Monday, June 30, 2014

How to Smoke Cheese

Saturday our neighbors came over and asked if we wanted to watch them smoke cheese. I don't think Don had completely finished his sentence before I was halfway to his backyard! I'll let the pictures do the talking...

The key to smoking cheese (according to Don) is to have the coals hot, but not too hot, and then to add apple wood chips. He uses about half a chimney full of charcoal and lets the coals turn grey. Once you pour the coals in the smoker, let them cool off a bit. 

Each side needs to cook 5 to 6 minutes. When it's ready to flip the cheese will appear wet and be a little sticky. I got the honor of being the cheese flipper!

Grill marks!

Don and me - he thought it was really funny that I was so excited! Once the cheese comes off the grill, let cool on the wire rack and then put in the fridge to harden. Wrap in wax paper. 

Peggy's art work! We love our neighbors!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Have a Happy Weekend

What are your weekend plans? I'm so happy that Ryan will be off and we hope to finish up a few projects left from the move. If we don't do it now, it will be Christmas before we get done! We have some shelves to install and a load of things for the attic. I'm also hoping to finish putting up my July 4th decorations and find some thing for the porch.

A few interesting stories I've run across recently:

Did you happen to see this sweet story about the Vandy pitcher who proposed after their big win?

Also, our friends Kristen and Chad were featured on their church's website about their foster care experience.

And some imaginary maps - have you ever wondered what the world would like like if a war or two had turned out differently?

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pete's Second Career

A few of my regular readers have asked how Pete is doing so I thought I'd give a report. Pete has come out of his "retirement" with his new owners, and I am so happy to report that he is healthy and happy and very much loved! I came across this old picture of him and sent it to his owners - they couldn't believe how much his color had changed.

Me and Pete - probably in 1995 or '96. 

Pete and Abby - look at his white face - he's so distinguished!

Pete is once again King of the Pasture, Steed Unstoppable. 
And, of course, cool enough to rock some sunglasses!

Helping Pete find a new home was such a good, but hard, decision. He was lonely after his pasture-mate died. I knew we were going to move even farther away from him and moving him with us was not an option. Horses are herd animals. They thrive in a group. I've so enjoyed following his journey and so thankful to his owners for keeping me in the loop!

I follow the group Mississippi Horses on Facebook and it is heartbreaking to see the number of horses out there who have been neglected or abandoned. If you're thinking about getting a horse, please consider a rescue! Groups like this have professional trainers who work with each horse before they are placed in a home. In all likelihood you will get better trained horse than you would otherwise!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New (to me) Farmer's Market Recipes

The South Carolina Farmer's Market is less than a mile from our house and is open six days a week. I am in love! It has a cold room that feels like it's 32 degrees. Everything is sourced as locally as possible with most things right now coming from Georgia. I'm trying to figure out the schedule of the blackberry truck because I keep missing it!

I've tried a couple of new recipes that we have both really like! New Orleans chef John Besh's sweet potato chips are pictured below. You can find the recipe here on his website.

When I made these Brussels sprouts Ryan said they were so good they tasted like Paula Deen's! That's exactly what they were - her recipe is here. We were too busy eating to take a picture of the finished product, but here's the before. Did you hear that Paula is going to have a new internet show? Here's a great story about her upcoming nationwide tour. 

I'm well aware that these two recipes may not be the healthiest way to eat veggies since they require either bacon, bacon grease, or both. But everything in moderation!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book club

Is there anything better than getting so engrossed in a book you lose track of time? Maybe a few things, but not many! I love finding a real page turner (definition: a book that requires one's utmost attention to the point of telling white lies to avoid everyday necessary tasks like cooking and bathing).

I love hearing about what others are reading and keep a running list on my phone so that I can have a handy list at the library. For a few years I was in a great book club, but then life kept getting in the way. Because all fun things always fall on the same night, right? Anyway, I love reading and discussing books and hope this thoroughly-not-original-idea of a virtual book club (I think Oprah gets credit for that!) might be a way to do that with friends.

Anyway, if your interested, please follow along! You can leave a comment in the comments section if you wish or just follow along anonymously. I'll tag each of these posts with "Book Club" so you can always find it by clicking on the tag in the sidebar.

I'd love to hear your suggestions off books? Here's one I thought we could start with:

This one was suggested to me my a lady from New York in a restaurant in Charleston. So if it's awful we can blame her!

Here's part of the Publishers Weekly review: Simultaneously a page-turner and a book one has to put down occasionally to think about and absorb, Moriarty's novel challenges the reader as well as her characters, but in the best possible way.

There's no time commitment - just be warned the comments could contain spoiler alerts!


This weekend was a learning experience for me as far as my expectations of our life during residency! The "honeymoon" phase is over and real life has begun. But that's okay! On Saturday, Ryan got home about four hours after expected and Sunday just over an hour late. I'm so thankful for the many friends I've watched go through this whole residency journey!

When Ryan first started medical school, my friend's mother advised me to have a hobby you can do - and really enjoy doing - by yourself. For the most part, I do well with keeping myself entertained on the weekends when Ryan is studying or working (although Ryan says that he can tell I never had to play by myself as a child - thanks to Sis!).

On Saturday I checked out the farmer's market downtown. It was a like a festival there were so many people and so many vendors! I got a lime tree.

I had a lovely visit and lunch with a family friend - Lu - who I haven't seen since high school! When Marthe came to visit us during the summer of 2000, Net and Granddaddy drove Sis, Marthe and me to New Orleans where we spent a week with our cousin Aileen. She showed us a great time in New Orleans and Lu had us all over for dinner a few times. Extra special for her since she had spent 10 months in Norway with the WHO. We had a great time catching up and went to Costco and out to lunch.

Waiting for "Jaws" to start at the Swamp Rabbit Brewery with our new friends, Jennie and Craig.

Sunday morning I went to breakfast at Tupelo Honey Cafe and church with Jennie, fellow intern wife, Jordan, and Sarah (who as a rising second year intern, assured us all that this would pass!). It was nice to have a breakfast date with friends - it felt a little like vacation! Especially since we went shopping after church.

I still haven't nailed down a walking route, but Pepe is hoping this pond becomes part of it! Notice the geese fleeing in the background.  

Sunday night we were part of the 25 million Americans who watched the World Cup. It was my first soccer game to really watch - and it helped that we watched with people who could explain all the plays and rules! I can't believe we have almost lived here a month. 

(The top picture has absolutely nothing to do with the post, I just liked it! It's from the free photo source Unsplash - a website offering copyright free hi-res photos).

Monday, June 23, 2014

Flower Boxes of Charleston

One of my favorite parts about being in Charleston was looking at the many beautiful flower boxes that dot the city. I love the bright combinations of different flower colors and foliage. Too bad my flower boxes had already been planted before our trip - these will definitely be next year's inspiration!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Have a Happy Weekend

This has felt almost like a "normal" week with Ryan going to orientation and me getting back into the swing of work. I spent a few days with Gaston and some incredibly cute YMCA campers at Sassy Stables. The little girls were very excited to hear his name was Gaston - just like in "Beauty and the Beast"! - and we may have sang a few bars from the Gaston song! The boys were excited to talk about how big his boogers and other bodily functions must be. 

One night there was a peds and med/peds get-together and it was so nice to meet Ryan's fellow residents and their spouses. There's people from all over and nearby which makes for great conversation. A guy from Wisconsin told me that Southern people sure do seem to be into their food! Last night we watched the Ole Miss World Series game at some Mississippi friends' house. Amber and Ryan were in the same pharmacy class and Sam is starting is 4th year of med/peds here. So nice to see people from home and talk Ole Miss. Plus, the game was wonderful! Hotty Toddy!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Ryan has orientation through the weekend, but I'm hoping he will get off more time than the schedule indicates. We have an internal medicine get-together tonight and I have plans to see a family friend on Saturday. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Downton Abbey Withdrawals

Am I the only one that thinks about what is going on in the lives of Lady Mary and the Dowager? If, like me, you're counting down the days to Season 5 of Downton Abbey, here are some reading suggestions to tide you over until January. Although, I must admit to be pondering the possibility of popping across the pond in September to see it with those lucky U.K. people. But since I'm 99% sure that won't happen, here's a juicy "what-if" article from Radio Times.

The show's creator and writer Julian Fellowes has been quoted in the Telegraph saying, "I want to have simultaneous transmission in American and Britain. The BBC have shown it can be done because they did it with Doctor Who so all this talk that it’s impossible is wrong.”

One can only hope! 

But until then, some book suggestions to tide you over!

"The House at Tyneford" - set during World War II tells of the twisted love affair of a young Jewish girl sent to work in an English manor house to escape the Nazis. 

"The American Heiress" - at first I thought this story followed Downton a little too closely (the main character's name is Cora from an extremely wealthy Newport family looking for a title), but I was wrong! It's fabulous!

Plus Julian Fellowes' other works including "SNOBS"


And the precursor to Downton was Julian's screenplay for "Godsford Park" (and it even stars Maggie Smith!)

What am I missing? Any others?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I Like Peaches

Did you know that South Carolina grows more peaches than any other state besides California? I always figured Georgia was the main grower of peaches. Our neighbors brought us a bag of peaches from Greer and they were wonderful. Since we couldn't eat them all before we left, I froze them using this method from Better Homes and Gardens.

Make a cross mark on the underside of each peach.

Drop in boiling water for about a minute. Then immediately transfer to ice cold water (this stops the cooking process). They will then be easy to peel, slice and store in ziplock bags. The BHG site suggested adding sugar, but these were so sweet I decided not to add anything!

Hopefully, there will some peach cobbler in our near future! I hummed "I like peaches, my nose itches, yonder comes a man with a hole in his britches" the whole time I was putting up these peaches. I'm not sure where that poem originated but I learned it from my grandfather, Papa Carrel, and think ot it every time I eat a peach!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Home Improvements & A Sad Goodbye

We are turning into quite the DIY couple. The summer we moved to Jackson we spent the first three months working on our house 24/7. It was exhausting. And we swore off fixer-upper houses. Due to lack of time and energy we knew this move needed to be a little easier. Our little cottage was completely renovated about six years ago, and so there are just a few things left to do. And then we created a few things - read that here - that needed to be done, too! So yesterday we tackled those so Ryan won't have to deal with it once residency starts. We've been warned there won't be any time to do anything other than work, eat and sleep!

So, drum roll please....da-ta-daaaa...

Here's the before on the door frame - it actually looked worse than this by the time we got the box springs upstairs. About a foot of the sheet-rock above the frame had to be removed.

Here's a few in-progress shots. I'll have to get Ryan to give me a description of what he did exactly, but it involved sheet-rock and caulk and paint. The wall color is Behr "Mountain Haze" and ceiling is Behr "Powdered Snow."

Nailing the molding back into place:

And after a few coats of paint on the molding and the wall:

So proud of Ryan! He's so handy.

And project #2:

There's not much to show with the closet - before it was just unpainted and Ryan caulked up so holes left by former owners. I painted the trim and he painted the walls.

*   *   *   *   *

In other news, our sweet bird Lovey the Dovey was eaten by a snake yesterday evening. A big snake. We had no idea that a snake would climb up on the porch (about two feet from the side door) and somehow get into her cage. He got in but couldn't get out. Ryan had no trouble taking care of him - he said he only wished he could blow the thing to smithereens. Not allowed inside city limits! To quote neighbor Don, "the rotten bastard."