Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Trade Day, How I Love You

Cars line the roads as far as you can see in any direction. Vendors begin setting up long before sunrise (so they can sit and watch the crowds while they hold their double barrell shotguns; see above photo). You can smell the livestock area from the street. Oh, Collinsville Trade Day. An event that Mark and his family have been going to since he was a kid. I was initiated long ago, but with this last visit, I just had to share. Should you ever find yourself in Collinsville, Alabama on a Saturday morning, c'mon by. Here are just a smattering of the treasures you can find:
  • A man named Daryl (I know that's his name because it was airbrushed on his shirt)
  • A Peacock (that I was told "needed me as much as I needed him")
  • A Horse with blue eyes
  • 1 million roosters
  • Used makeup
  • Opened pill bottles and boxes
  • 22-caliber rifle
  • Children selling puppies out of a fish tank
  • Army camo gortex jackets
  • A baby pig the size of a wallet
  • Tomatillos
  • Justin Bieber tshirt
  • Diamond Alabama earrings
  • Corndogs dipped in mustard
  • Turquoise snakeskin cowboy boots
  • Cajun boiled peanuts
  • A sign advertising creamed oppossum
  • A billy goat
  • A reindeer made out of firewood
  • A Bootleg copy of Jillian Michaels work out video
  • People lighting their cigarettes from a burn barrell
  • Funeral flower arrangements
  • Pleather Auburn purses
  • A house flag with a giant picture of Bear Bryant's hat

Monday, January 18, 2010


This (last) week: Pan-Seared Tilapia with Citrus Vinaigrette, Almond Couscous, and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Delish! Fish was great (Mark even cleaned his plate, which NEVER happens with fish. He's usually taking too long to uber-chew every little bite to ensure that he doesn't swallow a bone.) Found the key to the best Brussels sprouts ever...way more olive oil than I had been using. They were great. Also just found out that they are "Brussels sprouts" rather than "brussel spouts"...who knew? First time for pan-roasting nuts, too, and Rachael Ray is right! Your nose DOES let you know when they're done!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Triple Play

This week's new recipe(s): Potage Parmentier, Mini Hamburger Sliders, and Cuban Braised Beef with Peppers
A week full of new firsts...the year's first snow in Nashville, 3 recipes tried for the first time, and the first Alabama National Championship of my fan-hood. After watching Julie & Julia (which my husband surprisingly liked), I made Potage Parmentier (leek and potato soup; thanks, Andrea!) in honor of Julia Child (NOT Julie Powell) with French bread, a Romaine salad, and Chardonnay. I've decided that, for the new year, I would like to try to be more like Julia Child and less like Julie Powell (watch the movie and you'll see why; Julia is much more likeable). Oh-and we're just talking atittude-wise, not cooking-wise! The soup was simple and delicious. For the Alabama-Texas game, my husband insisted we eat some type of cow (to push the Tide toward beating the Longhorns), so we made my mom's recipe for White Castle sliders. Mark bought 80-20 ground beef, thinking that it would be better for burgers. He's right, but not if the meat is being cooked on a cookie sheet. Let's just say that there was a lot of grease-blotting after the meat came out of the oven! Next time we'll go leaner. But they were fantastic, and the whole lot of them were gone in a flash, despite us throwing away some of the beef because we just couldn't imagine how all of those sliders would get eaten. And lastly, while the snow fell, my lovely crockpot cooked braised beef for me. It was delicious!!!! Once again, the crockpot reigns supreme. Shredded lean beef in a sauce of red peppers, diced tomatoes, and spices, served over white rice with fresh cilantro and avocado slices (which really made the dish for me). And it was so pretty that I couldn't help taking a picture, which Mark laughed at for a good 10 minutes. Will definitely be enlisting my crock again for this one! Let It Snow, and ROLL TIDE!!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lemony Goodness

This week's new recipe: Lemon Penne with Ham and Escarole
Yummo (and I'm not just saying that because I think the recipe came from Rachael Ray)! This may be one of the best pasta dishes I've ever made, and that's saying a lot considering how much I love pasta. The sauce was made with eggs, parmesan cheese, and lemon juice/rind. So creamy and lemony. And even though the escarole was pretty much just wilted lettuce, it was great. Next time I might try it with broccoli or spinach instead. But there will definitely be a next time!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Root of the Matter

This (last) week's new recipe: Roasted Root Vegetables
Never before have I had to buy fresh beets or a rutabaga. Never again will I buy a rutabaga. Overall, it was OK. I roasted carrots, turnips, beets, potatoes, rutabaga, and onion with garlic, olive oil, and rosemary from our garden. Turnips were my favorite, beets were delicious (but seriously staining), and the rutabaga just didn't cook. If you're a vegetable and you can't cook in 45 minutes in a blazing hot oven even when you're cut into small pieces, you do not have a place in my kitchen. (Maybe this is why everyone I talked to has always had boiled rutabaga?) In sum, it was a heck of a lot of chopping, a heck of a lot of trying to change my hand color from fuchsia to skin-colored again, a seriously delicious smell, and a so-so dish. I think next time will involve more olive oil and salt and less weird hard-to-spell vegetables in the mix.

Friday, December 04, 2009


This Week's New Recipe: Whipped Butternut Squash
From: All Recipes (with some tweaking)
Result: This was great. It's basically mashed potatoes but with squash (so better for you, right?). I just roasted the squash and then mashed it and whipped it with butter, sour cream, and salt and pepper. Delish! We ate it with roasted brussel sprouts and chicken tenders. Right...chicken tenders. They said "chicken cutlets" on the package, but the package lied. So I just dusted them with a little flour and seasoning and cooked them in a skillet with a little olive oil and butter, then squeezed a lemon over them at the last minute. Yum!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


This Week's New Recipe: Peanut Butter Cup Pie
From: Kraft Food & Family
Result: As Mark's grandmother said, "It's sinful." Kraft, you may have redeemed yourself. The pie was fantastic! And it looked professional, too...always a plus. The pie certainly claimed it's place next to my chocolate trifle, pumpkin bread, and spiced cider, and Mark's mini pumpkin cheesecakes. Yea, Thanksgiving!