.

Moving on to the kitchen...
 Now, most of us shop at flea markets or estate sales to find those wonderful old pieces that add character to a home. I adore shopping at estate sales, but quite frankly, there is nothing quite like shopping at Mama's.
 Every since my ancestors landed in the New World, they have been saving everything and passing it down from generation to generation. Most people inherit money but in our family, we inherit memories. And fortunately, to my delight and Mama's distress, most of those memories are sitting in Daddy's attic. The twining rope used to tie the tomatoes? American Revolution era piece.  The mattress in the guest room? Why, General Lee, for whom I was named, slept on it before he left for the war. 
Oopsie, it looks I am rambling here, so I digress...

After shopping at Mama's two weeks ago I came across an Ironstone hand-painted platter and saucer that belonged to my great-great-great grandmother. Both items were hung over the mail center in our kitchen along with a painting my parents brought back from England:

I also found this fabulous antique bronze floor lamp with a base made out of black marble. I bought a new lampshade from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Am telling you, it pays to shop at Mama's.

The foyer receive a little makeover as well. I pulled out an old side piece that had been sitting in our basement and painted it black. The orchid in the McCarty bowl is from Fresh Market. The photo hanging over the table? My grandfather as a young boy and 3 generations of fathers and grandfathers standing behind him. 

Step Away from the Paint

The blogs are to blame.
Reading several blogs on interior design possessed me to grab a can of paint and pretty much spray paint everything in sight. Punkin may or may not have called Lowes to tell them I was no longer authorized to buy anything resembling a can of paint. 

It is amazing the miracles my new BFF can do:

Accessories can be changed from drab to fab:

Punkin was not crazy about the candlestick transformation, but I am in love! Loving white things- with the exception of my kitchen floors, of course. 

And the pool table lights?? I don't have access to the picture of the lights before they were painted, but if you can image tiffany-style lamps on steroids, you have the picture.

Can  you see the corner cabinet that got transformed to french country? I think the lights nicely ties it all together. I will put up another post on the cabinet so that you can see it up close. It looks so good!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Letter to my Spiritual Family


As you know, my Hous and I have been wrestling for a long time over getting the cochlear implant. All of you know that Houston and I prayed first for a supernatural healing but felt that door was being closed to open the cochlear implant (CI) door.  We utterly believe that our God heals supernaturally but sometimes supernatural healing does not bring the greater glory to Him. With that in mind, I underwent a series of tests to determine if I was even a candidate for a CI. As most of you know, I passed all of those tests and am meeting with the surgeon on Tuesday to discuss CI surgery dates.

One of the downside of having a CI is that it is not compatible with MRI scans because of a magnetic component that is implanted in the recipient's skull. The magnet has to be removed surgically every time an MRI is done. Although there is one CI that can be used with the MRI, right now it does not seem to be a good fit with my hearing needs.

Many of you know that I have been monitored with MRIs every 3 to 5 years for a pituitary tumor that I had removed in 1995. Because I have not had any growth that needed to be treated surgically, my plan was to forgo the MRI scans and just monitor the situation by blood work and medication. My endocrinologist concurred with this plan but wanted to do a final MRI before moving forward even though I just had one last year. I completed that scan on Monday morning.

Yesterday my endocrinologist informed us that a 13 mm (1/2 in) cyst appeared on MRI in front of pituitary. Apparently it was on last year's scan but somehow it went unnoticed by the radiologist. It has not changed in size from last year to this and is well delineated. All in all, she is confident that it is likely a congenital cyst and not problematic. However, she is referring me to a neurosurgeon at Vanderbilt to discuss my options. The cyst in itself does not trouble us because I am not symptomatic. However, this event raises questions about moving forward with the CI. 

For us, the CI is a big deal and a path fraught with many tears, wrestling and perpetual struggles with faith. 

Is this recent event a closing of the CI door or just a testing of faith? I know that He is my constant source of stability and that He provides great wisdom and safety for those who fear Him (Isaiah 33:6). However, I see the storm clouds gathering and I know my weak nature: easily distracted, will naturally choose an easier path and prone to shift my eyes off Him and onto my circumstances. I feel a great need to feel His hand on my head and His encirclement of me (Psalms 139:5). 

All of this to ask if you would pray over me just once. At the risk of coming across as demanding or ungrateful, I ask that you refrain from praying for me if you are not led to do so. I am doing a fine job in the lukewarm department and don't need help there. I need for you to be either hot or cold. If you can not pray for me with passion, please have the courage not to pray at all. There is a time for duty but this is not one of them. 

I don't need Sunday school prayers nor meaningless words. I need strong intervention. I need the storming of heaven, claiming of scriptures, and drawing of the sword against the author of uncertainty, lies and lukewarmness. I need prayers for clarity, peace, guidance, and faith.

your name is on this list because you have a place in our hearts.
           you are ours whether you are cold or hot

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Rains

daughter,  He said to her, "your faith has made you well. go in peace."
luke 8:48

 go in peace.   

i praise you o God of Abraham, Jacob and Issac for rains You are bringing forth. i praise You for a promise kept. a faith increased. i praise You for a family being used as instruments of your glory. You alone are worthy to be praised. You are so worthy of our pouring out our lives for you. 



Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Time Passing Me By

This morning I was reading from Ecclesiastes 3 on how there is a time for everything.  The chapter makes me think of Psalms 139:16 "Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began". I love resting in that comfort of knowing that all of my days and my events, even to the minute details were planned before I was even a thought! How great is His love?!?!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Patio Project

Punkin and I like to grill out on our patio but the view left a lot to be desired:       


At first I considered just putting lattice around the air conditioner unit and calling it a day. However, I realized it would not hide the ugly panel on the brick wall. Planting shrubs in that area was out of the question because I am too impatient to wait for them to get big enough to cover the ugliness.

 Never one to lack for grandiose ideas, I talked Punkin into building a planter box using  the leftover cedar from our deck addition (I really worked the recycling angle on him!) and adding lattice behind it. After sealing it, we filled the planter with dirt and planted  Carolina Jasmine vines.  Carolina Jasmine is an evergreen vine that can grow up to 20 ft and ours should produce yellow flowers in early spring.

We still have a lot of work to do on the patio, but it is fun to see the different stages of progress. 

On the table is a planter that is actually the top of an old bird bath. Since it is cracked on the bottom, it is perfect for holding succulents. I hope these succulents will take over by the end of the summer.