Thursday, June 21, 2018

Cinnamon Vanilla Sweet Potatoes

My food photography won't win any prizes, but these sweet potatoes were good! The next time I would put a lot more melted butter on them.

Cinnamon Vanilla Sweet Potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
2 T. melted butter
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Scrub the potatoes and prick them in several places with a fork. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes, until they begin to ooze. Remove from oven.

In a small bowl, whisk the vanilla, cinnamon, and butter. Cut potatoes in half and drizzle the mixture over the hot potatoes. Sprinkle with salt.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Pure Gold

Two Saturdays ago, Don and I went out to dinner for our anniversary at a French restaurant called Cru Uncorked. It was a very nice dinner. I had lamb for my meal, and Don had halibut. Both entrees were excellent, but the best part of the meal for me was the Little Gem Salad. That salad was so amazing that I was still thinking about it on Monday. It wasn't the salad ingredients that blew my socks off, it was the dressing.

I wanted to call the restaurant to ask for the recipe, but I doubted they would give it to me. So I went back to the website to see if the menu would give me any clues. Sure enough, the description of the salad said: "with Banyuls vinaigrette."

I immediately Googled "Banyuls" and I found out that it is an aged vinegar made with sweet wine from the Grenache grape and produced in Banyuls-sur-mer in southern France. I then Googled "Banyuls Vinaigrette" to see if there was a recipe floating around. I found an old blog post by Rachel Going called "The Last Vinaigrette."

The same day, I ordered a bottle of Banyuls Vinegar from Amazon and sat tight until it arrived.

Tonight I mixed up the formula for the most amazing dressing ever -- besides my grandma (Sito's) Lebanese lemon vinaigrette!

This stuff is pure gold, I tell you (the jar in the front). I don't know if it is the same recipe as the one at Cru Uncorked, but it is pretty darn close.

Here's the recipe in case Rachel Going's blog disappears someday:

Banyuls Vinaigrette

1/4 cup Banyuls vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1 T. dijon mustard
1 T. water
1 small shallot, minced
1 t. salt (more or less to taste)
1/4 t. fresh ground black pepper

In a bowl, whisk together the mustard, water, and vinegar. Slowly add the oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly to emulsify. When all of the oil has been added, add shallots and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups

Sunday, June 17, 2018

He's Just a Man Who Can't Say No

Josh and Katherine needed a new roof on their garage. So who did they call? Not Ghostbusters, not Superman, but Super Dad!

Don is not afraid to do things, but the one thing he does not like at all is being high up off the ground. And he said yes to this job before he realized the roof of the garage had a steep pitch.

So there he is, plugging away at the shingles (probably scared out of his whits) with Josh (who can leap tall towers without breaking a sweat).

It wasn't long after this photo was taken that Don put up his white flag and handed it to Josh. By that time, Josh had the hang of it and a couple of their friends came over to help as well.

But Don still wins Dad of the year for giving it a go! Happy Father's Day to the bravest man I know.

Thanks to Katherine for this great photo! And I found out that Josh took this photo. Great selfie shot!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Cold Sassy Tree

It's halfway through the month of June, and I just finished my first book. I listened to this one on audio through the Libby app, and I'm glad I did. The southern dialect in this book would have been difficult to read, but the narrator had it down, and it made the book so much better for me, I'm sure.

Cold Sassy Tree was published in 1984 by Olive Ann Burns who was 60 years old at the time. It was her first and only book as she died before she finished the sequel.

I LOVED this book. It is one I will always remember because the characters are so loveable. This was one of those books I did not want to end.

The story takes place in 1906 in a small Georgia town called Cold Sassy. Will Tweedy's 59-year old grandpa stirs up the town when three weeks after his wife dies, he announces he is going to marry a woman who is half his age.

Fourteen-year-old Will thinks Miss Love is nice and pretty, and he approves of his grandpa's marriage. Like his grandpa said, "Mattie Lou (his deceased wife) is as dead as she's ever going to be," and he either needs to get married or hire a housekeeper. He doesn't care that the whole town is carrying on because he didn't wait the full year of mourning.

Will Tweedy is the narrator of the novel, so everything is seen from his perspective. He and grandpa say some hilarious things. There are also many tender moments and some topics that are pretty intense. I loved the small town southern life portrayed in this book. I give it five stars!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

When You Want Sugar

Cutting back on sugar? Here are 15 things to do instead of succumbing to the call of ice cream and chocolate:

1. Go for a walk
2. Do laundry
3. Read a book
4. Write a note
5. Stretch
6. Listen to a podcast
7. Make a list
8. Organize a closet
9. Plan a party
10. Send someone a care package
11. Organize your digital photos
12. Pull weeds
13. Go to the library
14. Cut some flowers from your yard and put them in a vase
15. Plan a road trip

Friday, June 8, 2018

Riley in the Middle

A thorn between two roses? Or a rose between two thorns?
Riley's space has been invaded again, but he is hanging in there.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Eat More Chikin

Did you know that if you are one of the first 100 customers at a new Chick-fil-A opening, you receive a coupon that allows you one free sandwich meal per week for a whole year? Peter and Kendall knew, and they were there this morning at a new restaurant in Columbus. No cooking one day a week for them.