Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall Fever

   Fall fever around my house is in full swing. For my husband, fall fever can primarily be summed up with one word: football, but for me it is the particular beauty, sounds, and scents that are reminiscent of autumn. It has become my favorite time of the year. I am not a big fan of winter, in fact the only redemptive thing about it in my mind is that it is the precursor to spring; but give me a beautiful fall day and I am happy. No humidity. Trees resplendent in their array of color. The sound of leaves crunching underfoot. Pumpkins. The scents of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and dried rosemary. Mums in containers by the front door. An early morning fire crackling in the porch fireplace and a steaming cup of coffee in my hands. Open doors and open windows. Blankets and quilts tucked on the back of chairs. Tiny gourds that you can only find at this season in odd shapes and sizes. Indian corn. And of course, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin spread. Why do my favorite things almost always involve food?!
    Hard to believe with the size of our tribe, that I have raised a family who does NOT like pumpkin pie. I used to make a variation of this recipe for my father-in-law since he and I were the only ones who could not stomach a fall celebration without a taste of pumpkin pie. It's a little more work than your average pie, but the crust and the topping make it special and worth your while. And since there is no longer a pumpkin shortage, make more than one.

Jimmy's Praline Pumpkin Pie
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1Tbsp all-purpose flour (I only use White Lily)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
slightly more than a pinch of salt
1 cup of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
   1 9" pie crust (Unless you are a bake-it-from-scratch person, I use the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust)
  1/2 cup ground pecans (use food processor to make it like coarse meal)
  3 Tbsp butter softened (I nevah evah use margarine; unsalted butter is a must)
  3 Tbsp dark brown sugar

   Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Take out Pillsbury pie crust and let come to room temperature. Assemble other ingredients in the meantime. Press Pillsbury crust into bottom of 9" pie plate (glass is preferred to non-stick). Grind pecans in food processor to a meal-like texture. Add butter and brown sugar to food processor to make a paste. Press firmly into the bottom (not the sides) of the pie crust.
   In a large bowl combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt; add pumpkin, evaporated milk and vanilla. Beat eggs in a separate bowl until frothy and then add to the pumpkin mixture, combining with a spoon until eggs are incorporated. Do not mix this to death.
   Pour into the unbaked pie shell. Bake 15 mins. at 425 degrees, then reduce temperature to 350 and bake 15 additional minutes. While this is baking, combine coarsely chopped pecans (see Praline topping below) brown sugar and butter and sprinkle on top of the pie when the second 15 mins. are up and bake 15-20 minutes more until pie is set. You may have to adjust the cooking time based upon your oven so start checking after the 40 min. mark.
Praline Topping:
   1/2 cup chopped pecans (do not grind the topping in the food processor; use your knife for a coarse chop)
   2 Tbsp butter, softened (remember the admonition above about using only unsalted butter)
   2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
      Mix well and add to top of pie 15 minutes before cooking time is up and center of pie is set.
Garnish with unsweetened whipping creme (I prefer the real stuff). Absolutely no Cool Whip for me!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ahhh Home

   I have been The Mom on the go this month. The Dad and I took our first empty nest vacation in thirty-two (yep, count 'em) years and had a great time spending six days alone together in Playa Del Carmen. Since it was and is the season for hurricanes, we got the deal of a lifetime. I am always a little skeptical of deals and steals (especially when it comes to travel) but this one actually panned out nicely. I also got to mark one biggie off my bucket list -- swimming with the dolphins -- and another not so biggie off the list -- visiting Mayan ruins. Both were great experiences. More about these later.
    I grew up on humidity. As a native of the Panhandle of Florida, I am no stranger to the heat. I am also not one of those Southern women who daintily perspire (I think they call it "dewing"), I am a roll down the face and sweat the outlines of various body parts onto clothing kind of middle-aged woman so I thought I was prepared for a little Mexican humidity. Not. As soon as I opened the door of our hotel room, a blast of hot air would hit me. And the sweating would begin. By the time I made it to the breakfast area, I would be dreaming about another shower or seriously considering jumping in one of the pools I passed along my way, but since there were clear directives posted everywhere about what one could and could not wear into the dining rooms I quickly nixed this idea. I actually developed curly hair in Mexico. Not just frizzy, but curly hair. I briefly wondered if this could be related to estrogen depletion but since I have returned to my normal flat-head, I guess not.  I also did not wear any make-up during our vacation except once. I mean, what's the point, when it slides down your face immediately after you apply it. I basically lived in my bathing suit and cover up, and all I have to say about that is that it is a good thing my husband still loves me. I had packed a lot of nice linen things in my suitcase, and some of them were even white because I figured the no white linen after Labor Day rule definitely does not apply in Mexico, but this proved to be an exercise in futility because I basically wore the same things over and over again...the coolest things I could find. I also dispensed with my least favorite garment of all time, the bra. This was probably the best decision I made all week and the one that made me the happiest, other than being away with my husband and not having any offspring or dogs or responsibilities in sight.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A New Trick and a New Treat!

Teach your children well. Well, this is what The Daddy was up to with Little One one evening when they were left to their own devices. Somehow, this is not what I think the adage was meant to convey.

And while we are on a video roll, instead of the 10 month picture of Little One, you get to see her eating her first ice cream...half naked of course!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Listening to the Voice of Truth

 If most of us would be willing to admit it, there are seasons in our lives when we have found ourselves held captive by ideas that bear little resemblance to reality and are not rooted or grounded in the truth. Before we know it, we are caught up in a battle of staggering proportions that somehow seems to overtake or dominate our lives. The pathway out of the morass in which we find ourselves often seems unclear and fraught with danger at every twist and turn. What do we do? Where do we run? To whom do we turn?  Most of the lessons of my life, I have only learned one way -- the hard way. You can be sure that I have searched high and low in all the wrong places, and looked longingly and hopefully into the eyes of others, but I have come to understand that my faith and understanding of the truth cannot be restored by mere mortals, no matter how kind, loving, or well-intentioned they might be.  There is only one fountain, one river to which I must return over and over to touch to taste again of the Living Waters. Sometimes I run, sometimes I crawl, and sometimes I am carried. It matters not how I arrive, but only that He bids me come and has made the Way possible through His blood on the cross. The Rivers of Life flow freely and without restraint out of Jesus, the One True Lover and Restorer of my soul. His name means Emmanuel, God with us. I am so very thankful to be His daughter, His child, His beloved.

Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes 
To climb out of this boat I'm in 
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown 
Where Jesus is, 
And he's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name 
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times 
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me 
time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win, 
You you'll never win

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the Voice of truth says "this is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

Oh, what I would do 
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant 
with just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound 
of a thousand warriors 
shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out 
my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times 
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me 
time and time again
"Boy you'll never win, 
you'll never win."

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the Voice of truth says "this is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

But the stone was just the right size
to put the giant on the ground
and the waves they don't seem so high
from on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
when I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
singing over me

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story 
The Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!" 
And the Voice of truth says "this is for my glory" 
Out of all the voices calling out to me (calling out to me)
I will choose to listen and believe (I will choose to listen and believe)
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

I will listen and believe
I will listen and believe the Voice of truth
I will listen and believe 
'Cause Jesus you are the Voice of truth
And I will listen to you.. oh you are the Voice of truth

Friday, September 3, 2010

Give me a D, give me an A, give me D,D, Y

     Give me a D, give me an A, give me a D, D, Y. What does that spell? DADDY. Along with my mommy, he's the love of my life. I got my long eyelashes and my curly hair from him. He gives me the best sugar a girl could ever want, and he makes me laugh. I like it when he flies me high in the sky, takes me running with East Nasty, and tickles me. I'm working on saying his name so that he knows when I call him, he better come!
In case you were wondering, we are two peas in a pod!


Oh, and just like him, I can occasionally have a bad hair day!

What's a girl to do?
I'll just take a little rest and think about it later!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oh Happy Day!

    Despite the fact that half of East Nashville was in on the secret, you saw this bride-to-be surprised in March with a wonderful engagement party (She Said Yes). We gave you glimpses of her bridemaids' luncheon (For the Bride-to-Be) and the preparation leading up to her special day (Some Promises Are Not Hard to Keep), so I would sell you short if I did not let you in on the beauty and the joy that radiated from this much beloved bride and groom on their wedding day. The bride has a iconoclastic sense of style that seamlessly blends the traditional with the modern...some might call it urban chic...but I call it simply Amy.
    All photos are from the very artistic and talented photographer Caroline Fontenont. You can find out all about her at

Check out the birdcage veil and custom designed necklace. The Bride's dress was ivory,
her sash was pewter colored
and the bridesmaids wore dark dusty blue, almost navy.
She wore glam beaded sandals for the wedding and 
then changed into her dancing shoes...
Converse of course!

Legislative Plaza was the outdoor wedding locale; the reception was up
the steps in the War Memorial Auditorium.

The Wedding Party

The Venue from another angle

I love this shot with the city lights in the background!
If you know Nashville, you know where this was taken!
And this one as well

Relaxed and Happy

Rocking the Reception

And the final benediction to the wonderful evening came in the form of the majestic sunset 
captured here. We are all sure that Amy's mother requested this special 
"heavenly" touch for her only daughter on her wedding day...

Thanks again to Caroline Fontenot for allowing me to use these beautiful images