Skip to content

Posts from the ‘holidays’ Category

Thankful for Thanksgiving

So, Thanksgiving was a week and a half ago you say? Balderdash. I’ve never been one for the timely recap, so why start now?

I am still basking in the glow of my first Thanksgiving as hostess. Last year, I hosted our family X-mas dinner, and this year, Thanksgiving. Here is how it all went down…

Tuesday: I worked for 2/3 of the day, and then went to pick up my fresh local turkey (thanks Carl!). The weather was insane… 76*, and picking up my turkey for Thanksgiving? what the what?

crazy turkey weatherbeautiful treeme and turkey

This guy weighed 14.48 lbs., and cost an arm and a leg. Seriously, I never thought I would hand over that much cash for poultry. However, I’d do it again in a heartbeat (or rather, next year, come Thanksgiving). When the only meat I eat is local/humane, I knew it was time to step up and buy a local turkey – or pass on it, altogether.  I can’t recommend it enough. I say, know where your meat comes from. Or don’t eat it.

Wednesday:  I was fortunate to have the day off, and spent my time cleaning and doing a bit of cooking for Thursday. I made Ree’s make-ahead mashed potatoes, which I was thrilled to get out of the way. I also made veggie dip and hummus, and cranberry orange salad dressing.

mashed taters

Thursday:  The big day! I baked my apple pie bright and early, and then dealt with the turkey. It seems I didn’t get many pictures throughout the day, as I was busy being the cook/hostess. Oh, well. Maybe next year? Here is what I managed to capture (or holler at Tristan to take a pic of… flash pictures, I’m looking at YOU. *ahem*).

apple pie2apple pieappetizers tdaygoat cheese ball tdaytday saladturkey on platterwhole wheat rolls2

The majority of my meal, was local. Aside from the crackers, it was all homemade (and if I’d had more time, I would have made the crackers, too!). Most of my ingredients were purchased at my local Farmers Market… the veggies for the crudité plate, the cranberry pistachio goat cheese ball (Bosky Acres), the turkey, the potatoes (in both the sweet and mashed forms) the apples in the pie and salad, the herbs, etc. You get the picture.

Local.

Lovely.

After the big day, the rest of the weekend involved two days of well-deserved holiday relaxation, and one day of working on the new house…

Friday: Couch – meet Angie. Lovely. No Black Friday shopping for me. Crowds of grouchy, sleep-deprived, insane cheapskates don’t appeal.

Many episodes of Supernatural were viewed, with Tristan and Lilly by my side. (The show may be a little cheesy – but damn, those Winchester brothers are easy on the eyes, no? It’s one of my current guilty pleasures).

Supernatural

Saturday:  Another lovely lazy day. I had planned on getting several things accomplished, but staying in my PJs was just too damn tempting. (I NEVER get to have a lazy weekend – ever – so I decided to make it count).  I think we watched some more Supernatural, and I know I took a nap. It was all very exciting. (You might think I’m kidding, but sadly, no).

That night we had tickets to see Daniel Tosh at Ovens Auditorium here in Charlotte.  The opening act was Tommy Johnagin , who was absolutely hilarious. I might have enjoyed his set a smidge better than Tosh, even? I like Tosh well enough, but as I told Tristan… I only find approximately 85% of what he says, funny. If you aren’t familiar with him, his humor is VERY politically incorrect, and more than a little masochistic and homophobic. Wait, that doesn’t make him sound very funny, does it? He is, I promise. Much more of a “guy’s comic”… but still amusing, definitely.

tosh tixtosh

Sunday:  I spent most of the day Sunday on my feet, cruising around Lowes, picking out a new refrigerator, and dishwasher (thank YOU holiday sales), and finalizing paint colors for the new house*. I then put in a few hours at the new house*… generally up on a ladder, or down on my knees; prepping the walls to be painted. Muscles I didn’t know I even had, hurt this past week. Yeeouch.

* Yes, new house. Have I mentioned that yet? We’re moving in January. I think.

~

Holiday Weekend Happenings

What a weekend it was! I had 3. 5 days off from work, and tried to make the best use of my free time and long weekend!

I cooked good food.

I cleaned and organized my house.

I played with my puppy.

I tended to my garden (bugs and all!)

I spent some quality time with my other half.

Some highlights…

Lilly Julyred white blue breadfarmers market basket fulltamale pie sliceenchilaswatermelon

mutant cukesromasichibansungoldscrazy wubba doglavenderpatio playrainbowdead bugstomatoes1DSC_0305Lilly's new gate

Come Saturday afternoon, I made a full dinner for a family that I had never met. I signed up to help out the Breen family with a meal for a couple of months, while Tonya is fighting cancer. I live locally, and it just seemed like the right thing to do. (Thanks again to Caitlin for sharing Tonya’s story!)

I had intended to snap a photo of the food I made for them, with handwritten ingredient tags, etc – but when it came down to it, I was more concerned with packing up and getting the food to them – rather than snapping pics. (Poor blogger = good person? Hee, hee). I took them a pan of Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas, salad with veggies fresh from my garden, my homemade Cilantro-Lime salad dressing, some fresh salsa from the Farmers’ Market and a batch of Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. I figured even if Tonya and Kevin didn’t want to indulge in the cookies (they are trying to eat a semi-vegan diet), that their little boys might appreciate the sweet (healthy!) treat. Little did I know, that when we dropped the food off at their house, we would find a house FULL of people! It was a bit chaotic, but we did chat with Tonya for a few minutes, and we met her Grandmother, and the two boys. I received a nice message later that night from Kevin and Tonya, and apparently all EIGHT of them (6 adults and 2 kids) enjoyed our dinner. I was thrilled that they were able to feed their unexpected dinner company with our meal, as I had been a little concerned when we left! But I had made a large amount of food, figuring in that situation, leftovers would probably have been appreciated, as well. Thankfully it all worked out. Now I just have to figure out what to make them for dinner in August…

Monday night, the rain and storms drove us inside to cook out dinner (we had planned to grill the burgers and corn). We cooked our local grass-fed beef burgers in a skillet, and they were still tasty. Come dessert time, we braved what were merely sprinkles at that time, to make S’mores! These were Tristan’s first s’mores ever – can’t you believe the man got to be 33 years old without ever having a s’more? Shocking! We set our marshmallows ablaze and got to work assembling them.

smores

They were even better than I remembered! A rare treat!

Having graham crackers reminds me of how much I love them – but I don’t like the ingredients in store-bought crackers. I must try to make my own! And soon!

We saw a few fireworks from the comfort of our living room… and let me just say – Lilly is NOT a fan. What she IS a fan of, however… is watermelon! Can you tell?!?!

Homey Cinco de Mayo

Last night Tristan and I celebrated Cinco de Mayo in style! Well… if not in style, (I was in my comfy pants, after all) in deliciousness at least.

I made tacos on corn tortillas, with local pastured ground chicken, and my homemade ‘taco seasoning’. I topped mine with sharp white cheddar, local romaine, chopped tomatoes, local spring onions, diced avocado and a few dollops of Greek yogurt. I think these were hands down the BEST tacos I have ever made. And I’ve made a lot. The ground chicken was unexpectedly moist and tender, I really enjoyed it. Thanks, Baucom’s Best!

chicken tacos etc

I also threw together my super easy Mexican rice, some simple black beans (un-pictured), and roasted some broccoli from the Farmer’s Market.

And of course, my personal Cinco de Mayo celebrations would not be complete without a margarita. (Full disclosure – I actually had one and a half margaritas. I had planned to have two, but I belatedly discovered that I was perilously low on Patron. Hmm… it’s in a clear bottle, I clearly should have paid more attention!). Good thing Tristan doesn’t drink margaritas. It was all for me!

angie's margarita

I don’t do the sickly sweet neon green margarita mix anymore… making your own margarita is so simple and beats that processed glow-in-the-dark junk…

Angie’s Favorite Margarita:

1 oz Patron (or tequila of choice)

1/2 oz Triple Sec

2 oz lime juice (I squeezed fresh last night, but you can also use the “Real Lime” juice in a bottle. It’s fine, I swear).

1-2 tsp finely ground cane sugar (or none at all if you want it sour)

margarita fixings

Pour all ingredients above into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake for a minute. This helps to disolve the sugar, and makes it a little bit frothy (which I love).

Pour over (new) ice into your glass of choice, rimmed with salt if that’s your thing (it’s mine!).

Top off with a splash of plain seltzer (I never measure this, but it’s not much). Swirl, and serve with a wedge of lime on the rim!

~

My week in pictures

Easter egg hunts…

egg hunt

… and baking Emily’s Jelly Surprise Muffins

baking with j

The Farmers Market…

frms mkt bounty

… and local STRAWBERRIES!

strawbs

Reading Tina Fey’s new book, Bossypants

bossypants book

Easter Brunch…

easter1 easter2

kale salad bloody mary easter4

Playground weather…

playground2

playground1

A handsome man to pump my gas…  (NOT loving the cost though – eeeks!)

eeeks gas

Two days off work, with a day of shopping and lunch out thrown in…

131 main 131 main1

PLANTS!!!

plants1 plants2

seedlings

Getting dirt delivered for my gardens…

truck of dirt gardens

greenhouse

And… this guy…

t and a easter smooch

~

Resolution-type things…

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions per se, but I am a compulsive list-maker and there are ALWAYS things on my “To Do” list. I seem to have a myriad of things swirling around in my brain, at all times. If I don’t commit things to paper  – BIG and small – fugetaboutit! Here are a few things that I have commited to paper, in regard to the New Year.

  • At the start of the New Year, we always decide where we are going to travel (internationally) that year. (I have to use my passport at least once a year or I start to get twitchy!). This year however, we have made a commitment to each other to save more money this year – for big, exciting things that we have planned on the horizon. We are still going to travel, oh yes indeed, but for the first three-quarters of this New Year, we are planning on doing things on a slightly smaller scale. I’m still going to see if we can get out of the country come fall, but nothing is decided yet. However, a visit back to Asheville (where we met and fell in love) is definitely first up in our book this year. With Beech Mountain, NC;  Washington D.C.; and New Orleans topping the list for our more localized travel this year.  In the past couple of years we’ve been all over… New York City (twice), Charleston, Western NY state, San Francisco, Georgia, Illinois, Jamaica and Ireland! 
  •  We are also making the commitment to have a “date night” twice a month. (I think anyone that has been in a long-term relationship/marriage understands this one!). T and I do spend a lot of quality time together, but sometimes we get busy and tired and forget how nice it is to dress up and get out of the house! We’ve made a list of new (or new to us) restaurants in the area that we want to try, and we have 10 on the list thus far. That should take us to May! 
  • I am committed to continuing with my real food/mostly vegetarian way of life.  I still like meat in my meals occasionally, and I don’t think I will ever go back to being 100% vegetarian again; and Tristan, well he was a meat ‘n potatoes guy when we met. He has been SO adventurous in the past year or so, trying new things, and eating a lot of vegetarian meals; but I still try to make meat about once a week for him. He obviously is able to eat meat for lunch during the week, and any time we go out to eat, etc. However, he has come so far in accepting this other way of life. I’m so proud of him! I think I eat meat about 4x/month now, and that works for me. 
  • I am committed to doing my backyard garden bigger and better this year, with the addition of TWO new raised garden beds. It was so much fun (and hard work!) in 2010, that I can’t wait until it’s time to plant my spring crops! 
  • Something that I am still striving for is learning to take more time for myself. I lead such a busy (read: tiring!) life, that I sometimes miss out the small things. Being able to listen to music more often, take a relaxing bath, take a cooking class, etc. are all things I would like to make time for.  I‘m a giver, and what spare time I do have, I tend to “give” away.  I am going to try to give some of that time to myself. 
  • I am working on being more positive on a day-to-day basis. It is really easy these days to slip into a funk and be cranky all day because some jackass cut me off on my way to work, or something.  I’ve always been a bit of a sarcastic pessimist (in a charming way, of course!), but these days it seems I’m often bitching and moaning about something, even if only to myself. I’m a passionate person, (Scorpio all the way!), and have always been feisty… I used to not care what others think of me – but lately, that has changed.  I want to be that feisty, spunky woman again. I seem to have retreated into my shell, but I’m coming back out in 2011!

 

~

Boxing Day Blizzard!

Okay, not *really* a blizzard. But we woke up a beautiful snowy wonderland on December 26th. It was a LOT of snow for us in Charlotte, especially at the end of the year (our snow, if ever, usually comes in Jan-March). By my best estimations, we had about 3.5 inches.

I love snow.

I miss snow.

I grew up in central Illinois, and winter just isn’t winter, without some snow.  The Charlotte area doesn’t always agree with me (case in point, it was 67* yesterday!). I, however, like my seasons to be seasons.

Needless to say, I was thrilled when I woke up early on Boxing Day to discover our backyard covered in fluffy white clouds of snow! I headed out asap with my camera, and instructed Tristan to keep Lilly inside until I had some good shots. I knew once she was set loose in the backyard, things would never be the same.

I snapped photos of the trees, the fence, my garden… the snow was very wet, and fell at an angle so there were all sorts of lovely little drifts here and there. I loved the way it stuck to every crevice of our fence…

 

We let Lilly loose and played for what seemed like hours! She was hilarious to watch, running around, pawing at the snow drifts. She found her ball buried under the snowfall at some point. This was not her first snow… she experienced it for the first time back in March when she was just a wee pup. I wonder if she remembered it? By the way, I think she ate her body weight in snow this time!

Don’t be a stranger, snow. Come again soon!

~

2011? How can it be??

I hope everyone had a safe and happy new year!

I have a lot of posts waiting in the wings…

– New Years and resolutions, of course!

– info on making your own vanilla extract

– photos of the Boxing Day snowfall we enjoyed

– many new kitchen creations

– Fitness plans for 2011, etc…

But, I’m taking this weekend “off” from pretty much everything, including the computer. I just need to some decompression time, and time to enjoy myself on my last two days of holiday vacation. Tristan and I had a great New Year, and hope you did too! See you next week!

~

‘Twas the week after Christmas…

… and I have been slack in my posts…

Our Christmas was completely lovely, spent with family and friends.

Here’s a recap…

Christmas Eve Tristan and I have our tradition of spending time with just each other, and each opening a gift. In addition to the gift I opened, I received a large cardboard box, with “Things that are NOT presents” written on it in Sharpie. (Clearly, they WERE presents, and T was just trying to get around the rule!).

Christmas a.m. dawned cold and bright – without the predicted snow. We opened our stockings and a few presents each, but then had to get ready to head down to his parents house for their family gathering.

Our tree, on Christmas morning

 They live about 45 minutes away, and we were expected around 10:15 am, so this hadn’t left us with much time for OUR Christmas morning. We drove separately (more on that later) and headed out. I called my parents to wish them a Merry Christmas, and before you know it, we were there. His parents have a pup named Abby, and just about the only photos I have from there are of her…? (They aren’t big photo people, unlike moi, so I try to respect that and don’t always whip out the camera).

And, of course, the famous Hendrix boys wrapping paper… this one courtesy of Gareth.

Brunch was eaten, presents were opened, and I had been busy trying to distract Abby from munching on some of V’s new legos.

Before I knew it, it was 1pm, and I needed to head back home to start cooking Christmas Dinner. Tristan headed out with his parents, brother and nephew to visit his Nana at her retirement center. (This is why we drove separately). I needed to get home, change clothes, let the dog out, apron up and get to cooking. I started on my mashed potatoes (which I then flung into the slow-cooker to stay warm and delicious – best. trick. ever.).  After that I cleaned and halved my Brussels sprouts, hardboiled some eggs (for my warm spinach salad), and started setting out the appetizers. Wine-marinated olives, sesame honey almonds, candied pecans, and baked brie with crackers and gingersnaps (so amazing with the brie!).

Tristan returned home around 3:15pm, and I put him to work doing some last minute dusting and vacuuming, etc. My parents arrived around 4:30, with Bella in tow (the pups are always a part of our celebrations!), and Lilly was trembling with excitement at all the hubbub.

My Mom brought her famous, no-holiday-is-complete-without, Sweet Potato Casserole. It is topped with oodles of butter, brown sugar and pecans – and is an old-school  family favorite. She also brought 2 pies… apple (yum!) and pumpkin. In addition to my mashed potatoes, and roasted Brussels, I had also gotten a Honey Baked Ham (not local, nor ethically sourced – but I couldn’t find any local meat for the holiday besides beef, which I didn’t want), and made a wilted spinach salad with mushrooms, red onion, egg and a bit of bacon. Dee-licous. Lots of wine was consumed… we started with Prosecco with our apps, and moved into Pinot Grigio for dinner.

While we were opening presents (so many presents!), we noticed that it was starting to snow. 

 It seems we were going to have our ‘White Christmas’ after all.

I got a lot of new things for the kitchen (14-cup Cuisinart food processor, and the SodaStream seltzer maker being my faves), and can’t wait to get started on all of my new creations.

Christmas fun…

I am back at work for Tuesday and Wednesday this week, but then have another 4-day weekend for the holiday starting tomorrow. Hooray!

O Tannenbaum

I am happy to report that it is still standing! Lilly isn’t all that interested in it… only a little. She’s been great, actually.

Here are some photos of the decorating that has occurred in the B/H household over the past couple of weeks…

Before you can decorate the tree… you have to buy it!

We bought a beautiful local NC Fraser Fir.

Tristan ponders...

Which one to choose?

It's perfect!

DSC_0354_edited-1

 Tristan helping to trim the tree…

DSC_0350_edited-1

 
Ornaments from my past… both distant, and not quite so distant…
 
DSC_0358_edited-1

Biltmore Company ornament, 2006

DSC_0360_edited-1

Made for me by my cousin Jason, in 1980

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC_0418_edited-1

Many, many ornaments painted by my Mom…

DSC_0427_edited-1

Ornaments that represent places I have been… and places that we have discovered together…

DSC_0367_edited-1

DSC_0368_edited-1

DSC_0409_edited-1

New ornaments for this year…

DSC_0431_edited-1

DSC_0443_edited-1

 

I'm covered in lights!

It's all about teamwork!

‘Tis the Season…

… for picking out our Christmas tree! We are planning on getting a tree tomorrow, and decorating it (and the house) on Sunday. I love finding one that is just right! I adore getting a real tree, and that is definitely a benefit of living in NC – gorgeous local trees. Is there anything better than a Fraser Fir? Not for me.

I have a new concern this year, however…

How is this…

"Mom, I promise I'll be good".

 

Going to deal with this…?

Our 2009 Christmas tree, pre-Lilly.

 

This will be Lilly’s first Christmas, and I honestly don’t know. I just hope she isn’t obsessed with it, and that she doesn’t try to knock it down! I’ve already decided that none of the super-important ornaments will be on the bottom half of the tree this year, just in case. Who knows, maybe it won’t phase her at all? (*fingers crossed*). However, I’m certain the presents under the tree will be a constant temptation for her. I hear a lot of “no” and “gentle” in my future.

~