serendipitous reflections

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Off again

Well I'm off to Atlanta to help Tiffany move and paint her bathroom. Dean will be here holding the fort down. And for Tiffany's dad -- yes Wade I fixed that boy a casserole; well actually enough meatballs to last him about a month and a couple of lunches.

I also made Dean's co-workers caramel apples for early Halloween treats since I will be out of town. Half had crushed up Butterfingers on them and the other half were turtle caramel apples (toasted pecans and mini-chocolate chips). Dean will post pictures tomorrow.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The rehearsal dinner

On Friday we headed over to Franklin, TN for Greg and Chesley's wedding. Greg is one of Dean's oldest friends (he's known him since eighth grade). This picture was at the rehearsal dinner (L-R Chesley, Greg, Chris, Patricia, Dean and myself). Greg's mother had Corky's barbecue for the dinner -- Very fitting for a Tennessee wedding. It was so nice to see so many of Dean's high school friends; some we had not seen since our wedding ten years ago.
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The First Dance

Here are Greg and Chesley enjoying their first dance. Chesley has such a beautiful smile, she lit up the whole room. When she and Greg were saying their vows, Dean and I thought she was going to jump out of her skin she was so happy. Posted by Picasa

Beautiful backdrop

The reception was a the Old Natchez Country Club and it had beautiful view of the golf course. We were lucky enough to get a picture taken before the sun went down. Posted by Picasa

We were able to steal Chesley and Greg away for a quick photo. The reception was a load of fun. We got to catch up with a ton of Dean's high school friends and their wives, eat and drink, and dance the night away. Greg even played with the band on a couple of songs (all set up by his frat brothers).

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Courtney and Dean

Courtney is Greg's younger sister. She is so beautiful and had that "new mom glow" about her. She and her husband, Roy, had a baby girl just two weeks ago. When Dean's family still lived in Germantown, Courtney would babysit Kelly, Dean's sister. Courtney just couldn't believe that Kelly is a freshman in college. Posted by Picasa

Chesley's Portrait

Sorry for the poor quality of this picture. It's a picture of picture. I wanted to post it because it was absolutely gorgeous. The portrait was taken at the Parthenon in Nashville. They felt it was appropriate since she and Greg had just visited Greece.

One other really neat thing about the wedding was Chesley's dress. Greg's sister Courtney designed it. Courtney and Wendy, Greg's mom, went over to Belgrade to visit Greg and Chesley and they work with a seamstress there, and she made her a beautiful wedding dress and veil. Chesley said it was hard to pay a lot of money for something your have no idea how it's going to turn out, but she was so pleased with dress...it was exactly the dress of her dreams. Posted by Picasa

The old gang from high school

These are Dean's friends from high school. (L-R front Patrica, Hamara; middle Jessica, Melissa, Greg, Chesley, Jeni, and Dean; back Chris and Chris) Patrica, Chesley and I are the only ones not from Germantown.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Pants too long?

I bought some pants and had them tailored the other day, and I have come to the realization that I have been wearing my pants too long, I think. I was so used to jeans that can be long, that when I wear dress pants that are "right" they feel short, when it is really my other pants that are long. This might not sound like an epiphany to anyone else, but it's sort of an eye-opener to me. Kind of like the whole "match your belt to your shoes" thing. Yeah, I know, guys come along slower with these things.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It's been awhile...

Sorry for not posting in a week...Just sort of got caught in up in doing a bunch of stuff. Over the last week Dean and I have been house hunting. We have had some success in finding some houses that will fit our needs and our budget. We have found a lot that don't fit our budget (hehe).

On Friday we had some people over for dinner to celebrate Tish's 40th birthday. (Tish works the front desk at Dean's office.) I will post the recipes later on. We had a lot of wonderful food, wine and conversation.

On Saturday we drove over to Spartanburg to have dinner with our friend Tracey from Davenport. She was at Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic teaching a radiology class. We had a wonderful dinner at the Italian Market Grill in Greenville (same owners as the one in Knoxville). We were so sad we had to drop Tracey off that night. We miss her so much!

Then Sunday was full of playing PlayStation. Dean finally got his last birthday present - SSX on Tour (a snowboarding game) that we had pre-ordered. So pretty much we have been a bunch of geeks over here. Nothing new, I know.

Now we are packing to head out to Nashville for the weekend. Dean's friend Greg from Germantown is getting married. We are heading over on Friday for the rehearsal dinner, and the wedding on Saturday night.

Well I'm off to finish the laundry and clean the kitchen. I live a very glamorous life!

Cauliflower Soup with Tuffle Oil

When I was out in Iowa visiting my friends Tracey and Clay, Clay and I talked about a ton of recipes. So one night he fixed this cauliflower soup. I loved it. I'm a huge fan of cauliflower. When I got home I decided I needed to make it for Dean, so last week I did. It was awesome!

I did use the truffle oil on top - but here are a couple of tips about truffle oil. Truffle oil is for flavoring, it's not for cooking like olive oil. It is sort of expense (1.2 ozs = $13.00) but you only use a little, and I mean little bit of it. It is very pungent and "a little dab will do ya." In the picture above I actually used a little too much, so be very careful when flavoring with it.

The recipe came for one of Clay's favorite websites - Epicurious.com.


The truffle oil is not essential, but it's a nice indulgent touch. Since the oil's flavor dissipates with heat, add the oil to this first-course soup just before serving.

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 pound cauliflower florets (about 5 cups)
2 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
1 teaspoon white truffle oil* or extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives

*White truffle oil is available at Italian markets, many specialty foods stores and some supermarkets.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add cauliflower and sauté 2 minutes. Add broth. Cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 25 minutes.

Working in batches, transfer soup to blender and purée until smooth. Return soup to pot. (Soup can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate.) Bring soup to simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle truffle oil over. Garnish with chives.

Serves 6 as a first-course.
Bon Appétit
February 1999 Posted by Picasa


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Golden Potato-Leek Soup and Rosemary-Ham Scones

potato leek soup Posted by Picasa

I made this soup this other night and it was wonderful. It has just a little twist on good ol' potato soup. I got this recipe from Cooking Light magazine. The scones are so tasty and easy. They are really good with soups and salads. I usually use prosciutto instead of ham, but a maple ham or brown sugar ham is great in these. Thanks Rachael Ray.

Golden Potato-Leek Soup

1 Tbl butter
3 C thinly sliced leek (about 3 medium)
6 C cubed peeled Yukon gold potatoes (about 2 1/4 lbs)
2 C water
1/2 tsp salt
2 (14 oz) cans organic vegetable broth (Swanson)
2 thyme sprigs
1/3 C whipping cream
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leek, cook 10 mins or until tender; stirring occasionally (do not brown).

Add potatoes, water, salt, broth and thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 mins or until potatoes are very tender.

Remove pan from heat; discard thyme sprigs. Partially mash potatoes with a potato masher; stir in cream. Sprinkle with black pepper.

Rosemary and Ham Scones

1 box biscuit mix (recommended: Jiffy)
3 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary, 4 small stems
1/2 cup cream
A couple pinches salt
3 pieces deli-sliced glazed smoked ham, chopped, about 1/8 pound
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 teaspoons sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix together biscuit mix, rosemary, cream, salt, ham and orange zest. Pile mixture into 4 large mounds or 8 small mounds onto a nonstick cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a little sugar and bake. Bake scones for 10 to 12 minutes for large scones, 7 to 8 minutes for small scones.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Banana-Nut-Chocolate Chip Quick Bread

banana nut chocolate chip bread Posted by Picasa

Carmen, Cathy's sister-in-law, asked me for a banana nut bread recipe and I have misplaced my grandmother's recipe so I tried this one from Eating Well magazine. It turned out wonderfully. It was so moist and yummy. I took a loaf to Atlanta a couple of weekends ago, and it was gone. A little cream cheese on this bread is a nice addition.

Banana-Nut-Chocolate Chip Quick Bread

Quick bread Dry Mix (whisk together)
1 1/2 C whole-wheat pastry flour or whole-wheat flour
1 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 C nonfat buttermilk
2/3 C brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 C diced bananas
1/2 C chopped toast walnuts, plus more for topping if desired
1/2 C mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 for muffins, mini loaves and mini bundts or 350 for a large loaf pan. Coat pan(s) with cooking spray.

Prepare Quick Bread Dry Mix, adding nutmeg to it.

Whisk eggs, buttermilk, brown sugar, butter, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl until well combined.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add bananas, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Stir just to combine; do not overmix. Transfer batter to the prepared pan(s). Top with additional walnuts, if desired.

Bake until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 22 to 25 mins for muffins and mini bundts, 35 mins mini loaves, 1 hour 10 mins for large loaf.** Let cool for 10-15 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack. Let cool completely before storing.

Makes 12 servings

** Please watch the bread carefully. I have changed the baking temperature slightly from the original recipe because I almost burnt my bread with the temp they suggested.


Monday, October 10, 2005

Aloha Makenzie

Meme Judy had a surprise birthday luau for Makenzie a couple of weekends ago. It looks like Makenzie and Jacob were having one heck of a good time. Posted by Picasa

The littlest fairy

Madison Posted by Picasa

Madison, Beth's daughter, is going to be Tinkerbell for Halloween. Isn't she just the cutest little fairy?? She looks like something right out of a picture book.

The Kitchen Lava Lamp

Jenn Air has really come up with some very cool and modern kitchen designs. I saw this in my Dwell magazine. I thought it was very cool.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Happy Birthday Sue

Happy Birthday, Sue! This picture is from the family reunion last year. We wish we could be with everyone to celebrate, but we'll have a chance to get together soon, hopefully.
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Friday, October 07, 2005

Vic Sorrell CD

I was watching Three Wishes with Jeni and one girl on the show went to Nashville to learn to sing, which made me think of Vic and wonder what he was up to. I searched for him on Blingo and came up with a couple of hits, all essentially leading me to a Christmas CD he is on with a variety of other singers. I found another website that had the two songs he sings lead on. I really hope he gets his break one day, and not just to say "he sang at my wedding," although that would be cool, too.

Amy's Bug

Amy's Bug is really getting some mileage. It's in Greece right now. Wow!

I'd like to do some Geocaching, but really with gas prices where they are right now I can't imagine driving around following a gps compass on a scavenger hunt.

My latest finds

I have been exploring online and found two neat programs: Konfabulator and Google Earth. Konfabulator uses "widgets," which are small programs, to display items on your desktop, like the weather, headlines, etc. Google Earth is a globe on your computer. I downloaded this at work because it is very resource intensive and would kill our computer at home, but it is so amazing to look at the world this way with this kind of control. It is similar to the satellite view on Google Maps, but with more control.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

If Dean was single

If Dean was single this or this would be his PlayStation 2 chair. It would make him feel like Mork.

Look what the cat dragged in

Now that's a cathouse! Or this one -- Jasper would never get out of that. He loves sleeping in bowls like the bathroom sink.

In the doghouse

If I'm every in the doghouse, this is the doghouse I want to be in.

The Great Pumpkin Martha Stewart

I wish I could race a giant pumpkin.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Good news for Hannah and Rick

When we were talking to Hannah and Rick last night, they told us that Hannah is pregnant. We are so excited for them. Hannah found out on her birthday, 9/11, but with all that has happened with her brother it has been a very emotional time filled with ups and downs. Hannah wanted to tell her parents at Ian's birthday party on 9/26 with Ian wearing a shirt that said "I'm a new big brother." But when Hannah was at Walter Reed she started having morning sickness, and had to tell her parents she wasn't sick, she was pregnant.

Everyone keep your fingers crossed for a heathly baby, and hopefully a little girl.

Update on Nathan

Dean and I were able to talk to Rick and Hannah last night and find out how Nathan is doing. It sounds like he is going to have a tough road ahead of him, but he has a lot of people pulling for him. Rick said one of the biggest obstacles is an infection has developed in his bone marrow. Hopefully they will be able to find an antibiotic to fight the infection, or Nathan will have to either be on antibiotics the rest of his life or lose his leg.

This is an email update from Hannah's dad.

"Nathan is healing. He does better each day. Yesterday his PT got him out of bed and into a chair for the first time. He sat there for about an hour before being helped back into bed. He was completely worn out from the ordeal. Today they got him up on a walker and he walked to the door from the bed (12 feet) and back. It took him about three hours to recuperate from that. Tomorrow (10-04-05) he will have a major surgery - they will graft a part of one of his calf muscles to the front of his leg to cover the exposed bones. If this remains viable they will set the leg and put on an external fixation device they call a halo in about a week. With that he should be able to begin bearing weight on his right leg and become more mobile. They took the stitches out of his face two days ago, the ones in his side, elbow, and thigh they will take out next week. Most of the bruising is gone, still some in his legs. Mentally he was doing better each day until today. Jennifer, his fiancee, left to go back to Paducah today - that made it a sad day for him today.

Sgt. Clark is doing much better. When you all prayed for him the Lord just happened to cause the right nurse to happen into his room at the right time and moved with compassion for this injured soldier she literally took control and turned everything around for him in one morning! Sounds like a God thing doesn't it? She recognized what had happened with the pain control they were using. Somehow a catheter had moved enough out of place to cease to be effective. She had seen this before. Evidently this was relatively rare because the nurses he had had, had not. She was great. Sgt. Clark's mom and sister also showed up last Thursday and visited till today. I think it helped to have someone here from home for a few days. Sgt. Clarke will have his final surgery tomorrow and could possibly be released to care near his home in Bowling Green within the next 7-10 days.

Both young men were awarded their Purple Hearts today in bedside ceremonies by CSM Gipe of the National Guard. This was Sgt. Clarks second.

Thank you for your prayers and well wishes for both of them. Please continue to stand against the weird bacteria Nathan brought back from Iraq and had cultured in two of his wounds. That is the only hindrance to his complete healing from his surgery tomorrow and then his last one the week following.

Thanking you very sincerely
Don & Audrey"


On the way home, Dean and I stopped at the new Ikea store in Atlanta. It was awesome! We picked up a few things for the kitchen and found a platform bed and some lamps we are going to buy when we buy our house. Dean thinks we need to make monthly trips to Atlanta just to see everything in the store. Posted by Picasa

Chocolate Fondue

Well we decided after dinner we would pull out the chocolate fondue. We decided to use white chocolate this time, and it was very good, but I think we will stick with milk chocolate next time. Nikki, Lisa, Tiffany, and I stayed up until 4:45 am eating chocolate and drinking a very good "dessert" wine. Posted by Picasa

Gracie Girl

Just look at little Gracie. Isn't she just beautiful?!? At the football game, she was giving us all a run for the money. She really thought she wanted to be out on the field with football players. She and Evan really tried to play together this weekend, but they're still working on some boundaries. But that's ok there weren't any thrown toys or hair pulling. Posted by Picasa

Morgan the flyer

On Saturday afternoon we headed out to the football field to watch Morgan cheer. It was pretty funny considering we were cheering for the cheerleader and she had the biggest cheering section. Morgan did an awesome job!! Posted by Picasa

The wake-up call

This was Dean and I's wake up call on Saturday morning in Atlanta. Evan came in to tell us good morning and decided he needed to jump from his bed to our bed on top of us. So between jumpin' bean Evan, lickin' Lizzie the dog, and Todd's alarm clock, we were up. Posted by Picasa