Tuesday, December 25, 2012

3 months of Indiana pictures

 Reading books.

Since we hadn't posted an "Indiana with something funny on his head" picture in forever, this is it. Sadly, he doesn't permit us to put funny things on his head much anymore. 

At the State Fair. He liked the animals and the trains especially. 

Giant cookie...and he ate the whole thing. I chased him around jokingly trying to get him to share his cookie with me, he just laughed and ran away. 
Preparing to treat-or-treat. He was raiding the candy bucket we left out before heading out ourselves. 
He was quite a hit with the neighbors, even if Indiana didn't quite get what was going on...he wasn't sure if he was supposed to take the candy or give candy. But we all had fun anyway. 

Lots of playing in the kitchen. He loves playing with Casey's book lights. 

 Spent the night at his grandparents' house.

 Has issues with having his pants put on incorrectly.

Sleepy baby after lifegroup.

Surrounded by friends sitting in his Christmas present from Nana.


 Batman jammies. Batman likes cookies.

 This is the picture Casey sent to me right before the marathon. Sweet boy. I got to see him four times during the race. The only time I stopped was to kiss Sweet Pea.

 Indiana sampled the marshmallow cream when I was making marshmallows as Christmas treats.

 With Aunt Aubrey and Uncle Dustin at the Train at Northpark.

 IN the toy basket. And this is after opening Christmas presents...still, the box is more fun.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In Recent News

 Indiana said his first sentence yesterday. He handed me a book and said, "Read it." And so we did.
We also tried on his Halloween costume that I bought last year after Halloween. He liked it, but it was hard to pick out books with it on.

I ran in a 10 mile race Sunday and got 3rd place in my age group (out of 46). It really made me feel like a runner. The race was part of the marathon training program,and running with the training group has really challenged and helped me see what I can do. 

Casey's been working super-duper hard at the office lately, plus supporting me while I do all this running. He's a sweet, sweet man. I couldn't do it without him.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Busy Month!

I've been like the Roadrunner cartoon lately. The Roadrunner, not the Coyote, thankfully. In August, I decided that I was going to commit to running the Dallas (White Rock) marathon in December, so I joined a running group with Luke's Locker for accountability. On Saturday's we do group long runs, and having people to talk to really helps. We did 19 miles this morning, which was tough, but I can handle it. I moved up to a faster group (8-9 min/mile) last week because I felt like I needed a little more of a challenge. And I got it. ;-)

And school started. I have BIG French 1 classes (and more keep getting added) and 160 students total, so I'm constantly on the go at work, teaching, monitoring, grading, prepping. And I've got a really sweet crop of French 1 kids, so I can tell it's going to be a good school year. I'm also teaching a new class of Dual Credit french, which is a challenge, for me to teach and my French 3 kids to learn. But I like challenges. Mostly.

We also celebrated Julia Child's 100th birthday by dressing the part and having soufflés at Rise.
Very fun, and a little silly too. There were a few men in Julia drag, complete with cleaver and rubber chicken.

Indiana has been silly too. Bubble face. :-)

I helped host a wedding shower for our friends, LeeAnn and Geoffrey.
It was baseball themed, so we had ballpark food, decorations. Very fun.
Casey liked the centerpiece I made. 

Last weekend, we stayed at my parents house.
Indiana got to ride on the tractor with Grandpa Jack.

 And we got to go out on a date to the Bishop Art's district. Dinner at Bolsa, S'mores at Tillman's and lots of curiosities in Oak Cliff.
Dad make biscuits and gravy in the morning. Sweet little Indy had fun with with grandparents.

Love this little boy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cooking for Dad

My Dad turns 70 today. Wow. Anyway, I wanted to do something special for his birthday, but being the low-key guy that he is, he didn't want a big party, but he said I could cook him dinner. So, Saturday, I cooked him a four course dinner, trying to include as many of his favorite foods as possible. I even printed out little menus.

We started with stuffed mushrooms and micro-green salad from my new favorite show, French Food at Home. Then, for the main course, it had to be lamb. But what kind of lamb? What would be really special? Thankfully, I had checked out the new Barefoot Contessa cookbook and she had a really simple looking recipe for a whole roasted leg of lamb. Nothing says special a like a giant piece of meat, right?
And I just happen to know where of a Middle Eastern market where I could walk in a pick up a whole leg of lamb...or a whole goat, but that's a different party.
It was DELICIOUS. I just finished the leftovers today...and I was licking the last little bit of beautifully seasoned juice from the plate. Go Barefoot Contessa. And to accompany it, I made roasted asparagus and Parmesan polenta, which I'd never made before....it was so good and so much easier than mashed potatoes or rice. It's my new favorite starch. Highly recommend that you click on that link and make it for dinner, asap.

The third course was the cheese course, and that was the one that Casey said he was most looking forward to....but as that involved no cooking on my part, I don't know if that's a compliment or an encouragement. Whatever. Cheese is always good.

And dessert. With my dad, the options are what kind of pie and what kind of ice cream, so I made a version of my grandmother's cherry pie, using sour cherries. Her pie was very simple. Butter crust, toss the cherries in some sugar in the crust, top with another crust and bake.

 But I wanted to make something a little more fancy, so I added almonds and a lattice crust, combining a recipe for a tart and a pie.

Sour Cherry Almond Tart

1 ready-to-use double pie crust
3 (15 ounce) cans pitted sour cherries, drained (I found them with the canned fruit at the store, not with pie fillings)
3 tablespoons minute tapioca
1/4 cup sliced almonds, plus a few more for garnish
1 cup white sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, divided use
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg, beaten with a bit of milk
coarse sugar for sprinkling

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Press one of the pie crusts into a pie plate or tart pan.
3) In a blender or food processor, grind ¼ cup almonds, 1 tbsp sugar, and tapioca
4) Stir together the cherries, tapioca mixture, sugar, and almond extract in a bowl. Pour the cherry mixture into the pie shell, sprinkle with a handful of almonds.
5) Cut the other pie crust into 1/2 inch strips to make a lattice top. Lay the strips across the pie in a lattice pattern, and pinch the edges to seal. Brush crust with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
6) Bake in the preheated oven 40 to 50 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I am a Christian & for Gay Marriage

I have been a Christian all my adult life. I came to faith by the love and encouragement of my grandfather, a Baptist minister and seminary professor, and grandmother, a woman who loved the Bible so much that she taught conferences on “Hiding God’s Word in your Heart” and memorized chapters of scripture. Since then, I have faithfully attended and participated in church, and not just Sunday morning, but weekly Wednesday night groups, early morning and late night prayer meetings, worship nights, bible studies. I have served meals to the needy, laid hands on and prayed for the sick, shared the gospel with teenagers, friends, strangers. I have read through the Bible several times and spent countless hours in study, devotion and prayer.

And I am for gay marriage. On the Day of Judgment, perhaps I will learn I am wrong, and for that and my countless other mistakes and sins, I will cling to the cross of Christ as my only hope.  But in the wake of witnessing on Facebook so many of my friends and loved ones stand up for the intolerance recently promoted by Chick-fil-a, I cannot remain silent.

The movement to legalize gay marriage is the civil rights movement of our time.  My grandchildren will learn about this time in their history classes and be shocked and appalled by those who stood in the way of such a basic, fundamental human right being arbitrarily denied to a segment of the population, as I was shocked and appalled to learn of the Jim Crow laws and “separate but equal.” In America, homosexuals can hold jobs, vote, even serve our nation in the military, but not get married.  This is a sickening injustice.

Giving same-sex couples the right to get married does not diminish marriage’s sanctity in the least. It is instead an undeniable tribute to the power of marriage. As two consenting adults who love each other, same-sex couples are asking for the right to prove and celebrate their love for each other, and there is no other greater statement of that commitment than marriage. There are things that are legal now that do greatly diminish the sanctity of marriage, namely, divorce and living together before or instead of getting married. These do diminish the sanctity of marriage. But there is no Facebook campaign to ban either one of those things. That would be absurd. Therein lies the true absurdity of the “Sanctity of Marriage” movement. It is not about protecting marriage. It is about intolerance of a lifestyle that Christians find aberrant.

Gay marriage was legalized in California, and then made illegal by Proposition 8, which was later struck down by California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This is from their decision: “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.” If you can deny the truth of that and still claim that there is any justice in denying same-sex couples the right to marry, I am ashamed of you. Your grandchildren will be ashamed of you.

I have nothing to gain by writing this.  I am already married and have no openly gay friends or relatives, and I regret to offend those that I respect and love.  But I cannot remain silent. This is not an issue of political left or right, or anyone’s religious belief, but an issue of right and wrong.  Of the equal protection under the law provided by our constitution. Our nation was founded by those seeking freedom and equality.  I am for gay marriage because I love America and the justice, freedom and equality for which she stands.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Paris: Last Two Days - Part 3/3

Sunday was a very scenic day.
From Adeline's apartment, it was a quick run to the Jardin du Luxembourg, my favorite park in Paris.
A little nicer than my usual morning run, despite having to run with a map in my hand so I wouldn't get lost!

After Indiana's nap, Adeline did a walking tour of the historic Montmartre neighborhood.

Beautiful, historic...but full of steep, cobblestone streets. It was definitely a team effort getting a stroller through there.
My sweet cousin, Adeline and Indiana, the patient child, in a little overlook.
The only real vineyard inside Paris.
By lunchtime, Indiana was pretty worn out and fussy, but Adeline managed to make him laugh and shared her ice cream with him.
The beautiful basilica of the Sacre-Coeur. The banner says, "For over 125 years, here someone has been praying, night and day, to the Lord." Cool.
We were there! ;-)

 Another nice thing is that once you've trekked all they way up there, the view is fantastic. But we were pooped! I think Indiana went to straight to bed when we got home, bless him.

A simple but delicious dinner: a first course of ripe melon, then galettes (buckwheat crepes) with melted Gruyere, sliced chicken and a fried egg, with salad, then cheese and fruit for dessert. Very pleasant.

Last day in Paris! Monday was just Indiana and I, since Adeline had to go to work.

We started with some pastries, of course. (L to R) a butter croissant, apple turnover and and chocolate almond croissant. The apple turnover (chausson pommes - literally, an apple slipper) is my longtime favorite.

I had done pretty much everything I'd wanted to do, so Monday, I changed money near the train station, Gare de Lyon, and then walked by the Seine with Indiana.
Saw some beautiful things. But it was too crowded to go in unfortunately. Another time.
Not the best picture of a child in front of Notre Dame, but with the crowds and just me to take it, I figured something to show him later was better than nothing!
Snoozing on the plane, thank goodness! The second plane ride was much more relaxing than the first one. We were happy to get home, though, and Casey was there to give us a warm welcome home.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

French Food at Home

Saturday, Casey was going to play poker with the boys, so I invited the girls over for some French food. I was really itching to try out some new recipes and my friends were kind enough to taste-test.
Marci, LeeAnn and Robin
I often get questions about what French food is. So hard to give a succinct answer. To begin with, French people really care about the quality of their food. It's a national preoccupation. A constant topic of conversation. For example: "Is the Camembert any good?' 'I think it's too aged.' 'No, I prefer it this way.' 'It's not as good as the other one.' The bread, the cheese, the meat, etc. My grandmother won't buy pre-cut meat at the supermarket, but insisted that the butcher hand-cut the meat in front of her, as meat under plastic is too "insipid."

My delightful sister-in-law, Aubrey, must have been telling a good story.

Attention to quality of ingredients and preparation aside, the food eaten at the French table isn't radically different, but the order and rigor of the meal is very different. From childhood, the French are taught "how" to eat and they are very rigid about how and what to eat and when. My grandmother is still mystified about Casey wanting to eat cold leftover spaghetti for breakfast. And no coffee! Seriously, she was flabbergasted. But, it's for a reason. As my dad remarked, even the mediocre food there is good. 
For the first course, we had Roasted Camembert with Walnuts and Honey. Normally, cheese is served after the main course, but I found the recipe as a first course on a French website, so I felt like I wasn't being too ingenuous with it.
For the main course, I made two zucchini and feta tarts, served with a simple green salad. It's my cousin Nathalie's recipe, and it was very simple, but the cumin and herbs de provence really add a special something.

Provencal Zucchini  and Feta Tart

1 lb zucchini, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1½ tsp cumin
1 tsp herbs de Provence
1 cup cream
1 egg
1 pre-made pie crust
½ cup brine-packed feta cheese, drained and crumbled
½ cup grated swiss cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-hot pan, sauté onion in olive oil until slightly softened. Add zucchini, cumin, herbs, salt and pepper and cook until softened. Set aside to cool slightly. Beat the egg into the cream. Fill tart pan with a removable bottom with pie crust. Top with onion-zucchini mixture and pour over cream mixture (add a little more cream if there is any gaps). Sprinkle with cheeses. Bake for 35 minutes or until filling is set and cheese slightly browned.  Serve with a simple green salad dressed with vinaigrette for full frenchiness.

To gild the lily, I made Mousse au Chocolat, from scratch of course, for dessert. 
I'd never made it before, but thankfully there's a youtube video for everything. :-) Chocolate mousse is classic, but also completely make-ahead, so I could be at the table and enjoying the company and not in the kitchen, flipping crepes.
 And enjoy the evening, we did. Can't wait to do it again. :-)
Thank you so much, Tiffany, for taking pictures! So fun to see you and your sweet sister, Britt!