Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
~1 Timothy 4:12

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Holy Wookie Cookies Bat Man...

I made peanut butter cookies Sunday afternoon. Did you get that? I.MADE. Peanut Butter Cookies. While this will come as a surprise and a shock to the people who know me best, the rest of the world is left wondering, "Peanut Butter Cookies? Ok, so what"? So what. SO WHAT?!

I love, love, LURVE to bake. Only I don't do it all too terribly often because:
1. It's time consuming.
2. My children don't need any more sugar.
3. I will eat it. ALL. Whatever IT is, I WILL eat It.

However, I was in the mood for a little sweetie dish over the weekend and so Sunday afternoon, and when I found a VERY simple recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies, I decided it was high time for some artificial goodness in this house.

Oh.My.GAAAHHHHH. Seriously? The BEST FLOURLESS peanut butter cookies EVAH. I've included the recipe here because, honestly, if I can't share the fruits of my labor, what good am I? That, and they're gone now, and Mike, nor the kids ate the bulk of them. So if I have three extra pounds on my hips, then I just figure yall should too. Aiden told me, "These are not p.b. cookies, Mama. These are so good, they're what Chewbacca eats. You should call them Wookie Cookies". Hence, they became the Wookie Cookies. Enjoy. And just so you know, they'll rock your face off. You've been warned. If you do make them, let me know what you think!

Wookie Cookies
Makes: 2 Dozen Prep: 10 minutes
Bake: 12 minutes Cool: 20 minutes

1 Cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 Cup of sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
parchment paper (I just sprayed my cookie sheet with Pam)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. (If you'd like to throw in some chocolate chips, do it now, to the tune of 1 cup).
2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet.
3. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned. Cool on a cookie sheet on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove to wire rack and let cool 15 minutes.

Now, that's a little bit of Heaven right there...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Virginia Born and Bred!

I am a lucky girl. I am something like a seventh generation Virginian. My parents were born here, their parents and it just goes on and on. I have ancestors who fought in the Civil War. I have a great (x5) uncle who played for the Washington Senators waaaay back in the day (1905-1910). Apparently he was recruited by the Yankees but would not play for them, simply because his mama had a FIT when he talked of going to the "North". We won't speak of mama's boys at this juncture, but I understand her point. Up North is like an entirely different planet from Down Here. There are parts of it I LOVE and would move to in a heartbeat; anywhere around Boston, Lexington, Concord, et cetera is fantastic. I don't know what they would do with me and my crazy drawl that most times I manage to put a lid on!

See, in the South, we're taught to love our state--and just for the record, Virginia is NOT a state. It's a Commonwealth. I digress. It becomes part of who we are. We even have our very own little comment about it:
"To be a Virginian either by Birth, Marriage, Adoption, or even on one's Mother's side, is an Introduction to any State in the Union, a Passport to any Foreign Country, and a Benediction from Above."---Anonymous

I love my home. I love that within three hours you can be either in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, at the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, in the nation's Capitol, or at the very center of the Civil War. It's remarkable, really. We have things that are truly ours--the pineapple for hospitality came directly from Colonial Williamsburg. Seven presidents. The ending of both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War happened right here. The Virginia Reel (had to learn it in middle school gym class). History comin out the wazoo. We even have our own STORE yall, and it's called Virginia Born and Bred. They're on the web if you want to check it out.

I wish that everyone could stand in the middle of Mabry Mill in the fall while the leaves are changing and just take in how breathtaking it is. I wish everyone could go to St. John's Church on Church Hill in Richmond and listen to Patrick Henry's speech, "Give me liberty, or give me death" where he orignally gave that speech. I wish everyone had the opportunity to walk the grounds of Arlington National Cemetary on Veteran's Day. Any day, it's moving, but Veteran's Day...that'll bring it home for you. I wish you could stand on the sand at Cape Henry where the settlers landed and planted a cross in the 1700s before the travelled to what would become Jamestown. Virginia is a remarkable place, and I and blessed to call it my home.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Walking into the past...

This past weekend, the kiddles, the man and I drove to my parents house four and a half hours away. We went to help them price items that we're wanted by any of my other family members from my Grandaddy's estate. Walking into his house on Saturday morning was like taking a bullet train back in time, and the emotions of going through his and my Grandma's life were quite unexpected. I had the assumption that the house would be empty except for the larger pieces of furniture that were going to be sold in the estate sale. I was so wrong...

Walking into the kitchen, sitting on the counter, was the spoon rest my Grandma used when she would cook. It's not just any spoon rest; It's a piece of china that's molded into a girl wearing a beautiful pink gown and within the skirt of the gown are the slots to hold the spoon. I remember playing with her as a little girl in my grandma's kitchen. She is now sitting next to my stove and has had a proper cleaning after all the years of use had all but consumed her, and she is perfectly spectacular.

When my grandad married again after her passing, none of us--my parents, my cousins, no one--could find my Grandma's things. We were pretty darn positive that his wife had thrown most of those things out. Her missing cookbook really pained me the most. Knowing that she had developed those recipes that she had fed us with and had perfected them over many years and that that account might be gone for good was just about too much for me. I can't tell you how many times I've mentioned to Mike over the past 12 years how much I wished I had her Coconut Cake recipe. Just as we were about to leave, I gave the kitchen one more once-over and there just as plain as day was her cookbook that she started keeping in 1959. Well that just about did me in. Leafing through it, I found so many of her favorites: Ice Box Biscuits, Hummingbird Cake and yep, in her handwriting, Coconut Cake. One funny note, Mike also found her apple and pear butter recipe. Which makes FIFTEEN QUARTS. Holy smokes. I can't recall it in it's entirety at this moment, but the one thing that sticks out in my head were the FIFTY POUNDS OF SUGAR it called for. How do you even BUY fifty pounds of sugar? Mercy. I remember it though--and it was so sweet you could chew it. As she would have said, "That's called seasoning Sugar (her name for me). In the South, we season our food".

Saturday was a difficult day. Mike, in going through their file cabinet found their marriage certificate from December 28th, 1940 and their original birth certificates. We found letters that my mama had written to them before I was born telling them how much each of them meant to her that she thought were lost forever. I found the letter I wrote to them from summer camp when I was Devyn's age. And my two babies walked away with something from the great-grandparents that it just seemed were meant for them: Devyn, my rocks and minerals collector was given two authentic arrowheads that my Grandaddy had found on his farm. (Next to the farm on one of the ridges were two Indian caves dating to around 1740--no kidding). You should have seen the girl's face light up! They're perfect . And Aiden was given a ceramic horse that had belonged to my grandma, complete with saddle and bridle. It was important to me that they each have something from two people who molded my life so profoundly.

I could go on and on about the things we found on Saturday. My mama and I cried our weight in tears and when we left I felt like we had just had the incredible privelege of walking through thier lives--their love for each other and their children and grand-children, and their great-grand-children. Everett and Helen were amazing people. I hope that in my life, I'll make them proud.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Trade Me Tuesdays!

Ok, it's not Tuesday. Duly noted. However, my beautiful Whitney, owner and operator of is offering a GREAT deal right now for anyone who will trade her a slow-cooker recipe for a 10% off coupon! I don't necessarily want the coupon, BUT, this is a good opportunity for me to pass on one of my favorite recipes AND get her business "out there" in the process. Enjoy Sweetie!

Easy Crock Pot Gruyere Chicken

4 Chicken Breasts
1 package of stuffing mix (Stove Top Chicken)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1/4 lb of Gruyere cheese, sliced
1 1/2 C of chicken broth or water
1/2 C of grated Parmesan cheese

Place Chicken Breasts in crock pot and cover with the sliced Gruyere cheese. Combine the soup, broth, and stuffing mix and spread over chicken. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and cook on high three to five hours.

Voila! One of my favorites, and one of the easiest CP recipes of all time!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I hang my head in shame...

because I have no excuse for not updating for so long! My Lindsay has been after me--in not so subtle terms--to get my rear in gear and post something. Anything! So, here I am, six weeks later. Not a lot has happened really in that time, but it is good to be back here. Spring is starting to "sprung" in Virginia --now really, can you say "Spring is springing"? Um, no. So, it's "sprunging". It's slowly getting warmer, the birds are singing a little more and the days are longer. I spent the most spectacular weekend at my girlfriend's family's lake house in South Carolina this past weekend--ohhh...Heaven! Now, I should explain at this point, something about the area of Virginia we live in. It's very diverse. People from just about every state, every nation are here in some capacity dealing with the military. Therefore, southern culture kind of gets a little lost. If my true accent comes out around here, I would turn heads like a naked celebrity on the red carpet. My "Hi" would come out as it normally does when I'm back home: "Haaaa" (very short "i"). But I will tell you this: I was in my element this past weekend. I was with MY people--people who talk like I do, who thoroughly enjoy a good fried green tomato, who fully enjoy doin nothin but sittin on the porch with a glass of sweet tea and watchin the world go by. My girlfriend from South Carolina and I are VERY much alike--so much so that I think our other girlfriends who went with us--one from Arizona, one from Michigan, one from Ohio and the last from Texas--were gobsmacked that yes, we enjoy Fried Okra. We loooove our collards. And when I was making a thank you note for my girlfriend's grandparents, and wrote "Thank Yall"--my little Arizona girl said to me, "You spelled it wrong--shouldn't it say 'Thanks Yall'?" Needless to say, it was a most wonderful weekend and the nine hour drive was completely worth it. I love my girls--and I'm looking forward to next years adventure to Lake Keowee!