Sunday, October 28, 2007

Unbelievably romantic!





Today is National Chocolate Day. Did you know? Well, it is. October 28th. I mentioned it to A on the way to church this morning or maybe it was on the way to lunch. We said we should of course celebrate. We went to lunch with our friends Darla and Michael, Stone and Sterling and had a truly wonderful lunch and were stuffed! We didn't get hungry all afternoon or evening. A little after seven, in the middle of a conversation, A announces that I should go get ready, we're going out to celebrate National Chocolate Day! I was flabbergasted. He asked if I'd wear this one dress I have and he was still in his nice Sunday clothes. He asked if I knew where we were going and I really didn't. As I was getting ready I thought of it, the restaurant that he'd taken me to for my birthday that we both agreed we should go back to just for dessert sometime. Sevy's down on Preston Rd. in Highland Park, not close by. He called ahead and had them set aside one of their fabulous creme brulees for us. It's called The Best of Both Worlds and has vanilla creme brulee and Godiva chocolate creme brulee. We also ordered their sorbet trio and goat cheese mashed potatoes (my request) to cut the sweet! :) It was wonderful and so much fun and so crazy to get all dressed up and drive into Dallas for fancy dessert on a Sunday night! Thank you, A!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How did you meet?


A & I in Galveston, TX May 2007

How do you feel about online dating? Well, I was not a fan of it at all in the past. And yet, a year ago yesterday A and I met on e-harmony. God works in mysterious ways! I am thankful to have opened myself up to the new experience as a possible way for God to introduce me to someone wonderful and that He did. It is hard to believe that A and I did not know each other a year ago and yet that it has been an entire year that we've been talking to each other and getting to know each other. We continue to prayerfully seek God's will for our relationship and enjoy the process. May God bless you and yours!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mrs. Bach


Johann Sebastian Bach


Today one of my students looked at this picture perched atop my piano and asked, "Is that your husband?"
Thankfully not! :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fun Friday Night



There was so much to write about Saturday that I did not even mention Friday night! A's roommate, Keith, organized a fun night of fellowship for some friends from church. We went back to the pumpkin farm that A and I went to the weekend before to do the corn maze and back to Keith's to carve pumpkins. It was great to catch up with folks.

A & K


friends

corn!


the fruits of our labors



glowing pumpkin heads

pumpkins or people?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blogging excitement!

I just found out in an e-mail from my friend Mindy that I am now a link on someone's blog!!! Oh how exciting! This is so much fun! Thanks soo much, Regina! When I figure out how to do that sort of thing, I will return the favor for sure!

State Fair of Texas!

hot from the oven orange cranberry muffins in a picnic basket
car conversation
driving out of the city - getting into the country
seeing horses, windmills, trees, ponds, riding with the windows down on dirt roads
stopping at a yard sale and a junk dealer


munching on trail mix
wandering into the little town of Quinlan, TX where A was sweet to let me wander the main drag of antiques stores
finding treasures! including a Missouri state plate with a great pink border for my collection and a present for Marcella (sorry, you'll have to wait and be surprised!:)
meandering our way to Royse City, TX and stumbling upon their town fair where we got a barbecue sandwich and walked around
crossing back over Lake Ray Hubbard into "civilization"
feeling the breeze on our faces and my feet as I stuck them out the window! :)
both yelling, "Bahama Bucks!" at the same time and immediately deciding we should stop for snowcones
trying the candy corn snowcone flavor which AMAZINGLY tasted like the real thing!
settling on amaretto and pineapple and cherry lime cola
going to another yard sale
finding a nice park in Rowlett, trying to climb a tree, I got stuck and scared of all the caterpillars (which I was convinced would sting and be poisonous) and ants and A had to help me get down

ALL THAT!!! before we headed here!

The Great State Fair of Texas! We had a super time and did the fair right. We rode the TRE train in much to A's delight coming from a train buff family as he does, toured the petting zoo "barn" where we saw baby bison (Hail to thee beloved Harding!), baby zebras, a sheep so woolly I don't know how it could see, water buffalo which A and I paid some homage to seeing as how they are the source of buffalo mozzarella which we love so much and this:

Isn't he cute???

We also saw the city of cards. Amazing! This is all made from stacking cards! Wow! Good job, Bryan Berg!

We wandered through the Midway several times, enjoyed the Bird Show!!!, saw the Silver Thistle drum and bagpipe band, watched bull riding up close and personal, saw the pig races, enjoyed some of the Third Day concert and ate!
We decided to go all out and sample the delicacies of this year's fair.

Fried pb and j with banana! YUM!
Fried cookie dough, double YUM!! (thanks for the tip, Deborah!)
Fried guacamole, Fried queso and Fried avacado (we got the mixed basket!) :) all quite yummy

So fun!

We also saw my friends, Lindsey, Holly and Beth and Holly's parents and brother, a couple of people from church and Katie who I really wish had told me to go right back into the food and fiber pavillion and see her red and blue ribbon!!! Congratulations, Katie! I read it on your blog tonight. You never cease to amaze and inspire me! And to think, I spent a whole summer scrapbooking on a ping pong table with a blue ribbon scrapbooker! So cool!

It was all in all a completely wonderful Saturday and boy were we whooped when we made it to the end of the day! Hope everyone else had a great weekend! K

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes!

They're in process right now! Pictures to follow!

Don't you just love an afternoon of cool breezes floating in through the open window, some good music on the stereo, a vintage apron tied around your waist and yummy things cooking up? I do and they seem to happen far and few between so it's time to seize the moments and savor the feel of it!

Better go check on my water to see if it's boiling. I'm actually going all out and using a double boiler after a momentary debate with myself over following the recipe or resorting to the microwave. Usually the microwave wins out and actually the debate doesn't even happen, it's just a given, but it's a beautiful fall day as mentioned and I'm using the Anne of Green Gables cookbook of all things! Double boiler won out. :)



These are the cupcakes I am attempting to emulate:

On one of my trips to St. Louis in August/September, A met me at the airport as usual and told me he had a surprise for me in the car. This box of AMAZING looking cupcakes was sitting on my seat with his name written on the bakery box in a funky script. That was fun to me too to see his name that way. I'm not sure why exactly but it was.

He got them at The Cupcakery in St. Louis on the way to the airport and we thought they were super! So, this is what I'm trying to do, we'll see how they turn out! I just took them out of the oven and they smell heavenly!

We're eating up some of those green chilies we put up with tamales and tortillas for dinner and then I'll commence to the icing!

Back to the beginning: Here are all of my ingredients set out, measured and ready to go. I learned this technique from Bob and Melinda Blanchard in their tome Cook What You Love. I recommend that book as well as their book A Trip to the Beach.


This method really seems to streamline things to me and make cooking more efficient and enjoyable! Plus I get to enjoy using lots of my pretty kitchen things. Mandy, thanks so much for the little glass bowls! They're terrific! If anyone who is planning to ask me for a Christmas list . . . aka Mom, is reading this, :) I wouldn't mind some new wooden spoons and a vintage clear glass footed measuring cup. :)

I don't know if you're like me, but I'm sometimes tempted to think that other's lives are just nearly perfect or at least quite peachy from reading their accounts in blogland. Nothing against anyone at all because don't we all like to talk about the good things? I just wanted to make sure that all of my readers know that my life is full of mistakes that keep things interesting along the way. Take for instance this "one of these things is not like the others" cupcake shot. Yep, ran out of frosting, no butter to make more and so there you have it, one smeary icing cupcake! :)

Here they are with the Andes mints on top and I actually like the one with the two halves better but at first thought it was the "mistake" cupcake.

Goodnight!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Autumn



I truly love Autumn! Just wanted to share a few images. The above photo is my sweet nephew! Can you believe the cuteness? :)

Below is a project a year in coming. Last year at Canton I bought a bunch of bittersweet that I then carried through the throngs above my head like a European tour guide carries their umbrella to keep the bittersweet from getting crushed. It now embellishes my candle chandelier in my dining room (thank you Jenni!) just like I'd envisioned. The leftover branches devoid of berries made it into a cool bottle I picked up at a flea market somewhere here or there.





Sunday, October 14, 2007

Putting up peppers

Do you know the greatness of Hatch chilis? I did not realize the significance of this portion of God's creation until this weekend. Having grown up in New Mexico, A was quite excited when he saw a sign on a roadside stand near where he lives in Euless advertising, in handwritten letters, Hatch Chilies. Preceding our pumpkin outing on Saturday night, we stopped at the stand to buy a 30 lb. bag of the chilies. The helpful man dumped a large burlap sack of the beautiful reddish orange and green colored chilies into a large black metal mesh drum of a roaster. We watched the drum turn and the peppers' cute little curly stems get caught in the holes as it spun round through the flame to the sound of satisfying crackles.



The man opened the trap door of the drum releasing the peppers down the chute and into the plastic bag lined box he'd prepared. (This photo shows its contents during the last half hour or so of "putting up". There were A LOT of chilies!)

We stopped at Chick-fil-a afterward for some dinner and as we walked back to the truck, we both stopped dead in our tracks and looked at each other wide-eyed and with big smiles on our faces as the intoxicating aroma registered in our brains. Ahhhhh! Those chilies smelled soooo good!

We went back to my apt. and it was time to "put them up". Now this city girl has never once "put something up" in her life but A is expanding my horizons and I'm glad of it.

He patiently taught me the process amidst his exaltation over actually being the proud owner of 30 lbs. of Hatch chilies!


Since the chilies are roasted, the skin comes off fairly easily. You top them (cut off the stem portion) and then slip the skins off. Then you slit the soft flesh down one side and run it under water to wash the seeds off.

I envisioned it being a fairly laborious process but it was much simpler than I expected. We got in a groove and worked for five hours! It was great talk time though and we really enjoyed being together.

The colors were beautiful! Some of them were fairly rainbow striped. God does such amazing work!

A was rhapsodic over his green chili peppers and I was so happy for him! We tasted chilies along the way and our lips, fingers and arms tingled with the spice! Canned diced chilies have nothing on this!

We got them all done even though it was about 12:30 when we quit. It will go down as one of those "remember when we . . . " nights.

Here they are bagged, labeled and ready to go in the freezer. We have quite a supply of green chilies which should last a while. A came over early this morning before church to make scrambled eggs with green chilies and sharp cheddar for our breakfast and we have plans for enchiladas, green chili burgers, etc., etc., etc.!

If you have a wonderful recipe involving green chilies to share please feel free!


The pleasure of pumpkins


October is my favorite month. The temperature cooling down, the wind blowing and the color orange endear this month to me. The orange object which pleases me most is a plump and perky pumpkin.




Last night A and I went to a real live pumpkin farm! I had looked some up online and was surprised to find so many in the area. We chose Hall's Pumpkin Farm in Grapevine. It was a wonderful experience and a quintessential capping off of an autumn Saturday.



As we drove into the dirt parking area we laughed together about A's old Ford truck, affectionately known as "Old Betsy", looking like the only vehicle that actually belonged on a farm. We shared the lot with shiny new automobiles of every description.

Our eyes were greeted with bales of hay and delightful displays of the produce available. White, fairytale, Cinderella, pie and classic orange pumpkin varieties were available for purchase at very reasonable prices. Hayrides were offered, face painting, a corn maze, popcorn and you could take as many pictures as you pleased.



There were plenty of adorable kids to watch as we gazed around and the atmosphere was one of good, clean, family fun. The people who own the farm were so nice. Wagons were provided to haul your selections around.

Being the wonderful man that he is, A realizes the importance to me of a good stem when selecting a pumpkin and the added bonus of curly little tendrils hanging on. He spotted some really good ones to add to my stash. We meandered through the pumpkins and enjoyed the piped in bluegrass music in the covered area.

I ended up with a grand total of ten pumpkins to adorn my abode this season - a Cinderella pumpkin which I have long admired but never been able to justify the price of at the Dallas Farmers Market or a grocery store, 5 pie pumpkins which will be used for decoration, not actual pie filling :) and four of the little gourd variety. All of this for only $19! Amazing!



As we were leaving, the clear glass bulbs strung as a canopy illuminated imprinting a magical image on our minds as a grace note to the day.