Pretty Pics From Pinterest: Outdoor Dinner Parties

Well, we made it to Friday, the weekend has arrived! Aren’t you excited? I can’t wait to eat waffles and ignore the growing fur bunnies under my couch.¬† (We don’t grow dust bunnies, we grow fur bunnies. If you have a dog that sheds profusely then you’ll totally understand the fur bunnies.). As I had mentioned in my previous post, it’s a three day weekend!! (!!!!) Which gives me an extra day to eat those yummy waffles and watch the persistent fur bunnies grow under the couch. With Labor Day weekend upon us, it kind of feels like summer is coming to an end, even though summer doesn’t officially end until September 22. Doesn’t it feel like fall is rushing in and stealing summer from us? Maybe it’s just the warm weather girl in me, but I’m always a little sad to see summertime come to a close. I love fall and spring and can tolerate winter, but summer seems to be the season I mourn the most when those transitional times come upon us every few months. Although, I’m the type that gets sad when her food is over, so maybe I just have some attachment issues.

Anywho, back to the point of this post, the end of summer. This summer I didn’t have any get togethers, mainly because the last get together we had at the house was so stressful I wasn’t sure if I could put myself through all that trauma again. Trauma you ask, from a party you ask? Let’s just say it involved the police pounding on my door at 6am and a fire truck. (You can read about that drama here and here)

Since I chose not to put myself threw the ringer this year, I wanted to spy on a few outdoor parties from Pinterest. I love Pinterest, it gives me blogging material for Fridays! ūüėÄ If you are curious about the original source of these pretty pics, click on the picture or the link below the picture and you’ll be taken to the original website.

Via Pinterest Via Houzz

Via Pinterest via Lavender and Ash

Via Pinterest via Desire to Inspire

Via Pinterest via Real Simple

Via Pinterest via Martha Stewart Living

Via Pinterest via Country Living

Via Pinterest via Design Your Revolution

Happy Weekend Everyone!!!!

Scenes from the weekend

At the end of this Monday, I thought I’d unwind a bit by re-living some scenes from the weekend.

All of my weekends include thrifting, apparently it’s become a big part of my life. What once was something I indulged in once a month has become a once week occurance, sometimes more. I should never have introduced my Bubba to this addictive past time, he’s become much more into it that I ever was. Although, you’d think I was the thrifting nut judging by my newest hoard. I’ll tell you more about some of those finds in a later post. Or when the crew of¬†Hoarders comes to pay me a visit.

Aside from indulging in some thrifting we also indulged in some fried goods, without a political agenda. Mmmmm….msg.

The dogs savored the fat and grease laden leftovers…also without a political agenda.

Then I ended the weekend with a quiet Sunday afternoon….

While Annie-dog creepily watched…

What did you do this weekend?

April’s photo dump

As I may have mentioned a time or two, I have a penchant for taking a ridiculous amount of photos, but sadly I don’t have the same penchant for blogging about them. So to remedy that problem, you have the honor of witnessing my first ever photo dump. Yeah, I’ve done monthly wrap ups, and I even did an entire blog recap when I hit 100 posts. But this time, I don’t really have a reason for sharing random photos, except just for the sheer joy of putting them out there. So, grab a tall glass of sweet tea and get comfy…

During the month of April I celebrated my 20+10+1 birthday. (I’ll let you do the math.)

Bubba makes a homemade birthday cake for me every year. And every year Annie-dog supervises.

Besides the delicious cake, I also received tulips for my birthday. Purple ones…

And white ones! Oh, and I finally got to use my owl vase!

The weekend before my birthday we took a little trip down to Las Cruces  where we viewed the raging Rio Grande River.

Visited with Bubba’s family…

Dined at one of our favorite Italian food establishments…

Then on our way home, saw many desolate areas…

After all the birthday celebrating had calmed down, it was time to celebrate Easter. One of my favorite holidays, not only is it a holiday filled with pretty pastels and Peeps (come on how could you not love sugar covered marshmallows?) it’s also a day to celebrate our Savior’s glorious resurrection.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3

Apparently, this photo dump turned into a recap of April, and of course a recap of a national holiday, my birthday!!

Bottega Louie

When you heard from me last I went on about my lodging while in Los Angeles. Today I wanted to talk about where I ate while in LA., honestly there should be more pictures of food as I did eat at more than one restaurant and did have more than just beautiful baked goods. But apparently other meals weren’t nearly as camera ready as this particular dining experience.

The first meal was had at the beautiful Bottega Louie in downtown LA. I had the lasagna with the traditional meat sauce. It was pretty good, not amazing, but very edible.

Honestly though, the draw for me was the gorgeous baked goods and sweets that ol’ Louie offered.

Oh yeah, and those colorful cookies up there are called macarons they are not pronounced nor anything similar to their coconut laden cookie cousin macaroons. Theses guys are the most light and DE-licous thing I’ve had, well ever. I want to learn how to make them and decorate my home with them, they are that pretty and yummy. And of course I had to buy some to bring home. If you ever find yourself in downtown LA, I highly suggest you pay Bottega Louie a visit, but expect to pay a pretty penny. My box of five cookies was $10.

But oh so worth it, I even saved the box. Isn’t it pretty? I don’t know what I’ll do with it, but my hoarding tendencies tell me to hang on to it. Maybe I’ll keep it to store stray earrings.

Aside from the cute little cookie hamburgers, I brought back truffles for the ladies in my office:

And butter cookies for my Bubba:

All baked goods were gone in less than two days, I’d say they went over very well with their recipients!

Meals had after Bottega Louie were just as delicious but apparently weren’t nearly as photo worthy, but believe me when I say I had more to eat other than lasagna and cookies while visiting the great City of Angels. Although cookies and lasagna wouldn’t be a horrible diet, but my jeans would say probably say otherwise.

Stay tuned for the next post, I’ll be sharing all the sights I saw while in LA!

Long time

By the time you read this post, I should bin the air on my way home from LA. Yup, you read that right, Los Angeles, The City of Angels. It’s not a vacation though I am here on account of a conference for my 9 to 5 job. But I didn’t come here to talk about work, I came here to dust the cobwebs off my old blog home.¬† I know it’s been a long time, apparently I inadvertently took a blogging break. There’s been a lot going on around these parts lately, and I’ve got A LOT to share and show you. But it’s going to take sometime to edit all the photos I want share with you. So stay tuned for those.

But for now, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite memories of LA.

Nom, nom, nom….

 

Poke me with a stick, it’s Monday!

Shall we start the week off with a weekend recap? I hope you said yes, because that’s what you’re getting!

This weekend was marvelous! It started out with dinner at our favorite pizza joint, JJ’s, I’ll be doing a post about that soon. (JJ has the best pizza in all of the Duke City, if you ask me!) Then on Saturday, my sweet mom and I went to see a live performance of Anne of Green Gables, performed at the Albuquerque Little Theater. Honestly, it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had at a live performance. Then we had another yummy meal, this time it was at a chain, Taco Cabana. But still yummy. Sunday flew by, since we lost that hour. But that didn’t some me from trying a little project, I got ambitous and thought I’d clean out a spare room. The room where Bubba keeps his “gaming” equipment. This included 12 gaming systems, countless games, an excuriating amount of cables, and so many dust bunnies I’m still coughing them up.

It was a great weekend, and if I’d had half a brain there would be pictures to share with you. But alas, my half brain wasn’t working this weekend, so I have no pictures. Only the sweet memories of a great weekend.

I do however, have pictures from past weekends that pretty much sum up an average Saturday and Sunday in my life right now.

I usually try to cram in a chore or two, nothing too involved. That’s something I have to build up to. (Like cleaning out Bubba’s toys. Not that I don’t have any of my own.) A couple of weekends ago, I finally pulled out a new shop vaccuum that sweet mom bought us. It was time to vaccuum all the Goldie needles and Annie fuzz out of the car anyway. This would be a great test of how much this thing sucked.

I must say, I’m mighty pleased, and it even rolls now that I’ve installed the wheels! I’ll spare you the hairy before and afters though.

After cleaning the car out, it was time to take the girls somewhere so they could re-needle and re-fuzz up the car.

They only tolerate the camera when they know there is a car ride and eventual walk in it for them.

On this particular day, we went on a picnic to a quiet and empty elementary school. (Where dogs are allowed I might add.)

(Yummy red enchiladas! No wonder my jeans are in a constant state of panic.)

The girls wanted some, can you tell?

After lunch and begging it was time to run, and then eventually get poked with the ball thrower for not coming when called. Annie is the only shepherd dog I know that must be shepherded herself. She would never last on a ranch.

While Annie was getting herded I took a random shot of this school bell. There is something about the texture of the brick and the color of the bell. I love these old school buildings. It’s a shame they don’t build them like this anymore.

What did you do this weekend? Have a picnic? Poke your dog with a stick?

New Years 2012

When you last heard from me, I went on and on about our Christmas spent with my sweet Momma. This time around, I thought I’d talk about how Bubba and I celebrated New Years, and another certain milestone.

On December 29th, Bubba and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Yeah, I know, an entire year as a married woman! I can’t believe it either, and neither can Bubba as I am still referred to as “the girlfriend”. Hopefully, soon I can stop asking him who is girlfriend is when he starts remembering who is wife is.

To celebrate this milestone, we decided it would be fun to head back down to Las Cruces, where we tied the knot, and where my Bubba was born and raised. While we were down there we visited with his family, and my in-laws. There was lots of chatter, and lots of driving from place to place.

Being back in our old college town, and the place where we became Mr. and Mrs. Bubba,¬† allowed us to sort of re-live our wedding feast. We ate at the same restaurant that we hosted the wedding dinner, and ate nearly the same dishes we had that evening exactly one year before. It was tastey, romantic, and quiet. And apparently, un-photo worthy as I didn’t take one shot of our anniversary evening or any shots of my sweet in-laws.

I did however, make sure to get a picture of my most favorite of seasonal treats, a peppermint caliche from the former Scoopy’s. If you are ever in the Las Cruces area, I highly recommend this frozen custard stand, Caliches, named after one of it’s most popular menu items. It’s guaranteed to make your mouth happy, but your jeans grimace.

New Year’s came and went, without a photo to prove it. Actually, it didn’t even feel like a holiday. Bubba and I spent it at home, watching movies and in general being lazy. Which is sort of a holiday, taking the day off, forgetting the stress of day to day life.¬† But to me a holiday should be filled with lots of home cooked food and family. Maybe next year, I will plan a nice dinner and invite nearby loved ones. We could have who-pudding and rare who-roast beast. Doesn’t that sound delicious?

Finally Thanksgiving

I’d thought it was about time to share my Thanksgiving with you before we got further along into Christmas. And before we get too wrapped up into, shopping, wrapping, sending, wishing, trimming, decorating, missing holiday linky parties that seem to come all too soon for my taste, and in general trying to simplify the holiday season without actually simplifying it all. *WHEW* Exhausted much?

Anywho, for Thanksgiving the Bubs and I visited my sweet mom. We ate until our jeans screamed out in agony, then we unbuckled our belts and ate some pie. Skinny jeans were totally out of the question with this feast laid out.

Fruit salad, yummy yams (that are so sweet they could rot your teeth), turkey, fresh roll, and over course the corn bread dressing. Turkey is not the main man here, it’s definitely the dressing. Thanksgiving at our house is just not complete without Grandma’s cornbread dressing. And it’s oh so easy to make. If you ever get a hankerin’ for some warm comfort food, here’s the recipe.

Corn Bread Dressing

1/2 cup onion chopped finely

1/2 cup celery diced fine

2/3 cup butter

2 quarts cornbread crumbs (be sure the cornbread is well browned)

6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Chicken or Turkey stock

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute the onion and celery in butter. In a large mixing bowl  crumble the cornbread and add the chopped hard-boiled eggs to the cornbread. After eggs and cornbread are mixed, add the sauted onion and celery to cornbread mixture. Season with salt and pepper, and moisten with chicken stock or turkey stock. Turn into a shallow well buttered casserole dish and bake until golden brown on top.

But before feasting on our traditional dressing and pie, I felt compelled to make a pretty table. Why should we eat a delicious dinner at an un-dressed table?

Simple, easy, and not so naked anymore.

It was so easy to dress the table too, my mom has all the fixins’ for a beautiful table. So, everything I used was just around the house. She’s got the prettiest serving dishes too.

And just like me, she likes her home to be festive for the holiday.

I can’t wait to see what she does for Christmas!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and aren’t forgetting the Reason for the Season.

Blissful Brownies

So this past weekend, Bubba showed his love towards me in the most affectionate and romantic way. A way in which I couldn’t refuse, I was putty in his hands, he was the little red headed girl to my Charlie Brown, the Wesley to my Princess Bride, the Prince Eric to my Ariel (but minus the crabs, their pinchers scare me.) I think you get the picture, the Bubs had done something so extraordinary I just couldn’t resist.

He made me these…

My heart goes pitter-patter just looking at the picture of this long consumed brownie. The batch went so fast I had to snatch this photo of the last corner piece quickly, and then secretly snarf it down before Bubs found out.

The recipe came from our favorite vintage cookbook:

The dust jacket is worn, but the wealth of yummy goodness is still new to us. If you don’t know about the genius that was Helen Corbitt, then follow this wikipedia link. But if you are too lazy to click on the link here’s the run down, Ms. Corbitt was a Yankee who moved to Texas and fell in love with the Lone Star State. The LA Times has stated that Helen Corbitt is “the Julia Child-esque cooking celebrity with a Texas twang”. Which pretty much sums up her writing style and her cooking style. If you find a copy of her cookbook, I’d suggest snapping it up before anyone else does.¬† I¬† can guarantee it will be a good read, even if you don’t cook.

If I’ve gotten you so excited you can’t wait to get a hold of this wonderful book filled with many edible delights, here’s the recipe for these foot thumping, ecstasy inducing brownies:

Fudge Brownie Fingers

2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. melted butter
2 squares bitter chocolate, melted
3/4 c. AP flour, sifted
1/2 t. salt
1 c. finely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans usual; black walnuts divine)
1 t. vanilla

Beat eggs slightly; add sugar and stir. Add melted butter and chocolate. Mix flour, salt and nutmeats and add to egg mixture. Add vanilla and stir until well blended, but do not beat.

Pour into a well-buttered 9″ pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool and cut into 2″ fingers and roll in powdered sugar. Or grab a fork, dig in, and don’t share!! IT’S ALL MINE!!!

Tastes like burning…

A thousand points to anyone who can name that T.V. show!

In my post about our backyard party, I talked¬† about the joy of sharing our home with our friends and family for the first time, the work that went into preparing the house for such a gathering, and I touched on some of the stress that went along with such an undertaking. Like working for 3 solid months to get the yard slightly presentable, by planting grass seed then when the seed didn’t take,¬† having to sod over the seed just to get the dirt covered up. Then on the day of,¬† running to the grocery store to pick up my pre-ordered cupcakes, only to realize I really needed to go to another one a few miles further down the road. But thankfully the sweet ladies at the first grocery store kindly called around until we located the elusive cupcakes. Thank you thank you for such kind and professional people!

Unfortunately, losing the cupcakes was not the only sweat inducing obstacle of the day.¬† Remember in my party post I’d mentioned another stressor that involved law enforcement, the fire department, and a very sleepy April?

Well, it all started at 6 am that warm and sunny morning. You see, Bubba and I decided it would be  nice to have some home smoked brisket and pork loin so that there would  be some balance between store bought dishes and homemade dishes. So, a week before the party Bubba and I ran to the store to buy nearly 30 pounds of brisket. (No worries, we kept both of them nice and chilled in the fridge that week, so no spoiling.)

The morning of, Bubba woke bright and early at 5am to start the smoking process. Having smoked meat before, and not having any problems in the past, Bubba decided it would be fine to take the doggies on an early morning drive/stroll. While leaving me in bed asleep. By this point, I had only been in bed a couple of hours, staying up late to do some very last minute cleaning. So off Bubba, Annie and Goldie went on their adventure, while I lay peacefully asleep dreaming of a perfectly clean house with a meticulously manicured yard to host my garden party. Until I was rudely awakened.

At 6am, an hour after the meat had been put on the grill to smoke, I heard a ring at my doorbell. Thinking it was just another salesperson or possibly a Jehovah’s Witness, I ignored it and went back to sleep. 5 minutes later the door bell started ringing again, this time the door bell was accompanied by a bang on the door. I got up in a sleepy daze with my eyes barely opened, grabbed a cardigan and shuffled towards the front door. Not wanting to catch the attention of the rude soul who woke me from my slumber, but still wanting to see who it was, I peeked around the corner. Not seeing the rude soul at my door, I stumbled into the kitchen hoping to find my husband (I didn’t know he had run off with the dogs for an outing). Peeking into the backyard, I saw the grill with a few flames coming out the sides. Before I could grab my cell phone to call Bubba, or run out there with the garden hose,¬† I heard a bang on the living room window.¬† I turned around to find a police officer, who was quite perturbed it had taken so long for someone to answer the door.

Again, not really knowing where Bubba and the dogs were, I answered the door fearing the worst.¬† Upon opening the door , I found a police officer on my front porch, with 4 others blocking my street. Quite shaken I honestly can’t remember what the police officer’s exact words were, but it went something like this:

Officer: “Did you know there is smoke coming out of your grill?.”

Me: “Meh?”

Officer: “There’s smoke, coming out of your grill in the back.” *In a rather condescending and perturbed tone*

Me: *Rubbing my eyes to focus and actually see who had woken me up.* “There might be, my husband was going to be smoking some brisket. There’s supposed to be smoke when one is smoking meat.”

Officer: “Not that much smoke! I could see it from the highway!”

(Which highway I am unsure of, surely it couldn’t be the highway that is more than a mile from my house.)

Me: “Well, let me put it out with my garden hose. It’s not that bad.”

Officer: “Ma’am you need to get out of the house, I have dispatched the fire department.”

From there it gets blurry again, but being half asleep I still understood that he was being over cautious, which I am grateful for,  and slightly over zealous.  I told him I would be out in a minute, I just needed to grab my cell phone.

Even half asleep and in immediate “danger” of getting my eyebrows singed off I still considered my cell phone another appendage. However, there was no time to grab the cell phone, the officer grabbed my arm and not so gently guided me out of the house and across the street. Apparently, the two very large very heavy, and slightly expensive briskets had caught on fire. Which would explain the fairly small flames I saw shooting out from our beloved grill.

So off I went, to stand in front of my neighbors house, in my purple polka dot pajamas, no shoes, old NMSU t-shirt, a purple cardi (at least the cardi matched my pjs!), and a grouchy I-only-got-three-hours-sleep look on my face. The officer charged with making sure I didn’t go berzerk and say use a simple garden hose to put the fire out, kept asking me where my husband was, where the dogs were, and why we were cooking so much cow. I remember grumbling something about the party, assuming my husband took the dogs on a walk, and not quite comprehending why I had to stand across the street from my home in my pj’s when not even 10 minutes before I had been blissfully asleep in a nice warm bed.

In between his questions and my rather grumpy answers, I had requested that Bubba be phoned so that he would know our feast had been ruined and his wife was quite irate. However, (yes, there are a lot of “howevers” in this story), the number of the dispatcher appeared to be several zeros instead of an actual number on the Bub’s cell phone. So, Bubba did not pick-up nor did the dispatcher leave a voicemail.

All the while, off in the distance I heard the sirens of the fire truck¬† getting closer and closer. With each wail of the siren and howl of nearby dogs, I¬† prayed that the neighbors didn’t come out to see what all the hub bub was about. (Oh, and also that the house didn’t burn down!) Thankfully, it was so early everyone was still asleep. Besides that, hearing a siren through our neighborhood is not an uncommon occurrence.¬† One point for urban living!

Once the wailing had died down and the fire truck arrived with its  FIVE firemen they pulled the huge hose out (that sounded dirty) and put our little fire out. It took all but 5 minutes, and the firemen and their red firetruck were on their merry little way back to the station. I heard one of them mumble something about just using a bucket of water as he climbed back into his seat on the truck.  Apparently, my pleas for leaving me alone with a garden hose were not unfounded.

After the firemen left, the original police officer checked the grill,  and declared the backyard and my home safe for occupation once again. Thankfully, there were no citations issued only a warning to be more careful next time.

Even though I felt the police officer had over reacted, I am thankful that he did. We could have lost so much more than a couple pieces of burnt bovine and grill brush if this police officer hadn’t been so attentive. I certainly commend those who serve and protect our city, it’s certainly a difficult and under appreciated job. Oh, and our grill was saved to live on and smoke the pork loin we served at the party instead of the brisket.

Here’s a shot of the grill a couple weeks later, I was too shaken to take a picture of the charred brisket and ash after the “rescue” workers left.

(Don’t pay any attention to the crack in the patio, or the innocent Annie-dog in the background.)