Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Big Promotion!

My man got promoted to CAPTAIN yesterday!!!

Major General Oates happened to be visiting their base in Iraq yesterday and performed an impromptu official ceremony to promote Johnny! It was quite an honor for him to be promoted not only by a Major General, but also a fellow Ranger!

I am so excited for him and proud of all that he has accomplished in his 3 years in the Army. He is an excellent leader and truly loves to serve our country.

Monday, February 23, 2009

25 Random Things

So I'm sure everyone and their mother has heard about the 25 Random Things posting that has been happening on Facebook lately. Well, I got sucked into it after like 5 people tagged me to do it, and I eventually made my list...so I thought I would post it on here to give y'all an insight into my crazy self! Enjoy!

1.) I still wear my retainer at night...often...especially since the hubby is gone for a year.

2.) Being an Army wife is the hardest job I've ever had in my life and while I wouldn't change my life for anything, I also don't wish this hardship and pain on anyone.

3.) I type up all my recipes in the same format and print them out on 4x6 note cards to organize them in a binder with categories and dividers and everything. I typically put the list of ingredients on one note card and then the cooking instructions on another so when I am planning a party or a big meal, I can take the list of ingredients for each recipe with me to the grocery store. (See #23 to back this up.)

4.) I sincerely adore and respect my husband and fully believe God made us for each other.

5.) I want to go to culinary school one day. I would love to go to culinary school in Germany or Italy....but that will more than likely be up to the Army. They may have big plans for us in Arizona or some random place like that, who the heck knows!

6.) I HATE bad customer service. Whether it's McDonald's, a bank or a 5-star restaurant, it is one of my biggest pet peeves.

7.) Fresh Market is my happy place. I love the smell of the store when I walk in and the music they play and all the beautiful fruits and veggies and fresh cheeses and breads.

8.) I get hurt easily and take things personally, yet continue to expect the best from people for some reason.

9.) I am quickly getting into "baby mode"...much quicker than I thought I would. I secretly really want twins.

10.) I like to dip my green beans into ketchup....it started when I was a kid, but I still love it today. Don't worry I don't do it in restaurants or around most people. And it absolutely grosses Johnny out so much!

11.) I would love to be a book editor one day. I was called the "Edit Nazi" in college....I can spot a typo miles away. Watch me have one on here...sheesh!

12.) I don't have any patience for people who are selfish and constantly make excuses for themselves.

13.) I totally get sucked into the TV. I can't get anything done when it's on...which is why I hate the thing. Although, I do totally love my DVR.

14.) I only watch movies or read books with happy endings. Life is tough enough as is, I don't want my entertainment to depress me too!

15.) I am obsessed with my blackberry and I don't know how I survived without it.

16.) In 5th grade I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist when I grew up because we dissected owl pellets and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. So weird.

17.) I don't really like chocolate or sweets all that much, but I could eat an entire bag of carrots and ranch dressing or wavy lays potato chips and helluva good dip.

18.) I talk to my mom at least once every day. She is one of my best friends.

19.) I once fell off a ski lift while it was climbing up the mountain. I quickly learned that you are suppose to pull down that bar in front for a reason!

20.) The clothes in my closet are organized by color.

21.) Telling Johnny goodbye for an entire year the night he deployed to Iraq was without a doubt, the worst night of my life. I didn't know pain like that existed.

22.) I am obsessed with being married. I love everything about it. I love "keeping" a home and decorating it and cooking meals for my husband....and all those domestic Martha-Stewart-like-things - I love!

23.) I am a major planner and Type A personality freak! It's actually ironic considering the Army rules my life these days! :)

24.) I would love to be a food critic one day and write reviews on amazing restaurants all over the world.

25.) I am actually kind of embarrassed that I just wrote 25 things about myself and started almost every sentence with "I ". Oh my goodness. I feel like I need to go do something nice for someone immediately.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hey Y'all!

Not sure if you've ever heard of Paula Deen....but this past Sunday....I got to have brunch with her! She has a few shows on Food Network and draws crowds to her famous restaurant The Lady & Sons in her hometown of Savannah, GA. Well being a local Savannahian myself, I thought it would be cool to somehow meet Paula one day....basically just to be able to say I did!

Well last Friday, my friend Chelsea text messaged me and said "I have two tickets to brunch with Paula on Sunday...want to go?" Uuuummm.....YEEESSS! It was so much fun. It was downtown on one of the squares under a huge tent. And you know it was a fancy occasion because we had "Royal Restrooms" there. (side note - Have you SEEN THESE?! They are awesome!)

Paula and her husband Michael, and her son Bobby came and talked and answered questions from the audience. She is a hoot...I mean seriously, just says whatever she is thinking at that moment and at one point, she even took out a track of fake hair from her head and put it on her husband's beard. After brunch, they did a book signing and I got several cookbooks signed by them. What a fun experience!

There were definitely some people there who were die-hard Paula fans who came from all over the nation to this brunch. I'm not kidding! Needless to say, I stared at them most of the time to watch them and listen to them because it was just so weird to hear how obsessed they were. (I may or may not have a problem with "people watching". Whatever, it's normal to stare.)

So anyways, enjoy the pictures. I'm sure people are just gonna be lining up to be my friend now...haha. That's what happens when you become famous...well, I mean, famous by association! ha!

Here they are on stage in the tent. Paula looked pretty stinkin' cute...she had on a black causual dress and hot pink leggings.

This is Chris Rock's mom (ya know, the comedian dude) who was there as a featured author for the Book Festival that was taking place that weekend. The brunch was the final event for the Book Festival.

Signing books and meeting and greeting!

And here is Chelsea, the woman who made it all happen!

Here I am telling Paula that I am awesome cook and she should tell Food Network to give me my own show.

Here I am checking out my bag full of signed cookbooks! PS - I love my hair in this picture, but could totally do without the double chin.

Oh, this is just me and my new BFF. She said I could come and cook with her anytime I wanted to! Riiiggghhttt. Amanda lives in an imaginary world :)

Here are two of my favorite "Paula" recipes. I make both of these things all the time! I also double both recipes when we have big get-togethers.

Squash Casserole
Cook Time: 55 minutes, Yields: 6 Servings

6 cups large diced yellow squash and zucchini
Vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream1 teaspoon House seasoning, recipe follows
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup crushed butter crackers (recommended: Ritz)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Saute the squash in a little vegetable oil over medium-low heat until it has completely broken down, about 15 to 20 minutes. Line a colander with a clean tea towel. Place the cooked squash in the lined colander. Squeeze excess moisture from the squash. Set aside.

In a medium size skillet, saute the onion in butter for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and mix all ingredients together except cracker crumbs. Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish and top with cracker crumbs. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Quick Guacamole-Spinach Dip - Don't tell anyone, but I could totally eat an entire bowl of this all by myself. My college roommate and I made this, inhaled it within minutes and made another batch of it and finished that off too. It's THAT good!

1 package dry guacamole dip mix (found in produce departments)
One 8-ounce container cream cheese, softened
One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1-3 Roma tomatoes, diced

Combine guacamole mix and cream cheese. Squeeze excess liquid from spinach. Add to cheese mixture. Add tomato. Mix well to combine. Serve with tortilla chips. Yields 2 cups

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lunch Break

This is what I did today on my lunch break.

I realize there is a whole lotta plaid going on in this picture, but just try to uncross your eyes and look past that. That big fluffy comforter is not usually on the couch, but it is Johnny's old bed comforter and it's the most comfortable thing ever to take naps with.

It was one of those days. And naps do not come easily to me people. I don't know if I'm coming down with a cold or what, but I could hardly keep my eyes open this morning and had a headache from the devil. So I rushed home on my lunch break, set my alarm and took a quick 20 minute nap...I didn't even take my scarf or boots off. Then got up, made a pot of coffee and took two Excedrin migraine pills and rushed back to work. Is it Friday yet?

Monday, February 2, 2009

One Year Anniversary

One year ago exactly, I married my best friend. It was an incredible February day in Charleston, blue skies and 70 degree weather. Everything was perfect and I was floating on cloud 9. I had an unbelievable peace and calmness about everything. I know without a doubt that God made us for each other. The past year has been a complete whirlwind, but I have experienced love in a way I didn't know existed from a man who continues to blow me away every single day with his patience and love and commitment to God and our marriage. I feel so blessed to be called his wife.

Enjoy the pictures from our special day :)