Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Life is good.

We found out yesterday morning that Buster is cancer free! We are so thankful.

Josh and I have been on pins and needles since the surgery last week. Once Buster was under the knife, the doctor realized the cancer was much larger than we had initially thought. It was not contained within the little knot that we could feel, but had spread under his armpit and into his chest. They had to remove a good deal of muscle and go as deep as his rib cage to tackle it. The incision is pretty gnarly with pressure relieving knicks all around it - I will spare you a photograph on this post! But, it is healing on track and we know all we need to know - they got good margins on the tumor and the surgery should be curative. YAHOO!

B has been such a trooper. He has certainly dealt with this better than I would have! I've learned something from my pup :) What would we do without them?

If anyone is in search of a great vet in Atlanta, I cannot recommend Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital highly enough. Buster is a new patient - they fit us in for surgery the same week we called...and that week just happened to be a short week with Thanksgiving in there. Amazing. We have gotten incredible service...follow up calls, emails on Thanksgiving, offers to meet us ON Thanksgiving if need be, personal cell phone numbers, etc. Oliver has always gone to this vet. We have seen all three of the doctors at some point or another, adore them all. Those of you that know me know that Oliver had some, ahem, emotional issues when Josh and I started dating - this sweet vet was just as excited as I was to see Oliver turn into a little manly dog! 

We are so thankful!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lynn's Chicken Tortilla Soup

You are going to want to try this soup - another recipe a la Lynn! I am soup-obsessed.


You'll need:
  • 2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1.5 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup red pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 32 ounces chicken stock
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 2 cans white beans, rinsed & drained
  • 3 Tablespoons cornmeal, 3 Tablespoons water

 The flavor of this soup is all in how you cook the chicken. First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and salt together.


Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the chicken breasts (recipe calls for 2, I used 4). Then sprinkle the spice mixture on both sides of the chicken. Set aside leftover spice mixture. Place chicken on wax paper over a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until done.


While the chicken is baking, chop up your onion and red pepper.


Now your chicken is ready! 


Use two forks to shred the chicken...do this when it's warm for ease. Set aside.


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, red pepper and garlic. Stir and cook about 5 minutes. 


Add the remaining spice mix and the chicken. Stir.


Add Rotel, stock, tomato paste, water and beans. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Let simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes.


Mix cornmeal in 3 tablespoons of water. You may even need to add more water. You want this to dissolve into the soup...it adds great flavor. Add to the soup and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Great with pan-fried tortilla strips (simply cut up a tortilla and fry in a pan with butter or oil until brown!), monterey jack cheese, avocado, fresh lime juice and cilantro! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Buster Brown

Today, our sweet boy Buster Brown needs some prayers! He is having a small but cancerous tumor removed from his right side. We feel really positive about the procedure and are hoping for the best possible outcome.


As thankful as ever for our sweet dogs...we are rooting for our eldest!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Introducing Mountain Gourmet

I am so proud of my mom. She and a good friend (Kim) have started a catering company in Brevard, NC called Mountain Gourmet. They have been so busy already! This week, they did a reception style dinner for 80 at someone's home and an intimate dinner for a birthday party. They are bidding on weddings and getting in the game!

Here are some pictures from their party for 80. I was flattered that they were inspired by a centerpiece from one of Presenting Atlanta's events. They did a great job recreating this.


And on the menu...build-your-own bruschetta station...


A beautiful fruit and cheese display...


Mexican shrimp cocktail shooters...


Bacon-wrapped dates with a toasted pecan...


Stuffed mushrooms...


And my personal favorite, mini twice-baked potatoes...


Mom and Kim are so talented, and they compliment each other well. My mom has thrown dinner parties for her entire life...she's really the most amazing cook and hostess. Kim is incredibly creative and innovative...she and her husband run our family's favorite restaurant in Brevard. Falls Landing has been the place of gathering for our family for as long as I can remember...we celebrated my grandmother's 90th birthday there with all of her closest friends, and a few years later, Josh's parents hosted our rehearsal dinner there. It only makes sense that Falls would continue to be a huge part of our lives as they embark on this catering mission!

If you need a caterer in the Western North Carolina area, you know who to call!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunday Night Supper: Short Ribs with Wine & Cream

Sunday is my favorite day to cook. When possible, I try to make Sunday night supper a tradition in our house. There's something about filling up the house with wonderful aromas and slow cooking something fabulous. This weekend, we tried Pioneer Woman's Short Ribs with Wine & Cream. They were divine.


The sauce didn't thicken up quite enough (not sure what I did) but all of the flavors were there. We ate this with quinoa and brown rice that cooks in 90 seconds and comes in bulk at Costco.

Oliver enjoyed it too! Probably our favorite part of the meal was the after dinner entertainment. Oliver viciously protected his bone from Buster. I've never seen him act so much like a dog!


Have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Rebel

Suits, scrubs and Harley's...which one of these does not fit? Well, they all have a place in this house...thanks to my hubby, an Ole Miss Rebel and a rebel to the core. From the Biltwell helmets to the steel toe boots to the Johnny Cash t-shirts, there's not much that's off the rack about Josh. In today's world of 401K's, corporate America and keeping up with the Joneses, he's a good reminder to disregard perceptions, push the envelope and be who you are. Josh has had motorcycles on the brain for as long as I've known him, probably for his entire life. For him, it's freedom, relaxation and man time, but most of all it's about cutting his own path along the road and life. For the rest of us non-motorcycle riders, it's a reminder to focus on those things that inspire the rebel in you!


If only I could share the vroom-vroom through this blog. Lucky neighbors we've got! :)


Who thinks we need to talk Josh into adding a seat for me on the back? I wanna be a rebel!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fall Event - Awards Dinner

One of my favorite looks ever. This awards dinner was truly perfect!


The estate tables added some interest to the space and standard banquet rounds. Elegant table numbers guided the guests to their spots.



Below is a close up of the centerpieces used on the round tables. Loving the cabbage and apples!


And here is the centerpiece for the estate tables...absolutely breathtaking and functional.


Pretty, right?


Stay tuned...got 900 people in town right now...yahoo!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Superman

Josh and I had a ball trick or treating with our nephew, excuse me...Superman. Is he not the cutest Superman you've ever seen? I can't get over his six pack...he's been in the gym!


He's being silly.



Our neighborhood was in quite the spirit. All the kids met at the park for pre-trick or treat festivities before participating in a little parade. They closed off traffic to one of the main streets in the 'hood to for trick or treaters and I'm telling you, it was jam packed with kiddos. It felt very official and it deepened my ever-growing love for where we live.

We bumped into one of our four legged friends, Jett, in full costume...


Our next run in was with a terrifying tiger. Jack just celebrated his first birthday and is the sweetest baby. His parents have become great friends of ours.  Josh was trying to get Jack to roar but this little cub just giggled away.


Parker's first house with his dad, Jeff. After he knocked out the first couple of houses, Parker was warmed up and had one goal in mind... to fill that pumpkin with candy, and as fast as possible.


This house had one of the best Halloween decor spreads, if you ask me. Not to mention that everything about this house is perfect, period. Check out the eyes in the windows upstairs!


The dogs also came with us and enjoyed meeting new dog friends. The best dog costume I saw was a pug dressed as a hot dog. It was hysterical!