Thursday, March 29, 2012


This past weekend, we went to Brad's boss' daughter's wedding.  Got that?  It was great to finally meet the Vanns!

At the reception.  Natalie's husband, Preston, is cousins with the Vanns so their whole clan was there too. 

The reception was at the beautiful family plantation in South Carolina.  What a perfect day!

I made a Christmas ornament out of the wedding invitation for Neely and Russell.  I did this for Megan and Adi last year and they both turned out great!  I just cut the invitation into strips and curled each strip slightly.  The most important ones (names, date, venue) I just barely curled so they would be on the outside of the ornament and more visible.  Then, just thread each piece through the opening and swirl around until you like its position.  I tied a pretty ribbon around the top and finished with their initial in metallic paint marker. 

Such a great idea for a meaningful (but easy) wedding gift!

man casserole

Very hardy, one dish dinner.  And, for a couple of folks that don't like leftovers, this one is great with no weird consistency changes upon reheating.

I used Publix Greenwise Italian chicken sausage but I bet turkey sausage would be great too.  I just used cans of crushed tomatoes and whatever herbage I had around.  DO NOT used boxed potatoes.  Mashed potatoes are one of the easiest things to make.*  I did not use nearly this much cheese either. 

*To make mashed potatoes, cut peeled potatoes into small 1/2 inch cubes and cover with water in microwave-safe bowl.  Cook in microwave until fork tender.  Drain and use a masher to incorporate your choice of milk, butter, sour cream, etc.  Experiment with it but go slowly because it will get too runny fast.  Be sure to add plenty of salt!

meatless monday

So, I actually made this last night.  But, this gave me the idea to start meatless Mondays after the craziness of Masters is over.  I realized I had a ton of grapes that I needed to eat.  This is one of my favorite dishes!  It is so cool and refreshing - perfect for summer.  Just cut the grapes lengthwise.  Layer on sour cream (I used fat free) and sprinkle with a little dark brown sugar.   

Place in the fridge for the sugar to soak into the sour cream for about an hour. 

Yum - almost gone.  Actually, my favorite fruit dip is sour cream with some brown sugar mixed in and allowed to melt.  So good!  This is great for dessert as well. 

For veggies, I made these so-called zucchini tots.  The flavor was great but there are a few things I would change.  For one thing, unless I am making these as finger food, the small portions are not necessary.  I will just spread this in a small casserole dish next time.  It actually has a hash consistency so I think this would be nice.  My mini muffin tin cups had a little rust in them so I thought I would try it with liners.  Not smart - they stuck like crazy.  So, definitely lube up your cooking vessel of choice.  Now, for the ingredients...

1 c grated zucchini (I used one large zucchini)
1 egg
1/4 chopped onion (I used my onion flake)
1/4 c cheese (I used cheddar but parm would be yummy too)
1/4 c Italian bread crumbs
S & P

After grating the zucchini, ring it out in a dish towel.  Mix with all remaining ingredients and spoon into your baking dish/muffin tin.  Bake at 400 until the top is brown and crunchy. 

granola balls

It is true; these taste just like cookie dough.  Omg.  We eat these for breakfast every morning.  My first attempt was VERY sticky and was hard to roll.  Below is how I do mine now.

2/3 c almonds
2/3 c walnuts
2/3 c quick oats
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c agave nectar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 T dark chocolate chips

Process the dark chocolate chips until they are about half the original size or smaller.  Move that to a mixing bowl.  Process the walnuts, almonds and oats until it makes a fine meal.  Add the cinnamon and salt and mix.  Add the agave nectar and vanilla and process until all ingredients are wet.  Combine the processed ingredients with the dark chocolate in the mixing bowl and stir until well-combined.  With lubed hands (cooking spray is what I used), roll balls into 1 inch spheres and freeze until ready to eat.  Enjoy!!!

*Jami's notes: I double this recipe for about two week's worth.  You could skip the processing of the chocolate but I found the regular-sized chips were too big for the dough to roll well.  So, I would recommend processing it or using mini chips (if mini dark chocolate chips even exist).*

Here's the original link for this recipe if you're interested. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

birmingham trip

Last weekend, we were able to get over to Birmingham.  I can't believe it has been almost four years since I have been there! 

We got there just in time for lunch at Taziki's with the Smissons.  I had never met sweet Burton!  He is the cutest thing.  (Forgive the iphone photos, I forgot to charge my real camera.  Dumb.)  So great to visit with Marty and Blake.  It had been far too long!

After that, we drove over to the next village and visited with my Phi Mu lil sis!  Lauren and Andrew lived in Beaufort when I was in Charleston so we hung out there some as well.  They have two adorable little girls that were napping although we did meet their youngest.  Love the Pearsons!

Then, we scooted over to Homewood to meet Ms. Caroline Little.  Anna Cate was working on potty training this darling - by herself, so brave!  So good to catch up and have a glass of wine with AC. 

View of the Big City skyline on the way back downtown. 

We did drive down my old road in Mtn Brook village while there.  This type of duplex is where I used to live...

They have now been replaced by these huge townhomes.  Glad I got to live there while I could afford it!

We hit up Bottega Cafe for dinner.  Man, I miss that place.  Brad couldn't resist the cuban sammy.  With a fried pork cutlet and mortadella, he said it's the best sandwich he has ever had. 

The cafe mac & cheese has always been my fave!

We even saw a little of home on the road.  Actually, I think they were going to an event at the Sheraton as we saw them there as well...

Great pic at the Avett Brothers cancert.  Ha.  They put on such an amazing show.  Love them!!

Sunday, we enjoyed a quick breakfast before leaving town.

Yummy, yummy, yummy.  I had purple grits from purple corn.  I have never not had to season restaurant grits but these were perfectly seasoned from the outset.  Bacon, eggs and toast too.  Brad got biscuits and gravy and hashbrowns.  Mmmmm.
And, the damage.  Wow.

We really enjoyed our time in Birmingham.  I hate we missed the Crunks, Matt and the Adams'.  It is not a place you just 'hop over to' but hopefully we can get back before another 4 years go by!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

down time

The Shinglers have been enjoying a bit of down time lately.  We have had plenty to do but nothing too crazy and nothing out of town!  Here's a long-overdue list (in order for me to live up to this blog's title):


Finding a church to join
We have gone to a few but still trying to find the best fit.


Working around the house
This is always fun!  Brad's been doing yard work, we have replaced some furniture, had a few maintenance projects, etc.


Visited our (hopefully) eventual land
It is looking like an April closing on this so we have gone out to see the progress, take pictures, pick out the home site and walk the boundaries.


Enjoying some musical TV
Currently watching Idol (go Philip Philips!) and The Voice.  We are also fans of The Sing-off.  X-factor sorta.


Dinner with the folks
We hadn't seen Bill and Debbie since Christmas (!) so we had a group dinner with my parents as well.  Good to have everyone together!


Planning, planning, planning
We have been putting together several different trips and activities for the spring and summer.  Heading to Birmingham this weekend for an Avett Brothers show and to visit, our anniversary trip will be on the way back from Chicago for Adi's business school graduation (probably to Jamaica), a summer beach trip with Megan/Adi and friends to Charleston and the PGA Championship at Kiawah.  We are also thinking that we need to host a field day of sorts to commemorate the Olympics! The First Annual Shingler Olympics are slated for May and will feature all sorts of yard games for adults and kiddos alike.  We may even have medals to pass out. 


Brunch with the girls
Martha's birthday was the 19th so we had an impromptu brunch at our house while Brad was golfing.  It was a blast but definitely not enough time together.  We are planning a girl's trip for early May.
A funeral
This was a tough one.  A dear teacher passed away after a long battle with Parkinson's.  I used to grade papers for her in high school (crazy right?!) and our families were close.  She was a wonderful teacher, mother, wife and friend.  It was nice to get together with others and celebrate her life however!  Here's a funny story shared by the preacher:  Mrs. Barbara Dell was always willing to go help others.  She got a call one night that someone needed her help.  She was cooking dinner and two of her children, Cully and Hanna, were watching TV.  She grabbed everyone up and raced out the door.  Her youngest child, Cleve, came home and found the doors open, lights on, pots boiling over on stove, TV blaring but not a soul in sight.  He told the preacher later that he thought the rapture had happened.  His first thought was to look for his brother Cully because he knew that if he was still there, Cully had to be as well.  What a great memory...


Hi, I am Jami and I am a Pinterest addict.  I mean, really, it's excessive.  I have decided I am just a 'pin'hoarder because there is no way I will ever use all those recipes.  But, I am trying!  The ones worth repeating get posted here so stay tuned.


Since we have some free time, Brad and I are trying to catch up on some movies.  We watched 'Unforgiven' lately, the classic Western.  And, I am really looking forward to the Hunger Games movie!!

I guess that is it for now.  After Birmingham, we have a wedding around here and then I will work 19 days straight for Masters.  Yikes.  So, I am going to stock up the freezer with easy meals and try to get as much sleep as possible after next weekend.  Hope you are enjoying this nice spring weather!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

pita pizzas

Usually what we eat on a 'what's for dinner' night.  Semi-healthy and super easy!

I'm sure a lot of you do something similar with English muffins, or the same thing exactly, but thought I would share in case it's new to someone out there.

Pita Pizzas

Place pita pockets (I use whole wheat) with the concave surface facing up.  Spoon on marinara or pizza sauce and top with desired ingredients.  Bake at 350 until hot and melty.

I always have these ingredients on standby and these can be made in less than 30 minutes.  Yum!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

broccoli chicken casserole

I had a lot of broccoli that I needed to do something with so I made this 'skinny' casserole.  It was very good!

I didn't make many changes to this one.  Instead of dirtying another pan though, I just put the broccoli in the casserole dish and made the sauce in the same pan.  I just used an extra large casserole dish so I could stir everything together in it. 

granola bars

Brad and I eat granola bars most mornings for breakfast so I decided I would like to try making my own.  They are just about as easy as buying them, taste better and are much better for you.  Plus, they are much less expensive!

I used this recipe as a template. 

I added cinnamon, a touch of vanilla, peanut butter chips, raisins and sliced almonds.  I used 1/3 cup of honey but I think I should have used more.  These were very crumbly so I am going to have to experiment with more 'glues.'  Other recipes have suggested mashed bananas (not for me but will probably work), peanut butter or apple sauce.  The possibilities are endless for additions!

If you have any suggestions, let me know!

arugula salad and goat cheese potatoes

Salad and potatoes just go with steak, huh?  We grilled these amazing steaks from Fresh Market last weekend so I made my favorite arugula salad and these potatoes to go with them. 

I love arugula!  I dress it with a little olive oil, kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, feta and pine nuts.  It is divine every time!

These potatoes were made from a pinterest recipe.  They were really easy and oh so good.  However, it uses a LOT of salt.  I cut the recipe in half but only used 1/2 c of salt.  I think as long as you crowd them in a dish so they remain upright, it works just fine.  They still had a great flavor, even before the goat cheese.