Friday, March 30, 2007

Give Thanks Everyday!

Early this morning, I was running out the door but luckily caught the first few moments of the Today Show... which included a clip of this amazing story about a sailor's happy homecoming.

It was both beautiful and and a great reminder that most of us take our freedom and life-styles for granted and rarely remember that everyday, everywhere... there is a family waiting for their sailor (soldier, marine, etc.) to come home.

God Bless America!

(by the way, the Cherry Blossoms are blooming here in DC - come visit)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

We Charlie-sat for the day yesterday and had a blast with my favorite nephew...

A question for his parents... WHO taught this boy manners?Though in the end, I think this says it all... And to think, the terrible-twos have yet to even begin!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bundles of Joy!!

The gift of life is truly a miracle (quite a big statement for early on a Friday morning)!

In the past two weeks, two of my dear friends have been blessed to deliver two healthy baby boys and I could not be happier for both of them.

Monday, March 12th at 8:33am, Knoxville, TN - Laura (and Frank) brought little Samuel Frank Leonard into this world. He weighed 6 lbs - 8.5 oz. and was 19 and 3/4 inches long.Thursday, March 22nd at 7:15pm, Atlanta, GA - Anne Marie (and Brad) delivered Ryan Thomas Stanley weighing in at 8 lbs and measuring 21 and 1/4 inches.

Please keep these new parents and babies in your prayers!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Try It at Home!

At the first sign of warm weather and the chance to get outside and enjoy it... what do I do? I pull out my trusty ice cream maker and browse some past issues of Bon Appetit in search of a new chocolate ice cream recipe. This one caught my eye...

3 egg yolks
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Whisk yolks in bowl. Bring cream, milk, sugar, and salt to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Whisk cream mixture into yolks; return to pan. Stir over medium heat until custard thickens enough to coat spoon, about 2 minutes (do not boil). Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk to melt. Mix in coconut milk. Cool 1 hour.

Process custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions and freeze overnight.
It just so happened that this creamy, smooth ice cream and homemade fudge sauce was perfect on top of a brownie after a tasty meal this spring Sunday.

And while somethings are truly easier (and just as tasty) store-bought, I just may have found a pizza dough recipe that's worth the (very little) time to make it at home!

3/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F - make sure to test the temp)
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 TBSP olive oil

Pour 3/4 cup warm water into small bowl; stir in yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Brush large bowl lightly with olive oil. Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add yeast mixture and 3 TBSP oil; process until dough forms a sticky ball. Transfer to lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is very sticky. Transfer to prepared bowl; turn dough in bowl to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm draft-free area (a cold oven works great!) until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Punch down dough.

Roll out dough starting in center of dough, working outward toward edges but not rolling over them.

One recipe of dough is enough to roll out two pizzas... I quickly made two batches of dough and used the last 1/2 for breadsticks. Some ideas for toppings...

  • tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil
  • tomato sauce, dollops of ricotta, shredded Italian blend, sausage, thinly sliced onions, and pepperoni
  • tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and shredded Italian blend, thinly sliced tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers

We loved these but you really can't go wrong topping this delicious dough! Enjoy!!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sugar 'N Spice

Since we'd been hard at work all afternoon yesterday, I decided that we deserved a special dessert after dinner...

I tried a new brownie recipe (I'm looking for a fudgy brownie recipe - send me your favorite!) which turned out pretty good - but it's real purpose was a vehicle for the topping... Chipotle-Cherry Whipped Cream. Surprisingly enough, I use chipotle adobo sauce quite frequently so when I saw this recipe in my Bon Appetit, I was intrigued!
It turned out to be delicious... a light, fruity topping to a rich, chocolatey brownie... and with a punch of color! Plus, it was so easy!

1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped cherry preserves
1/4 teaspoon canned chipotle adobo sauce
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

In a stainless mixing bowl, the ingredients whipped up into stiff peaks in no time at all!

I halved this recipe and it was MORE than enough, though if you're serving a crowd, go ahead and make it all!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Deacs' Spring Training

Friday night, at the Bottom Line, marked the formal start of the 2007 DC Deacon alumni softball season. Yes... the official party was held at the new league bar, but Wake stayed true to its roots (turns out the rest of the league had the same idea and met us there a little while later).Let the games begin!

Monday, March 05, 2007


I can say with some authority that I have never had so much to celebrate as we did this past weekend...

It all started with a surprise dinner for Kristy's 30th birthday. We all gathered at the restaurant around 6:30pm and waited for Kristy, Linwood and little Kate to arrive. I'm not sure how surprised she was... but she did manage to turn the surprise around when she and Linwood announced that they are pregnant!!! A sibling for Kate will arrive this fall! Congrats, Hudsons!!

After filling our bellies with yummy Mexican appetizers and a marg or two, Chris and I headed to Baltimore and met some friends at the Thirsty Dog Pub (you can bring your dog to this bar!!), and then headed to The 8x10 to see Ben's band, Written Prisms. The band is breaking up, sadly, so we didn't want to miss this one last celebration. The show was great but the trip made for a very late night.

Saturday evening found us celebrating Brandon's birthday with some more friends. I think there's some rule about not divulging ages past 30, so you'll just have to take my word for it. About 10 of us enjoyed dinner together and then a ton of others joined us for drinks; thanks to the kind couples who moved tables so that we could make room for our growing (and loud!) group. Some of Chris' college friends were in town - so we left dinner and headed to Hamilton's on Capitol Hill. Ian and Franny were there celebrating with some of their friends and since by this point, our trend for the weekend was established, we couldn't pass it up.

Finally... Sunday was Jacob's 30th! I haven't had family anywhere close in recent years - so I jumped at the chance to celebrate a family birthday (and to see my nephew). I had gotten Jacob a few small presents, but I think the last minute additions were probably his favorite... a box of Samoas, a 6-pack of Mike's Hard Lemonade, and a freshly made Toll House pie. Robyn added his favorite snacks throughout the afternoon and finished with Jacob's requested shaved-turkey and cheese subs (think steak-and-cheese but with healthy turkey!). It was just right for the birthday boy...And, in honor of his dad's birthday... Charlie hammed it up for the camera!!

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