Friday, November 30, 2007

Shrimp 'n Grits Y'all!

James 1:17 tells us that "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights." I must say, Shrimp & Grits is a good and perfect gift from above! Praise Him! Tonight, for the first time, I made Shrimp & Grits. They were absolutely divine. I was telling Jackson, I love that Shrimp & Grits combine the "comfort food" feel of meat and potatoes with the elegant presentation of a more refined dish. It is perfect for entertaining and I plan on making it again soon. I must share this recipe, it is just that good (and it really is not hard at all...a beginner could make this).

Here's the recipe:


2 servings cooked grits
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced tasso ham*
2 tablespoons diced leeks
2 tablespoons diced onion
2 tablespoons diced green peppers
20 medium to large shrimp, peeled and de-veined, with tails on
1 to 2 tablespoons white wine
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Green onion tops, chopped
*Cook's Note: Tasso is a Cajun ham and is often hard to find outside of Louisiana, but you can find it at some specialty gourmet shops or by mail order. If not, you can substitute salt pork, pancetta, or prosciutto, but you will have to beef up your seasonings, as tasso is very flavorful.

Cook grits according to package directions; set aside and keep warm.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tasso and saute until crisp. Add diced vegetables and saute until onions are translucent. Add shrimp and saute for 30 to 45 seconds, or until pink. Remove from the pan and set aside. Deglaze the pan with a little white wine. Slowly add the cream and let reduce until thickened. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Divide grits among 2 serving plates. Line plate edges with shrimp (10 shrimp per serving). Pour sauce over grits. Garnish with green onion tops.

Of course, this came from the kitchen of:

Which means it included this...

and at least one stick of this....

So, if you don't mind one night of caloric indulgence, this recipe is worth it! Here is the finished product:

And one happy hubby!

Happy Friday Night Y'all!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Day with the Doodle

Since Jackson and I don't have our own child, sometimes we like to steal Mark and Jaime's daughter, Grace and tote her around grounds pretending she's our own. Creepy? Maybe so, nevertheless we had so much fun yesterday watching Grace for a couple hours. Let's just say...she's a little Wahoo now :) Enjoy our faux parenting pics! I hope our child is this cute!!!

Sweet Little Doodle

Stirring her nature "stew", don't worry Jaime, I made sure it was 100% organic

Please notice Jackson's face

She hasn't quite mastered "smiling" for the camera

Monday, November 26, 2007

Things I'm Thankful For

1. My Savior, Jesus Christ, who by his sacrifice on the cross, provided me the opportunity to have fellowship with the Father.
2. A husband who loves the Lord and who loves me. I absolutely adore him.
3. My family that is safe and healthy that also knows the love of Christ.
4. A church family that has truly become our real family here in Charlottesville. They have shown me what biblical community looks like.

Those are the top four. As promised, here are some pics from our first Thanksgiving as a married couple. We were at Jackson's parents house on Smith Mountain Lake. It was a great time. Almost the whole family was there.

Jackson showing me how to shoot the 22

Not that I need any help!


Jordon, showing us all how to do the "Soulja Boy" dance

Jackson & Braydon

Right before Thanksgiving Dinner

The Whole Gang: Britt, Aaron, Betty Ashton, Jiewon, Braydon, Jackson, Me, Jordon

Beau, Betty Ashton and Aaron's dog

Moses ("Samson right?")

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Crusty Artisan Bread, Anyone?

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a King Arthur Flour National Baking Seminar on "Crusty Artisan Breads". It was absolutely delightful. I went with my friend, Jaime and her mother, Ann. We had so much fun. If you haven't tried King Arthur Flour yet, you should. It is very high quality, un-beached, organic flour. Here's your visual.

The friendly folks at King Arthur were nice enough to give out raffle prizes at the end of the seminar. Jaime walked away with a lovely, "white wheat flour". Ann got some whole wheat flour, and I left with this:

And this is the bread that I will never be able to bake, despite attending the seminar :)


Here are some pictures of the sweet little girls I babysit.

This is Lucy, age 4

This is Elle, age 2

Me & Elle

The Sisters

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wow...8 people voted!

Things are looking up for this blog, despite my lack of posting. Eight people actually voted on my last poll! The winning Thanksgiving treat was a tie between pumpkin pie and stuffing! Yummy! I am so ready for Thanksgiving. We are going to Jackson's parents house for Thanksgiving and I cannot wait for the feast that will be enjoyed! It's going to be great. There will definitely be pics from that weekend, so take heart, pics are coming!

My ENTJ Ways

I am frustrated at the moment and want to blog about it! I swore I would never be "that" person who uses their blog to talk about their feelings. But, here I am. Jackson and I just got out of a class where we were supposed to give a presentation today in front of the whole class. The presentation wasn't that big of deal, but we had still put a lot of time and effort into making it good (it was on remote perception by the way, that is the scientific name for ESP and psychic abilities). Bottom line, I was proud of it and actually excited to do our presentation for the class. Well, there were three other groups presenting before us, and each group was supposed to have fifteen minutes for their presentation. Of course, the first group goes literally thirty minutes and no one stops them! I was getting annoyed because I knew that every minute they went over was one minute taken away from our time. Then the second group goes, they were better, they only took about twenty minutes. Then the third group goes, and by the time it's our turn it is 1:38. Our class ends at 1:45!!! I'm not going to lie...I was kind of annoyed.

So, here is where I need your opinion to decide whether the following scenario is "rude". The professor stands up after the third group and looks at us and was like "Do you guys want to try to squeeze it in?" in front of the whole class. SO, being the assertive person that I am I say (very matter-of-factly) "Well, we prepared a fifteen minute presentation according to the guidlines given, so no, it is not going to work." I thought this to be a perfectly appropriate, factual statement. But sweet, diplomatic Jackson was blown away and was like "Woah Mal...simmer down".

It's funny how the Myers-Briggs tests are so right on with our personalities. I personally am obsessed with such tests and I recently re-took the myers-briggs after several years and I discovered that my personality is an ENTJ. Here's some of the description:

-"Outgoing, logical and decisive, the ENTJ leads by providing conceptual structure and setting goals, rather than by detailing and enforcing procedures, codes and regulations."

-"There is not much room for error in the world of the ENTJ. They dislike to see mistakes repeated, and have no patience with inefficiency. They may become quite harsh when their patience is tried in these respects, because they are not naturally tuned in to people's feelings, and more than likely don't believe that they should tailor their judgments in consideration for people's feelings. ENTJs, like many types, have difficulty seeing things from outside their own perspective. Unlike other types, ENTJs naturally have little patience with people who do not see things the same way as the ENTJ. The ENTJ needs to consciously work on recognizing the value of other people's opinions, as well as the value of being sensitive towards people's feelings. In the absence of this awareness, the ENTJ will be a forceful, intimidating and overbearing individual."

-ENTJs love to interact with people. As Extroverts, they're energized and stimulated primarily externally. There's nothing more enjoyable and satisfying to the ENTJ than having a lively, challenging conversation. They especially respect people who are able to stand up to the ENTJ, and argue persuasively for their point of view.

-ENTJs want their home to be beautiful, well-furnished, and efficiently run. They're likely to place much emphasis on their children being well-educated and structured, to desire a congenial and devoted relationship with their spouse.

Well, I think that was some of the good, the bad, and the ugly about the ENTJ. Go to this site if you want to find out which type you are:

Take the test and tell me what you are, I think its fascinating.

If you read all the way here and put up with my rantings, I'm impressed!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Lo Siento

Sorry I have not updated my blog lately. Life has been crazy! Jackson and I have had a lot of school work recently. Also, my camera was not charged for a while and no blog post is complete without pictures. I promise to do better this week, I will start taking more pictures.

Jackson and I are currently on the couch unwinding from a busy but fun weekend. On Friday we drove to Virginia Beach for the night to see our family and pick up our new car. On Saturday we drove back to Cville and hung out with Jackson's brother who was in town for the night. Then Sunday at church we were wrapping up the "I Am Portico" series on stewardship. After church, Mark and Gracie came over to hang out with us at the cottage and Grace and I made snickerdoodle cookies! This was the highlight of my day...making snickerdoodles with a 2.5 year old. Hilarious. Grace makes me want to have kids, she's the most precious child I know. I'm kicking myself that I didn't take pictures. I of course had her dressed in one of my aprons with oven mitts and a rubber spatula. It was a total Hallmark card. After that, the Atwell's had all the staff families over for chili and the Colt's game. It was a great Sunday. it off with a little desperate housewives..perfection :)