Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stick of Dynamite

Fletcher taught himself this trick. We call it Stick of Dynamite. Seriously, could he be any cuter?


video

I love him so much it hurts.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Seriously?

Remember when Monday and nature combined forces against me?

Well, this week they're back. I was taking out the recycling Monday morning (still half asleep I'd like to note, having not even finished my coffee) and as I walked back up the steps I saw a discarded plastic wrapper by the front door. I reached down to pick it up and noticed it did not feel like one would expect a plastic wrapper to feel. Oh, that's because it was a two foot long MOLTED SNAKE SKIN. In my BARE HAND.

After screaming, throwing it on the ground, and dancing around shaking snake bacteria off my hand for ninety seconds, it hit me. While a snake skin is awful, and a snake skin in my bare hand is really awful, the fact that the owner of that skin - a snake - was six inches from my front door at some point is approximately three thousand times worse.

I think the lesson here is that I need to avoid Mondays altogether. And that molted snake skins look surprisingly non snake skin like from a distance. And also, that I can never use the front door again.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hugh to the Rescue

At this point on the blog, I hope it's obvious that I'm quite smitten with Hugh. He's handsome and funny and smart - the requisite requirements for a husband.

He's also devoted and protective and quick on his feet and pretty darn handy.

Take this morning for instance. After leaving the house at the god forsaken hour of 6:40am to drive to Savannah, I heard the dreaded flap flapping of a flat tire ten minutes into my trip.

I pulled into a gas station and called Hugh. Ten minutes later, he was pulling up with his fancy shmancy jack, reloading my bags into his truck, and sending me on my merry, barely-late-for-work way. Seven minutes (!) later, he was calling to tell me the tire was changed and he was headed home.

I should also note that this little tire problem was caused by an improper installation on the part of the company who just installed our brand new tires fourteen days ago. And this made Hugh furious, in that you could have been on the interstate going seventy and the outcome of this situation could have been really awful sort of way. So he drove right back to Sears and gave them a piece of his protective-husband mind and they were ordering us a new tire before he was halfway through.

Despite my little streak of stubborn independence, I secretly love being a wife and having someone to take care of me, and I love that that someone is Hugh. He makes my boss-of-my-own-self heart swell up with love and pride.

Also, seven minutes to change a tire? I can't make this stuff up. He's seriously good at everything.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

So, last week's meal plan was approximately 75% successful. That is, we ate three of the four meals we planned and we went out for dinner once. Not bad, considering there have been weeks in our five and half years together that we have gone out to dinner every single night. We love a good restaurant experience.

This week we're shooting for 100%:

Photo courtesy of Cooking Light

Seared Pork Tortas (we didn't make these last week, but they look tasty so we'll try again), Fresh fruit

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Edamame, Arugula, and Herbs,

Shrimp, Mango, and Avocado Salad with Rice Noodles (loosely based on this)

Grilled Eggplant Pita Sandwiches, Oven Fries

Happy eating!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Yard Work

More Fletcher cuteness/craziness (I think this is what defines the parents, we think the crazy is really, really cute) caught on video.

He likes to help with the yard work and he's not afraid of anything:

video

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Happiest Day of the Week!

Oh, weekend, how we have anticipated you. No chance of rain, my work is done, the house is clean...our life is peachy. We are home this weekend with nowhere to go and nothing to do. Only three of these left until Hugh is back to school, so we are maximizing them with the equal parts fun and relaxation.

On the agenda so far:

Muffins That Taste Like Donuts


Farmer's Market

More playing in the yard with Fletcher

Dirt Cake, at the request of the husband. Hugh is very go-with-the-flow (making us the perfect balance, as I am basically the opposite of go-with-the-flow), so when he makes a request, I am happy to oblige.

A long family walk and a canal swim (or wade) with the pup in the morning before it feels like the center of the sun outside.

And a good bit of feeling like this:

Henry Parker enjoying a mid-morning nap in the sun.

Hope yours is a lovely one!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Water Pup!

What started out as an average Thursday turned out to be unexpectedly lovely. Hugh finished in the lab at 11am. The house was clean by 1pm. I love it when the house is clean before the weekend even starts. We had a late afternoon lunch of cheese and crackers and fruit (and wine). We went to Target (the happiest place on Earth). I made Hugh's favorite dinner - Chili Dogs. We played in the yard with Fletcher for a very long time. And he was on his A-game of dog amazingness.

See Exhibit A:

video


As you can hear, Hugh and I die a little from his perfection. There was more canine hilarity, but I'll save those videos for another day.

And tomorrow is Friday!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vacation Recap

Now that I'm settled in, back to work, finished with the laundry, and vacation is already seeming like a distant memory, here's a full recap:

Matt and Mandy so kindly invited us to join them on a summer trip to Matt's parents' lake house. And we accepted, because we're not stupid.

The lake house is really the perfect place to get away. Situated just far away from everything to feel relaxed, but not so far you can't make a trip to the store if you underestimate your need for Parmesan cheese, Hugh and I thoroughly enjoyed days of having NOTHING to do. No work, no lab, no school, no chores, no laundry - we were almost in shock for the first twenty four hours.

Mandy and I commented about having nothing to do multiple times each day we were there. We said things like, "Oh, hey, what do you want to do when we get finished doing nothing? Oh, I don't know. How about some more nothing?" And then we laughed. Because we're clever. And easily amused.

Anyway, the lake was well-stocked with things like books, and comfortable beds, and floats, and an endless supply of beach towels, and cheese and crackers. We four English majors spent a good portion of our time deciding whether to read on the porch or on the couch or on the dock. The best kind of vacation decision, really. And then we would take a break to eat some cheese and crackers and drink margaritas.

Some highlights of our vacation:

Fletcher hates to swim, so we found him a dog life jacket:



Which was fortuitous, because then he fell in the lake:




But we rescued him, unscathed except for his wounded pride:


And then we took him on a boat ride, which totally made up for the fact that he could have drowned (said his overprotective Momma). He completely loved it. And I loved those ears, flapping in the breeze:

Our meals were out of control with deliciousness - carbonara, burgers, barbecue chicken pizza, steak, twice-baked potatoes, Caesar salad, and steak sandwiches. And moreover, cooking them was a fun and relaxed family affair. Because we had nothing else to worry about.

I would like this vacation to serve as further proof that my husband really is good at everything. Mandy bought a whole beef tenderloin and we planned to cut it into filets. Except we had no idea how to do this. So we asked Hugh to do it. And his dreams of becoming a butcher (after he becomes a doctor) were a little bit fulfilled.

This is what he started with:

Don't mind my skeptical expression; I really do have complete confidence in him.

And this is the finished product:


I know, right?

And after all that fun, we came back to the real world. Thanks for the perfect getaway, M Cubed! We look forward to many more family vacations to come.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Meal-Planning Monday

One of the many things I read on vacation was the most recent Cooking Light. I love this magazine and have for a very long time. And after a lot of vacation indulging, it seemed the perfect source for this week's meals. So here they are:

Cobb Salad Pizza, photo courtesy of Cooking Light

Cobb Salad Pizza

Chunky Gazpacho with Sauteed Shrimp

Pepper Jack, Chicken, and Peach Quesadillas, Spinach Salad

Seared Pork Tortas, Fresh Fruit

Fletcher will also be back to his healthy-eating lifestyle after many vacation indulgences including: dog steak (what, you don't carve and cook steaks just for your dog?), lots of cheese, shredded chicken, hotdogs, and a great deal of plate-licking.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vacationing

That's what we've been doing!

Last week we headed up to Matt's parents' lake house with M Cubed. And when I say we, I mean all four members of the White Hot household. Fletcher was a dream, as he always is, in the car, sleeping the whole way there. Henry on the other hand, was a nightmare, yowling for five and a half hours. But in the end, we made it.

And it was everything a vacation should be - full of sleeping in, swimming in the lake, lots of reading, boat rides, cooking, eating, and total relaxation.

Fletcher took his first boat ride, Mandy and I did some night swimming and did not get eaten by any lake monsters, Hugh carved a beef tenderloin like a professional butcher, and a good time was had by all.

Photos to come. But first I have to get back to the real world and get this house ready for the week ahead. Hope you're having a lovely summer, friends!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, America! We Got You a Chicken.

What a weekend we had. Our Saturday was a relaxing one full of Farmer's Market, errands (I love to run errands), and lounging around with my favorite guy:


Sunday, we managed to lure M Cubed up for a visit with the promise of delicious dinner. When they arrived, we started the day off with Pimm's Cups, Grilled Pepper Poppers, 8 Layer Mexican Dip (loosely based on this recipe), and Pigs-in-a-Blanket (for which I hope you do not need a recipe). No photos were taken because all food was ravenously devoured before we thought to get out the camera.

Then we unleashed the beasts into the backyard and while we lounged on the patio enjoying the totally perfect weather:

Fletcher is crazy.

After a few hours of that, it was time to start dinner. Normally, I happily cook the food around this place, especially when we're having company. Not because Hugh is incapable or unwilling, quite the contrary on both, but because I have what we can nicely call control issues. However, on Sunday, Hugh decided it was time to mix things up. He found a recipe for Grilled Whole Chickens with Gremolata and Blistered Corn on the Cob and declared that he would be in charge of dinner. I did contribute potato salad and baked beans, both of which were pretty mediocre. It happens to the best of us, I suppose.

Hugh and Matt manned the grill. But before they did I went out and gave my two cents, which went something like this: Add more charcoal. No, more than that. A little bit more. Now don't wait until the heat dies down too much before you put them on. Put them on now. Are you sure it's hot enough?

The result was that they, as Matt so eloquently put it, ended up cooking the chickens over the burning pits of hell. Exhibit A:


Sorry about that, boys. However, all's well that ends well, and the chickens were wonderful. So was the corn. So good, in fact, Mandy choked on it. Twice.

I also promised Peach Pie to our lovely guests. Around 10pm, I realized that was not going to happen, so I fed everyone homemade Nutter Butters leftover from Hugh's Surprise Dessert.

Later that night, one of my favorite hometown friends, Emily, stopped by with her sweet husband, Pierce. We had a great, and very late, night talking on the porch while the dogs ran amuck. Until 3am. Do those pups ever get tired?

Monday morning Hugh cooked everyone bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches. And then he did the dishes. Because he is the best husband on the planet.

I hope your long weekend was a delight!

Both of Hugh's recipes are from GQ:

Whole Butterflied Chicken with Gremolata

Serves 2 to 4

1 chicken, butterflied and pressed flat
Salt and pepper
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Zest of 1 lemon

Directions
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper and let come to room temperature.
2. Make gremolata a couple of hours in advance. Mix together parsley, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, and salt and pepper.
3. Bring a bed of coals to medium and then part them in the middle so chicken is not resting directly above them. Cook for 15 minutes on one side, flip; repeat. Occasionally cover grill, with the vents open, to help bird cook through. Chicken takes a while—count on 1 hour total.
4. Chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer reaches 165 degrees (or juices run clear when you cut into thickest part of breast and thigh). Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into pieces so you'll have 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings, and 4 pieces of breast meat. Serve on a platter and spoon gremolata over top.


Blistered Corn

with Chili Powder, Lime, and Cheese


8 ears of corn, shucked
2 limes, quartered
2 teaspoons mild chili powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
¼ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled (or feta or grated Parmesan)


Cook corn on an oiled grill over medium-high heat, turning so that it blisters evenly (without letting it shrivel and dry out). Serve immediately on a platter with accompaniments in small bowls. Let everybody prepare his own by rubbing each ear with a lime wedge, then sprinkling with chili powder, salt, and Cotija cheese.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fletchiversary, America!

One year ago today, while the rest of America was grilling out, attending parades, and shooting fireworks, we were driving all day long. But it was worth it. Five hours in, we arrived at our destination:


Fifteen minutes later, we were leaving with an extra passenger:


He has grown up so quickly:

Three Months

Five Months

Eight Months - Snow Dog!

Ten Months - Dog School Graduation

One!

It is hard to believe he has only been in our life for a year. We love him so. Here's to many more Fletchiversaries to come!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Back in the Saddle, Again.

Would you like to know what I've made in the kitchen in the last two weeks? PB&J, coffee, turkey sandwiches, cheese and crackers, English muffins, about twenty glasses of wine, and too many bowls Ciao Bella sorbet (Passion Fruit is lighting up my life right now, and I don't even like dessert that much).

No trips to the grocery store have been made and nothing has been cooked around this place. We've been scrounging up meals or eating out. But, two weeks is usually my limit, usually the time I start getting the itch to make something delicious that makes Hugh laud my mad cooking skills. What can I say? Words of Affirmation is my love language.

So, here it is, the weekend plan:

Friday - Spicy Poblano Burgers with Pickled Red Onions and Chipotle Cream, Tomato and Cucumber Salad, Oven Fries, Surprise Dessert because Dessert is Hugh's love language (not really, he's a tie between Receiving Gifts and Physical Touch)

Saturday - Headed to the Farmer's Market in the morning, so the menu for the day is up in the air. But, if I had to guess I'd say: Bagel Melts for brunch and Summer Rolls for dinner.

Sunday - The M Cubed trio is kindly making their way up here for a quick visit to celebrate our nation's independence. And also our Fletch-iversary, but more on that later. As always, we can't wait to see them. There will be bocce ball, fireworks, and, most importantly, lots of food.

Tentatively, this is what we're eating: Pimento Cheese and Crackers, Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos, Pimm's Cups, Grilled Whole Butterflied Chicken with Gremolata, Blistered Corn, Potato Salad, Baked Beans, and Peach Pie (or Coconut Sheet Cake...Mandy? Preference?). A full food recap to come on Monday.

Happy Fourth of July! Happy Three Day Weekend! Happy, happy life. Enjoy it.

Two Week Recap

Sorry for the dearth of updates as of late. I have been doing a lot of traveling. A lot as in if I didn't have to ride in the car again for many months, that would be okay with me. But, it has been worth it for the fun visits. Now, please brace yourself for a lengthy post.

Two weeks ago, we made the long drive to my home sweet home.

On the way to Pensacola, we stopped and spent the night at the Time Well Wasted house. Elizabeth is my oldest and dearest friend. She has been there for the very best and very worst times in my life, and, quite simply, I wouldn't be the same person had we not had sixth grade English together. She is married to Lofton and they are the parents of the wonderful Reese. Hugh and I were so excited to spend an evening with them, and Reese and Hugh became fast friends. Not surprising because, seriously, everyone loves Hugh. Good thing I love him too.


On Saturday, there was a bridal shower for my favorite bride-to-be. Brittany and Dave are tying the knot in October and we were all so excited to start the celebration. It was so fun to watch her flitting around the shower chatting with people who love her so much and generally just glowing and looking very bridal.


Sunday it was back on the road again. This is how Fletcher felt about it:

Such a trooper in the car.

Then, last weekend, I was off again to visit Sarah. Sarah was my "big sister" in our sorority many years ago. Although our relationship has grown far beyond that title, a fraction of the older sister/younger sister dynamic has remained. She is the person I always go to for guidance in my life and when I'm with her, I feel very well taken care of. And now she is a Mom to this perfect baby girl who could not be any cuter:


As with most things in life, Sarah makes motherhood look easy and it was so fun to see her in this new role. Our visit was a long-overdo girls' weekend for us full of delicious food, lots of talking and shopping, and mostly just general exclaiming over Sydney's perfection.

On Sunday it was back to my little family for one day before I was headed to Savannah for work. I finally arrived home on Wednesday (to flowers and cocktails and delicious dinner, because my husband is a peach), and I swore I would never get back in the car again. But yesterday Hugh got home around 2pm and we realized neither of us had eaten all day. So we loaded up and drove an hour to have lunch at Pawley's Front Porch, recently featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

The burgers were delicious and the company wasn't too shabby either:

I love this face. And Hugh secretly loves to have his picture taken.

And now, it's Friday! We have another action-packed weekend in store and we aren't traveling anywhere. Stay tuned.