Spring Break at home this year and Village Creek State Park, Wynne

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The great cabins at Village Creek State Park

Colley making he and Benton's favorite grilled onions

The kids playing at the park...Stella, Brooks, Connor, Whit,
Bryce, Chloe and BFF Anna Claire Burrow

The next day we met the Burrow twins at the Memphis Zoo
with Whit and Chloe (I had Whit Wednesday and Friday of
Spring Break, Kara had Chloe Tuesday)

Chloe on Wednesday of Spring Break had another BFF Bailey
Bigger and Whit and Stella over for Bailey's 11th birthday, we
had a great time at home, playing etc and then that night everyone
went to Redbirds Stadium to see the baseball Razorbacks

Colley and Benton's grilled onion gettin the sauce...it was yummy!

Sunday after Spring Break, Biscuit (in a scarf, yes he wore it), the Gooch Man
in between and Tu Jague all worn out from all of us being home that week...haha!

Chloe took about 50 pictures at the Memphis Zoo

BFF Anna Claire spent the night and they had a great
time hanging out.  Anna Claire's the only girl in Colley's
two sets of twins, yes, two sets and they are all wonderful kids with great manners.  The Memphis Zoo with 3 adults and 6 kids was easy believe it or not!
March 27, 2011

Spring Break this year was spent at home and we were so excited about having two of Chloe's best friends over during the week as well as Kara making the Memphis Children's Museum a stop on Tuesday, Memaw and Grandad took Whit and Chloe bike riding at the state park, we had Bailey's 11th Birthday Party at our house on Wednesday, dinner with the Burrow's at Village Creek State Park down the road and finishing off the week Friday at the Memphis Zoo.  It was one of the best spring breaks ever!  And I say that cause we've been to Washington DC and New York City on Spring Break and nothing beats spending that time with friends and family close to home and enjoying our state parks.  I'm looking forward to spending yet another Smith Family Vacation this year at another state park near Hot Springs in June.

I had to ask Colley Burrow, a family friend of ours since Jackie was in grade school and who was at our wedding way, way back in OKC in 1993, what in the world we was doing in that foil....I grabbed my camera and took a shot of him making he and Benton's favorite side item for a grill out event.  I believe it goes to score an onion in foil, top it with butter, Cavendar's and BBQ sauce.  And let me just say it was delish.  I loved the onion side, it was totally cooked to perfection.  We'll have to try it at our next cookout.

Pasta Puttanesca, Birdeye

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pasta Puttanesca is so good....served with fresh bread from Hay's bakery

My niece Stella said, "can I help?" which is something Chloe has
never said in my kitchen.  She hopped right on up and with this
butter knife, chopped fresh basil and olives...

This skillet wasn't on yet, she poured the olive oil for the garlic
I am guessing some deer have been
in our yard since I planted 4 rows and have
only 3 stalks of asparagus

YAY asparagus is here (planted last year)!

The romaine is still coming on...

The spinach I planted 2 weeks ago
 Monday, March 21, 2010

Pasta Puttanesca, from my Junior League of Pasadena, Calif. cookbook, is an easy, easy recipe you'll have ready in less than 25 minutes. 

2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 T olive oil
2-1/2 lbs. fresh tomatoes, (not in season yet, used 3-14 oz cans diced, stewed and crushed tomatoes)
1 T fresh, minced basil
1/4 c. white wine
1 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. crushed red pepper, I used 1 tablespoon
1/2 c. each green olives and black olives (I used kalamata)
1 T. capers (I chopped mine)
1 lb. linguine (I used fettuccine)

In a large skillet, saute the garlic in oil until soft.  Add tomatoes and all ingredients but olives/capers.  Simmer 10 minutes, add olives/capers and cover and simmer 10-15 minutes.  Toss with hot pasta serve.  I served with fresh Parmesan cheese and Hay's fresh french bread.  Delish and super easy!


Monday, March 21, 2011

The new garlic is up...YAY!
Monday, March 21, 2011

I've been meaning to tell the blog readers that when I'm blogging, many times the wireless Internet at home gets "bogged down" and I can sometimes only load some pictures and not go back for spell check...I'm sure you've all wandered this.  And then sometimes I can do so much!

Thanks and I'm glad ya'll read the blog!

Seafood Gumbo, Birdeye

Biscuit and the gooch....he's swatting the camera wrist holder swinging...

The key to the roux is watching it like a hawk (which drives me crazy)

The gumbo, the bowl looks like I've been eating outta it but
that's the first, fresh bowl......

The chopped ingredients....

This is my dining room table on a Monday morning.  This is
Jackie's way of being a blatant, cocky packer.  He expects me
to pack in a backpack, like this, for 11 days overseas coming up...
What the....????
Sunday, March 20, 2010

What a beautiful day!  After church we all worked in the yard and then I worked on cleaning out my freezer.  Even though it was a little warm today, I made the perfect thing for gettin rid of your freezer, a pot of gumbo.  I have a bad reputation in the past of burning the roux.  This go round, I watched the clock and the followed Terry's recipe to a "t" (except for substitutions you'll see below).   It was easy and low-fat (until I added a polska kielbasa that was in the freezer for 6 months).

Seafood Gumbo, Terry Conlan's Lean Star Cuisine

3 T. vegetable oil
1/4 C. flour
6 cloves garlic, minced (I used 9)
3/4 C. green pepper, diced small (I used 6 small pablanos from my freezer, thawed)
3/4 C. celery, diced small (I only had 3 stalks so I chopped the tops too)
1-1/2 C. onion, diced small
1 lb fresh okra (I used 1 lb frozen, thawed)
1 C. chopped parsley (I didn't have this, so I used cilantro)
4 C. chopped tomatoes (I used 28 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice)
1 small can tomato paste
1 t. Tabasco
1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1 t. thyme
2 bay leaves
2 quarts seafood stock (I didn't have and substituted 2 bottles clam juice and the rest chicken broth)
1-1/2 lbs. seafood, fish, shrimp, clams (I only had 1/2 lb shrimp so I added 1 lb seared a kielbasa and 1 organic chicken breast, ironic I know with that sausage)
*Cook a pot of rice to accompany gumbo as well as plenty of Tabasco

Cook the oil and flour in a small saucepan over medium low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring constantly.  (Recipe says to cover and stir constantly, but how can you?  So I stirred for 30 minutes and added the veggies and moved on)  The color will go from light to caramel to walnut to dark chocolate.  Don't let it burn, you'll have to start over.  (This roux only went to walnut color, btw)

Have your veggies close at hand and just when you think the roux can't possibly darken any further, add them all at once.  Turn off the heat and stir until all the veggies are well coated.

Heat the stock to boiling in a large pot while roux is cooking, and whisk in the roux/veggie mixture.  Add the parsley (cilantro), tomato products and seasonings and simmer for 45 minutes.

Briefly saute the sliced okra in a skillet using cooking spray.  Add to the gumbo and simmer for 30 minutes.  Just before serving, add the Worcestershire and seafood and cook for 5 minutes and serve.

I served with brown rice.

60 calories, 1.5 grams per 3/4 cups serving.  Add fat grams for the kielbasa.

2011 Garden is here, Birdeye

Monday, March 14, 2011

This garlic looks exactly like the kind I cook with...
(this is the first time I've ever planted garlic, we'll see)
Two rows of garlic....I'll report when harvesting this summer!
Chloe's carrots she planted last summer....
she was so excited about her harvest!
Romaine I planted last September, it's so fun to walk outside
and get fresh lettuce from the garden
My homemade compost pile, we'll see if it'll be ready this fall
Sunday, March 13, 2011

YAY for a cloudy Sunday!  I got Jackie and Chloe to help me after church today in the garden.  Chloe was so stinking cute pulling up the carrots she planted last fall.  I hope it'll make a lasting impression on her of how stinking easy it is to hum out seeds and have food in your backyard.

Today we added compost and soil to the raised beds and got three kinds of onions planted, two rows of garlic (my first time to plant garlic), one row each of Arugula, Spinach and more Romaine.  Last week I planted a bag of new potatoes. 

This May I'll get peppers and tomatoes in there as well.  Two years ago, I planted 3 strawberry plants and they looked good today.  They were bigger and healthy I think.  Homegrown strawberries are so, so good.  The herbs I planted in the grow light mom gave me look good so far.  I'll post on the garden this year!

Grilled Chicken with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Masa Potato Cakes

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ok, this photo is bad, but it gives a little insight to the once a
week dinner at the table without the tv on. 
Those two do nothing but crack up about stories and
usually try to get me mad at them...Seriously! 
Notice the ketchup on the table...for her green beans....

The Masa Potato Cake

The Peanut Sauce, it is delicious and has a mild kick to it

I had to add a picture of Chloe's project recently.  She loves to use boxes all the time to create a house or condo for Biscuit and Gooch Man, cracks me up...she's celebrating the music....

The house she made with wallpaper on the inside, rug she custom fit,
mail box and music.  Cracks me up....
 Sunday, March 13, 2011

I can't really publish a recipe today without mentioning the devastation in Japan.  Near the coastal city of Sendai, the fifth largest earthquake in the world happened Friday afternoon.  The tsunami pictures are overwhelming.  It's said the power of the waves were equal to a jet plane engine at 650 mph.  And the nuclear reactor meltdown occurring now is chilling.   I've copied a link off my Yahoo homepage that gives relief agencies where we can all help.  It is so, so sad.   It's a sobering Sunday morning. 
Spring Forward Ya'll!  I made yet another Terry Conlan classic recently and want to share it with you.  I've gotta somehow meet this culinary legend before he retires.  Hmmmm...I think Jackie needs to send me to Austin for a weekend at Lake Austin Spa....

Here's how Terry's recipe goes (you'll have most all these ingredients in your pantry and if not, substitute like I did....):

Peanuts are indigenous to the Americas and have played an important role as a nutritious binder for Mexican sauces and moles since pre-Columbian times.  In this recipe, they are pureed with tomatoes, chipolte chiles (smoked jalapenos), lime juice and seasonings to create a wonderfully spicy, slightly piquant salsa that adds a lively interest in the simple goodness of the chicken and masa cakes.

4 4oz boneless, skinless all-natural chicken breasts (I can only find organic chicken locally in the Wal-mart freezer out in the middle of the isle)
2 medium tomatoes
2 garlic gloves, I used 4
1 canned chipolte chile in adobo sauce (you'll find this in the Latino isle at Hay's)
1 T. brown sugar
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. dried leaf oregano
1/4 C. chopped cilantro
3 t. smooth reduced fat all-natural peanut butter (I used 1 T regular peanut butter)
2 T. lime juice

Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper.  Spray each piece lightly with nonstick cooking spray, then grill over hot coals until cooked through.  (I find using my grill pan that Kara gave me for my birthday years ago works just as great if you don't wanna grill in the cold temps outside)  Grill the tomatoes, turning them occasionally, until they begin to char and soften (I broiled in the oven for 4 minutes).  Remove the tomatoes from the grill and combine in a blend with the remaining ingredients.  Puree the mixture, thin with water or stock as needed.  Serve the chicken napped with the warm sauce and Masa Potato Cakes.  Lemme just say how fabulous this is!  WOW, it'll be on your table in say 20 minutes, literally.  Serve with a salad from your garden and you're a gourmet cook!  I have romaine, arugula and spinach in my garden right now. 

The Masa Potato Cakes

1/4 C. masa harina de maiz (this is similar to cornmeal)
1/2 C. water
1 C. cooked and mashed potatoes (I microwaved one russet for 6 minutes on high in the microwave)
1 garlic clove, minced, I used 2
1 T. minced, fresh chives (I didn't have this, I used the green of a green onion)
3/4 t. salt
1/4 C. crumbled feta cheese  (there really isn't a substitution here, but maybe Gorgonzola)
2 t. olive oil

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and shaped into four 1/2 inch thick disks.  Heat the olive oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute the cakes until browned and crisp on both sides.

Dugan's Pub, Little Rock

Wednesday, March 9, 2011



Colley and Sara Burrow, Bob and Polly Hardin, Auggie, Kara and Martin, me and Jackie post race

We all got a huge kick out of Whit and these two plates of chocolate cake.  At first he was ticked off that his sister and Chloe had started eating on them while he took 5 trips to the bathroom (he really did).  Look at the next picture...

I'd call this a wipe out.  The waitress said that those were the last two pieces of chocolate cake in the place.
Birdeye Bombshells, Ashley Boeckmann King, Sarah Jane Bradshaw Martin,
me (Kara went to Target....lol!)  Our official time 4:40 with Kara's 6.2 in 1:03,
my 6.9 in 1:12, Ashley dominated the 3rd leg 7.8 in 1:21 and Sarah Jane's 5.3 in 1:04
And our relay was 28/62 in the female division.  Not bad for first timers, I say!
Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cheers to another Little Rock Half Marathon and Relay under our belts!  Martin recommended this restaurant for our post race destination and we loved, loved it!  Gabby was our server and was gracious to get our huge table going at 11 am when we were the first customers in the place!

We all were spent after the race and ready for food and drink.  Martin ordered up an appetizer of fried jalapenos.  Ya'll know I loved them, they were pickled japs lightly breaded in cornmeal batter.  They were great and the remoulade sauce with them, was really good.  For lunch, I ordered the Anaheim Turkey Sandwich served with avocado, Swiss and mayo with a choice of french fries, onion rings or fruit.  Of course, fruit would have been a better choice but I went on and got the onion rings and loved them.  They were enormous!  Jackie ordered his favorite sandwich in all the land, the french dip with chips.  He loved it and we all finished our dishes.

The kids always want dessert and the only thing in the chocolate category was triple chocolate cake from a bakery next door.  Chloe, Stella and Whit got the last two pieces in the place.  Whit took yet another trip to the toilet and Chloe cut her piece in half to share with Whit while Stella said, and I quote, "It's not nice to share."  I asked Stella if she'd share with Whit again and she shook her head no and said no.  It cracked me up when Whit came out of the boys room and asked where his chocolate cake was and that Chloe's piece had been eaten off of.  He pouted and then we found him finishing off Stella's and his piece nearly licking the plate clean.  We all enjoyed the sight from our end of the table.

We were thrilled that Ashley and Jon David King and Sarah Jane and Cade Martin joined us later for a beer so we could rehash the race.  This was Ashley's first time at that distance and she did it in record time, that's so great!  Sarah Jane just had Margaret less than 5 months ago and flew in from Colorado the night before and made great time and finished our relay team off.  It was such a great experience for all of us and I'm so glad we got to socialize at Dugan's afterwards.

You'll love the menu at this downtown restaurant.  The boys also partook in Guiness' and another one, but I can't remember the name, something like Schmity's.  They also boast lots of home brews as well.  The place was clean and the service was excellent.  Be sure to make this stop when you're downtown.

Dugan's Pub, 401 E. 3rd, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-244-0542, http://www.duganspublr.com/

Flying Fish, Little Rock

Chloe and Whit at the Little Rockers Kids Marathon, Chloe was so sweet to stay back with little Whit!
Chloe, Whit and Anna Claire Burrow before the run
Flying Fish across from the River Market
Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ahh...the Flying Fish.  This no-frills restaurant is across from the River Market in downtown Little Rock.  We've ended up here after the Little Rock 1/2 Marathon in 2008, 2009 and 2010.  This year we hit it after Chloe's 2nd Little Rockers Kids Marathon with Whit, his first Little Rockers.  As a rule, I usually get the catfish, slaw and hush puppies but I went out on a limb and got the special, Gumbo and Grits.  What a unique dish, it was so flavorful and just the right size.  The dish it was served in was a bit too big for the square of plain grits underneath, but it was delicious after lots of shakes of Tabasco.  Whit's grandparents Bob and Polly Hardin of Russellville, joined us and shared a bucket of PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon beer) with us.  I haven't had a PBR since Sol's birthday party at Neall and Becca's last fall and I thoroughly enjoyed it today.  Chloe got the catfish and fries boat and after noticing that everything was fried in peanut oil, I steered Whit clear of the fried catfish and got him the grilled.  It put on $4 more than the kids boat and I didn't even think about the fact that the fries he got with it were also cooked in that same peanut oil.  Needless to say, Whit's eaten here at those previous marathons and hadn't had a reaction.  So today's french fries, and would have been fried catfish, were fine.  Crack me up, cautious Aunt Keeli.

Jackie ordered the gumbo and loved it and with Whit's high dollar grilled catfish, I had hushpuppies as his side.  Now they were, I'd say, the best hush puppies I've had.  They were homemade, crispy, not too spicy and the perfectly cooked.  No dessert for us, we were headed down the street to get our relay and half marathon packets.

I love the Flying Fish.  If you want great seafood and casual atmosphere downtown, you've got it made here. You'll love the website, and in doing research, I found out that this is another chain, and a good one.  Born in East Texas for the "love of fish joints".  I love it.

The Flying Fish, 511 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202, 501-375-3474 http://www.flyingfishinthe.net/

Seasons 52, Ft. Lauderdale

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Seasons 52...a great restaurant we stumbled upon

Wendy's veggie sandwich with eggplant, asparagus, and a side salad (all items are under 475 calories on the menu, that's amazing and innovative....I wonder if any restaurants in Cross County could actually do this...?) And it was a great sandwich, I had the chile rellano and it was great, served with polenta cakes, delish. 
My picture of it turned out bad....

On our way to the bus stop to go to the outlet, we passed this
city park on the A1A and actually saw a baby alligator...
look under the bridge, you'll see a little, green head...we
loved seeing that little fella...

Wednesday, February, 23, 2011

Wendy and I loved throwing on some clothes, walking to get her prescription for her cough/throat and then venturing across the street to the mall where we enjoyed the President's Day Sale at Dillard's, in the Galleria Mall, and coming across this restaurant.  We were seated out on the patio and I was excited about finding out that everything on the menu was under 475 calories.  WOW!  That was so innovative and to think we only need 3 portions of that size to stay slimmed down all year round.  During research for this write up, I found out that this is a chain owned by Red Lobster.   I find that very interesting because I didn't get that "feel" when we were there.

Jerry D. was our waiter and we loved him.  He was super nice when I ordered an unsweet tea and the Gascon Malbec together, he loved that order.  He knew for lunch I wanted tea and wine and wasn't freaked out by my choices.  I loved my chile relleno entree with polenta cakes.  Wendy's veggie sandwich was equally good. 

Jerry offered dessert for us in little cups (under the 475 limit) but we declined as we were headed to the pool to get some sun and a nap in.  Our quick and easy lunch was $44.57 including tip.  I just loved this find even though it is a chain.  I may come around on my chain hating...this one is definitely worth visiting.

Seasons 52 Fresh Grill, Restaurant 4502, 2428 East Sunrise Blvd., #1004, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33304 http://www.seasons52.com/