Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Our 5th anniversary was in October, but due to a death in the family we pushed our anniversary trip to December. This turned out to be really cool since we had planned to go to Pigeon Forge. In December this means snow in the Smoky Mountain National Park. It was so beautiful!!! Here are some of my favorites.

I love the way the needles held the snow.

Who doesn't love a snow covered tunnel?

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

This scene looks fake to me.... so beautiful!

I love the snow clinging to the rocks.

Snow underfoot and over head.
We had such a great time! We are thinking that we might have to make a trip every December to Pigeon Forge!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
  “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2:10-14

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In Honor of My Girls

Finally getting to upload some pictures of the girls that I have lost this year. First Pickle due to illness earlier this year. Then, this last weekend Jemima got carried off by something. I hope it had a good meal.  We will miss our sweet girls!

Pickle hanging out on the couch.
Pickle watching Antiques Roadshow with me on the couch.

Pickle Taking her final car ride.
Saying goodbye to my girl. I miss you Pickle!
Jemima and her sister Atta Girl. Atta Girl misses her.
Holding Jemima when she was sick last year.
I miss you sweet girl!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


You know you are eating organic when you find this in your broccoli.

I pulled my broccoli out of the refrigerator, laid it on the cutting board and quickly put my knife down. I found this little spider!!! It must have been hibernating in the cold of our ice box. I think it may have been a black widow. I quickly washed it down the drain. So, I have no doubt that my local farmers haven't sprayed their crops! Do you know your local farmer?

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Wishing for some of this, but instead I will take the two hour school delay. Hopefully I will have time to get some pictures up soon and get some blogging going again. Until then, enjoy these photos of our time in the Smoky Mountain National Park.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Power down

So, do you remember when I posted that my energy levels have been up and down? Let's just say that they have been down since that post. Another month of stress has left me feeling like
I am in a ditch. We had a death on each side of our families within a month of each other, company in from out of town twice, short trips out of town and more stress at work. I have also had the realization that even good stress is stress. My body reacts the same way to an awesome day out with girlfriends as it does to a funeral. You don't think about it, but your endorphines and adrenaline rushes, the emotional highs and lows make your adrenals work baby!! And mine don't work well right now. So even my good time visits with friends have been tiring. If you have been wondering why I have become a hermit, maybe that tidbit of info will help you understand. I found a good article here that may help if you want to know more about adrenal fatigue.

I have also found out that I am really low with vitamin D and DHEA. If you follow the link to the other article and search DHEA there is am article on DHEA as well. It is pretty interesting. I am getting some new supplements for both of these issues soon and I expect that to make a huge difference in my energy levels. I cant wait! I am really excited about two little bottles full of liquids that should help my body do what it is supposed to do.

On the bright side, I am at the end of me. That is where God can use me the most, right? I had a good long, tired cry last night with Dave acknowledging that. It felt good. You know, to know that you have done everything you can and the rest is in Gods hands? Relying on Him daily for my every care and need. That may not sound like a bright side to some, but for me it is. I think powered down and at the end of me is just where I am supposed to be right now. Life goes on. We still have a busy couple of weeks ahead before the winter holiday break from school. I have lots of plans. I am trying to stick with them and believing by God's grace I will make it through. Today we are off to Macon to see Dave's grandma moved out of her house and down to FL. Don't worry, we are only going to Macon. Oh, and it is Dave's birthday. One more busy day ahead......

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

I am thankful for my family. And I am proud to be a part of such an amazing extended family!!
I am thankful for my husband.
I am thankful for my awesome friends who are like family.
I am thankful for a roof over our heads and food on our table.
I am thankful for the animals that we care for and how they enhance our lives.
I am thankful for our God who loves me enough that he came to earth, died and rose again.
I am thankful for the travels that I have had in life and the memories of them that I visit often.
I am thankful for the leaves on the ground that are brilliant red.
I am thankful .......

Monday, November 15, 2010

Turkey Time!!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Can you believe it? Where has the time gone? I love Fall. The leaves, the chilly air, the fire in the wood stove!! Can't wait to see how that brings our heating bill down... Woohoo!!

Anyway, Thanksgiving is soon upon us and that makes me think about food. I decided this year to buy a turkey fresh from the farm. I missed the cutoff dates for that, and anything local was already paid for. Drat. Where else is a girl to go? I ended up at the butchers counter at my local Whole Foods. I love those meat slingers. They always take good care of me. I decided to order my turkeys, yes plural, from them. They carry a regular ol broad breasted turkey and many other variations. I settled on a regular ol turkey and an heirloom variety turkey. I have heard people rave about the flavor of an heirloom turkey and I can't wait to try it.

Here's the catch..... I don't even cook Thanksgiving dinner!! I am buying these turkeys to process and freeze for later use. I plan on slicing these up into cutlets, breast pieces, ground meat, turkey legs, stock and whatever else I can think of!! It is turkey season, so they are fresh and the prices are good. Hopefully my Mom is going to help me cut them up. I have cut up chickens but for some reason, turkey seems intimidating. I am borrowing her meat grinder too. What am I getting myself into? Delicious meat to be on hand. Actually, I am looking forward to this adventure. I will let you know how it goes!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Well, I Tried

Well, I tried something the other day that I have missed for awhile. Yes, it was food related. I have been missing oatmeal since the chilly mornings arrived. I have cautiously stayed away from it because oats are often cross contaminated with gluten. This can happen a few ways. Often the fields that they grow in used to be fields where gluten containing grains were grown, or they are grown in close proximity of these grains. The machinery that they are processed on are usually used for other grains and this causes cross contamination as well. So, to be on the safe side, I have stayed away from oats in any shape or form.

This weekend I decided to spend the money on gluten free oats. These oats are grown and tested for gluten along the process. Oh, the smell, the taste!!!! Divine! I didn't realize how much I missed a little grain. I piled it up with walnuts and raisins. Yummy! My taste buds were satisfied. I waited for a reaction from my gut. I went all day just fine, until the next morning. Bummer. I guess I need to try a smaller quantity of oats or not making it a main meal. Oats do naturally obtain a small amount of gluten, but many gluten sensitive people can tolerate small amounts of oats.

I won't give up yet!! I will they it in small amounts, maybe in cookies, or the oh so missed meatloaf! I used to make a killer meatloaf. Maybe I can resurrect it. I will keep you posted on my progress.

Have any of you had an experience with oats? I often wonder how other people are affected by food.......

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Sweet Tooth Kicked In

My sweet tooth kicked in and now I want some chocolate. What is a gluten free, sugar free, dairy free girl to do? Well, there is always some Coconut Bliss to be had. I never get tired of ice cream and Coconut Bliss fits my bill every time. But my birthday rolled around and I wanted something cake like. I wanted chocolate. I hadn't really had anything cake like since starting my healthy eating plan. I am not a girl that LOVES frosting, so I didn't need a traditional cake. I searched recipe sites far and wide. I dreamed of the chocolate ganache that I had at Sunflower Cafe. I found nothing close to it.

Then I remembered a brownie recipe that I found, guess where? At Elana's Pantry of course. You can find it here.

I LOVE these brownies. I hadn't made them before for a few reasons. 1) it makes a big pan of brownies 2)the ingredients are expensive, around $10 total 3)I didn't want a huge pan of brownies in the house because I would eat them!!!

So, when my friend Jen asked if she could make something for my birthday I jumped on this recipe. I supplied the ingredients and Jen whipped them up. They are SO good. Everyone agreed. These are a hit!!

What I LOVE about these brownies 1) anyone can make them. No special ingredients needed. Everything can be found at the local grocery. Get baking for your gluten free friends!!! 2)they are high in protein and low in natural sugar. No guilt in these babies! 3) they keep well 4) I could take these to a potluck or friends house and everyone would be satisfied 5) it makes a big pan of brownies so I don't get mad when Dave eats three or four in a day

Have you had your brownies today??? Maybe you should make some.......

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pumpkin Bread That is Gluten free, Sugar free AND Delicious?

Yes, that is right!!! Thanks to my new favorite website I have made delicious pumpkin bread that meets all of my dietary requirements. It is super moist, easy, and high in protein. Are you as excited as I am?

The recipe is from Elana's Pantry. You can find it here. It is super amazing. You have to check out her recipes. I want to make so many of them. The only thing that I changed in this recipe was that I made mini loaves instead of muffins. I hate cleaning muffin tins. I also doubled the recipe since it is for only 8 muffins. I think next time I am going to add a bit more spice as well. I like my spiced breads spicy!!

I am off to make some more pumpkin bread.... Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Healthy Eating Update

You may be wondering how my healthy eating is going. Just for a reminder I am gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, yeast free, and corn free. It was difficult at first figuring out how to eat, but I am pretty used to it now. I really don't get tempted often and even then, saying no is easy when you know that thing will make you feel yucky later.

Meals really aren't that hard or different. We just stick to meat and vegetables with an occasional side of rice. I can still have Dave's amazing grilled steak which gets better every time he makes it. So far I am not missing too many foods either. I will admit, Thanksgiving might be tough. I love cornbread dressing. sigh. That will be missed.

As a result of all of this healthy eating, I have become the incredible shrinking woman. Do you remember that movie? I need to look it up. Anyway, without trying to, nor did I expect it, I have dropped almost thirty pounds. This side affect of losing weight wasn't on my horizon. I was quite happy with my weight and size. I didn't look in the mirror and wish that I was smaller. Now I am faced with getting a whole new wardrobe. Almost nothing fits that did before. I think that most women would love this- losing weight and having to buy new clothes. Have I mentioned that I hate shopping? Especially when I can no longer judge what will fit me just by looking at it on the rack. To set out an outfit only to have it hang off of you when you put it on is no fun. And when you decide that you will try to wear it anyway and your friend tells you that it looks like you have a load in your pants, you decide to go shopping.

I bought my first pair of skinny jeans. What!!! Dave is thrilled of course. One bonus of all of this, I actually have normal sized calves!! My fluid retention has gone way down. I am so thrilled about that. I have shopped here and there for bits and pieces, but I need to get some more work clothes soon.

My energy levels are up and down. I had been doing pretty well, but a month of stress at work knocked me down. I am trying to get back to where I was. Oh, my creative juices are flowing again though!! I have been hand stitching up a storm and loving it!! I haven't really sewn in two years. I am so glad to have that creative energy back. Be in the look out for pictures of my creations.

Ok, now that I have written a short book, I am going to enjoy my day.... I hope that you are enjoying yours too!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!

For some reason, getting back to blogging has been hard for me. Not being able to post pictures took my zeal away I suppose. And now that I have an iPad instead of a regular ol computer, it doesn't want to post pictures either. I will have to coordinate some time to post pictures. It will happen!!!

So, I am going blog more often. Are you ready? Recipes, stories and fun times for all are just around the corner.

Today though, I am headed to my friends house. Dave has to work tonight so I am going to spend the evening with friends carving pumpkins( my favorite!!), watch our traditional Hocus
Pocus, share a meal together and the watch the kiddos streaming down the lane for the candy. Their neighborhood goes bonkers for Halloween. The kids have so much fun.

What are you doing today?

I'll be blogging soon!!!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

So much...

There is so much to write about, blog about and share. For some reason I can't get pictures to load on blogger anymore. It is a bit annoying and is keeping me from posting. It has been a very busy month or so- my mom had a total hip replacement, I had a horrible cold, and we lost our sweet chicken Pickle to illness. I have such great pictures to share. For now, you will have to wait until I can get pictures loaded.

Little Jerry is growing super fast! The colors outside are changing. The woodstove will be keeping us warm soon. I made a gluten free dairy free "pumpkin" pie. We celebrate our fifth anniversary this week. Time is flying by......

I am going to enjoy the crisp morning air, spend some time worshiping our  Creator and let the birthday celebrations begin a full 2 weeks early. Happy Sunday!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall is Here

It feels nothing like it with a ninety degree day, but Fall is upon us. This is my favorite season of all. I love the changing leaves, well when that happens. It is anniversary season for my parents. For Dave and I as well. It is birthday season. Woohoo!!! I love the warmish days and cool nights. I can't wait to build a fire in the woodstove! Come on chilly nights!

Even though the weather isn't cooperating I got out my decorations: candy corn garland, my painted quail, the pumpkin and acorn candy dishes, the Thanksgiving salt and pepper shakers(it is never too early to be thankful), a wreath for the door and pumpkins galore!! Ah.  It is a full moon tonight. I love that too. Now..... I will have to wait for the cool air to arrive. Happy waiting. Happy Fall!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I found these in the yard last week.
I think that they are lovely.

I can imagine little fairies and gnomes hiding out under there.

I just had to capture their images. They reminded me my favorite Beatrix Potter image.
If anyone can find a print of this I will be indebted to you forever. It is just stunning to me. The ferns. The leaves. The fungi detail. Sigh. Thanks Beatrix.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I love Daisy. When she first hatched I didn't want a "blue" chicken. Blue means gray in chicken talk. But as she grew her coloring became one of my favorites. She has her quirks. Sometimes she sounds like a duck. She is the one that got the hole broody hen club started. She doesn't like to be held and is spunky!!!

I love seeing her in the basket by the back door. I think it is a stunning sight. And when she leaves, I fetch my breakfast. Thanks Daisy.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Where's Little Jerry?

Well, Little Jerry and Momma are finally integrating with the rest of the flock. They run around together and spend lots of time under cover. I thought we could play a little game of "Where's Little Jerry?" kind of like "Where's Waldo?".

Where's Little Jerry? By her momma, perfectly camouflaged, beside the hydrangeas.
Where's Little Jerry? Poking her head out from the hydrangea leaves!
Where's Little Jerry? Looking for Momma!!! Can you see her here? Her coloring hides her so well!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Little Jerry Goes Outside

Well, it had to happen. Momma and baby had to move outside one day. I would miss Little Jerry's baby peeps, but not the smell of chicken in a confined space!!

Before the move

One unhappy Momma on the move 
My first time holding Little Jerry. She was showing off her wing feathers.
Little Jerry's first glimpse of the outside world
The cutest little chicken face in the whole wide world
Little Jerry's first glimpse of her new home

Look how tiny!!!
Checking in with Momma
And it's hard to see, but a proper ride on Mom's back makes the day complete.
Mom and baby are doing great!!! More pictures to come!!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Not Fried Okra

Ok, so on my my healthy eating plan I can't have corn meal. Corn meal is an essential ingredient in fried okra. Fried okra is one of my favorite foods. Sad sigh. So this summer I was determined to find a way to get that scrumptious okra flavor into my mouth. And I have eaten okra many ways this summer. I have tried it raw(It's better than I expected!), love it pickled, slimy boiled, crunchy dried and now I have two new ways to cook it.

The first way is oven roasted. I simply cut the tops off of the okra, tossed them in some olive oil, salt and pepper and baked them at 350 degrees. I turned them after 15-20 minutes and let them cook until a bit browned or blackened. Oh. So. Yummy!! Really. The flavor is so similar to fried okra I almost screamed with joy!
The oven roasted okra. It was even good left over!!

 The second way I fixed okra was pan roasted. The procedure is pretty similar to oven roasted, except that I was working with large okra, so I cut it into 2 inch segments. I heated oil in a large skillet, the one that broke my foot actually, and tossed the oil coated seasoned okra into the hot oiled skillet. I turned them frequently and cooked them on high. They took a while to get nice and dark. Dave really liked it. We ate the whole pan full between us in one sitting!

Now we need to try grilling okra while the okra picking is still good. Go enjoy summer eating while it lasts!!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Monster Vegetables!!!

Last week at the market I happened upon a monster vegetable. Seriously huge!!! Craig at Two Mule Farms grew some Cushaw squash or Cushaw melon, as it is also known. His lovely lady thought of me as she cooked some up the night before. They know how much I love winter squash. So I lugged this baby home.
Well, don't know that I could call it a baby. Maybe it is a toddler.
There. Pretty big huh?
The neck alone.
I started cutting. And cutting. And cutting!!! The neck alone yielded 6 quart bags full of cubed Cushaw!! Whao Nelly!!! I was in shock. I kept cutting.
One half of the bowl of the squash
The inside flesh. Very similar to a pumpkin.
seven quarts of Cushaw
Whew!!! One nasty blister and seven quarts later I was finished cubing my Cushaw. Isn't that fun to say? I love the sound of it. But I wasn't done. I still had half of a Cushaw to roast!!  Yes, this thing was a monster!!! I ended up eating about 1/4 of what I roasted and freezing the rest for soup or something like that.

This week I roasted my first batch of cubed Cushaw. I had read that some people treat it like potatoes. So I whipped up my spice blend for potatoes, mixed it all together and popped it into the oven. The result might have been better than potatoes. No lie!!! I can't wait to make more. Maybe some pie too!

Oh, and don't forget about the seeds!!! I used my same spice blend on the seeds and roasted them as one would roast pumpkin seeds. They were SO delicious! I think that they tasted even better than roasted pumpkin seeds. They are a little more crunchy. I want some more.

I might be crazy enough to buy another one if Craig shows up with more at the market. I will try not to get a blister next time!! Do you know of any unusually large or just unusual vegetables in your neck of the woods?

Monday, August 23, 2010

More Photos From Way Down South

Pretty much my own private pool. I only shared it a few times.
Yep. No one else around and the marsh is just that way.
Even at sunset, all mine!!
Part of the marina
I mean, can you beat this view?
Savannah, can't wait to see you again!!!
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