Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Heather!

Yesterday was Heather's birthday.

If you are following my posts, then you know we did not make it to Orange Beach. So we were not the mere steps away from fresh seafood as I had planned.

I had already taken off of work, since we had planned to come home from the beach last night, and since H and I were both just plain pooped from all of the hospital stuff, I decided to stay home.

I got up before she did and prepared the mantle with our recycled "Happy Birthday" banner and balloons. (The balloons were not recycled. I don't think you can recycle balloons.)

Then Heather got up, and immediately wanted to know if it was "present time." Now she is not normally the one in our relationship that focuses on getting gifts. That person would be me.... I love presents! So I figured that if she was showing that much enthusiasm that early in the morning, then it was definitely "present time."

She opened her gifts, tried on her new "Switch Flops", oohed and ahhed over her other gifts, and then decided to shower and dress and prepare for the day ahead.

After all of that, I asked what she wanted me to do for her birthday supper. She hemmed and hawed, wanting me to decide for her. Well it wasn't my birthday. So I wouldn't say.

Once she realized that the decision was truly hers to make. She spouted out a complete menu. Obviously, she had already given this some thought.

Seared Tuna with Wasabi Glaze, asparagus, and wild rice.

Ok. Easy enough. And I honestly should have thought of it myself, since a medium rare tuna filet is one of her favorite foods.

I'm gonna share the recipe for the tuna with you. It has become a favorite at our house. I was lucky enough to find the tuna on sale, because it can run kinda high normally.

Seared Tuna with Soy Wasabi Glaze

4 6 oz. fresh Ahi tuna steaks, about 3/4-inch thick
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1-2 Tbsp. fresh lime or lemon juice
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1-2 Tbsp. prepared wasabi (I make mine with the wasabi paste from the oriental aisle...very simple!)

Brush tuna steaks on both sides with the oil and season with salt and pepper.

Combine the butter, onion, lime juice, soy sauce and wasabi in a small pan.

Heat a heavy, nonstick frying pan over high heat. Place the tuna in the pan and sear until crispy and brown. Turn over and sear the other side. Be careful not to overcook the tuna. It’s best rare to medium rare.

While the tuna is cooking, heat the butter mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth and emulsified.

Serve the tuna immediately, drenched with the sauce.

Sorry I didn't take a picture. We ate it too fast.

While I'm at it, let me share the rice with you as well. It was a new recipe that had been shared with me. My gosh, it was good. The only thing I would do differently, is that next time, I'll buy plain wild rice. The pack I bought had seasoning mixed in with it already, and I think it made it a little bit salty.

Wild Rice Pilaf

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 to 3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 to 2 strips lemon zest
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup wild rice, preferably whole not broken
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1 bunch scallions (white and green), thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Add the pine nuts, garlic, zest, and thyme, swirl the pan until the nuts and garlic are beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.

Add the wild rice and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute tops.

Stir in the chicken broth and salt. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a rapid simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
Check the texture of the rice and, if needed, continue simmering until tender.
Add more liquid as needed, another 10 to 15 minutes.

(Note: The rice should only just begin to crack when done. If it begins to curl it is overcooked.)

Remove from the heat, scatter the scallions over the surface, fluff with a fork, and remove the herb sprigs and lemon zest before serving. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.

I normally just broil my asparagus with some sea salt and pepper until wilted.

So... there's supper for tonight. Or this weekend.

Ya'll have a great day!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Drastic Change In Plans

I could smell the salt and taste the shrimp. We were ready for a long weekend at the beach. Our bags were packed and sitting by the door. We just had one little thing to do before heading south.

A doctors appointment.

Heather had an appointment for a simple procedure Friday morning at Brookwood hospital in Birmingham. We were driving up and then heading to Orange Beach afterward.

The hospital called Thursday afternoon and gave us a 10:30am arrival time. Not so bad... Still plenty of time for travel. So Thursday night, we got everything ready to go.

Friday morning, Heather's mom came up from Demopolis to ride with us. We got to Brookwood a little early and got Heather checked in.

Then we waited. And waited. And waited. And a little past noon, they called Heather back to be prepped.

And Sue and I waited........

Finally, they called us back to sit with Heather. And we got to wait back there as well. Around 5pm, 6 and a half hours after arrival, they took her back.

At 6 pm, the ladies in the admitting area and waiting room closed up shop. Sue and I were the only ones left watching the Michael Jackson saga on the TV. (We had tried several times to change the channel, but couldn't figure out how to do it.)

Finally, Dr. Houserman came out to talk to us. She told us that the procedure had ended up being more complicated than she had originally planned.

Of course. That's the only way things go with us.

I'm not going into details because Heather really doesn't want the world reading the details, but she had a whole lot done. She has a 3" bikini cut and basically had a c-section without the baby. She had several fybroids and cysts removed, as well as a lot of scar tissue. She is in a good bit of pain, and will be off of work for 6 weeks.

So I don't think I have to tell you, that we spent the night in Birmingham instead of Orange Beach. They checked her into the Women's Center at Brookwood, and Sue and I settled in.

Now of course, I hadn't put the bags in the car. We had planned to come back through Tuscaloosa to get Hershey. So we had nothing as far as toiletries or clothes. And Hershey was in the house and had not been outside all day.

So once Heather got situated, I came back to Tuscaloosa to take care of things.

God bless our friends, Chris and Jessica. They came and got Hershey and kept her for us. And I grabbed the packed bags and headed back to Birmingham.

Heather's cousin, Jane Ellen, brought Sue and I some sandwiches and plantain chips from a new Cuban restaurant in Vestavia Hills. WOW!!!!! It was sooo good! And it saved us from hospital cafeteria food Friday night.

Now let me just say that I have never had to spend the night in a hospital as a visitor until this weekend. And I am so thankful for that. Mainly, because of the loved one not being sick factor, but also because I ended up crammed into a lumpy loveseat sleeping fitfully between nurse visits. Finally about 4am Saturday morning, I was up for good.

Heather was starving of course. So she ordered breakfast and shortly it arrived. She eagerly tore the top off of her pancakes and her face told it all....

She said I could post that picture.

The pancakes and sausage were pitiful looking.

The pale spot on that sausage was where it wasn't completely done.

So I went down to the cafeteria and got her something else. While down there, I ended up finding the best thing of the whole weekend. Fruit Loop Treats!

Now I am a huge fan of the Rice Krispy Treat. In fact, I could eat them by the panful if I knew I wouldn't regret it the next time I put on my pants. But I had never heard of Fruit Loop Treats! Where in the world have these been all my life? That's what I want to know.

Heather's doctor said that although she would rather her stay until Sunday, that if everything was "moving along" accordingly, that she could go home Saturday afternoon. So we left around 5pm and headed home.

Hershey didn't even miss us at all. In fact, she acted mad that she had to come home. So much love....

In the end, we found out a lot that has been inhibiting our trying to have a baby. So this was all a good thing. Dr. Houserman said that all looks good now. So at least it was for the best.

We've spent the rest of the weekend laying around, watching TV, and visiting with close friends. I'll stay home tomorrow (Monday) and then friends and family will stay the rest of the week.

Although she's in a good bit of pain, Heather is doing very well. She probably won't be on the Wii anytime soon though.

And oh yeah.... don't cry for me Orange Beach. We'll be back down there before you know it!

Ya'll have a great week!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Lunchroom Favorite Takes a Turn for the Worse

I don't remember the days at Jackson Academy before we had a cafeteria. I guess I've blacked that out. The school opened in 1970, and I started kindergarten in 1976. Classmates of mine tell me that we were in grade school before the cafeteria opened. I guess that's true. I just don't remember.

I do remember that we had great food though. The spaghetti was awesome, the pizza was that frozen square pizza that I can still find at Souths Finest Meats here in Tuscaloosa, and the fried shrimp was always one of my favorites.

After lunch, Polly Nettles would be over at her ice cream stand in between the snack machines and the coke machines. I think I had a Mickey Mouse popsicle just about every day. Which probably started my addiction to ice cream, and which is also probably why I was a chubby kid.

Polly was this old black lady who ran a tight ship. She kept everybody in line, from 1st grade to 12th grade. She called us "crazy white kids" and wielded her broom freely. Recently, Ms. Wendy Nall, who taught us math in our middle school years, started a tribute to Polly on the Facebook. Last time I checked, there were over 75 posts from students who had walked the halls of Jackson Academy through the years. It was really very touching.

I'm not sure when Polly died. Like I said, she was old way back then. I remember Mama telling me about it when she passed, but it was years ago. Her son Abe and daughter Alma also worked at the school. I know she is probably looking down on all of us Facebook commenters and still laughing at all us "crazy white kids."

But this post is not about Polly. She's just a big part of our lunchroom memories.

This post is about one thing that I will always remember as one of my favorite lunchroom menu items...

Parker House Rolls.

On Fridays, we would get our menus for the next week to take home in our backpacks. Parker House Rolls were usually on there at least twice each week. And I loved them. I still love them today. But because I love them so much, I seldom buy them cause I'm gonna eat them. And somehow, there was a bag of them in my freezer this past week that Heather found.

Ya'll know she's been sick, and was trying to ease her way back onto normal food. For some reason, she thought those rolls were going to be the ticket.

I came in yesterday and could smell them cooking. ~smiles!~

She had taken them out of the freezer and plopped them on a cookie sheet and into the oven. Here's our conversation on that....

"Heather, you know those rolls are supposed to rise before you cook them."

"What do you mean?"

"You lay them out and let them rise so that they are nice and fluffy."

"That doesn't matter. They'll be fine."

Hmmmm... you be the judge.

Those didn't just come out of the freezer, even though they look like they did. That is the finished product. Hard as a brick.

I wasn't tempted even a little bit.

I'm sure I will get a response from Heather on this. :)

Ya'll have a great day!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Heather decided last Friday to go to Demopolis to visit the folks. We have since learned, that the wretched stomach bug truly did originate from that visit. Seems it has spread through the women in her family. In the words of my father-in-law, "It must not like men folks, 'cause just the women folks is getting it." Women and kids, I guess. Since it started with our nephew, Austin. And that's fine. I am perfectly happy to be discriminated against in this case.

But that's not what this post is about.

Heather phoned while she was at her Mama's to tell me that she was waiting around to see our niece, JW, and that she would be late. Knowing that Sue's house is always a plethora of home cooking, I asked Heather what she'd been eating.

Left-over spaghetti.

Which made me start thinking about how long it had been since I'd had spaghetti. Regular pasta is not on any low-carb list.

But a while back, I found a website that advertised low-carb pastas and I ordered some. It's been sitting in the cabinet since it arrived. It is soybean pasta. Hmmmm....

So I looked in the freezer and took out a pack of ground venison (which by the way, is one of the leanest meats you can find), and popped it in the microwave to defrost.

This gave me time to do the Wii Fit.

Once the pasta got done, it had a particularly strong odor to it. Kinda like an iron smell. So rinsed it with cold water and tasted it before I added my deer to it. Didn't want to ruin that whole pack of deer meat.

It tasted like normal pasta. The texture was a bit more grainy, but it was very good.

So I proceeded making the spaghetti and here's what I ended up with.

Obviously I am neither a cookbook author nor a professional photographer, but you get the idea.

So anyway... it was good. I actually had 2 helpings.

And then got back on the Wii.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Weekend Update

It would appear that the Stomach Bug has left the building....

As the day went on yesterday, the shot that the doctor gave Heather must have started working, because the gross stuff stopped and she basically just slept the rest of the day and night. This morning, she is tired but much better. And so far, knock on wood, I am fine.

So... lemme tell you about our weekend prior to the point that Heather moved into the bathroom.

Last week, we finally got around to refinancing our house. I had actually taken our information to the bank about 3 weeks ago. But it took a while for the appraiser to come out and look at everything. But she finally did, and we got her report back last Tuesday.

Now I told you last week that we were deciding on colors. And we did. The room is now Hampshire Gray, which actually is not an accurate description since it really is more of a green. Heather keeps saying that she sees the gray in it. Not me. It's green. But it looks GREAT! We started Saturday morning, got all the furniture moved, the walls painted, the trim done, and the furniture moved back.... all by 5pm.

I made this with my phone so it really doesn't do justice to the room.... but you can get a general idea...

We haven't hung things back on the walls yet, because we are probably making changes there as well. And Heather has found a duvet from Pottery Barn that she wants.

So the room has more work to be done before we are finished. And needless to say, we did not go bed shopping.

We did however, make it to eat Mexican and homemade ice cream with Chris and Jessica before all hell broke loose. Which may have added to Heather's unfortunate situation all night.

This is a short week for me. We will head to the coast on Friday for a few days. I'm already getting antsy.

Ya'll have a great week.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I do love a weekend.... usually.

This one started off great, and I'll fill ya'll in on that later, but it has not ended on a positive note.

Heather went down to her Mama's on Friday and evidently has brought back a stomach virus. It hit last night. She was up and down all night, and let me just tell ya'll.... it was naaaasty!

I'm not very good in those kind of situations. I just kept the cold bathcloths coming. She was and still is in pitiful shape.

Heather's grandfather used to write these random stories about his life. We have them and they are really entertaining. One time, they went to Mexico and drank some bad water. He said it gave them the "turistas", which is a nice word for "the trots." Heather has herself a massively violent case of the turistas!

So we ended up at the hospital this morning about 5am. They gave her a shot and sent her home. In between puking and pooping spells, she is sleeping.

I certainly hope my brother in law, who didn't keep his sick child at home, and whose child passed this thing along, is having a good Father's Day.

If I end up like Heather, as God as my witness, I will drive down there and kiss him full on the mouth to share the love!

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's my blogoversary!

Wow. I can't believe I have been doing this a whole year! Thanks to those of you who take the time out of your busy lives to read what I write on here.

Thanks especially to my loyal 7 followers: Heather, Katie, Leigh, Chris, Jessica, Heather Ryan, and jr14grau.

I hope you all have enjoyed reading my posts as much as I have enjoyed sharing with you.

Here's to another year!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

No problem, mon!

Ok, that last post has got me thinking about Jamaica. I thought I'd share a few memories from our trip to Negril last year.

Maybe it really is time to go back!


I am restless.

I keep thinking that I want to go somewhere this weekend but I don't know where. Heather keeps wanting to fly down to Jamaica for the weekend, but I think we need to stay a little bit closer to home.

On the other hand, we really need to stay home and paint our bedroom. We had the house appraised last week, and when the pictures came back in the appraisal, I noticed that our bedroom is really kinda blah. Heather said that she's been trying to tell me that for months.

One other thing about the bedroom picture is that our bed is unmade. Heather had an early doctor's appointment the day the appraiser lady came. She got up first. Then I got up later and was kinda rushed to get ready and out the door for work. We passed each other as I was leaving. Heather didn't go back to the bedroom part of the house again until after the appraiser left. She thought I had made the bed. I thought she would make it since I didn't have time. And neither of us ended up making it.

In my own defense, making that bed is not a quick job, due to the fact that we have about 50 pillows of various sizes piled up on it. So it's not like I could have just thrown the covers up and been done.

Heather called me at work all in a dither when she discovered this housekeeping faux pas. She was mortified. Now I really don't think that had any effect on the appraisal. But now people all over town have seen the pictures and our bed is clearly all messed up. I bet folks at First National Bank are speculating on how we live....

So anyway... we have realized that the room needs to be spruced up a bit, so we started looking at paint colors. Not an easy task. Heather wants a darker color, but will it make the room too dreary? And if we go lighter, what colors do we lean toward? And will the new curtains match the color we pick? So much to think about. Decisions, decisions....

I don't know. We may pick up and go somewhere. Or we may stay home and be productive.

We may even go shop for a new bed. Heather's wanting a sleigh bed.

Whatever we do, ya'll know something crazy will happen. I guess I'll tell you all about it on Monday. I know the suspense is killing you.

Oh yeah.... Happy Birthday to Aidan Benefield! He's 5 today. He's a huge Beatles fan and shares a birthday with Sir Paul McCartney. Cool huh?

We're heading over to Chuck E Cheese this afternoon to celebrate! I'm fairly excited about it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hidden Valley

I went home this past weekend. It was Homecoming and Mama and Daddy's church, so I went down Friday night and stayed til Sunday afternoon.

Daddy had the fish ponds open Saturday, and folks were everywhere down there. The weather could not have been nicer. A group from Oak Grove Baptist Church was down having a family day. They caught a bunch of fish, and then fried them up under the pavilion. I think they all had a really good time.

There's Daddy in his hat....


Hershey was scoutin' out for food. And she even stole one poor girl's ham sandwich!

Black-eyed Susan's

I think this guy had around 60 pounds...

The cabin...



When I walked into the kitchen Sunday morning, this is what I found...


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hot Dawg!

Guess what? The Wii is here!

I know this is probably not a big deal to most of ya'll because you probably already have one of these in your own home, but I never buy video games or things even remotely similar. So this is a big deal for us.

I actually did have a Sega Genesis in college. But that was the result of a long afternoon of happy hour followed by a ridiculously expensive trip to Wal-Mart. It seemed like a good idea to buy it at the time. I'm pretty sure my roommates highly encouraged it. I think it has since gone to live with Sonic the Hedgehog in the barn at Mama and Daddy's.

So anyway, we have friends who have Wii's. Endless hours of fun. And thanks to dear, sweet, Katie B, one afternoon Heather got hooked just enough to agree that we needed one. So I jumped all over that.

Now here's what I do most of the time. I go online and think about things I want to buy. If it's something big, like a boat or a car, I'll build my own and add things to it. But of course I'd never buy a boat or car online. Other things though, such as a pile of books at Amazon, or kitchen gadgets at Williams Sonoma, or cool loaded up cameras, or cool new clothes, often find themselves in my cart, but in reality are often not purchased. That's kinda how things started with the Wii.

Except I actually hit the Send button.

That's also how I got the Daniel Moore and my Blackberry. I had them in the cart about a dozen times, but just couldn't hit that Send button to spend the money.

Until I finally had enough of myself and just did it.

No regrets. Just cool stuff, right? Yeah....

So back to the Wii. We got it all hooked up and played Carnival Games. Then I hooked up the Wii Fit.


It plumped us right up. We spend a long time picking out our little Wii people. Then that damned Wii Fit made us fat. When Heather's person grew, she looked all around at her new large waistline and then out at us as if to say, "Where the hell did that come from?"

That's ok though. Gives us a starting point. And things to work on. Lots of things.

So we did some yoga. Wow. Not as easy as it looks.

Then we did step aerobics. That one took Ms Coordination some getting used to.

Then we played this soccer game but I kept getting hit in the head with shoes and panda heads. I know... weird.

We walked a tightrope, skied, jogged, and did some twisting and stretching stuff. And I can feel it today.

And I can't wait to get home.

Ya'll get ready. I am going to be soooo buff.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Gators, Mules, and Pork Chops

As usual, we ran around like crazy this weekend.

I had some dear friends from high school, Jodi & Kara, in town last week. They were here because their daughters are mascots for Clarke Prep in Grove Hill, and were attending camp at the Capstone. We had a great time catching up on old times and basically just doing nothing.

Friday night, the girls were being evaluated, so I joined Kara and Jodi in Coleman Coliseum to watch. It was hilarious! There were all sorts of mascots. Tigers, bears, eagles, a hornet, and even a red devil. They milled through the crowd and danced around on stage and basically did what mascots do... get the crowd involved. The gators both did great, and I hope they took home all sorts of awards Saturday morning. These pics were made with my phone so they are a bit blurred. Sorry.

Then Saturday, I got up and met Adam down at Southeastern Auctions for a nursery action. We've been down there before to the boat auctions, and I had shopped the nursery several times for various things. I think they are remodeling the nursery side, and needed to clean everything out. There were some great deals to be had. I ended up with a couple of apple trees and a couple of plum bushes. We were out there a couple of hours or so, then I paid for my items and headed home. I'm sure the auction went on all day. They were cleaning house!

When I got home, Heather was ready to start her day, so we rode over to Gordo to the annual Mule Day and Chicken Festival. We got there after the mule parade, but I know that it had occured, because the evidence was still in the streets.

We walked around and visited the vendors, and I realized that I was about to starve. So I got me a rib-eye sandwich from the Pickens County Cattlemen's Association and wolfed it down like I hadn't eaten in weeks. We ran into a couple of friends, Ansley and Tanner, who were there for the festivities as well, and hung out with them for a little while. Heather decided that she wanted a blooming onion. So I decided that I needed some chicken on a stick. The onion, although very slow in the making, was great. My chicken was kinda iffy. But I ate most of it anyway and we found us a spot in the shade to side and tore that onion up. My gosh, it was good!

Barney Fife was even making his rounds, keeping the streets of Gordo safe!

On the way back to the car, we stopped by Solid Rock Church's booth for homemade icecream! Wow! What better way to spend a hot June afternoon....

Shortly after we got home, Chris and Jessica called and invited over for dinner. I thought they were tied up with Chris' 20th High School reunion, but they had gotten done with all of that on Friday night. So we stopped at Publix and picked up a key lime pie, and headed over to their house. Chris grilled some pork chops, and we had squash and baked potatoes, and once again stuffed ourselves.

They have a wren who has built a nest in one of Jessica's hanging pots. Five little baby birds have hatched and those things sang just about the whole time. We sat out and watch that mama bird take care and feed her babies. And then Heather's random mind told us how birds reproduce. I'm not even going to go into that on here. If you wanna know, Google will be glad to tell you.

Sunday afternoon was veg-out time. We ate chili dogs for lunch. I do love a chili dog. Then we watched "Surfer Dude" with Matthew McConaughey, and did nothing the rest of the day.

Obviously nobody was concerned about losing weight this weekend. We are back on track today though.

Heather is home today. Hopefully the new Wii and Wii Fit is being delivered. That'll help with our waistlines. We shall see.

Hope you all have a good week.