19 September 2011

Get your delicious on...

At Soup’s On!  

In Florida, we really only have two seasons: summer and pseudo-winter.  During the summer time, I often lay around my house with the AC cranking and the fans at full speed praying for clouds to offer some respite from the blazing sun.  I feel like a Morlock in those months, squinting and cringing in the harsh light.  

But pseudo-winter... now there’s a different story!  Scarves, sweaters, coats, boots, hats!  I love it all.  But most of all, I love the food.  Hot soup and sandwiches, chili, stew.  So to my utmost joy and exultation, I have discovered Soup’s On.  Granted it’s not cold outside just yet, but I’m counting down the days.  And while I’m at it, I’m enjoying some “made-fresh with local ingredients” soup from Soup’s On.

So far I’ve had the Carrot & Apple soup (I enjoyed it hot, but it can also be served cold); Wild Mushroom & Barley Soup with an open-faced Roasted Eggplant sandwich with goat cheese; and Apricot & Red Lentil Soup with a Portobello Mushroom sandwich. My hubby has twice supped happily on French Onion soup (he ate a whole pint the first time).

(Sorry some of the pictures are blurry and the food half-eaten... usually I’m too excited about the food to remember to take a picture until it’s too late)

Wild Mushroom & Barley with Roasted Eggplant

French Onion Soup with Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Sandwich

Apricot & Red Lentil Soup and Portobello, Arugula & Pepper Jack Sandwich

Can’t forget the tea!  This was delightfully refreshing: Citronella Tea
No, not the stuff you put in candles to keep the bugs away.  But it is just delicious enough to chase the summer blues away. =)

Yum! Yum!  Happy Eating!  Tchau! Tchau!

Soup's On Jacksonville on Urbanspoon

06 September 2011

Oh the places you'll go...

and the showers you'll throw!

For me baby & wedding showers are usually tossed into the same category as Mary Kay & Pampered Chef parties; that category being “Things I Avoid If At All Possible”. I would much rather hang out and watch a game with my hubby then ooh and aah over shiny things and baby blankets. But anyone who came to my sisters recent Baby Shower never would have believed that for a second.

Not including weeks of idea swapping, tossing, renewing, crumpling, uncrumpling and finally, deciding, my Mom, Little Sister and I spent about 15 hours (9 in a row... from 6pm to 3am) rearranging furniture and decorating for this Baby Extravaganza. It’s wasn’t a shower... it was a Deluge! And it was worth every minute.

We enlisted the help of old faithful - The World Wide Web - in our quest to find the perfect decorations for a Dr. Seuss themed shower. We made out like bandits! In our preparation for the big day, we shopped at Michaels , Joann’s and The Dollar Tree. It was exhausting and a bit of strain on the brain. I think I cracked a little at Dollar Tree...

In the end, we came home with bags and bags of all manner of bright and Suessy things.

The following Friday, the real fun began...


To make our “One of Three Cheese Trees”, I cut a tree shape from poster board and my lil’ sister painted it green. Then we trimmed the edges with bright green pipe cleaners... careful! Hot glue is hot!

The diaper cake was a blast to make! Whoa! That was Suessy! Anyway, LeiLani (or Mom... it was late and I can’t remember) had the nifty idea to wrap the pipe cleaners around a pencil to make them twisty. Then we proceeded to shove all manner of baby items around the cake.

To spice up the table clothes we found shiny tissue paper and used generous amounts double-sided tape to make sure the window unit didn’t blow anything away.

Just some final touches to the cheese tree... we hot glued puffy blue balls to the tips to make it look a little more festive; and to protect our fingers from the metal pip cleaner tips. We hung Chinese lanterns, balloons, and little paper Hats from the ceiling. We stuck Dr. Seuss characters all over the house, made Truffula trees and even had Thing 1 and Thing 2 running through the front yard ( I failed, much to my dismay, to take a picture of that** ). From the driveway to the bathroom, we went Suessical! And most importantly, it was a hit with our Mommy-to-Be!

Thing 2 & Thing 3 (Technically I'm Thing 1 because I'm the eldest)

**A word of advice: If you're planning something like this and want to document it, DO NOT rely on yourself to take all the pictures. I was too caught up in the hosting and forgot to take half the pictures I wanted.

***I forgot to mention (thank you, Bethany for reminding me) to really get people oohing and aahing, we hung pictures of Courtney when she was a baby. The guests just loved it! We joked about what the Lil' Momma would say when she saw them and I think it was my Mom that guessed it right: "I was such a cute baby!"

Happy Eating and Showering! =P

03 September 2011

Customization is wow!

Customization! I made a background all by me onesies. And now I’m trying to figure out how to get around the image upload limit in Blogger. Will I be successful?

Sam's excitement suggests that I am!

The simplicity of it suggests that I really should have figured this out a long time ago.

01 September 2011

From the rising of the sun to its setting

This photo was snapped with my phone whilst driving over a bridge with my mom saying "be careful!" I couldn't get over the way the rays so vividly cut through the clouds. It was breath taking. I captured this on the same day we were going to visit my grandmother's grave. It was the one year anniversary of her death, August 20th. To memorialize her, we sat on a bench near her headstone and ate one of her favorite breakfasts: Hardees biscuits. (Her favorite was sausage, but Mom went for chicken and I skipped the meat, just egg and cheese please.)

Despite my mom's throbbing headache and a sweet, but annoying old lady who would not go away, we had a nice morning. It gave us at least a little time to reflect on the woman we loved and still love. Lately I've been reflecting on her more often. And so this musing took shape in the form of words on a screen...

On August 20th, 2010 Mammaw passed away. She was a beautiful woman in a spectrum of ways; a true southern lady. She wouldn't dare leave the house unless her hair was fixed and her stockings were on. A hard working mother, wife & friend, she gave of herself completely until she took her last breath.

She fostered my love for food at a very young age. Waking up to her frying eggs in bacon grease (in theory: disgusting, in reality: delicious) or skipping school lunch to have an egg sandwich will always be some of my favorite memories. And oh boy! could she cook a roast! Or fried chicken and gravy! or chicken pot pie! or biscuits! (I apologize for the punctuation overdose, but if you had experienced this food, you'd be exclaiming too!) Anything she set her mind to, she could cook.

Thankfully, she passed that trait onto my mother. Mom's forte is baking, but really if she were given the ingredients of the "Chopped" crew, she could whip up a tasty dish in 30 minutes or less. Drat! I'm making myself hungry!

She not only passed on the cooking gene, but the industrious one as well. My mother worked hard to help our Mammaw, forfeiting a job of her own and even time with her family to assist her as she aged. And the aging process was not always easy or graceful for Mammaw. However, she always wanted my mom to be successful at everything she did.

So I diverge a little to remind my mom of that; seeing that she started a new job this week (yay!). Mammaw may have been her biggest fan, but she is just one of many big fans. We're all rooting for her to succeed. And Mammaw would be to.