Sunday, July 31, 2011

Redneck Caviar

This recipe is definitely a family favorite :)

Hope everyone enjoys it and that it shortly becomes a family favorite of yours!

1 can black eyed peas (drained, not rinsed)

1 can black beans (drained, not rinsed)

1 can rotel (as is)

1 can mexican corn (drained)

1 fresh bundle cilantro (chopped)

1 bundle green onions (chopped)

With both of the above items you might not use the whole bundle just add as much as you desire. Personally, I LOVE cilantro so it's never too much!

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons spicy mustard

2 cloves garlic (I use the already minced garlic in the little glass bottle that you can find near your produce and I usually use about 2 teaspoons)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine the beans, rotel, corn, cilantro and green onions together.

Mix all the other ingredients together ( I usually whisk it together tends to blend better) and then pour over the mixture above and mix.

It is better to do this and let it sit over night in the fridge! Also, if making for a large crowd double recipe. Dip will last up to a week in refrigerator. Serve with tortilla chips and ENJOY :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 4, 2011

I'm in between loads of laundry and I'm trying to catch up on back blog posts. Anyhow, July 4th for Todd and I is typically spent at Cherry Lake in Madison, FL. If I've never mentioned it before Todd's family is outrageously HUGE! Which makes for a great weekend filled with family bonding over lots of eating, boating, game playing, eating, annual softball game, and did I mention EATING? Yes, I married in to a family that enjoys eating just as much as I do. Match made in heaven :)

I made some July 4th decorated sugar cookies iced with cream cheese icing :)

Chocolate covered Rice Krispies

Cheater's Banana Pudding (which is totally AWESOME)

Prep time - 15 minutes


2 bags PF chess cookies (I couldn't find Chess cookies so I used 2 boxes of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies)

6-8 large bananas

2 cups milk

1 5oz box french vanilla pudding

1 8oz block cream cheese (softened)
1 14oz can condensed milk

1 12oz container of whipped topping (cool whip)


Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 dish with 1 bag/box of cookies and layer bananas on top. In a bowl combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a hand held mixer. Using another bowl, combine cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour mixture over cookies and bananas and cover with remaining cookies.

There you have it! Thanks Ash for this super easy, super delicious banana pudding recipe:)

Some of my favorite people. . . See Todd & Zachary in the background tubing!

Z & Uncle Todd taking a short canoe ride on the lake . . . Hey, at least we try and negate all the food we consume with a little physical exertion. I was on the dock laying out ;)

Is he not the sweetest thing you've ever laid your eyes on?

We had another great year at the lake and we look forward to July 4, 2012 and the new additions to the family ;)


Our one night stay in Memphis was great, but after enjoying a wonderful breakfast we hit the road and were very excited to get to our Arkansas family!

Right outside downtown Memphis you almost immediately cross over the mighty Mississippi and enter Arkansas.

Isn't Todd's cousins house tremendous??!!!! Pictures don't even do this house justice.

The boys were determined to cook us a wonderful dinner & they did just that.

Jill & Todd played a couple basketball games with the kids. Not quite sure who had more fun the little kids or the big ones :)

Todd & Jill sitting around watching the sunset!

Everybody hanging out having a good time

After a wonderful steak dinner the kiddos settled down outside to enjoy a movie under the stars.

Todd and I had such an amazing time in Arkansas hanging out and relaxing with family we don't have the privilege of being around that often. I figured now was the time to get the post done just in time to go on another vacation with our Arkansas family this week :) I promise to be more timely in my post about our upcoming vacation.

Memphis, Tennessee

For Memorial day, Todd & I packed up the ole Corolla and headed North-West. First stop, Memphis Tennessee . . . Final destination ARKANSAS :)
We were headed to Arkansas to visit with Todd's aunt & uncle and his cousins. We decided it was probably best to split the trip from Tallahassee to Arkansas up. I had always wanted to visit Memphis and it seemed like the most logical place for us to camp out for the night before finishing our trip to Ark.
After spending 8 hours in the car, I had watched all the movies and read all the magazines I was interested in and I was ready to get out and eat some good BBQ!

On our ride over I read some tripadvisor reports on the best BBQ in Memphis. Todd and I picked Rendezvous and we weren't let down. After checking in to our hotel, we freshened up and took the short walk to the restaurant.
This restaurant was very old school Memphis. Multiple level building. You walk in on ground level, which is where you wait for a table or can get a drink at the bar, immediately to the left you go down a flight of stairs in to the restaurant. Our server was a very seasoned Memphis fella'. He lacked much personality, but I think that played in to the whole feel of the place.

I got the BBQ nachos

And babe got the dry rub ribs
Both were very delicious and we highly recommend a stop at Rendezvous if you ever find yourself in Memphis looking for some good ole BBQ :)

We took a stroll down Beale St, checked out all the blues/jazz bars
It's a pretty neat little downtown

It sort of has the same feel as Bourbon St on a smaller scale, and the fact that we were there on a Wednesday night made for a much smaller crowd. But we appreciate small crowds. Trust me, sometimes over crowded environments 'freak' me out and can cause an anxiety attack or 2 :)

This was the blues bar Todd and I selected out of the numerous to choose from. They were very good and so very talented. It's hard to believe there is that much talent out there that goes unsigned. But I guess these guys are just doing what they love!

I love him :)

Rockin' our Elvis glasses

Guest Bathroom Re-do

Builders beige, NO MORE :)

I had a very small budget and the Hubs was not interested in the least bit in partaking in this bathroom endeavor. . . So I had my work cut out for me!
I tried to take after my very talented expertise painter of a Brother, and not tape off the ceiling... Needless to say I am no where near close to a professional painter and after doing a very small corner in the bathroom and covering the ceiling in paint I decided taping off the ceiling was the best bet for me... After taping the entire room I painted all of the bathroom walls with the lighter color.

I painted horizontal stripes in another room in our house and I couldn't wait to transform another room with stripes and the guest bathroom was just the place! There is my handy dandy laser that sticks in the wall and helps me fulfill the perfectly straight lines I love of so much! I carefully taped as close as possible to the level laser rotating the tape from the bottom of the laser to the top of the laser depending on which stripe was going to be painted the darker color.

After about 4 hours all the tape was up and I was so excited to get the easy part over. It probably wouldn't take a normal person this long to tape off the room. But, I am no where near normal and if the tape wasn't perfect I removed it and started again! Notice the different size stripes above? That's what I was talking about previously when I said moving the tape above the laser or below the laser depending on which stripe was being painted. Once you remove the 2 pieces of tape that make up the small stripe, the two stripes are the exact same size... Hopefully, that makes sense :)

The colors are very similar, only one shade apart on the color wheel. Brother would be very proud of me for buying the best paint out there (Benjamin Moore - for those who are wondering), but honestly I'm not sure it was worth the $100 for 2 gallons!!! Since I only used very little of both colors, hopefully I can come up with another project or space I want to paint with these colors so I feel better about the money spent.

OK, the coolest part of this makeover were the countertop transformation!!!! Here are our ugly countertops before . . . Let me preface, I had a secret plan here... having already priced out granite for both our bathrooms I figured if I mess up completely and they look horribly, Babe will have no option but to replace them. Win/Win for me ;)

Months ago, I remember passing this little can in Home Depot and remembering one day I'd like to give that a try. I am all about some Rust-Oleum and this Rust-Oleum countertop coating is fantastic!!! For about $19, I'm glad I took the risk and glad they turned out! Unfortunately, no granite countertops yet, but I'm glad I have something else to look at other than the ugly tan countertops that were previously in there!!

I picked the Pewter color and it matched perfectly!I painted the countertops with a $1 very small foam sponge. The paint/stain went on super easy, although it smelled horrid and took quite a while to dry. I used very little out of the quart I bought, so I think one day I'll do our bathroom.

I primed and painted the cabinets and after about 3 coats of primer and 3 coats of white paint I had very white, crisp cabinets! :) Happy Girl

I also spray painted the mirror with Rust-Oleum's semi-gloss black paint

Slowly but surely we are transforming the rooms one by one to better match our taste! I love the bathroom and have already started planning my next room of attack!

Hope everyone is enjoying their week. For me, I'll take a 2 day work week anytime. . . We are headed on vacation Wednesday & I can't wait :) Take care!

Trip of a LIFETIME....

OR should I rephrase that and say 'MY' trip of a lifetime :) Yesterday, we booked our Western Mediterranean cruise and I'm elated with excitement!!! My husband on the other hand is less than thrilled to be joining me on this amazing journey... He begged yesterday for me to take someone else with me, but I'm forcing him to go with me and to "try" and enjoy himself! I mean seriously, who in the world dreads a trip all over the most beautiful places in Europe? Apparently, my husband... Lucky me. Hey, I'm just glad he agreed to go in the first place, I can handle dealing with him kicking and screaming about it!

I'm hoping the closer it gets, the more excited he becomes about it... But until then, I'm trying to win him over with yummy pictures of the awesome food he'll be able to eat! What can I say I know the way to my hubby's heart and that is straight through his stomach!!

I told him we could eat Gelato everyday & that it will shortly become his new favorite addiction :)

Tried explaining how AMAZING the French pastries are and that he could eat a chocolate crossaint EVERY morning for breakfast if his heart so disired ....

All the pizza and pasta he could ever want in Italy. . .
And still he begged and pleaded that we fly somewhere in the Caribbean and spend a week on the beach doing nothing... Apparently, I have my work cut out for me, but hopefully over the next 10 months I can somehow convince him that he will forever be changed by this amazing trip :)

I on the other hand have no problems envisioning how our 2 weeks will be spent . . .

A nice picnic under the Eiffel Tower . . . :)

Frolicking through the Lavender fields . . . :)

Going to the occasional vineyard and enjoying some of the countries best wine. . . :)
Whether he admits it or not, I know going to wineries will definitely be something he will enjoy!

Little stop at the tip of Italy. . .

Tour through ancient Pompeii

Beautiful sunsets in Florence . . .
So clearly, I have no problem dreaming up how incredible this trip is going to be. Now if only Todd could be as creative!

Anyways, enough with the daydreaming for the time being. Let's get down to the facts! Todd and I will be arriving in to Paris almost a week before our cruise departs out of Barcelona. We are going to spend 4 days exploring everything Paris has to offer. Although I've already been to Paris once, I never imagined I would be able to enjoy the most romantic city in the WORLD with the LOVE OF MY LIFE! Our 3 year anniversary happens to fall while we are in Paris, and we're (I'M) thinking about having our 3rd anniversary dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower! Heavenly :)

I think I could spend days inside the Louvre, unfortunately I'm sure Todd will allow us to spend a couple hours there. You know, after his chocolate croissant and before his elaborate lunch of course! We'll make sure to mark off all the must sees in the museum and anything else I can manage to get away with ;)

Take a stroll down Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe . . . Of course making the occasional stop to look at the elaborate shops that line this beautiful street.

Yes that is a 7 story Louis Vuitton store. Could be a great stop for an anniversary gift! (hint hint)

In my ideal world, I would like to end every night we spend in Paris looking at the twinkling of the lights on the Eiffel Tower. Good news is, there are all sorts of vendors surrounding the tower and I'm sure we can find something super sweet to suffice the Hubs :)

After we leave Paris we are going to spend 2 days pre-cruise in Barcelona. This is where my parents will be joining us for the remainder of the trip.

Sunday we leave out of Barcelona and spend 7 nights out on the Mediterranean!
Day1 & 2 are spent crossing the open seas.
Day 3 we wake up in Naples (Almalfi Coast, Pompeii, Capri, Sorrento), Italy
Day 4 we'll be in Rome, Italy
Day 5 we'll be in Florence/Pisa, Italy
Day 6 we'll be in Nice, France
Day 7 Provence, France (also referred to as the French Rivieria)
Day 8 we arrive back to Barcelona where we will spend another day before flying back to the states :(
I'm hoping at this point I'm homesick and miss my baby girl and am eager to get back to my home... Unfortunately, I don't think that will be the case . . .

First stop -

The Almalfi Coast

Naples, Italy


Second stop - Rome, Italy

Trevi Fountain

Sistine Chapel

The Vatican

The Colosseum

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Next stop - Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio

Last stop - Provence, France

The lavender fields are abundant in Provence. Just hoping that they are in full bloom come the end of May!

Needless to say, I've got my work cut out for me. Not only convincing my husband that we are going to have a great time. But, also planning our daily activities. Get ready to see the OCD come out in me. I'm 100% sure that come a couple of months I will have managed to plan our activities for everyday down to the hour! What can I say, I'm a planner not a fly-by-the-edge-of-my-seat kind of gal! And trust me going to huge cities like Paris, Rome, Florence and Barcelona you need to know what you're getting yourself in to. So I'll continue the planning and I promise to keep everyone up to date on some of our exciting activities we'll have planned. Ahhhhhhhh I'm so excited and I'm hoping the fact that we have a trip booked every month till the end of the year will help 2012 get here in the blink of an eye!!

I guess I need to get my French to English for Dummies CD out of storage and start listening to them in the car :)

A la prochaine