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Life for Dessert

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Drop-In Friends....

My house is a wreck today. No...seriously. Look at just my laundry room....

It looks SO bad!

I'm under no illusions. It's a wreck! And yes... on the far wall, that would be some paint that I put up a couple of years ago to see how I felt about painting the laundry room that color. I never wanted to do it because the laundry room stresses me out and I have to spend enough time in there as it is.

I'm showing you my laundry room though to show you what a friend of ours saw today when he came to look at putting in some shelves and more cabinetry. I'd tidied up at least the stuff on the floor that was making it hard to walk, but it was still bad.

This friend that came, J, has a really amazing wife who I think is truly great. She apparently thinks I am more well put together than I actually am. It's such a flattering thought that I'm tempted to keep it, but then I'd just be living with a lie, and that's way worse than being honest about who I am...deficiency load and all.

So in order to make sure she knows how very un-put together I am typically, I texted her this picture. And this is just the laundry room. I'm not saying I live with a mess because I really don't all the time, but I have 2 small children who can wreak some serious havoc on a room in about 5 minutes and sometimes it stays that way for the rest of the day. Whatever's real life.

A few years ago when we first bought this house, we were painting the cabinets in the kitchen...they were ugly glossy wood and so we painted them cream. It was a horribly tedious process that we eventually gave up on and paid someone to finish, but we got most of the way done. All of the cabinet doors had been removed for priming and I decided that we needed to have a party for Memorial Day....sans kitchen cabinet doors and all.

I don't know how your cabinets are when you open them, but I have a few that are disasters waiting to happen...the tupperware cabinet in particular. All that business was in plain sight...and we had a party with about 50 people. I'll never forget how many people commented "I can't believe you don't care that you don't have cabinet doors on...I could never let it go enough to have a party with my house in disrepair." I'm pretty sure they all meant it as a compliment, because they're my friends and if they'd judge me for that...well, we probably wouldn't be friends long anyhow truth be told.

So yesterday was kind of a mess around here. And 3 different friends stopped by for various reasons. One had about 20 minutes to kill before we had to pick up our kids from school (and we live behind the school,) one came over for an impromptu lunch when I invited them in the carline, and one dropped by to borrow my coffee urn for a party she was having....and I didn't stress about my imperfect house. Would I prefer it look nice when friends come...yes. Would I avoid letting people come by just because it's not perfect....NEVER.

When I throw a big party or a dinner party, I definitely straighten things up....everyone does, but in daily living, some of my favorite moments happen when friends just drop in for a visit out of the blue. I love it. I love having "drop-in friends" who text you when they're in your neighborhood, or who are out walking and will come in for a cup of coffee, or who need to kill time before having to be somewhere, or will come hang out because they care more about time with people than they do about what everything around them looks like right then. Those are my favorite kinds of people.

I heard someone once say...

"If you want to see me, stop by anytime. If you want to see my house, please call ahead."

So that's my mantra for visitors....I love the time with you way more than the time I spend endeavoring to achieve cleaning perfection. I want to enjoy my life and the people in it, and not "sweat the small stuff." Noone ever dies and people stand up and talk about his or her capacity to keep a perfect home as much as they remember the way they loved others....and I hope that's more what people would remember about me once I'm not around anymore too!

How about you? Where do you fall in the cleanliness versus friendliness question?

DON'T forget that all next week I'll be hosting AMAZING giveaways each day!  Each one will only be open for 24 hours, so don't miss out!  Check back every day for your chance to win really awesome stuff!  And I can't wait to hear what you all think about the new look that Life for Dessert will be revealing then too!!!  WOOHOO!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Intelliglobe....It's Smarter Than I Am!

I've been meaning to post about this for ages and was thinking I'd wait til closer to Christmas, but with the school year getting into full swing for most people, I figured now is as good of time as any to share about an awesome product.

I'm working on a possible giveaway for this one too, so cross your fingers and let's hope it works out!

There's something really annoying to me about having toys that only hold a child's interest for a few days or couple of weeks at most.  I'm a big fan of toys that promote continued creativity like Lego's, blocks, pretend play, etc.  Last year at Christmas we bought our then 4 year old a "toy" that we thought seemed interesting albeit perhaps a bit too old for him.  I think I first noticed it in any one of the gaggle of toy magazines that start flooding our mailbox around the first of November.

Have I made you wonder what it is yet?  Well, wait no more my it is.

The Replogle Intelliglobe
Source: Buy One HERE
Don't just shrug now and say "That is ridiculous, they bought a 4 year old a globe?!?  Idiots!"  And if it's too late because you already said that, then let me explain.

See that pen looking thing at the base of the globe?  Well, when you touch it to any place on the globe it will tell gads of different information about that location.  Tid Bit has loved learning the names of different countries, oceans, and continents.  He has learned about natural resources, national anthems, and examples of local music in all different parts of the world.  There is a booklet that works the same way but teaches more specifically about individual continents and countries, common foods, animals common to different parts of the globe and more.  It is the one thing in our house that will keep Tid Bit occupied for ages, but better than that, he learns ALOT!  And he loves it. 

I wish I could tell you that I am a wealth of the same information, but I'm not.  Truth is I was horrible at the "find that country" speed game on the globe until I'd played SEVERAL times.  Our entire family has enjoyed looking and learning together, and as a result our 5 year old has a pretty good understanding of geography at this point.  Now, I'm not saying my kid is a genius, because he's not...I don't think....but he's a regular kid with a keen interest in different parts of the world.  When the Hubs went on a mission trip to Haiti, Tid Bit looked it up on the globe and learned as much as he could about it.  When the earthquake hit Japan....again, he wanted to learn more about that part of the world.  We have been amazed at the global curiosity that has been awakened in him from this "toy."

Here's how the product's website describes it: 
The Intellipen uses an infrared scanner to read microscopic symbols on the Intelliglobe.  Touch the wireless Intellipen to the globe to play games, explore, and discover amazing educational facts about the world.  The Intelliglobe is the most advanced globe featuring thousands of facts in 4 different languages: English, Spanish, French & German.  Information for the Intelliglobe can be updated through the Replogle Globes website. 

Anyhow...You know when I find something worth mentioning, that I'll pass it along, and this product is awesome for ALL AGES.  Don't think your child is too young at age 4, and don't think you're too old at 35, or 45, or 55.  It is an awesome product and one worth investing in for sure!

 PS.  I put a link above, but it looks like has the best price for the Replogle Intelliglobe at about $82.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Just Be Awesome!

So, yesterday I was feeling kinda sad...with saying farewell to the stay-at-home childhood of my now kindergartner and all.  But then I remembered something I once saw and decided that I need to turn that frown upside down.  Check this out...

YES! That's it!  Be awesome instead!

PS.  I love you Doogie Houser!

So I think today I might just be awesome.  That sounds better doesn't it?!

The truth is though that today I've been up to my eyeballs in laundry and that's about all I have been able to handle.  I've been avoiding it since last week...well, folding it anyways.  So, I spent the morning practically buried under piles of laundry at home while Little Bit played around me.  And then we went to the park because it's a pretty day here and I can only take so much housework at once before insanity strikes.

The rest of the day though...awesomeness awaits.  I'm not sure what that looks like, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't involve too much more laundry or tears over life happening and children growing up.  True Story.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Bye Bye Baby

Get a load of this guy.

That would be my KINDERGARTNER!

Say Wha????

Yes, I now am the proud parent of a very excited kindergartner.  And I can hardly deal with it.


Today when I dropped him off, I walked him in to make sure he knows where to go and all, and I have to admit that I was honestly a little sad when he bounded into the classroom, put his bookbag in his cubby that he found at orientation the other night, and then said "Bye Mama, I love you.  Have a great day!" before walking off to get started with his own day.

I mean, I'm SOOO glad he's happy to go, but this day has been so bittersweet for me.  Today marks the end of an era for our family.  There will be no more lazy mornings save for weekends and vacations.  I will always be heading out in the mornings to take someone to school.  I won't have all my little chicks home anymore every day.  And the reality is that now, an outside source will tell us when we can vacation, where we have to be every day, how to spend parts of our days (especially once homework begins down the road), and how much facetime my children have with one another.  I find myself I ready for this for the rest of my life?  My first response is "no."  And if it weren't for some unbelievable generosity of my family to help us pay for a private school that we LOVE, I am pretty sure I'd be dipping my toes into the waters of homeschooling.  Not because I think any one kind of schooling is better than another...I don't, but because I know that there are certain hopes and expectations that for our family are best met in the private christian school where Tid Bit goes.  But I still have to wonder if I'm the mom that could hack it homeschooling.  If I'd still enjoy my kids as much if I was the one who taught them day in and out...and I honestly don't know. 

Tid Bit in particular is wildly social and came home today just gushing about his first day.  He's worn a proud grin on his face since he hopped into the car and told me about his job this week to carry the 911 box in case of emergencies.  He beamed when he told me that "in K5 every day is different because we're big enough to change it up alot."  He's getting big...and he's so loving it.  I do too, but I see my little boy slipping through my fingers as he becomes a man.  When I stopped nursing I felt my hand open over his life, and today, I feel that grip loosening again.  I want to hold tight to these days of young children, even the days I am at my wit's end and throw eggs at the wall and completely lose it...I want to cherish this time of being over tired, under appreciated, and sometimes pushed to the brink of what seems sane.  These days are so much shorter than the days of grown children will be.  I've heard it said that the days may crawl, but the years will fly by....and I'm already seeing that ring true.

So today I said goodbye to a baby and hello to a kindergartner ....and that my friends is an idea that is hard to loosen my grip on.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Life for Dessert DOT COM Ya'll!

I have to show ya'll a couple of the super fun things I've gotten in the mail recently.  I ordered them both and they came within two days of one another.  This first thing I ordered for my sister who's having a baby in February (EEEEK....I'm so excited to be an auntie!,) and the second was a present that I ordered for the Hubs for our anniversary.

Gussy Sews Wristlet

Red Letter Words Cafe Print

Aren't they both so great?!  

And here's where it gets better for YOU!  Life for Dessert will be getting a serious facelift and upgrade to dot com on Monday August 22nd.  That entire week will be full of awesome prizes for you guys to win.  Each day there will be a separate giveaway and you'll have just 24 hours to enter for that day's product.  And I have some AMAZING stuff lined up to giveaway!  Of course it's stuff that I love, because I'm not a sell-out and I won't tout something that I don't think isn't completely great.'ll have a chance to win products from both of the above talented ladies (Gussy Sews and Red Letter Words), as well as some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint from a brand new Distributor (Jennie Leigh Designs based right here in Greenville), some Hanky Panky Undies (my personal fav) and a pair of my newly designed Goody Goody knock offs, and Keen Footwear will be giving away both adult and children's shoes of your choice.  Cool beans huh?

So...don't forget...mark your calenders and tell your friends that Life for Dessert will be making your life sweeter...
the entire week of August 22nd! 

I can't wait to show ya'll the great new look for Life for Dessert that my friend Erin from Design by Insight and I have been working on.  It's gonna be fun and I can't wait to roll it out for ya!

I'm off to take a shower now....I foolishly took another spin class today and now feel that I could collapse from utter exhaustion at any moment.  I figure if I'm gonna be a heap on the floor, I might as well be a clean heap.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Instant Party Pizazz

I just have to share with you one of my new favorite things.  My friend Tonia found them for her wedding that I just styled, and now I think I want them in every color.  They are awesome.

Paper Straws

They come in loads of colors and patterns.  I'm thinking I need to have them on never know when you might need a little extra pizazz in a drink.  And they do add that extra fun factor for sure!  Plus, there are loads of crafts you can do with them too...think little flags, make a sunburst looking mirror or wreath with them for some extra whimsy, use them as sticks for chocolate dipped marshmallows...who knows what else. Get creative...they're so cute!

Just thought I'd share.

Happy hump day!

PS.  HERE is a link to a blog that I found yesterday that has some suggestions about great places to pick these beauties up without breaking the bank!

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Oh Goody Goody....almost!

Remember when I wrote about my most favorite slippers ever a LONG time ago?

Goody Goody Bon Bons
Well, my friend Lindsey sent me a link the other day to a PDF pattern for some slippers and said, "I think you should make these."

Cute huh?

I've never made slippers though, but what's the worst that will happen?  About the worst case scenario I could come up with was to spend $6 on a pattern and make a disaster of them ...and that's not so bad.  So I ordered the pattern pretty much immediately.  HERE is the link to the pattern if you love them too.

And now, I might not need to spend $40 on slippers anymore because I adore these!  But you know I can't leave well enough alone, so I had to do more to them than just the basic pattern.

Here's a picture of the first pair I made for myself.  Well, one of them anyways.

I love them, but made some changes in the second pair to improve them.  I added elastic in the back (about 2 inches of it perhaps) to help pull them in on the heel, and I also made an insert with a 2 inch piece of foam sewed inside to make them super cushy.  The other thing that would make them better I think would be to put a piece of suede or something on the bottom to wear better.  That's probably not gonna happen til my 3rd pair though.

Here's the second pair that I made to give to a friend at a baby shower this week.  It's her second little girl....time to give Mommy something too I think.

These I really love.

I'm not going to bother showing you the steps because should you decide to order the pattern from THIS LINK, then you'll have the directions with all the steps printed out for you to reference.   There were great pictures to follow for the more timid seamstress out there.  It wasn't hard though.  Really.  If you can use a pair of scissors, read directions, and sew a straight line on a sewing machine, then I think you should give them a shot.  It was fun, and the embellishing part is really fun.  I'm thinking I have a great new gift on my list of things I can make myself!

I learned how to make those great fabric flowers on both pairs from a cute blog I like to read called Jones Design Company.  HERE is where she has a fabulous group of tutorials you can check out for more fabric flowers and other crafty goodness.  Plus...she seems like she'd be nice in person...and I really like nice people.

Thought I'd share.  I do love a good project.

PS. It took me about an hour and a half to make the first pair.  I probably spent as long making and deciding on embellishments for the second pair as it took me to make them.  And just so you don't think I'm ultra efficient or anything, it took me about 3 different times sitting down at my sewing machine to actually finish them for all the real life I had to tend to in between.  Oh yeah....I also ignored some housework to get them done.  Priorities people....priorities.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

What's for Dinner?! Bowtie Pasta with Eggplant, Caramelized Onions, and Pine Nuts

I've had access to my fabulous neighbor's vegetable garden this summer and because of that, I've had more occasions to try new recipes with uber-fresh ingredients just a short walk away.

I've never been someone who is bowled over by eggplant...I guess I've just never met the perfect way to cook it...until now.

I tried this recipe when my friend Susan came to visit a couple of weeks ago, and we both agreed that it's a keeper for sure! I've made it again since then because it's so good.  It's easy, you can make it mostly all ahead, and it's so so yummy!  Despite the fact that it doesn't contain any meat either, it's very filling, and even the most meat eating man would be satisfied with this one!

Once again, this recipe owes a shout out to one of my favorites, the Foster's Market Cookbook.

You'll need:
  • 1 lb bowtie pasta (I was out of that so I used Rotini)
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 2 Vidalia or other sweet onions cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 eggplants peeled, diced, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 roasted red bell peppers, peeled, cored, seeded, and julienned (I cheated on this one and just bought roasted red peppers in a jar and julienned them myself)
  • 1/2 c. fresh parsley (fresh herbs are pretty crucial in this one ya'll!)
  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves, cut into very fine strips (chiffonade)
  • 1/2 c. Italian vinaigrette (Wisk together 1/4 c. red wine vinegar, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 tsp dried oregano, 3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste )
  • 1/2 c. pine nuts, toasted
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 c. crumbled goat cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water, stirring occasionally about 8-10 minutes or until al dente.  Drain and toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil and set aside.
  3. Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over med-low heat.  Add the onions and cook and stir about 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.  Add 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, reduce heat to low, and cook and stir 20-25 minutes longer, until the onions are soft, brown, and caramelized.  Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, toss the remaining olive oil and remaining balsamic vinegar with the eggplant and garlic and mix to coat evenly.  Spread in a single layer in a baking pan and place in the oven to roast for 25-30 minutes.  Stir several times during the cooking process, until the eggplant is lightly brown and tender.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  5. Combine the pasta, onions, eggplant-garlic mixture, roasted red peppers, pine nuts, parsley, basil, and vinaigrette and toss lightly to mix.  Season with salt and pepper and add the goat cheese.  Toss gently to mix again.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Below I put a picture of how the onions should look once they are caramelized.  The left picture is of the eggplant on the baking sheet and the onions at the beginning.  On the right is how the onions look when they are done caramelizing.  Just thought I'd show you...I've been asked about caramelizing onions before and have a few recipes that call for them.

Bon Apettit!

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Back in the Saddle...

And no...I don't mean the kind you put on a horse.

THIS is the saddle that I was on today....



Yep, I joined the gym.  And today was my first real day working out in YEARS!

"Why?" do you ask, did I do a spin class when I haven't had a regular exercise routine since bearing my first child over 5 years ago?!  And the answer is...I'm stupid....and clearly overly ambitious...and had no idea what I was getting my out of shape self into!  No idea..

Absolutely NO IDEA!!!

I've never done spinning before.  I've heard it's great for you, and I've seen it on TV or in a movie, but I had never tried it til today.  I was curious.  It was HARD!

But I did it.  I did the whole excruciating hour...dripping pools of sweat onto the floor below with my legs screaming horrible things at me for letting them "take a break" from the gym for 5 years.  My pride was not gonna let my fat ass hop off that saddle and truck out of the room past the amazing arms, and legs, and abs of the rest of the class.  No sirree.  So I stared at the skinny ripped up girl tearing it up on the bike in front of me and kept telling myself it'd be possible for me to one day look like her with enough spinning classes too.  Probably not....but it helped me through.

I'm endeavoring to get my tookis in shape this fall.  I've been out of an exercise routine for ages, and while I'm not sedentary (since I regularly walk and ride bikes with my kids,)  I haven't pushed myself in forever...and I'm starting to feel it.  And I don't like that feeling.  So I joined the gym this week...climbed back in the saddle.

Time to shed those saddlebags and feel good again!  Nothing like taking the bull by the horns.

Here's to hoping that I can walk tomorrow though!

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rustic Chic Wedding....Finally Have Pictures!!!

Oh my words....GIDDY as I write this!

You know the wedding I told you about, that I did the flowers and decor for a couple of weeks ago?  The one I told you I was so busy working on that I didn't get to take a single picture of any of the arrangements or staging that I'd done?  The one I'd have been sick to my stomach over not documenting myself had my good friend Kim Deloach not been the photographer?  Yeah...that wedding?

I'm sure you get sick of me droning on and on about Kim's talent....but seriously ya'll....she's talented.  Like....UH-Mazing.  And while I felt pretty good about all that I personally accomplished to help our friends Tonia and Rick to make their wedding day extra special....well, Kim made that all look even better.

Check out these few pictures...and then don't stop here.  I'm posting a link to Kim's blog so you can all check out the full amazingness of this Rustic-Chic wedding at an old church and reception at a farmhouse that's chocked with old town charm and fun!  Seriously...I'm just giving you a taste here...head over to Kim's blog to really feast your eyes on some serious visual candy!  (And pay extra special attention to things like the flowers and staging....those were the things I did!)

I present you my friends....Rick and Tonia Hawkinson!

Before I move on here....I have to tell you how much I LOVED making her bouquet!  After I finished and stepped back to look at it, I honestly cried.  It was really special to be able to make something for them that I knew she'd love...and she did.  Her words to me before they left their reception at the end of the evening were "You saw my vision and made it even more amazing than I'd imagined."

That my friends, is the best compliment I could have ever received! Ok ok....more eye candy!

Cool church huh?  And that little fella just to the right of the bride and groom...the tallest of the little ones, he's mine!  He did such a great job carrying a sign that read "Here comes the bride" right before Tonia processed into the church.  You can see them all below a bit more.  That precious little girl in the top right is Tonia's daughter McKenna.  She is absolutely adorable!

Our friends who own the farmhouse just happened to have this truck and crate of old bottles lying around. (They actually have a real old timey town recreated on the property.  Seriously...there's a general store, a barber shop, an old post office, and more.  And it's all chocked full of authentic period's so much fun!)

There was a real deal pig pickin' (as in, you can get it right off the pit, you can see it below) and bluegrass music too.  It was nothing short of perfect.

Recognize that bench in the top right corner of this photo collage above?  Yep, that's the one I made.  Remember it from awhile back?  And, Tonia found those red and white striped paper straws that we put in all the drinks online...aren't they awesome?  I might just have to make sure to always have some of those around from now on...they add instant old fashioned cool factor!

And thanks to another friend who happens to be in the fireworks biz....Rick and Tonia ended the evening with a bang!, head over to Kim's blog to really see the good stuff!  You'll get a lot more pictures of the awesome little town on the property's so so neat!  You. Will. LOVE!

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What's For Dinner?! Fig and Sausage Pizza OR Salad!

I posted this recipe awhile back, but honestly til now it wasn't the best time to make it.  Right now though, fresh figs are in season in the south and whether you have a neighbor like I do who'll let you come pick them off of her tree, or you have to buy them at the store...get some and make the following.  It is so amazing that I crave it the rest of the year.

This is NOT hard.  I promise.  Don't look at it and think it's "too gourmet" for you either.  It's not.  I really try to post things that are not complicated.  This recipe may sound different because most of us aren't typically accustomed to cooking with an ingredient like figs, but I promise that it is amazing and a fun and easy way to try something new using fresh, in-season ingredients.  Lemme know what you think!

Here's the really fun part.  Make salad one night from this and make the pizzas the next night for dinner.  So you get 2 amazing dinners from one time of real prep work...there's a winner for the uninspired for sure!

Grilled Sausages with Figs and Mixed Greens

•6 fresh lamb sausages, spicy Italian sausages, or garlic sausages (i used mild Italian sausages that i crumbled and sauteed)
•4 1/2-inch-thick red onion slices
•10 tablespoons Pomegranate-Cumin Dressing, divided
•12 cups mixed greens ( i mixed spinach and arugula)
•3/4 cup crumbled soft fresh goat cheese
•6 fresh figs, halved
•1/4 cup (packed) sliced fresh mint leaves

•There are 2 ways to do this.
Way 1) Prepare grill (medium-high heat). Brush sausages and onions with 3 tablespoons dressing; grill sausages until cooked, 15 minutes, and onions until charred, 10 minutes.
Way 2) Here's where I did it differently.  The first time I made this I did it this way above that was suggested, but I honestly thought it harder and not as tasty.  The next time I made it and how I do it now, is to crumble and brown the sausage and caramelize the onions inside over the stove earlier in the day.  So by dinner time all I'm doing is rolling out the dough and assembling the pizza.  I think it tastes better this way too because it's easier to bite and each bite is tastier with the crumbled sausage b/c it spreads around more easily.

Toss greens with remaining dressing; mound on plates. Slice 4 sausages (reserve 2 for pizza). Top greens with sausages, cheese, figs, and mint.

Dressing recipe

Pomegranate-Cumin Dressing
Makes about 1 cup 
•7 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
•4 1/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
•3 tablespoons sliced fresh mint leaves
•1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
•1 tablespoon ground cumin
•6 tablespoons minced shallots

If you can't find pomegranate molasses at the supermarket or a Middle Eastern store, make your own by boiling 1 cup pomegranate juice until reduced to 3 tablespoons syrup, about 15 minutes. (this is what i did and it was really easy.) And I made extra and froze it in 2 Tbsp portions in a silicone ice cube tray so I'd have the pomegranate molasses any time I wanted it.

•Whisk first 5 ingredients in bowl. Mix in shallots; season with salt and pepper.

Fig and Sausage Pizza

•1 pound purchased fresh pizza dough
•5 tablespoons Pomegranate-Cumin Dressing, divided
•1 cup coarsely grated Fontina cheese
•Fresh arugula
•2 italian sausages, I actually remove the casing and crumble and brown them on the stove...easier and then there is sausage in every bite.
•6 fresh figs, quartered
•2 thin red onion slices, rings separated - I also caramelize onions on the stove too
•1 cup crumbled soft fresh goat cheese
•Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Halve dough; roll to 10-inch rounds. Brush tops with some of dressing.
•Grill pizzas, seasoned side down, until golden on bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn pizzas over. Top with Fontina, arugula, sausages, figs, and onions. Drizzle with more dressing. Cover; grill until Fontina melts and pizza is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Top with goat cheese. Grill until goat cheese softens, about 1 minute.

Ok...hope that whets some appetites out there.  Does mine for sure!

- Logan

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What's Cooking?! Play Dough Cookies....

You know sometimes you have certain childhood memories that just stick out in your mind?  Fun things you did that you look forward to doing with your kids when you grow up too?  I have a decent sized handful of things we did since my mom and her friends were super fun and creative.  We had cotton candy and lemonade stands,  we created a 1950's diner and served up lunch and malts on a couple of occasions, we baked and created all the time, and I have really fun memories of playdough style sugar cookies too.

It's been hot as all get out here lately in the South, and I decided that I needed to see if my mom could dig up that old recipe for playdough sugar cookies.  So that's what we did the other day and it was a blast!  This dough is better for playing with than the amazing regular sugar cookies that I make and it can be baked in shaped up to about 3/4 inch thick.  Beware that you do need some flour all over the surface you're working on to roll it out though.  What I'm really saying here is that it's messy folks...even when you contain the messes on individual cookies sheet're gonna have to vacuum immediately afterwards.  But it's fun....and childhood should be fun, and on occasion even really messy.

So do it.  You will have fun.  Your kids will have fun....and make great memories.  And that my friends is most certainly how to enjoy your life for dessert!

Edible Playdough Cookies

1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup shortening
2 1/2 c sifted powdered sugar
6 hard cooked egg yolks, mashed
2 tsps. baking soda
2 tsps cream of tartar
1 Tbs. vanilla
5 cups flour
food coloring

Cream butter and shortening; gradually add sugar, beating til light and fluffy.  Add yolks, soda, cream of tartar and vanilla, beating well.  Gradually add flour, mixing well.  Wrap in plastic wrap after coloring.  (I made 4 different colors.)  Chill 1 hour.  Hand shape cookies, not more than 3/4 inch thick.  Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.  Thicker cookies take longer.  Cool on baking sheets 1-2 minutes before removing from pans.  Cool on wire racks.  Makes 5 1/2 dozen 2 1/2" cookies.
Woo Hoo!  Fun had by all!  And I should warn you that if you have a lot of artificial food coloring to make your dough super fabulously colorful...your baby will have diapers for the next day that look like they came straight from the fanny of a leprechaun! WOAH!  That was a shock for sure!
Get out and do something fun today!

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Pencil Pushing....

Tid Bit is starting kindergarten this year.

And with real school, comes a real school supplies list.  Pencils, markers, crayons, folders, and more. 

Towards the end of this previous school year, we received an option to purchase the school supplies in a pre-assembled package for a fee... that was of course fairly more than if we just went out ourselves and bought them.  My thought..."Why on earth should I pay more for pencils, paper, and folders when it's such a cinch to go to Walmart or Target and buy them myself?!"

Last week I thought we'd head out early one morning to Walmart and get a jump-start on the acquisition of school supplies.  We'd go before everyone else and their brother went, and we'd for sure go before the tax free weekend which will drive the masses in search of the same things on my list and leave me coming up void.  Aren't I clever?  "Preparation is the key to victory," right?  (I saw that clever quote engraved on a gun in a movie we watched about hitmen last night...Jason Statham at his finest.)

Anyhow...turns out I was totally wrong.  When I'd first glanced at the school supplies list it seemed simple enough, but when I got down to purchasing everything, I not only realized that some of the things were brand specific,  they were item number specific.  WHAT?!

Did I mention that my child is starting KINDERGARTEN?!?!

I wandered around Walmart like a lost puppy... with 2 kids who were sick and tired of school supplies shopping and beginning to whine and tire of the whole ordeal....right there with you kids....I'm right there with you!

The school supplies section didn't have all of the school supplies that were on my list...and making sure that I had navy blue (the specified color for some of the items) was proving to be a pain in the tookis too.  I grabbed a package of pencils and tossed them in the cart only to realize that the list specified "black pencil and black eraser Ticonderoga pencils, 4-6pks.)  I searched all over and finally found a man in a suit with a Wal-mart nametag stating "general manager" (so sue me if I sound rude, but they're about the only ones in the whole store who can answer any question I have without taking me on a tour of the entire facility in search of something seemingly basic like a pencil.)  He took me to a whole other section of the store and we found a 10 pk of Ticonderoga black I bought 3 packages of 10 to make sure I had at least 24 since 4x6=24 and that was how many I was suppossed to have in the end.  Surely this would work, right?

I found what I could at Walmart, save the "green tipped Crayola No-Drip glue", and the "Smead legal sized expandable poly folder in navy blue" which I apparently could only find at least there was a SKU number for this item.  So we paid for our 8 pks of Crayola crayons, and 8 pks of Crayola colored pencils, and standard Crayola water colors, and 1 inch navy blue plastic binder, and other super-specific items, and of course our black erasered Ticonderoga pencils...and we headed for Staples to get the one ultra-specific item for a whopping $16.99, and hopefully find the other things that Walmart didn't have.

I immediately found a manager upon entering Staples and asked about the Smead navy blue legal sized expandable poly folder and the Crayola no-drip green lidded glue.  Her reply, "Staples does not even carry the Smead brand, and I've never even seen that type of glue here."


I found a folder that I thought would work for $8.99, and then asked about the black Ticonderoga pencils 6pks.  The manager then surveys my 5 year old and 18 month old in the cart and says "Now what grade is this list for again?  Kindergarten?!"


I found more black erasered a 6pk.  These are larger and more triangular in shape and apparently claim to be "The World's most comfortable pencil," and they darn well better be since they were $4.50 for ONE 6 pack.  Our list specifies 4-6pks.

I'm thinking after all of this school supply shopping and $25 dollars worth of PENCILS, that my 5 year old will probably be writing in perfect cursive and complete grammatically correct sentences by the end of K5.  

And if not, then next year I'm buying the pre-assembled package of school supplies for twice the price.

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