Monday, May 31, 2010


If you will, please indulge me for a little while longer... pictures of my most adorable nieces and nephew, begging for recipes... and now this. Just one solitary picture... from this past weekend.

This group of extraordinary girls (and just trust me that the other ten of them are somethin' kinda special) just sadly parted ways after an annual gathering... this time in my (former) hometown, Atlanta. Nostalgic for a 9-year-later group picture repeat, we corralled all of us into one little spot near the pool where the rest of our weekend had been spent, and happily, I might add.

Dare I say time has been quite kind to my dear friends? Marriages, babies, and more babies, and an undeniable dose of reality, have made these girls even more amazing and beautiful than I could have imagined. And so it happens... the friendships that I've been so (undeservingly fortunate) to have throughout my life have (unbelievably, but officially) rendered this girl speechless.

Speechless... but soon to return with a tasty recipe that you'll want on your table all summer (one you might very well have put to good use today... there I go again with my impeccable timing).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Why I Smile

I may not have this life thing down just yet (or plans to really get it anytime soon) but one thing is for certain... these two and a half (for now, Sarah Taylor only gets half-billing) little creatures that I keep close by (though not close enough) are a sure antidote to anything that's got me down.

Lucky for you... as I'm of course happy to share them (read: force numerous pictures of them on you), we've got plenty to go around. And what I've got in store for you may or may not include one or more pictures of my adorable niece's perfectly chubby little legs stuffed in her just like my big brother's boots.

Even though ole' Michelin-legs McGee wasn't altogether thrilled with her usually hands-free (and able to toss her in the air at-will) Aunt Kiki, I'm quite confident that one day, she will thank me for these pictures... and the kind words said about them. Her sister, on the other hand, was more than happy to let me run around snapping pictures furiously - not that she was the wiser for it. But I've seen how fast these kids grow so I knew better than to let an opportunity with a quiet, still baby (or adorably pudgy legs, for that matter) pass me by.

In the world of Charlie, post-baby sister #2, he's stepped into the big-big brother role quite nicely. He's quick to tell momma when either of his sisters are crying or seem to need something (and especially if they are too little to be playing with any of his toys) and then head on his merry way to the closest John Deere-like piece of machinery or Playmobil set. And if a Sophie, or Nana or Grandad are close by, all the better.

If there's one person in all of this who does get it, well, that'd be our big-cheeked Sarah Taylor. Someone must have given her a heads-up that she was arriving as the third child in an already active (we'll call it) household. While Caroline chases after her big brother, leaving no stone unturned, the baby in residence ingeniously takes every chance she gets to catch some shut-eye - in the teeny tiny mind of a 4-week old, she's got it all figured out.

I imagine her time will come - and I can't wait to be there to (make a poor attempt to) capture yet another reason to make you smile.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Send Help

Recipe: Homemade Waffles

While I'm on a breakfast kick (or at least I was... until I met the Pioneer Woman and went into hiding for a week+), I figure that I might as well roll with it. Although I do fear that my guise under which I've been writing this ah-hem (food) blog is about to be blown wide open.

The facts of the case are this: the person who pens these riveting (sometimes) food-related posts feeds her "family" breakfast for dinner at least once a week. But, you can rest easy knowing that on the nights when we aren't eating some form of eggs, waffles or pancakes, I really crank it up and serve an extremely gourmet tuna salad sandwich... see, we're not all breakfast here.

I've actually just learned that the "breakfast for dinner" thing is a somewhat polarizing issue in the land of "what's for dinner." And honestly, I was shocked!

But I'm hoping that no matter which side of the aisle you find yourself on, you can at least agree with me that waffles, no matter what time of day you choose to consume them, are pretty tasty little things... especially if made well.

Here's where you come in... (do you like how I eased you in like that?) I need help. Bad. I made these here waffles a few weeks ago on a bright weekend morning and we enjoyed them immensely... so much so that I vowed to never stray from the recipe and make them again and again... and again.

The thing is, when I went to make them again (this time for dinner)... the recipe that I had once pledged my allegiance to was no where to be found. After spending far much time searching to no avail, my thoughts turned to you all! Might you lend me a hand?

This is what I remember about the can't-get-out-of-my-head waffle recipe we once relished:

  • I could've sworn the original recipe came from Fine Cooking;
  • I also thought that I ended up using a combination of two very similar recipes (from the same source) though I can't pinpoint exactly what the differences were (a bit more baking soda or powder??), and;
  • I am almost certain that I didn't whip the egg whites apart from the rest of the batter (which seems to be included in all of the delicious-looking recipes I can find now - my only problem with that being the whole quick and easy weeknight meal, in my opinion, goes out the window when I have to either whip the egg whites by hand for 10 minutes or break out the mixer)
Does that ring a bell... at all? Does anyone even make homemade waffles anymore?

Please, oh please, share your favorite waffle recipe. Even if you tell me the only way to achieve the texture and balance that these waffles once (upon a time) provided is to separate and whip the egg whites... then by golly, I'll do it.

In the end, I realize that I may never uncover the exact recipe that produced these waffles, with their delicately crispy outside and light and fluffy interior. But it'd be a heck of a lot easier to venture back out into the world with your recommended recipe in hand.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Well, you really knocked that one out of the park, Kara.

Score: Pioneer Woman Book Signing - 1, Kara - anything but.

Before I indict myself (twice), let me say that Ree (the Pioneer Woman) is, if it's possible, even more gorgeous in real life then her pictures let on (and yes, even with mis-matched earrings... that, for the record, we were none the smarter about, though I did have a little chuckle noticing them in my pictures). And her nervousness is nothing but endearing... after all, how do you talk to a crowd of people who know your daily ins and outs but you know... well, nothing about them?

Her sweet personality just oozed both up at the podium as well as more comfortably seated at the table signing books, so you'd think I might have been a little more at ease. Not a chance. It was the heels... that I wore for Ree and her love of all things heeled - it really was. *sure thing, Kara

If the heels were my first mistake (as if she was going to examine my feet, right?), it was only downhill from there. Truthfully, the book signing experience couldn't have gone smoother, for Ree and Borders, that is, but it was a different story for yours truly. When Andrea (my dear friend who I dragged along with me... and the sole reason why we were in and out in under 30 minutes) and I suddenly found ourselves 3rd and 4th in line to get our books signed, my head started spinning. I had approximately 30 seconds to think of something other than a sheepish "hi"... and it didn't happen. On top of that, I'm fairly certain I repeated that prolific word more than once.

I should have stopped while I was ahead. Luckily, the nice woman from Borders broke the silence by offering to take a picture of us. Yes, please, that'd be lovely. After two unsuccessful tries, though, I started to see my chances of any documentation that this actually occurred slipping away. Thankfully the famous blogger-turned-author sitting between Andrea and me took it upon herself to let our photographer know that the camera hadn't actually fired and would she please try again. A few seconds later, we had our picture, and I stepped forward to capture a shot of just Andrea and Ree.

As fate would have it, I took this as my cue... yup, my entree into a meaningful and memorable conversation with the Pioneer Woman would be about photography. (mistake #1) So after snapping a picture of the two of them, I decided to inform Ree, she of Photoshop and Nikon-picture-taking fame, that if my pictures didn't turn out well, it was because she hadn't taught her readers (i.e. me) how to use the flash (which apparently would have cured all of my picture-taking woes). Course she's taught us all about ISO, which would have been an equally good (if not better) solution to my problem, but not tonight... on my one chance to talk to Mrs. Pioneer Woman herself, the only thing I had to say was to blame her for my less-than-stellar indoor (and let's face it, outdoor, too) photography.

She accepted my comments as gracefully as you'd expect, while I, after realizing exactly what I'd just said, quickly slipped away.

But I wasn't done... and I apologize sincerely to both Ree and Borders for what then ensued. As Andrea and I headed for the exit, we realized that we still held our yellow "group one" tickets; we walked almost smack dab into a very cute, very pregnant girl with a pink "last group" ticket - and to be honest, we didn't miss a beat. Andrea whipped out her ticket and offered it to our new friend, gifting her the opportunity to get her book signed right then and there, rather than waiting the countless hours that surely stood before her. I too found a grateful woman walking into the store yet without a ticket and handed her mine, just the same. While it's almost completely out of character for me act out against rules, those yellow tickets were burning a hole in our hands and certainly were right at home with their new owners (who hopefully were at home shortly after we were).

Other than that, it's not like I burned the building down or anything, so let's call it a success... or something. I did make it to meet the Pioneer Woman in one piece, and stupid accusations aside, left intact as well... after all, if you set your standards low, it's almost impossible to miss.

Bonus #1: Some Pioneer Woman recipes I've already scarfed down:

**Bonus numero dos... if you've ever wondered why it took the Marlboro Man (Ree's husband, Ladd) so long to call her after they met the first time...

Monday, May 03, 2010

And Then There Were Three...

There's a new sheriff in town... and her name is Sarah Taylor.

One day, looking back on this (post that's over a week late), she might worry that as the youngest of three, she'd been forgotten. With her signature bigger-than-life cheeks and adorable baby noises (you know those), there's simply no way she was overlooked.

Sure, a little work trip might have delayed the meeting of our newest niece, but once I was home, it was only a matter of time before she was in my arms. That new-baby smell only lasts so long, you know.

Buuut, to her big brother and sister (who is quickly learning the word gently), she's just been an excuse to have grandparents visiting extra long and some new nifty toys... and even a special dessert. This little sister thing (or little-little, in Charlie's case) ain't so bad after all.

I mean... take a peek at Caroline and Charlie's intensity (if you can get past Caroline's impossibly cute curls)... those are looks that could only be provoked by dessert - they might as well have drool running down their cheeks, right?

We couldn't be more excited to watch Sarah Taylor take her place among these two cuties... I have a sneaking suspicion that she's going to fit right in.

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