Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Strawberry Shortbread Dessert

Today I saw a sign for the Cottle Strawberry Farm and couldn't resist turning off to get a big box of fresh-picked strawberries.  There are road-side stands all over town (and the state) selling Cottle Strawberries, but low-and-behold, the actual farm is not far from home!

It is so great to live in a place where produce is so easy to bring home straight from a farm.  This is one of the things I love the most about Spring & Summer in South Carolina!  

Since we can't possibly eat a whole box of strawberries before they start to go bad, I washed about half to freeze, and the other half to eat this week.  (I actually got started eating the strawberries on the way home, just couldn't resist!)

Tonight I made up a batch of my favorite short-bread to serve with our fresh berries and icecream!  Here's the recipe for the yummy shortbreads which would go great with pretty much any fresh fruit topping!

Shortbread Ingredients:
1&1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cold butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
2 TBS milk

Preheat oven to 400F and lightly grease a baking sheet.  In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.  Combine egg, sour cream and milk in a separate bowl.  Add to flour mixture and stir with a fork until moistened.

Drop dough into 8-10 mounds onto baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy topped with strawberries and ice cream or cool whip!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Menu Planning - Week 16 & 17

So I failed to put up our menu last week, and you can see that we ate out a whole lot because we were sorta busy, but just for the sake of documenting, here is what we ate.  Also, I can't believe how hard it was for Ryan and I to try and remember what all we ate this week!

4.16.11 - Carolina Baseball Game - Chicken Fingers & Bratwurst
4.17.11 - Dinner w/ Leigh & Gray -- Tequila Lime Chicken & Grilled Corn -- YUM!
4.18.11 - Yo Burrito Girl's Night for me, Chickfila for Ryan
4.19.11 - Chickfila on road for me, Subway for Ryan
4.20.11 - Lasagna Casserole
4.21.11 - Out to eat @ El Chico
4.22.11 - Paula Dean's Pork Tenderloin, Sweet Potatoes & Salad

As for this week, trying to get rid of some freezer meals, and minimize the work involved around meal time..... here's our plan:

4.23.11 - Leftovers for me, on-the-road for Ryan
4.24.11 - Easter lunch leftovers
4.25.11 - Chicken Tetrazzini in freezer from Supper Swap
4.26.11 - Homemade Calzones
4.27.11 - Meat loaf in freezer from Supper Swap & potatoes
4.28.11 - Date Night Out
4.29.11 - Ryan out of town, so TBD for me

Friday, April 22, 2011



this has been a busy week for me, and i've been trying to take out the time to focus and meditate on the meaning of Easter.  on palm sunday, we discussed passover and i was overwhelmingly struck again by the sacrifice that God made to send His son to save us.  i am so undeserving, and yet he gave up EVERYTHING so that i could spend an eternity with Him.  i don't think i have the words to express how thankful and grateful i am, but i didn't want to let the day go by without a mention.  i am SO happy to be able to say that my savior lives.  i'm looking forward to celebrating that fact this easter sunday, and hopefully keeping this grateful attitude all year round.
romans 5:8 "But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. "
john 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Back yard update

The first step in our back-yard re-do is complete, with just one day of hard work!  After a trip to Lowe's to grab all the supplies, they worked all day building this little beauty.

The final product looking shiny after being sprayed down to get rid of mud! 

The workers admiring their work

The hard work and the addition of the new deck really inspired us to get to work making the backyard all we want it to be.  We are excited to see the transformation over the next few weeks/months and hopefully by early summer, we'll have a big cookout to celebrate!

Last weekend, I worked most of the day painting the shed we built two years ago back when we originally started working on improving the yard by extending our fence to meet the neighbors and adding the storage building.  It fits in with the house a lot better now that it is painted a light gray with white trim to match the house.  

Shed after painting!

My dad is working on putting up lattice around the bottom of the deck and it is almost complete, so more pictures to come when he's all done!

Today it's off to buy some plants, and if the weather holds up, get started planting them and getting the natural areas around the edge of the yard looking good!   Locally, we are under a tornado watch for most of the morning AND they're calling for scattered thunderstorms all day, so we are praying the storms will either pass us by completely or come and go in a hurry without causing too much damage!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Menu Planning - Week 15 - How it Happens

So this is how I normally do my menu planning.....

First I list out the days of the week and any special activities or plans that we have going on.  This week it seems like we have a lot of out-of-the-ordinary things going on.  Our usual stuff is listed under each day (Ryan softball on Mondays and Tuesdays, Pilates for me either on Monday or Thursday, and Bible study for both of us on Wednesdays) and that helps me figure out what type of food to plan based on how much time I have to put effort into a meal.  

Then I put in anything when we won't be eating at home, or if people are coming to our house (ie. Supper Club, Aunt Eudean's birthday, and in-laws coming over).  I try to put in at least one date-night or out-to-eat night, and at least one freezer meal or something that the ingredients won't go bad if plans change throughout the week.  I'm ATTEMPTING to include leftovers as one day since that is a way for food not to go to waste (cooking the right amount of food for just two people is pretty difficult for me.)

Then, out to the right you can see where I've started a grocery list of things that I need to grab in order to make the things on our menu.  I add those things to my breakfast, lunch and household items, and I'm good to go.  If I can, I try to stock up on things we use often when they are on sale so that there aren't too many things we need to buy for our dinner recipes unless they are rare ingredients.  One day when I have more free time, I'm going to attempt both meal planning AND couponing to maximize our grocery saving.....key words "when I have more free time".... HA.

So, since that photo is pretty bad and doesn't include recipe links, here's what we're going to be eating this week:

4.9.11 - Monthly Dinner Club at Jimmy & LIndsey's House - We're in charge of the side dish (read: CARBS) so I'm making Pioneer Woman's Perfect Potatoes au Gratin
4.10.11 - My Great Aunt Eudean is turning 90, so we'll be attending her birthday party in the afternoon, and then come home to watch the final round of The Masters, and in honor of the tradition at the tournament, we'll be eating Homemade Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
4.11.11 - Chick-fil-A on Bush River Road gives away free sandwiches with your church bulletin! Sign us up for a cheap dinner!
4.12.11 - Southwestern Pasta & Cheese - I've been DYING to try this recipe since I found it
4.13.11 - LEFTOVERS!
4.14.11 - Italian Casserole (still in the freezer from Supper Swap)
4.15.11 - Grilling Out for my MIL and SIL's birthdays that we missed while at the beach

And I'll leave you with a picture to show you how much my husband enjoyed our latest recipe this week... this is his response to Wednesday night's sandwiches and onion rings..... this week's meals were a total hit:

Can't beat a happy husband who cleans his plate and goes back for more!  

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What I've been reading...

I've always been a big reader, and I especially love to pack a few books and read while I'm on vacation.  Lately, I'd say I've done a lot more reading of BLOGS and other things on the internet and so I've spent less time reading books. 
So, a combination of those two things, I recently finished up Ree Drummond's (The Pioneer WomanBlack Heels to Tractor Wheels. 


I won't give away all the details, just to say, this is a HILARIOUS account of her love story with her husband Marlboro Man, and since my sister and I got to meet PW in person only a few weeks ago, it was all the more real for me.  You can start reading the online version here, or go pick up a copy at your local bookstore ASAP. 
Not kidding, drop everything, start reading it right now.  You're going to swoon over this love story, I guarantee it.  Also, you will NOT.WANT.TO.PUT.IT.DOWN.  So what are you waiting for?  Go get it already!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Menu Planning - Week 14

Wow, we're pretty late this week, but that's because we have spent a long weekend at the beach and we'll just be returning home today.  It is crazy to only plan for 4 days of meals when I'm used to planning for 7!

4.2.11 - Beach
4.3.11 - Beach
4.4.11 - Beach
4.5.11 - Returning from Beach - Making Buffalo Chicken Pizza we never got to make last week
4.6.11 - Grilled Tomato, Smoked Turkey and Muenster Sandwiches and these Onion Rings
4.7.11 - Crockpot Shredded Beef Tacos
4.8.11 - GRILLING (Meat of Ryan's choice) and making this Creamed Spinach as the side.  Looking forward to making use of our new double-deck for the first time since it is supposed to be sunny!