Monday, November 24, 2008

I Don't Deserve Them...

How funny is it that I get an email that reports how many folks are reading my blog daily? I have not posted anything in two whole weeks but I still have folks checking in...dedicated souls that they are. I do not deserve my readers! I do not!

What is going on with me? I know...I know...Facebook is one of the culprits. I can't help it. Keeping up with people's every move is pretty fascinating indeed.

But it's more than that... I used to read every word of every blog I followed...and I still love reading other people's blogs. It's just...I feel lazy lately when it comes to writing here. Maybe it's that I've been inundated with projects and writing for entertainment takes a back seat. I dunno.

What I do know is this blog has meant the world to me. And, the relationships I've formed as a result mean the world to me. These pages have been cathartic as well as inspirational and it's not something I want to let slip through the cracks.

I may not post as much as I used to, but I do commit to coming here and spouting out useless thoughts from time to time. Or maybe I'll throw a poem out there or a picture or two...or forty.

I'll get back in the groove. I just have to work on this whole life balance thing. Like I've always said, I'm a work in progress folks.

Don't give up on me just yet.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Never Claimed That a Cookbook Was in My Future

OK, so after the Great Oreo Eyeball Debacle, I'm sure the sound of "Katie" and "recipe" in the same sentence is met with a dash of skepticism. Trust me, this tale will do nothing to debunk that

All I wanna do in life is make a good pot of vegetable soup, people. My Mom had the audacity to leave me in this world without her vegetable soup recipe. Often people have asked, "if you could spend 5 minutes more with your Mom, what would you ask her..."

"Her vegetable soup recipe" is usually at the top of my list. I'm not kidding. It was that good and no one knows how she did it.

So, my quest continues.

And, today was a perfect day to make soup--what with it being so blustery and cold outside. Vegetable soup it is! So I track down a recipe that sounds yummy and is Weight watcher friendly to boot. Ah! So, I print the sucker out and get to work. Having everything I needed on hand, I decided to enlist the help of my 6 year old. He enjoyed pouring the tomatoes and broth in as well as measuring out frozen corn and scooping the potatoes off the cutting board and into the awaiting pot.

But, with some of the other ingredients, I decided to do the measuring. You know, like the basil, Splenda. I love Spelnda folks. In fact, if I were to miraculously be with child and said child was of the female persuasion, I'd probably name her Splenda. I love the stuff. So, after measuring cup upon cup of other ingredients, I naturally ASSUMED it was cups...when I saw the 1 1/2 in front of the Splenda. It was a huge pot filled with beef broth and every veggie under the sun...the 1 1/2 CUPS of Splenda I tossed in didn't seem odd to me.

That was, until I took a taste.

Tasting more like a fine dessert wine than soup, I grabbed the recipe and, in horror, found that it called for 1 1/2 TEASPOONS of Splenda. TEASPOONS not CUPS. In the finer world of all things culinary, that my friends is a whopping big difference. Not to be deterred and doing what Katie does best in any culinary emergency, I go plundering for a fix. I dumped nearly the entire contents of my pantry in that pot to balance out the sweetness. Pinto beans, onion, a can of Progresso Southwestern Vegetable Soup, more corn and every kind of garlic seasoning I had on hand. I also tossed a little Cumin, and some good ol' salt and pepper.

Lest you think I will EVER be able to recreate this soup again, the answer is no. I cannot remember for the life of me what I threw in there to salvage dinner for my family. But, what I created in the meantime was the best tasting soup I've ever had. Seriously.

Now there are not one, but TWO, soups in my life I shall never be able to taste again. My Mom's Homemade Vegetable and Katie's Southwestern Splenda Extravaganza. Maybe some things are just better preserved in our memory.

But, for now, at least I have the leftovers!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

At the Ryman with Ronnie

Guess you guys MIGHT be a little tired of the Oreo Eyeball recipe being up there, huh? Darn Facebook. darnitall.

Last night, my dad and stepmom came to town and we went to see Ronnie Milsap at the Ryman Auditorium (the original Grand Ole Opry). It was fantastic. I must admit, I thought "this might be a little cheesy" and tried to name a handful of his songs. Of course, I got "Smokey Mountain Rain" right off the bat and came up with two or three more on the way to the concert.

Folks, tha man sand all night and I knew every song he did. He was amazing. At the Ryman, there's really not a bad seat in the house and I ended up having a blast with some folks sitting next to us, too...four friends from the Nashville area. He closed out the show with Smokey Mountain Rain, then America the Beautiful (which was unusually touching in light of all the post-election yammering that's being going on) and then...unexpectedly, his last song was "Honkey Tonk Women" which was so. much. fun. We were up dancing having the time of our lives (well, I was up dancing-- Keith had a sleeping 6 year old in his lap).

On a side note-- the first act was a guy that won a talent contest to be there and MARK MY WORDS will know this name soon: Mike Willis. He's from Atlanta and sang with acoustic guitar. I coulda listened to him all night. You can say you heard it on Roses are Red, my peeps...the guy is phenomenal. more Oreo eyeball recipe. I'm gonna enjoy the rest of this cold rainy morning. I love, love, love this time of year!

(click on any photo to enlarge)

One sleepy boy!

Ronnie and the gang singing acapella

Ronnie at the keyboard

Keith, Daniel and Katie at the Ryman

Katie, Daniel and Dad

Mike Willis-- the opening act

The windows of the historic Ryman

The second act...The Grascals (bluegrass) They were a hoot!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Oreo Eyeball Recipe...the Katie Way

First and foremost, I need to give a shout-out to Megan over at Fried Okra for her wildly delicious and creative Oreo Eyeball recipe! I made these for Daniel's first-grade Halloween party at school Friday and they were a huge hit--with kids and parents alike. Thank you, Megan!

If you would like to make these, Megan's recipe is perfect as is. Follow it and let the kudos pour in. However, if you'd like to, oh I don't know, "shake things up" a's an alternative recipe
for you to try. Kick the tires, follks and see whatcha think:

Katie's Special Super Duper Oreo Eyeball Extravaganza


Oreo cookies
cream cheese
white chocolate almond bark icing
sprinkles and stuff

Read directions carefully and insert unnecessary stress as needed:

1. Select a particularly busy day to make these and do not buy the ingredients until (lemme see...) 3 hours before you need to walk in the door with these beauties.

2. Return from grocery store and push all thoughts of the clothes that you have not packed for the trip that you are taking immediately after the party where these will be served.

3. For that extra sumthin' special, be sure to have a very curious and clingy 11-month old under foot in the kitchen. It only adds to the excitement of creating these gooey, ghoulish treats.

4. Blend/crush the Oreos and, just after you get the cream cheese all over your hands, realize that the 11-month old ingredient seriously needs his mid-morning nap. Wash hands, pat dry, put child down for nap, proceed with recipe.

5. Finish blending together of ingredients and roll into individual little balls. Repeat this step until you have approximately 9,855 little round meatball-looking thingies because that is precisely how many you will get out of a double batch.

6. Be sure to have signed up for a weight control program--I happened to choose Weight Watchers--and be on this program while making this recipe. And, as you roll Oreo balls that are too big, be sure to stray from your eating plan of choice completely by eating the excess that you remove from each one to make it the right size.

7. Place Oreo balls in a refrigerator that has no trace of edible groceries for 1 hour to chill.

8. Run, run like the wind, and throw in the load of laundry that you forgot to put in that happens to contain clothes that you will need for your trip in a few hours.

9. Get out a suitcase. Put some clothes in it for yourself, for your husband, oh and 2 kids that go through clean clothes like a hungry, stressed woman on a diet goes through Oreo eyeball dough. Be sure to pack camera, battery chargers, formula, toys, snacks, hostess gift for person who is feeding you brunch the next day and probably has more cooked for that than you do for your child's party that is taking place in just under two hours. Two hours?

10. Jump in shower.

11. Get out of shower and race into kitchen to check on chilled dough. Remove from fridge and heat almond bark in microwave. Set up area for dipping of Oreo balls into chocolate. And, just as you begin to dip treats into chocolate, you should hear your 11-month old wake up screaming from his too-short nap because it is time to feed him. Yes, without this step, the amount of stress in this recipe would be insufficient. Do not skip this step.

12. Wash hands, pray chocolate bark does not harden, retrieve screeching child from crib, make bottle, sit down for a feeding while watching minutes on clock tick away. Place child in high chair and continue.

13. Realize that two of the Oreo balls that you dipped had hardened before sprinkles and decor were applied. Eat them. They woulda' been a waste anyway. Rationalize that you simply could not have let them go to waste. Continue dipping, dripping, placing on wax paper, sprinkling, placing M&M for decor, and repeating. Be sure to place as many M&M's in your mouth as you do on the eyeballs.

14. Finish your project with 15 minutes to spare before you have to leave for party. Get dressed, dry hair, place goodies on a tray, get child dressed, run out the door, place child in car seat, place goody tray on passenger seat along with 2 rolls toilet paper for mummy wrap game, drive to school. On last curve before reaching school, let all eyeballs slide off tray onto front seat.

15. Smile, think happy thoughts of daisies and puppies and fields of flowers.

16. Arrive at destination. Figure out the best way to enter school with two rolls of toilet paper, a tray of chocolate eyeballs, your purse and your 11-month old child in tow. Contemplate this while you are parking approximately 2.3 miles away from the school.

17. Vow to sign up for "paper goods" next time.

See, nothin' to it.

You Were There

I thought about you today
As the afternoon sunlight
cast long shadows
across the bright green field
and the marching band played
as the pom pons danced
oh how you loved
this time of year

I thought about you today
As the toothy grin
and mischieveous giggle
of my youngest child
drew me closer to you
had you felt the same
when I was that age
like your heart would burst with love

I thought about you today
As the deepest purples
and the fiercest, fiery reds
lit up the maple trees
and when the sunset bore colors
I swear I'd never seen before
and the moon held its perch
next to a solitary star in the evening sky

You were with me today
Every step that I took
as a wife
as a mother
as a football fan
as a lover of nature
and details
that go unnoticed by many

You were very much there...