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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yummy in your tummy!

One of my favorite authors, Mark Kay Andrews, always weaves recipes into her chick-lit books. She mentions the recipe frequently throughout the book, and then publishes it at the end. This recipe is a truly southern dish - if you like grits and you like collard greens, this is an irrisistable pairing.

Ingredients:

2 cups whipping cream

8 cups chicken broth, divided (6 cups if you use canned collards)
2 cup grits (not instant!)
1 bag frozen collard greens (I used Glory canned collards, or you could make your own)
2 sticks butter
2 1/2 cups parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon


Directions:
  1. Grease 13x9 casserole.
  2. Combine cream and 6 cups chicken broth and bring to boil. Stir in grits and cook over medium heat until grits return to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and stir frequently to keep from burning. Add milk if needed to thicken to proper consistency.
  3. Cook frozen collards with remaining 2 cups of chicken broth until tender (omit this step if you are using canned collards). Drain well in colander, squeezing out remaining liquid.
  4. Add butter, parmesan, greens, and pepper to cooked grits. Pour into baking dish. Top with additional parmesan and crumbled bacon.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned

This freezes very well, and makes great leftovers.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Random acts of kindness

This won't be the most upbeat post, I'm afraid. I'm feeling a little depressed here lately. I've been blessed to catch up with some old friends lately, and while I'm always glad to see and hear about their lives, I can't help but feel a little envious of their homes, careers, or families.

Here's the truly tough thing about being a military wife: it can be very hard to find your own identify. The Navy wants to classify me as a "dependant". Other wives want to label me by my husband's rank. I'm constantly in a state of chaos, and while other friends have the blessing of having deep roots, mine are yanked up every few years.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the dreams and goals I had for myself as a high school senior, or even as a college senior. I've been thinking a lot about the person I was back then, and I'm very sad to say that I'm not that girl any longer. I miss that girl! In college, I was very outgoing. I had lot of friends, and wasn't afraid to put myself out there and get involved. I was compassionate, giving, loving, spiritual... and little by little, I feel like these things that I once loved about myself have eroded away. Ten years ago, I wasn't afraid. I didn't hold myself back. I took chances. Ten years later, I'm many pounds heavier, more selfish, less caring, and very withdrawn.

My friend Angel has always been an example of what a successful, strong woman should be. She has a great job, a masters degree, and is working on her PhD. My cousin Heather is two weeks older than me, and she's got a cushy job, masters degree, loving husband, and will soon welcome her second child. I am genuinely so happy for their successes and accomplishments. At the same, I just wonder how it is that I've left my mark on the world? I haven't climbed up the career ladder the way I originally intended. I haven't even finished my masters degree! And the fact that I haven't had children often makes me feel pointless. I'm almost 30 and what do I have to show for it?

A friend and I were talking this weekend about second chances. I wish we did have them, because I would fast forward five years and do some things differently. I wish I could go back to that girl, and figure out where I lost myself and my own identity.

Anyway, on to the original topic of my post. Today has been a bad day. I've been very emotional, and I'm afraid I look a little worse for the wear. Tonight I swung by the Subway drive through for dinner, and when the teenager working handed me my meal, he asked me what was wrong and if I was ok. I told him I was fine, and thanked him for asking. He told me the meal was on him, and he hoped things got better for me. I tried to pay him, but he refused, saying he just wanted to make me feel better. That seriously could have not come at a better time. Thank God for the kindness of strangers, and kudos to the young man who was selfless enough to see someone who obviously needed kindness.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Updates on the job

I passionately wish that I could talk about my job. My clients are amazing, hilarious, loving and a whole host of other descriptive words. I have so many stories, but HIPAA prevents me from sharing.

I don't know that I've ever really described my job, other than to say that I got one when we first moved here. I work for a non-profit agency that is contracted with the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs. Our agency provides services to individuals with mental retardation, autism, and head and spinal cord injuries. We offer early intervention services for children, residential placement for adults, job coaching and opportunities, respite for families, and summer camps and services.

I am a Service Coordinator - which is basically a fancy name for a social worker or an advocate for those with disabilities. Families come to us for help and support when their loved ones are diagnosed with mental retardation, autism, or head or spinal cord injuries, and we assist them in whatever they need. This may mean health care, jobs, job skills, nursing care, respite, financial aid, or residential placement. My caseload is adults diagnosed with MR, and is primarily individuals in residential placement (meaning they live in our agency-sponsored homes, which is 4 individuals sharing a home that is staffed 24/7).

I never would have seen myself working in this field, but I love what I do, and I like to think I'm good at it. My measure of job success has always been if the job/people change who I am for the better... and I can say that is the case with this job. I really believe God has plans for where I should be and what I should be doing at any time, and while I don't know why I am working with this particular population, and I certain I am where I am supposed to be at this point in my life.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

About the post below..

If you can't see text, run your cursor over the blank space and it should pop up. Blogger gets weird on me when I add in pictures. It is extremely annoying and frusterating.

My chihuahua loves Halloween!

Ok, so they don't. But I do! And since I am too old to dress up and I don't have children to torment, my dogs are the subject of my creativity.

The truly funny thing about the boys is that they will not move if they have anything on their heads. This means I get great pictures, because they literally freeze into place until I remove the offending head gear.

Here they are as bumblebees:
George as a witch.
Their first costumes, Queen George and King JC. I wish I knew what JC was saying to George. Probably not something flatterly to moi.

Lobsters! Jason and I had a whole themed planned... he would be the 50's breadwinner in the suit and tie, and I'd be a Stepford wife, presenting a dinner of lobster to my man. Sadly, George refused to stay put on the platter of lettuce, so that was scrapped.

We have a really cute idea for this year as long as I can either find or make the costume. Stay tuned... I'll be posting pics in a few weeks!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My chihuahua talks!

People don't believe me when I say that JC talks. Well, he does and here is the proof.

Now, if only I was a dog whisperer and understood what he was saying...


video

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Funny blog!

Let me know what you think about this:
http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/

Hilarious.

Random Tuesday... oh wait, it's Wednesday now!

This blog is just a mismash of random thoughts, but first a quick update.

Jason and I are still here, alive and well. We survived our first hurricane! Surprisingly, even though I have always lived in SC I have never been through a hurricane. I was very worried about Hanna and even more worried about Ike, but the former turned out to be light wind and rain, and the latter has veered off towards the Gulf Coast. I spent last week alternating been feeling like it was no big deal and freaking out because I didn't even own a flashlight, much less other disaster supplies. Needless to say, I am now as prepared as it gets in the House-hold, with two 24-packs of bottled water, two flashlights, batteries, and a mishmash of assorted candles. I figure I could last about 2 days in the unfortunate occurrence of a natural disaster or zombie attack. ;)

On to the randoms!

*Dolphin or shark? It all looks the same in the water!
On Labor Day, Jason and I headed out to Sullivan's Island for the day. I convinced Jason to get in the water with me, only to run out of the water screaming about five minutes later when I saw what I am convinced was a shark fin. Don't dolphins jump and play? This was just a fin, moving just above the surface of the water. Flipper or no, I am attached to my legs, so I ran out of that surf like George Clooney was waiting on the shore with a towel. Ahh! When I retold this story at work, my coworker instructed me to scream "FIN!" when I am unsure. That way other beach swimmers can't get mad at me, right?

*Better than sex? I guess it depends on who you are having sex with.
Last Saturday was a coworkers birthday, so I brought in a Better than Sex cake to celebrate. The cake was a huge hit around the office, and we promptly got into a debate about the name. Is it better than sex? The women tended to say yes, it was, while the men agreed it was good, but not that good. I saw it all depends on who you are having sex with.

Recipe:
One box of devil's food cake mix
One jar caramel
One jar hot fudge sauce
One can sweetened condensed milk
One tub cool whip
Heath (candy bar) crumbles

Cook the cake according to package directions. When you take it out of the oven, poke holes all over the surface while it is still hot. You want large holes (I use the handle of a butter knife) and many of them. Then pour the following, in order, over the surface of the cake: condensed milk, caramel, and hot fudge sauce. Let cool and refrigerate if not serving immediately. Just before serving, top with cool whip and heath crumbles.

If you make it, comment back and weigh in - is it better than sex? ;)


My Chihuahua Bites
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Southern belle, mom of 1, cooker, decorator, crafter, and lover of all things beauty related. Check my About Me tab for more information!

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