Monday, May 28, 2012

lemon trout almondine

I love trout and have been dying to cook some lately.  I picked these filets up at Fresh Market and we really enjoyed this almondine.  (I made baked okra to go with it but I wasn't super-happy with it so I will keep trying before I post that recipe.  Flavor was good but they were dry, especially after they cooled off.)

I followed this one as written.  My favorite is trout in a brown butter sauce but that is not so healthy.  :)

new orleans-style shrimp

Meatless Mondays has turned into pescatarian Mondays.  This shrimp dish was so flavorful!

I used the EZ Peel shrimp from Publix and some leftover Cajun fry seasoning from Five Guys as the seasoning.  Tony's would work well too.  I used a lot less butter than the recipe called for and could have used olive oil.  I just added the corn to the pan to heat it.  Why have another bowl to wash by heating it in the microwave?  We aren't big tomato fans so I used the juice from some canned tomatoes that worked perfectly.  I brushed a little olive oil on the bread before I toasted it.  Making the shrimp stock takes a little time but I think it was definitely worth it!  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

the shingler games

On Saturday, we hosted the First Annual Shingler Games!  It started as a tribute to the 2012 Olympics but I am sure it is something we will do every year.  The problem is finding a weekend that works for everyone, of course.  May is the best weather but we had to stay away from Mother's Day and Memorial Day.  So we ended up competing with graduations and Blind Willie.  We moved it from 11 am to 1 pm to catch the afternoon crowd.  Despite missing the Lawrences, Bowens, Scoggins', Scotts, Collins' and Griffins (to name a few), we had a blast!

Mike, Brad and Trey playing cornhole.  We also had ladder golf.

Trey brought Hal and Elizabeth by that morning and they were able to test out some of our events.  The bubble gun was a big hit!

They also helped us set up the velcro darts at kiddie height.

Aidan and Brantley sporting some patriotic tattoos.  Love that Aidan wore his London 2012 shirt!

I had good intentions of buying hula hoops and painting them the Olympic rings colors.  But, with work, a bathroom renovation and other stuff, it just didn't happen.  So, I raided the July 4th section at Party City instead.  I will be recycling some of it too at the lake.  :)

I made an errant throw with ladder golf and Banjo retrieved it for me.  Silly dog...

Beth, Allen, Liza and Gail on the sidelines.  

Trey, William, Brad and Allen

Emma Sue trying a fresh-grown carrot!  My garden is right off the deck so I decided to let some folks taste how yummy fresh carrots are.  They can't be beat!

Emma Sue riding Banjo.  I wish I could bottle her laugh; she thought this was hysterical!  Banjo - not so much.  Ha.  But, she was a good sport...

Aidan and Brantley decided they wanted to play in the firepot.  Not sure why but it was entertaining!

We did have some slight drama.  I bought Brad this remote-controlled helicopter (like one we played with at Levi's) and he managed to fly it into the neighbor's yard.  Instead of walking around the block, we broke out the fishing rod to retrieve it.  You might be a redneck if...

Campbell, Aidan and Brantley playing in the Crazy Gecko sprinkler I got at Publix.  Cold water!!

Alyson and Dave

Beth, Michele, Liza and Gail

William with the rescued helicopter

William and Jay brought their yellow labs over to play with Banjo.  This is Jackson Dozier.  :)

Trying cornhole.  I need lots of practice!

(Man, even after losing almost 20 pounds, I still look fat!  I haven't been able to wear these shorts for 2 years!  Must be the puffy shirt - ha.)

Kirk and Sami.  The ice pops in the red tub were a huge hit with the kiddos!  We might have 3 left.

The McKinneys.  (Still can't get these pictures to post right)

Salsa rollups - man these were delish!

Combine 8 oz of softened cream cheese with desired amount of salsa.  (I added shredded chicken too.)  Spread on tortillas and sprinkle with Mexican mix cheese and chili powder.  Roll up and chill until set.  Slice and serve!

Sami showing off her fireworks tattoo.

Emma Sue showing off her shades.

Of course I didn't get a picture of the full spread until it was gone.  :(
I also served:

Cowboy Sushi
Spread softened cream cheese on deli meat (I used ham) and wrap it around a dill pickle.  Slice and serve.
Warning: this is messy but so worth it!

Veggie Pizza
Pinch into one big sheet (or two)  two cans of crescent roll dough.  Bake for about 10 minutes until brown and slightly crispy, let cool.  Spread with 8 oz of softened cream cheese mixed with an envelope of ranch mix.  (It called for 1 c of mayo/sour cream too but I skipped that and, subsequently, should have used less ranch.)  Top with veggies of choice.  I processed some broccoli and carrots and added that.  Cut into squares and sprinkle each with shredded cheddar.  Crowd favorite!

Geez, I used a lot of cream cheese huh?  Good thing it was all low fat or fat free!

The menu also included pigs in a blanket, fruit and cookies.  I thought it was going to be way too much food but it was gone in a flash!

For the adults, I made beer pops.  Just fill popsicle molds with beer (I used Corona Light with a splash of lime juice) and freeze.  Of course, they spilled over so I had to chip it back and reinsert the sticks and all of them (but two) came out okay.  Next time, I won't fill them quite as much.  

Once the kids left in early evening, Brad had to try and outchug Beth.  This girl is good; I have never seen anyone beat her.  And Brad failed again.  Jay sure does look proud huh?

Beth, Jay, Allen and Gail stayed until almost midnight as The Shingler Games became The Shingler Dance Party.   I am sure the neighbors loved that!!  Thank goodness I didn't get any pictures of the dance party.  Gail took plenty but they may never see the light of day.  :)

I couldn't let the kiddos do the tattoos alone.  This sucker was a pain to get off!

I can't wait until we can do this along the river on our land in Columbia County.  That will have to wait though because there are currently no bathroom facilities.  So, for next year, we will be back at Switzer Dr!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

using home brew spent grains to make bread

On Monday, Levi came through on his way to Charleston and helped Brad start his first batch of home brew.  At Levi's suggestion, I took the spent grains and roasted them in the oven in order to use them in some homemade bread.  I just spread them in a pan and roasted at 250 until nice and dry.  They will not keep very long wet (they get moldy) so this was very helpful.

I used this recipe for Hearty Oats 'n Wheat Loaves.  Mom used to make all of our bread growing up and this was our sandwich bread.  

Once the grains were dry, I stored them until today.  

The bread flour, oats, yeast and salt mixed with the warm water, corn syrup and butter.  I didn't have corn syrup so I used 1 cup of white sugar and 1/4 c more water instead.  

I added the wheat and rye flours (Well, all wheat really.  I didn't have rye.) and then added the spent grains. I think I added about 2.5 cups of them.  I just eyeballed it to make sure it didn't get too heavy.  

In a greased bowl for the first rise.  

After the first rise, doubled in size as it should be.  A warm environment is necessary for a good rise so I just set the bowl on top of the stove while the oven was preheating.  

After the second rise.  I didn't do a very good job of splitting the dough evenly but it didn't matter.  Ready to go in the oven!

There are not many things that smell better than baking bread.  OMG.  This stuff was divine.  Yummy...

mother's day menu

We had a great lunch with Mom and Dad today to celebrate Mother's Day!  Levi is in Charleston and will be back next weekend when we do what Mom asked for her present - cleaning out the house of our childhood stuff!  That should be interesting.

So, onto the menu.  We had...

The only change I made was to add a perforated lime on top of the beer can.  This added some acid and more juice to go into the chicken.  So tender!!

Everything else was served warm so I wanted a cold dish.  This was really good and easy.  I didn't have apple cider vinegar so I used 1 part white wine vinegar and 1 part apple cider instead.  

These were a-maz-ing!  Mom doesn't like crunchy green beans so I did boil them ahead of time.  I used pancetta instead of bacon and cooked them on the grill so I didn't have to cook the pancetta at all before then.  Next time I make them for us, I will probably not cook the beans or bacon first and just saute them in the pan all wrapped up.  I like crunchy green beans!!

I was really proud of this!  I made bread with the spent grains from Brad's home brew.  Recipe and details in the next post... 

Yummy plate.  We grilled some corn too.  I peeled back the husk, removed the silk, rubbed each ear with butter, S&P and pulled the husk back up.  Just grill, turning once or twice, until the kernels are soft.  Mmmm.

For the beverage, Mom requested Brad's world-famous Shingleritas.  :)
No recipe for this one; just use lots of tequila, a little mix and some sort of orange flavoring.  Ha.  

And, the ever-popular Four-layer Chocolate Delight was served for dessert.  I have never cooked the pudding with the milk, just mix it together and let sit for a while to set.  I also don't refrigerate between layers but do overnight once I am done.  

Love this stuff!  Better than Robert Redford is very similar.  


So, Brad went to his Mom's grave this morning and some *&% had stolen the flowers we put out earlier this year.  I mean seriously?!?  Who does that???  Apparently it used to happen a lot before Granny left a note saying "God is watching you."  Guess we need to put out another one.  Argh...

Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

eggplant and goat cheese sandwiches with a tomato-tarragon sauce

I think of this as a deconstructed eggplant parm.  It was certainly quicker to put together.  I pretty much stuck to her recipe.  I did use a lot less goat cheese and did not melt it in the oven.  Since I was only cooking 1/2 the batch, they never got cold and could melt the cheese straight out of the pan.  I may experiment with baking the eggplant instead of frying at a later date to help with the healthiness.

Definitely making this again!

creamy grilled chicken piccata

This is not the best picture but this meal was delish and a big hit with the hubby.  I think because he got to use the grill.  :)

I used fat-free half and half.  And subbed pecorino for the parmesan.  I will use a lot less noodles next time; they aren't really the focus of the dish.  The capers brought a great briny flavor that you don't want to miss.  You will have to marinate the chicken overnight so be prepared for that.  I used my tenderizer to poke a few holes in the chicken so the marinade really seeped into the meat.  


Thursday, May 3, 2012

athens, ga

Ugh, I am really annoyed with Blogger right now.  I can't get my vertical pictures to post upright and it is not easy to shift around the order.  And, I'm too lazy to fix it tonight...

Anyway, Brad and I were in Athens this past weekend and, as always, had a blast!  Levi is moving to Charleston (yay) to start his dissertation research so we wanted to spend his last weekend there with him.  And it just happened to be the same weekend as Twilight Criterium, a bike race downtown.  

On Saturday, we went to a pig roast hosted by the FourCoursemen.  We provided beer and sides and got to enjoy their yummy hogs and chickens.  We even got to hear some bluegrass!

The race on Saturday.  It is crazy how fast these guys go!

See?!  Couldn't even get a good picture of them.  

Blowing on a dandelion in Levi's front yard.  He has a field of them.  :)

Snuggling with sweet Loki.

Levi gives the pig a thumbs-up.

Friday night at The National with my bro.

The experts with their local pig.

The spread at the pig roast.  I brought my grape stuff (with sour cream and brown sugar).

We ate some yummy pizza at Ted's on Friday night.  

On Sunday, we met our Atlanta cousins at Farm 255 for brunch and then took some pictures around campus for our grandmother.  I used that opportunity to grab one of me and Brad too.  Phi Mu girls - remember that fountain?  :)
One of the cousin photos.  Got to get one picked out and framed for Mother's Day!
One with Levi.  He kept splashing water from the little guy on his right on me.  Thanks bro!

We also had brunch on Saturday with our other grandmother and uncle and got to see other friends that were in town.  Such fun times - I miss that place!  We'll be back in the fall for football!!