Friday, August 1, 2014

Abita brewery tour

The week of my birthday was crazy.  Dean had two different folks come in from other states to work with him..at different times during the same week.  

One of the guys (Shane) was from the corporate office and he added a couple days onto the trip so he could have a little fun in New Orleans.

He is a huge micro brewery fan so Dean suggested we go to the Abita beer brewery.  They give tours and such...and samples.  LOTS of samples....at no cost.  

First trip through....



another trip through....



another trip...do you see the beginnings of a pattern here?



I'm not much of a beer drinker but I loved their soaps....



During the tour, you had to wear closed toed shoes.

Good:

 Bad:  see what they do to you when you are bad?  everyone was snickering.



Then we all marched around looking at this sort of stuff:



The tour was fairly short....which made all the guys happy because they got to go back and "taste" more beer!  
In fact, the guy who was wearing this shirt didn't even bother taking the tour!  He bellied up to the bar and "tasted" lots and lots and lots of beer....and lots more!



They had lots of actual bottle cap art...but this sign was my favorite:


After the tour I had too happy guys on my hands...and that isn't a typo.  I know there are TWO of them....but by now, they were also a bit TOO happy!



Yes, I drove.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

ZoMBie birthday mail!




I had a birthday on the 18th but have been busy ever since...(more posts on that later)


One of my good friends sent me a little birthday surprise in the mail!  She sent me a pumpkin zombie doll for my ever growing collection:

His name is Peter and he is a Pumpkin EATER!  I cannot WAIT to put him in the pumpkin patch.  I may have to make a few eaten pumpkins to sit by him....



Here is a photo showing off Peter and the rest of the goodies.  I see some fairy garden implements. I love making fairy houses and planting stuff around them, but I've been too lazy to make their garden cute.  Now I have NO excuse.  
Now....See those envelopes with the owls and elephants on them?



They aren't envelopes at all...they are shopping TOTES!  And they are awesome!  If you click on her name below the photo, you'll see a post about them, along with the pattern info. (and one about Peter too.)



Kerry, thank you so much for sending me this extra special birthday goodie!  I love everything!!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Don't Give Shots....


So our curly girl had to get a sports/health document for school.  Straight forward and simple.  Right?

Right....but then they realized they didn't give her a meningitis booster during her 16th year exam.

Shots don't really bother her but she likes to be prepared... so she wasn't happy. 

She left them a little note on their "survey notice."  Made me laugh!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mini Apple Pies

Each year for July 4th, I make my  cheesecake tarts.  My family loves them so much....some times, like this year, they didn't wait for the topping.  Just scarfed them down and ate the berries later.  

But...I don't like cheesecake.   I think cheese needs to be salty....not sweet!  So, this year after making the family their tarts, I made myself some little apple pies.  This way, I can eat a few and freeze the rest.  I didn't want a pie in a muffin tin, too little....but I had a mini loaf pan so used it.  It made the perfect single serving pie ever!



Okay, so if you are interested, here is how I made them:

Ingredients to make 9 mini loaf sized pies:

4 premade pie crusts from the refrigerator section, the kind you unroll.  
5-6 Granny Smith apples
1-ish cup of sugar...you may need a little more.
1-3 teaspoons of cinnamon (I use 3 but most folks like 1)
Scant teaspoon nutmeg if you like it.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
1 heaping tablespoon corn starch

*Egg wash is optional....mix 1 egg with a splash of milk, whisk to combine.

Peel and cube your apples into a bowl, sprinkling with cinnamon and sugar as you go to keep the apples from turning.  No need for lemon juice as granny smiths are tart!



Next put the water and butter in a pan and melt the butter, then add the apple mixture and cook for about 8 minutes.  Just to soften them a bit.  Add the cornstarch and stir well.



Get your pan and pie crusts out....I didn't grease the pans and the pies popped out just fine.



Cut the pie crust large enough to overlap....you want to seal these pies.  I left about an inch to hang out.  


Fill each little pie up, mounding it slightly.  Make sure some juice gets into each pie.  I eyeballed it and put enough juice into each pie to come halfway up the apples. 

Then top with more crust, seal around each pie, and cut vents in the top.



Brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with a little cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Then bake them at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  

Look how pretty!



I had 1 little pie stick...the one that I over filled with juice.  All the rest came out beautifully!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Channeling Mumu

Sometimes you see something and you crack up because it is JUST like your mom!


My mother LOVED to travel.  That being said, her internal navigation system wasn't that hot.  So, she got lost...a lot!   When I was 13, the two of us had gone to Atlanta to visit family.   On the way home, I immersed myself in a book.  Every now and then I'd hear her swearing.  Each time it would get worse...and worse...and LOUDER.  Finally, I looked up and took a good look around ....and cracked up.  We'd been going a loop for over an hour!    

Once I pointed it out, she cracked up and knew exactly where she had gone wrong....and took off in the right direction.  I miss you momma!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Pickle List


The other day I was busy in the kitchen making MORE blueberry jam....26 jars of it!   


 As I was doing so, I found myself listening for the little "POP" of the jars as they cooled.    It is such a satisfying sound.    Lots of hard work goes into the jam and with each pop, I'd smile.  I didn't even know I was counting the jars but with each "pop" I would know just how many were left to seal.




As I was working away, I got to thinking about how I wish I had learned canning from my parents.  They were wonderful cooks but took forever to explain something (can you say circumlocution?) and I have a bit of a focus issue (just look at how many crafts I do and you'll know its true!)   As it was, they'd start explaining and I'd go "yeah, yeah, got it...." and move on.  Foolish but I've always been a little quick on the draw.

ANYWAY....

Thinking of that led from one thought.... to another....to another.  Soon enough, I was thinking back to my parents' specialty canned goods.  Daddy always made pear preserves using sand pears...a hard pear used in canning.  We put them on pancakes, over ice cream....so good, even  straight out of the jar. 
But as good as daddy's pears were, momma's specialty beat his.   Mother always made pickles.  No one could compete with her pickles....they were FAMOUS.  Seriously y'all.  Coveted is a word we used in discussing these pickles.  They were THAT good.
Momma perfected a dill pickle recipe over several years. She took it from a basic dill pickle to a garlic-infused spicy but not TOO spicy pickle for which people clamored.  EVERYONE wanted them.  People wanted to buy them but she refused. Instead, she hid them away and used them as Christmas gifts.  

As the years went by and we all moved out and into households of our own, we couldn't WAIT for the pickle jars at Christmas.  I was the pickle maniac in the household (to my detriment as a child) and momma always gave me more jars than anyone else.   She made no bones about it.  I got more.  Period.  She even let me have jars IN BETWEEN holidays!  (Thank you momma!)

These pickles were such a hit that she had to create a pickle list.  On that list were names of friends and  family that would get pickles for Christmas.  This helped her know how much to buy to make enough jars for everyone.   But you didn't want to piss her off.....God help you if you did because she would STRIKE YOUR NAME OFF THE PICKLE LIST!
No lie.  Momma was quite spunky and she would take you off that pickle list in a heartbeat.  Then you'd have to earn your way back on it for the next year!  The horrors!

When momma got older and stopping pickling, we would raid the pantry looking for a lost jar...she hid them all the time and sometimes would lose them (yay!)  Sadly, we eventually quit finding them.  By now, momma was in a nursing home and her pickles became the thing of legend.

Working in the kitchen brought all that back in a flood of tears and memories and more tears.  Daddy's pears, momma's pickles...but mostly love.  That is the way Southerner's show their love for you.  In their food. And, in the hard work of cleaning and prepping and cooking on a hot summer day in a hot kitchen.  

All the while, listening for the pop, pop, pop as one more jar seals...and smiling when it does.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mad Tea Party Blog Hop/EDITED!

The winners of the little pincushions were Anne from alittlefurinthepaint and Diane from lavenderdreamstoo!  Thank you to all who dropped by!

Welcome to the Mad Hatter tea party blog hop!    The fabulous Ms. V at A Fanciful Twist is the hostess of this fun event.

I look forward to creating a post for this each summer but have been under the weather...that being said, I am finally feeling better!  
I still wanted to play along so decided to create a little poem in honor of the day.  Be sure to read to the end or you might miss out on something special!

Mr. Rabbit was late, he ran through here...
Alice fell in behind him, I fear!
"I'm tumbling, I'm shrinking, I'm GROWING!  OH MY!"
All of these words to my ears she did cry.

Then into the garden she clumsily landed..
And hid from the queen so she wouldn't be stranded.
She went through the garden, flower by flower...
As quick as she was, it took most of an hour!

"Where was that old rabbit?"  she said with a sigh.
Then Alice sat down and started to cry!
So tired and hungry, she wanted to rest.
Then music she heard and voices in jest!

She followed the sound, so happy and gay.
To a place with a party where music was played!
At a table she sat and was served some fine tea.
And sang a song that I'll now sing to ME!

Why do I do this? Oh wait, don't you know?  
'Tis my UNBIRTHDAY!  Why yes, it is so!
I've just a week til the actual day
But thought I'd celebrate it here today!! 

And to make it the best, I'm giving to you.
A chance to win a thing...maybe, two!
Just leave me a comment, a note, a hello.
Do it now, before you GO!



Here is a peek at what you might win...   I'll draw 2 names on July 18th (my real birthday) and each will win a little tea party favor with a pincushion.



Don't forget to leave some way for me to contact you in your comment.  

Thanks to Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist for dreaming up and hosting this fun annual event!
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