Wednesday, September 28, 2011

family tree

yesterday, my mom told me that her cousin had traced our lineage to John Marshall AND Thomas Jefferson. that's pretty cool, right? the longest-standing chief justice and the 3rd US president...not too shabby. not to mention the writing of the Declaration of Independence. apparently cousin norma has documented it, unlike our long-standing family ruse that we're descendants of Betsy Ross. regardless, it probably explains a few things:
  • why i cry every time i hear Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American" 
  • my bossiness -- Marshall Law & all
  • my sister's wordiness -- the Declaration of Independence author
  • my family's penchant for "opposition" -- John & Thomas often disagreed
who are some of your distant relatives?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

coolest birthday gift EVER

my birthday started off with breakfast in bed & some early morning gifts from Lula & Cricket. my team at work joined me for lunch where i told them the story of my mom's recent renovation effort.

two weeks ago, she was replacing some door trim in the garage apartment of my childhood home in El Dorado, Arkansas. the house was built in the 1920s, and i moved into the dilapidated backyard apartment during my junior year of high school. during the repair effort, they decided to move a wall, which resulted in the ceiling crashing down. oops.

[the treasure hole]
luckily, no one was hurt, and they found some random treasures buried away in the garage's attic. my parents bought the house from the original owner in the early 80s, so nothing had really been touched. down came a vintage bicycle, dress forms, lots of love letters to the builder's daughter, and much more random stuff.

as part of my birthday care package, Mom sent along a few of those letters. the first one we opened stopped us in our tracks.

[postmark june 16, 1924. check out the 2-cent stamp]
postmarked june 16, 1924, the handwritten letter to Miss Minnie Lee Mahony was carefully wrapped around a stack of vintage postcards of Lake Rabun. LAKE RABUN!!! WHERE WE GOT MARRIED. the letter describes Mr. Arrendale's fishing trip on the newly formed lake, complete with a "gasoline powered boat," in which he got sunburned due to the reflection from the sun. on the back of one of the postcards he'd scribbled "largest artificial lake in the country."

[the letter to Miss Minnie Lee describing a Lake Rabun fishing trip, circa 1924]
[postcards of lakemont, ga]
[postcard of the lake, circa 1924]
after we gained our breath, we called my mom. she had zero clue as to what that letter enclosed--she hadn't even read it. she just tossed in a few of those letters at the last minute for fun. WHAT?!?!?!

how is it possible that i spent 2 years sleeping underneath a box of old letters, this one in particular? a 90-year-old letter which described a lake i never knew existed 500+ miles away. how is it possible i'd move to georgia a few years later, start dating a boy who'd take me camping near that lake, and that we'd return a few years later to exchange vows on its shores? how, a few years after that, would my mom narrowly escape injury from a ceiling collapse only to discover a long-lost love letter & haphazardly send it back to georgia...where it originated in 1924? HUH?

[me + cricket saying our vows on the shores of lake rabun in 2009]
if i ever doubted a decision i'd made, ever questioned a turn my life took, ever wondered how i got so damn lucky...well, the answers were all in that unopened letter to Miss Minnie Lee Mahoney. it was simply just meant to be. it was written in the stars, or in the dusty letter hidden in the garage's attic.

m3: twist, and blend, and grind, and shout!

nope, it's not a dance move i picked up during my college days. it's an awesome 2-in-1 post to make up for my slacking on last week's ode to the mason jar. i guess i was a little too busy saying goodbye to summer & celebrating my birthday.

want to see what i learned? yup. it involves a mason jar. oh, and margaritas.

say you wanted to make some margaritas ahead of time...ya know, have 'em in the freezer ready to go so the blending & such didn't mess with your margarita-sippin' mojo. well, say you also were a *little* lazy & didn't want to wash unnecessary dishes. enter, this week's magical mason makeover!

yes folks, it doubles as a blender. realsimple enlightened me to this trick--genius!

apparently, most regular-mouth masons are a perfect replacement for your blender's pitcher. the blade attachment easily attaches to the mason's mouth. and here's my own skinny girl margarita recipe to boot!

after a little research, i discovered that it's no new invention, but an age-old secret. according to elise's mom (over at simple recipes), blender manufacturers used to include mason jars in their packaging. i guess mothers do know best. you can even use it as a spice grinder with zero cleanup!

so whether you grind nuts & spices, or if you prefer to blend frosty beverages, pull out the mason jar for easy blendin'!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

skinny girl margarita

on a warm day, i appreciate a margarita. what i can't handle now that i'm well into my 30s is the sugar. i prefer my margaritas paired with chips & salsa, not sugar.

cricket & i whipped up this concoction on cinco de mayo, and it's a keeper.

combine over ice:
2 oz premium tequila - we like don julio anejo
juice from 1 lime
splash OJ or Grand Marnier
drizzle of agave nectar for sweetness to taste

garnish with lime.

for a salted rim, rub the squeezed lime around the edge of your glass, dip in coarse salt, fill the glass, garnish, then enjoy!


Sunday, September 4, 2011

crustless quiche muffins

i used to make these quite often--always an easy + healthy to-go breakfast. i was introduced a long time ago during south beach diet's phase 1, + i've enhanced them over the years.

12 eggs
1 cup low-fat, part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
3-6 slices canadian bacon, diced [optional]
salt + pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste

preheat oven to 375.

beat eggs in large bowl. add salt, pepper, cayenne, + garlic powder. mix well. add cheese, spinach, bell pepper, + onion. combine.

place muffin liners in muffin pan sprayed with non-stick spray. i recommend doubling the liners.

if using canadian bacon, add diced canadian bacon to muffin cups. fill each cup 2/3 full with egg mixture.

cook 30-35 minutes until muffins have risen + are golden brown.

refrigerate the muffins up to 1 week. reheat in microwave 1-2 minutes.